Get yourself out there!


posted on 8th of january, 2011

How do you make the most of the referral program? How do you popularize your photography online? Perhaps you're looking into shooting some assignments for direct clients in the year to boost your creativity, experience and income... But then, how do you get these? For those of you who have decided to only do microstock - how do you channel more clients directly to your portfolio?

Yup, you've gotta be on-line as well. You could do a ton of other things, but ensuring your online presence is pretty much the easiest and most cost effective method these days. Here's a few key elements for good online presence of a photographer.

1) Have a decent website. I can't begin to describe how important the design, usability and ultimately - purpose of your photo site is... Well, I think I might have started to, but anyway - you get the point. It needs to be a dedicated website. Not your family blog, not your personal facebook account either (more on that later). A good photographer's site is well designed, offers easy navigation throughout your portfolio, says a bit about yourself, perhaps your assignment pricing, offers a way for direct contact. If you're going to emphasize your portfolio at the agency - do it nicely. 35 referral banners on a single page weren't appreciated back in 1999 when bandwidth was limited, and for other reasons they're not appreciated today either. You need to have some other type of main content which will attract visitors. Nobody will come there just to click on a referral link.

I won't dig into the Flash or non-Flash dispute. There's already enough of it online. Whichever way you go - make it nice, clean and simple. It needs to be search-able too, somehow.

2) Ensure that you'll offer good content to your visitors. Here you can go two ways - you'll either write to other photographers or to potential customers... Or both, actually. It seems to me that today the gallery/presentation + blog sites do well. It's an easy split between audiences and is unobtrusive to the other half. If one comes to evaluate your portfolio alone - they can do that easily. On the other hand, you can also quickly create a mini community of sorts by drawing more people for the knowledge you're offering in the blog - be it business-oriented, photographic, etc.

© Maigi (Help)
3) Socialize. I'll be honest here. For various reasons I'm not on facebook, the twitter, the hyves, etc. If you're into that type of thing - use it also to promote your photography, your articles, to establish an audience. HOWEVER, do it with a caution. It's very easy to spend a ton of time on social networks without actually generating traffic, referred buyers, or income in any way. It's ultimately your "creating of content" that will fill your wallet. I see the social sites as more of a way to get your already created content out there...

Where are your potential customers? Participating in design communities AND the message boards might turn out to be more useful than updating your facebook status every 10min. ;)

As more and more people get to know you as a photographer it becomes easier for clients to find you... as a photographer.

What I've finally gotten myself to do is update my gallery site and launch a photo/photo-business related blog together with it. You can see the results at http://petarneychev.com and http://blog.petarneychev.com, respectively. Both are inter-linked too for ease of navigation.

My main idea was to make a site which will not only appeal to customers, but also to fellow photographers. And in the age of "countless methods to share knowledge" I wanted to do exactly this. I still turn to good old printed books for new stuff, but much of what I know has come from the Internet. To me it's only fair that each of us gives back from their experience in return.

Having said all this, I've lately been impressed by the sites of some fellow contributors. Just wish that each of us will offer a bit more of what we know. Yes, it will make the competition smarter too, but if others did it and it meant benefits for us, who are we to say we won't do the same? ;)

Feel free to critique my site and blog. I'm in the process of learning too... continually.

Comments (20)

Posted by Mlhead on May 18, 2011
What web hosting sites have people looked at like zenfolio? Wondering which offer the best exposure.
Posted by Zash on February 07, 2011
Thank you. Nice information
Posted by Forexwmz on February 07, 2011
Thank you. This is useful information
Posted by Mcjanice on February 04, 2011
Useful info, thanks-I had a website and discontinued it now I think it was a big mistake!
Posted by Fotosonar on February 03, 2011
thank you.Great tips
Posted by Dgphotographic on January 22, 2011
Thank you ! Food for thought !
Posted by Onime on January 17, 2011
Thanks for yours useful information! Great article.
Posted by Javashots on January 11, 2011
Maybe thats why I have you listed as one of my favorites...I had just got set up with a domain name and a blog account, now trying to figure out the style of my website, themes for my blog, etc...etc... Even though I am mostly silent here on Dreamstime, I listen very well to those who have such great ideas and, knowledge, and experience! Good to hear I am slowly staggering in the right direction! Thanks so much for the info! Best wishes for much continued success!
Posted by Hinnamsaisuy on January 11, 2011
thank you ....many usefull
Posted by Heathse on January 11, 2011
Nice article and useful. Nice to see I'm not the only person in the world not on facebook or twitter.
Posted by Yuritz on January 10, 2011
nice article and great portfolio!
Posted by Sobek85 on January 10, 2011
Great tips
Posted by Martinisaac on January 10, 2011
Some great tips (and some useful ones in the comments also), thanks.
Posted by Petarneychev on January 09, 2011
Thanks for the critique, Wisconsinart! :) I've put an end to the slide (quite literally, but it might require an extra refresh on the page cause of the javascript).

I have been debating a lot on the thumbnails... The previous version was thumbnails-only navigated. :D If I get myself some extra time I'll get that sorted too.
Posted by Titania1980 on January 08, 2011
There's been a lot of time I've been thinking in creating my web... I'm a bit lazy about it, I recognize... I'm not very motivated to do that in spite I recognise it's a good way to promote my portfolio. I was searching a easy site like wix.com where you find the templates for your web done and it's just click and edit... but i'm a bit unsure about that site... :S

I would do a site with thumbnails of my pics and by making click on them they would redirect to my pics on DT ;)
Posted by Mariaam on January 08, 2011
Very useful information. Thanks!
Posted by Infotrontof on January 08, 2011
Really good article .. thanks a lot!
Posted by Wisconsinart on January 08, 2011
If you're asking for critiques... :-)

Your web site...

It is a pet peeve of mine when a web site has graphics that do not stop. Your initial web page continually scrolls through the same set of images and it's extremely annoying and distracting (for me). If you HAVE to have this, iterate through the images once and then have it display a single image, perhaps a collage of multiple images.

When you drill down in the web site you see only one image at a time and have to scroll through the images to see the next. I would consider having thumbnails and allow the visitor to choose. Having thumbnails also allows the visitor to see mulriple examples of your work rather than just one at a time. It's tedious to scroll through them; if the visitor doesn't see want they want to see right away they are going to leave the web site.

It's been years since I updated my own web site and I really should do something about that. It...(More)
Posted by Mani33 on January 08, 2011
It seems that having a hot subject to attract people is the key to be successful online these days! The second factor is luck also!
Who would say that Hi5 would fade while it had the same idea of Facebook who's the biggest online now!
Designs, links & navigation are important, but not enough these days with all the sites we see now a days!
Look at youtube how it started & how it looks! Just the idea & the search engine rocks!
Posted by Fleyeing on January 08, 2011
Just a small addition to this excellent post: add Google Analytics to your site. It will offer some measurements on how efficient you are attracting buyers' traffic. Try to break into Google Images: some tips about image SEO. The other attractor is Yahoo Images, so upload watermarked, small and "all rights reserved" images to Flickr with a clear link to your port. Social networks and sites intended for other photographers, I'm afraid, won't bring anyone any buyers' traffic.
Don't underestimate the free keyword on Google. Images that are technically not fit for stock can be offered for free. Make sure to add a link to your DT portfolio on every image.



Comments (20)

This article has been read 2930 times. 16 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Maigi, Petarneychev.

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