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Why do Photographers need a website?

Why do Photographers need a website?

Many Photographers feel that they need to have a web site. Not only so, they feel obligated to put one up. This is bad because with it comes the longing to get one as cheaply as possible and preferably have it self built . A badly done website is worse than no website at all just as a badly done business card.
Fact is that almost no one needs a web site, but a web site appearance can greatly enhance your market and ad to your marketing strategy.

Well established photographers with good reputation and long list of clients do not need the web site, still they put one up . Why is that? Because they want to spread the word an be visible and get more customers. Just like Coke or Pepsi still do a lot of advertising in different media. You have to advertise. It is not enough to to get your name out there. You have to keep it there. That one thing is certain. But if you do not do your homework and research on what works best for your company, you could as well be throwing money and time out the window.

Advertising on Tv or in a newspaper, might not work for you. Being out there meeting people and handing out postcards or a joke could be as effective if not more so. Its a different kind of advertising, or marketing, but it is marketing. It is here that a good website could help.

You are at a party and with cleverness you have managed to sneak your self in to a conversation with an art-director and creative director from This,That and their ego advertising agency. You also managed to pull out some information and learnt from them that they need some pictures taken. This is you keyword. This might possibly be a future client. You get the feeling that they like you. At least they loved your jokes. I mean they laughed. Now is the time for them to pay for your entertainment. Of corse you do not roam around all day and nigh with your portfolio. Only desperate mad man does that. And that is some thing you do not want to present.
You are at a party so don’t push it, hand out your business card not the hat. No more tricks to night. You have gotten their attention. Who knows they might be generaly interested and pay your website a visit.

When they do that they will have to feel that it is the same person they met that has this website. But not only them. Other people, someone you have never met, stumbled up on your web site. Even better, they where told by a an other client to check you out because of how grate you are. This people will have to get the same feeling as the party people. You are a nice responsible problem solver that can cater to their needs. On top of that your are a grate Photographer.

Here it is that many Photographers website fail.
They are funky flashing designs, even rich with images but they do not deliver any thing.
Not even a phone number.
They are nothing more than a funny trick-show that most designer leave before the end. They don’t have the time for this.
Thats right. Designers like to design a funky website, but they hate to use one if they are looking for some images.
Believe me it is true I have been there and done that same mistake my self. My last simple design, old as it was has delivered much more than my tech savvy flashy fluffy websites have ever done.

Surly good design is a must but a photographers website is not about the design. It is not even about the images. It is about the Photographers ability solve a problem the client has.

In order to convince the client that the Photographer is THE right one for the job he has to have good content on his site, backed up by the images. Fact is that even though a picture can say more than 1000 words 10 words can sell the Photographer better than one picture.

A friend of mine once got an email, containing an image, from an advertising agency, where he was asked if he had the technical skills to solve the problem of making pictures of this standard. He picked up the phone and immediately got the job.
Of course he could solve the problem, it was his own image!

People are used to communication and usually it is through communication like a phone call or a meeting that the final deal is made.
No one goes online, looks at a photographers website, and makes the order for a photographer to be at a certain place at a certain time. Therefore you do need to make sure that people will contact you. You have to be visible in person (I am not talking about a portrait of you but a your personality, or the person you always wanted to be). The client, after browsing your site, has to be certain that you are the right person for the job. He wants to speak with you.

The message you send has to be clear. You want people to like you before they meet you. You want them to want you, even feel that they need you. You are the only one that can solve their problem.


Kristjan Logason is a travelling photographer that, when not out there taking pictures, writes about his travell adventures on wwww.benzi.is and blogs about photography on www.aurora.is

by Kristjan Logason at 2007-12-06 21:42:56 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) San Cristobal de las casas , Mexico | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Your smart advice does not jive with my experience, at all. Without my stupid, bare bones web 1.0 website, housing thousands of my photos embedded with tons of Long Tail Keywords, designed and built by myself about ten years ago and basically never changed since then, I’d have zero re-sales, growing exponentially and now accounting for about half my income. Also, anyone asking to see what I can do can be sent to the site, instead of me going broke mailing out a book to each of them. My stupid website is by far my most important marketing tool. Not talking about my stupid blog which is useless, to me.

by Stupid Photographer | 06 Dec 2007 21:12 (ed. Dec 6 2007) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
I had a fancy website up for an year and it even showed on the TV… I had lot’s of visits, but not a single job because of it… I don’t have a website anymore, and I’m not planning to built one soon…

by Alexandre Vaz | 06 Dec 2007 22:12 | Lisbon, Portugal | | Report spam→
agree with alexandre, i had a website, real nice one too, not one email or inquiry after two years…no longer have one except my lightstalkers site here, have a blog but i don’t have time for it, my stuff goes on a few agency databases and i work with agencys and contacts for assignments.

by James Helmer | 07 Dec 2007 04:12 | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
The underlying assumption here is of course that we only ever want to show our photographs to people in order to make money..

by Morten Hvaal | 07 Dec 2007 04:12 | Colombo, Sri Lanka | | Report spam→
I have it so at least SOMEONE looks at my pictures…

John

by [former member] | 07 Dec 2007 05:12 | Phnom Penh, Cambodia | | Report spam→
John,

Rest asssured that by being a Magnum member people do indeed look at your pictures. . . and look up to you.

by Davin Ellicson | 07 Dec 2007 05:12 | Great Barrington, Massachusett, United States | | Report spam→
I think “The Stupid Photographer” has got a point here. I have seen many very fancy websites, made in Flash, which absolutely miss the point. The coding contains a very limited “titel” (like repeating the webaddress), there is no keywords connected to the site, there is no description connected. No use of META TAGS at all and since the Flash file includes no “Alt” tag, the website (and the images) is almost invisible for webcrawlers and robots. On top of that, many designers forget to submit the site to Google, Yahoo and other leading portals.
The result is ofcause practically no traffic to the site.

My own wesite is old and sucks, but I get a lot of traffic and even sold a few images.

To have a website or not, is I think a personal matter. But if you spend the money and time to do it, you should at least do a minimum of effort to be visible “out there”.

by Michael Harder | 07 Dec 2007 09:12 (ed. Dec 7 2007) | Aarhus, Denmark | | Report spam→
I love it to view all your old and new work. how many people visited your exhibition before the www came up? 500, 1000 in one month? today much more people see my work and also I have much more contact to people through the www. I meet wonderful people around. this would be not possible if I would have two times the year an exhibition in the real world.

have fun..

by [former member] | 07 Dec 2007 11:12 | | Report spam→
If I didn’t have a website I wouldn’t have people emailing me accusing me of being an anti-semite. And that would be no fun at all.

by John Perkins | 07 Dec 2007 13:12 | Cairo, Egypt | | Report spam→
Ton answer Morten, the reason to expose myself on the web is not to make money, but if I want to share my images (like I do) with others, I don’t need a website… I’m using Lightstakers, Flickr and a few other places for that purpose with more efficiency and smaller investment in time and money…

Actually the thing I in Flickr is that it’s not just for photographers but for everyone… I like the idea os sharing my images in truly democratic place…

by Alexandre Vaz | 07 Dec 2007 14:12 | Lisbon, Portugal | | Report spam→

John Vink is a great photographer first, and a Magnum member second.
I know an editor who looked at profile on LS, checked the photographer’s website and then called the photographer with an assignment. It does happen.
A cupla notes here about the original post. It IS very important to keep it simple. Art directors and editors do go to websites to see photographs by a photographer. They really do NOT want to have to wait long periods for flash, especially when they’re on broadband. Please. Also, please, art directors, etc do NOT want MUSIC. They’re probably already listening to iTunes on their headphones. Also, make it EASY to find the frickin phone number. Have it on every page. Same with eMail. All the editor wants is the eMail address. They don’t need some link that then opens up their Entourage (or whatever their eMail program is. Make it easy for the art director, art buyer, photo editor, etc to make contact with you. Oh, one last thing. Art buyers, etc do not have enough time in the day to hunt for stock on individual photographer websites. Exceptions are photographers who specialize in stuff like natural science, animals or obscure historical stuff etc. Otherwise it’s quicker and easier at the big stock houses.

by John Robert Fulton Jr. | 07 Dec 2007 15:12 | Fort Worth, Texas, United States | | Report spam→
Flicking public sites have ToU that may or may not allow posting of some stupid photos, and can fold at any time. No fun to come back from a stupid long gig to find all your on-line images have gone to heaven (or hell).

by Stupid Photographer | 07 Dec 2007 15:12 (ed. Dec 7 2007) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
I followed the link Stupid gave in one of his posts above, and found this page:7 steps to profitable website planning.

Recently I have been rethinking what my business model should be with respect to my own personality and MO involving photography.

by Tomoko Yamamoto | 07 Dec 2007 16:12 | Baltimore, MD, United States | | Report spam→
I will disclose that I no longer try to make money with my photography because web design brings the checks in these days.

Having a personal web site has allowed me to converse with people I likely would never have had the opportunity to hand a business card to. I know how to maintain my site, how to make it searchable and usable. The result is that it has become another dimension of photography for me.

I look at photography web sites every day. I am continually inspired because talented photographers have taken the time to put their work online.

by Laurie Mc Ginley | 07 Dec 2007 20:12 | Saint Paul, MN, United States | | Report spam→
Laurie, one thing is putting work online, the other is having a website…

I do watch tens, often hundreds or thousands of images of great photographers each day on the web, but most of them outside personal websites. I browse agencies, forums, and places like DRR, and not so much on personal websites that usually aren’t updated that often…

Sharing is great but having a personal website it’s not the only way to do it…

by Alexandre Vaz | 07 Dec 2007 21:12 | Lisbon, Portugal | | Report spam→
Why a dog need a tree???

by [former member] | 07 Dec 2007 21:12 | Santiago, Chile | | Report spam→
Because treebark holds the scent longer than the ground…

by Alexandre Vaz | 07 Dec 2007 21:12 | Lisbon, Portugal | | Report spam→
Yes!!!!!!!!!

by [former member] | 07 Dec 2007 22:12 | Santiago, Chile | | Report spam→
Why make a distinction between having a personal website and having content online? If your work is connected to your name, what’s the difference?

If you want to rant about slow loading Flash sites that is one thing. That is more of a technical issue. But I don’t understand why you would discourage photographers from uploading content.

by Laurie Mc Ginley | 07 Dec 2007 23:12 (ed. Dec 8 2007) | Saint Paul, MN, United States | | Report spam→
Huh? I find it remarkable that photographers have the easy and relatively cheap possibility to put our work on a website, where anyone in the world can look at it – are we actually debating if it’s really necessary or desirable to do so? Am I missing something here? I know I’ve been a little busy and distracted, maybe I missed some kind of paradigm shift? Shifty bastards, those paradigm shifts, you blink and suddenly people are casting off their websites like yesterday’s papers…

by Bill Crandall | 08 Dec 2007 05:12 | Washington DC, United States | | Report spam→
I think not having a website is the only way one can possibly compete with Secretstock. You have to adjust to the industry’s trends – better yesterday than tomorrow.

by Daniel Etter | 08 Dec 2007 08:12 | Cologne, Germany | | Report spam→
i think you really have to consider a website in terms of more that simply a gallery, a sales device, or any other single thing. it’s an incredibly powerful tool.

my front page is simply a Lightroom gallery, (with basic contact information) but under the hood is a whole bunch of stuff i use for my photography, my classes, my PR info, selling my books, linking to myspace, youtube, all stuff to interconnect all the resources on the web for my use and for my clients and students.

it’s actually, visually, a frikkin mess, but it works. if i spent a lot of my time on the road, which i don’t really anymore, my website would be teh core of my business plan… everything would be there, so i could get to it from wherever i was that had a hot signal.

i’m lately of the opinion that there’s a totally new business model evolving that is incredibly streamlined, efficient (read profitable) and exists almost solely on the web.

for example, i run a fundraiser bike ride www.boston2portland.com that i administer TOTALLY from the website. take a look, it’s much more “public” than my photo site, but is an example of how you can build a community around a site.

by [former member] | 08 Dec 2007 12:12 | boston, ma, United States | | Report spam→
IMHO not having a decent website is like not having a good business card. OK – maybe if you are extremely well known and clients seek you out solely by reputation – only then could I imagine a photographer not needing one.

But if you are like most of us – slugging it out in the trenches – not having a decent site seems like a silly way to save money. I have received countless jobs because clients have found me on the web – not to mention the extra revenue generated by being able to license my images online via my website. And as mentioned by others here – the convenience of having a client being able to view your portfolio online as opposed to waiting for a book to arrive via courier.

Of course you need to spend some time – energy and maybe even some money promoting your website and driving traffic to it. Taking advantage of every possible free listing on the various photo-related sites and communities such as LS is one simple way of doing this. Then investing in services such as Adbase – which help you create targeted marketing campaigns is another more expensive – but effective method. And having a dynamic site that offers new content regularly not only pictures but even having an active blog helps you get indexed higher in search engines and keeps clients coming back to see your newest work. And having added functionality – like a search able online archive of your images available for licensing is yet another thing that will set you apart for those that have a static site that never changes and functions only as an online portfolio. All these things help drive traffic to a site and keep clients coming back for more.

Another unexpected plus is that subjects who have never met you before – can look you up and see who is coming to make their picture – or execute the assignment at hand. I am always pleased when a subject tells me that they googled me so they could see what kind of work I have done and who I am etc…

If you are serious about making a living at photography – no matter what the genre – bite the bullet and invest in a good website – it’s a no-brainer!

by Jock Fistick | 14 Dec 2007 01:12 (ed. Dec 14 2007) | Brussels, Belgium | | Report spam→
Daniel is obviously well ahead of the curve on this one.

I’ve also heavily invested in the Secretstock paradigm shift. Its like microstock, just taken to the next logical step.

It came to me in a vison after I woke up and banged my head on the underside of the pub table…see, the problem with those microstock losers is their prices aren’t low enough. They just don’t have the balls and snappreneurial acumen to take their online businesses to the next level.

My website has been down for ages, and amazingly, I have experienced no damage to my business whatsoever – I never got any work before, and nothings changed. So my profit margin is cast iron recession-proof.

My images never sold, and still don’t…so I never have to compromise on my fee structure AND the immutable laws of laws of Supply and Demand mean that my images rarity ( so rare, they can never, ever be seen) boosts their price massively.

Web 2.0 was social networking. This is Web 3.0, baby. I call it ‘Anti-Social NotWorking’. It’s boldly going to the outer reaches of the Long Tail and pinning that tail on the donkey of success. W00t!

Remember where you heard it first. When I swish past you in my Lamborghini after IPO’ing my idea to Google, I’ll say hi.

by [former member] | 14 Dec 2007 10:12 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
So what’s your plan for when stupid pros like me are required to pay to have their work abused in the press?

by Stupid Photographer | 14 Dec 2007 11:12 | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
It all depends on how secret your images are. The more secret your stock images, the bigger the finders fee you can charge if its ever printed.

I’m currently arranging to have my archive kidnapped by Blackwater freelance psychopaths and renditioned by unregistered Learjet to a ‘Black Site’ in Kaboomistan.

Then they get thrown into the back of a Humvee, driven to a random desert location routinely ignored by Google Earth, and thrown off a cliff.

I calculate my finders fee if anyone licenses those images will increase by about 1000%.

by [former member] | 14 Dec 2007 12:12 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Love it. Makes the stupid photos I never made absolutely priceless. Thanks for sharing!

by Stupid Photographer | 14 Dec 2007 12:12 | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
glad someone is comin’ round to my way too: no website either ;)))…and i thought it was only ’cause i was too stupid and too lazy to get around to creating it ;))

by [former member] | 14 Dec 2007 13:12 | Toronto (for now), Canada | | Report spam→
Just finished mine, finally. I’m happy with it. Only thing remaining for me to do is add better meta tags. That I’ll do this evening.

by Paul Treacy | 14 Dec 2007 14:12 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
There is even a debate about this? Not having a website is like not having a business card.

by DuncanK | 17 Dec 2007 18:12 | Irvine, California, United States | | Report spam→
One more Man Ray xerox like on your site and I’ll stupidly puke.

by Stupid Photographer | 17 Dec 2007 18:12 (ed. Dec 17 2007) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
I didn’t take that picture.

by DuncanK | 17 Dec 2007 19:12 | Irvine, California, United States | | Report spam→
Sorry. Meant your in the plural sense, much like your plural site which makes it hard for me to figure out who smartly got what from whom there.

by Stupid Photographer | 17 Dec 2007 19:12 (ed. Dec 17 2007) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
I’m Duncan Kinney, I used to be an assistant to Trudie Lee (the woman who took that picture). I started a blog for her and her husband and I’ve kept the link up for SEO purposes.

by DuncanK | 17 Dec 2007 19:12 | Irvine, California, United States | | Report spam→
Glad that’s smartly clear to everyone except stupid me, looking at that site. Clear as a business card.

by Stupid Photographer | 17 Dec 2007 19:12 (ed. Dec 17 2007) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
Good one.

by DuncanK | 17 Dec 2007 20:12 | Irvine, California, United States | | Report spam→

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Participants

Kristjan Logason, Photographer Kristjan Logason
Photographer
(editorial and advertising)
Leikanger , Norway
Stupid Photographer, Dazed, shocked, stupefied Stupid Photographer
Dazed, shocked, stupefied
(Stupid Photographers Agency)
Holy Smokes , Holy See
Alexandre Vaz, Photographer Alexandre Vaz
Photographer
Lisbon , Portugal ( LSB )
James Helmer, James Helmer
Toronto , Canada ( YYZ )
Morten Hvaal, Photographer Morten Hvaal
Photographer
Oslo , Norway ( OSL )
Davin Ellicson, Photographer Davin Ellicson
Photographer
New York , United States
Michael Harder, Photojournalist Michael Harder
Photojournalist
Aarhus , Denmark
John Perkins, Photographer John Perkins
Photographer
Cairo , Egypt ( CAI )
John Robert Fulton Jr., Photographs John Robert Fulton Jr.
Photographs
Spring Lake, Michigan , United States
Tomoko Yamamoto, Multimedia Artist Tomoko Yamamoto
Multimedia Artist
Vienna , Austria ( VIE )
Laurie Mc Ginley, Photographer / Web Design Laurie Mc Ginley
Photographer / Web Design
Minneapolis , United States ( MSP )
Bill Crandall, Photographer Bill Crandall
Photographer
Washington Dc , United States
Daniel Etter, Photographer / Writer Daniel Etter
Photographer / Writer
Istanbul , Turkey
Jock Fistick, Photojournalist Jock Fistick
Photojournalist
Brussels , Belgium ( BRU )
Paul  Treacy, Photographer Paul Treacy
Photographer
(Photohumourist)
London , United Kingdom ( LGW )
DuncanK, Photographer DuncanK
Photographer
Calgary, Ab , Canada


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