If you’re starting a creative career, an online portfolio is an indispensable marketing tool. Here’s some advice from wedding photographer DeAndre Glover.
The wedding photography business can be inspiring, because you get to capture people’s images when they’re in love and celebrating. It’s also challenging, because you’re competing not only against other professional wedding photographers but also against amateurs who are willing to work for below-market rates. To set yourself apart and prove your value to clients, an online portfolio is an indispensable marketing tool. Detroit wedding photographer DeAndre Glover, owner of Jireh Photography, recently shared some of his website-based marketing experiences and insights for other photographers.
Glover, a Detroit-area native and father of four, turned to photography as a profession in his late 30s and continuously pursues artistic learning and professional growth. “Wedding photography is rough if you’re doing it right,” Glover says on his website, “but to me there’s nothing more rewarding than creating art for my clients.”
To showcase his art, Glover launched a website for Jireh Photography within a few months of starting the business. “Having a website has allowed me to streamline my business in terms of marketing, advertising, and client communications,” he said. Setting up the site was a small expense that has paid big dividends for his business. He chose HostGator for web hosting services “because they had the best pricing. Later on, I found out they also provide stellar service and support.”
A screenshot from the Jireh Photography website
Images make the sale
Thanks to the nature of their craft, photographers have ready access to some of the most effective marketing components–in particular, visual content. Researchers say web pages and blog posts with photos or other visuals are much more likely to be seen, read, and shared by visitors than content without visuals. Pictures also make it much more likely that visitors will remember what they see on a site.
Glover’s online portfolio includes hundreds of his shots for visitors to browse. Candid group images; bridal portraits; still-life photos of rings, churches and reception halls; and even an action shot of a couple riding a bicycle built for two show how he works with different couples and settings to create work his clients will appreciate over the years. Essentially, his work sells itself, Glover said. “Potential clients have already made a decision, based on my website and portfolio, as the whether or not they will call me or submit the lead form. The majority of the time, clients tell me, ‘I’ve been on your website and love your work. I want to hire you.’”
These days, it’s also critical that images load quickly and display properly on a smartphone or tablet, because most Google searches now happen on mobile devices. A site host that offers fast load times and a responsive website template or a custom design that’s mobile-optimized give you a stronger advantage in the competition to be found by customers.
Keep it simple, keep learning
Even though his site is heavy on image content, the overall design and navigation are simple. Visitors can quickly find Jireh’s package pricing, contact information, testimonials, and information about Glover. He recommends a simple approach to web design for new photographers, too: “A strong portfolio, straight to the point information about your services, and a few ways to contact you.” Once that’s in place, “study your craft endlessly and let your work speak for itself.”