Stand out from the competition by curating the perfect photography portfolio that sells your service for you!
Attracting the right clients on a regular basis is an art. The art of impressing the clients you want to work with takes a lot of time and effort and requires careful planning.
It’s easy to get caught up trying to juggle all the marketing strategies in an attempt to not only get more clients to your site – but to get the RIGHT clients to your site! And that’s where the magic stops. Many photographers rely on a few stunning photos on their websites to get booked out.
Do you really need to spend that much time curating the perfect photography portfolio to impress potential clients?
YES! Most of the time your potential clients are going through an elimination process that really turns out to be 2 or 3 visits to your website. You have to give them just what they need at every step for them to make that final decision.
When clients want to hire a photographer, they aren’t going to hire the first photographer they find on a whim. They’re going to start a multi-step decision-making process that can put your business in front of them every step of the way.
So it’s important to stand out from all the other photographers they’re considering by showing up with a stunning photography portfolio that shows off your unique style and makes them feel connected to you before they even reach out.
The Many Stages of Choosing the Right Photographer
Phase One: Finding You on Social Media
They come across your work on Instagram and quickly hop over from your bio link. They might check out your work on their mobile device – how’s your website look on mobile?? – to see if they even really like your style.
Phase Two: Digging Into Your Website
If you made the cut and they liked your work they will typically return to your site via a laptop or desktop computer to really do some investigating and get a better look at what you have to offer.
Phase Three: Narrowing Down Their Options
You’ve made it one step farther! This is when your potential client likely shares your site with their partner or trusted friend who is their sounding board! This is typically their shortlist of who they think they really want to work with. This is the stage when they are in decision-making mode and your website should do the heavy lifting for you. Your website will be compared to everyone else on the shortlist and you want to wow them right?!
3 Steps to Creating a Stunning Photography Portfolio
Step One: Curate an Intriguing Collection of Your Best Images
If you want people to view your work in a gallery you need to make sure it is AH-MAZING – and no fluff. Show the best of the best with only 20-30 images.
“Show the best of the best with only 20-30 images.”
Quality over quantity, every time. It isn’t about the numbers, it’s about the quality of work you showcase. Your gallery doesn’t need a bazillion photos to prove that you’re legit. Show what you want to continue shooting with a consistent style that’s authentic to you.
Every image or portfolio piece reinforces your talents and why you are the best choice for your potential client. Galleries set the expectations of what your clients can expect.
Your gallery doesn’t have to be a slideshow of different service collections. You can absolutely be creative when presenting your work.
Showcase a full collection for the different stages of the day during a wedding shoot (e.g. getting ready, the first look, the ceremony, the reception, the send-off, etc.)
Newborn and family photographers can highlight each different momentous stage (e.g. maternity, newborn, sitter sessions, a growing family, etc.)
Send them on a journey of the entire experience of what it’s like to work with you.
Heck, it can even reinforce the fact they HAVE to hire you for the next stage right?!
Step Two: Consistent Style and Intentional Image Selections
I have a lot of clients telling me that they want their website to be like Hope Taylor or Katelyn James, but here’s the deal… Their websites are so beautiful and on-brand because they are RUTHLESS in their image curation and have a very consistent editing style.
When your photography portfolio is comprised of images with all different types of editing styles with every color palette under the rainbow – you won’t find the magic in designing a beautiful, show-stopping gallery that screams YOU!
Recently Changed Your Editing Style?
If you have found a new style of editing, my best advice is to go back to the images that you love and update your edit so you can showcase your best work in a cohesive manner.
I would also advise you to be aware of how many different cropping styles and angles you use in your photography portfolio as well. It can get pretty overwhelming with too many different viewpoints and sizes to focus on.
Here’s the catch though, just because you should be using a consistent editing style it doesn’t mean to have a collection that is full of ALL OF THE SAME IMAGES. Boy that would get boring to look at quickly wouldn’t it?!
Like I mentioned in Step One, group image styles together and create a balance so you don’t have a million of the same images. For example, you might rock at taking candid images while the wedding party is getting ready. But if that is all you are putting on your website, your visitor is going to question if you can actually shoot at a darker reception. The same can be said if you are a portrait photographer and you are only featuring photos of families in your studio but you do offer outdoor sessions.
I know that curating a collection is probably the hardest part of a website design for photographers so I don’t say this lightly! But when you have a consistent and cohesive portfolio to display that is when the magic happens and your website design really comes to life!
Pro tip! If you have a styled shoot or a session that you really love but it doesn’t exactly fit the style of your brand – you can always create a blog post to feature this collection and share it organically on your social media. This allows you to still showcase the work but not muddy the otherwise consistent image style.)
Step Three: Show Visitors What to Do Next by Adding a Call-to-Action
One of the most common mistakes I see on photographers’ websites is not making it obvious what their potential clients should do next. They are left hanging and maybe a little confused about the next step of the process. If you want your visitor to book your services you have to provide them with the pathway to do just that.
Where do you want them to go from your portfolio page? It is important to set that page goal when you design and present your portfolio.
Examples of Call-to-Actions for Your Photography Portfolio Convert Visitors
Example One: Ask Visitors to Reach Out
If you want them to head to your contact page and reach out for more information have a block at the bottom of your portfolio page that directs them to go there.
It can easily say – “Love what you see? Hit the button below to find out if I am available for your wedding day!”
Example Two: Encourage Potential Clients to Schedule a Consultation
Maybe you want them to be able to book a call directly from your website to get to know you even better and on a more personal level. You can easily embed a booking calendar right on the page where they can book a free consultation call with you to chat about their wedding details. (I use Calendly or check out Honeybook for your client experience and receive 50% off your first year.)
Pro tip! Include a short questionnaire with your booking calendar software that allows you to gather important information so you are ready and can prepare properly for the call.
Guide potential clients to the next step in your booking process with direct instructions and an easy-to-follow design. Without a clear path, they might just leave your site without ever reaching out! That would be a shame wouldn’t it??
If you are ready to upgrade your photography brand and hire me as your guide, check out my “tailor-made” brand experience service. This is where I take you on an exciting brand adventure starting with your brand’s foundation and expanding into your website and beyond!