Creating a successful photography website

You’ll be surprised at the amount of people who think once you create a personal photography website, that’s all you need to do and the world will see your photographs. In reality, things couldn’t be further from the truth, and taking that approach you’ll have a very limited number of visits to your website, regardless of how good you think your work is.

If you want people to visit your site, situated your photos and other with, you need to set up a long term plan to get your money’s worth from your domain. What I’ve tried to do here is take a look at his to achieve success, based on my latest website and change of approach compared to other websites I’ve run.

One: Have branding or a name that stands out.

So many photographers have their websites as just their names. In a world of “JoeBlogsPhotograpy.com” type websites being one million to the dozen, try and be a bit more creative so people remember you. Think about what you do most, what you want people to remember you for! The possibilities are endless, and people will remember it more!

Two: Content.

It’s an obvious one, but an important one to think about. Do you have enough contact to be interesting? Most people will just click through your images in seconds, do you have enough to keep them interested? If you do, does the image to a story? Do you tell the story to go with it?

What is in context and a memorable photograph for you, will be totally irrelevant for other people, so even if it’s just a title, give meaning to your photographs.

Three: More content.

In this day and age, simply having a couple of pretty pictures doesn’t work anymore. People like to discover new things. If you’ve got the time dedicate your time to writing a blog update as often as you can, it can be about anything that interests you, but more importantly it will need to be something that others may be interested.

Four: Set aside a section for a specialist subject.

Sometimes you need to attract people to your website by offering something you specialise in. It can be anything, for me it’s my Fujifilm Film Simulations section. I have a huge interest in film after shooting all sorts since the late 1970s, and there’s a community of Fujifilm users that enjoy using their advanced capabilities to emulate film.

Whatever it is, it will draw people to your website, and if it’s done good enough, these people will explore the rest of your website. The one thing you don’t want is the same amount of visitors as views of your website, as that will show that people are not looking around.

Five: Metadata and tags

Make sure every bit of writing you do has words or sentences that can be picked up by search engines. Make sure your blogs are still tagged, your web pages full of metadata and make sure everything is relevant.

The importance of this feature cannot be understated. With burning to search for, no one will discover your site.

Six: Collaborate

Don’t be afraid to build up relationships with other content providers who you admire. You’ll mutually benefit from working together in more ways than one. It can push you to better understand audiences, improve your workflow and build up great friendships

Seven: Constant work and plugging.

The single most important point is this final point. You need to be updating your content almost daily, you need to be plugging your website daily, you need to be linking to your blog at every opportunity and you need to be refreshing everything as often as you can.

It’s hard work making a website successful, but it’s also very important if you want to be recognised for what you do. If you fail in any of the things mentioned above, your website will just be another website that your friends and family will enjoy when your remind them about it

It’ll be film in 2021 (But not as you know it)

2020 has seen a huge shift in what I do in photography and how I see things. At the beginning of the year I decided to start fresh, stop myself from using the words “landscape photographer” and concentrate on becoming a “documentary photographer”. There was a number of reasons for this, and I noticed it one day while looking through numerous Facebook photography groups and also my own back catalogue from the last half a decade or so (the time I’d been getting very serious with photography). Landscape photography, and my photography in general was becoming too sterile. Yes, it meant I was selling, but looking for the perfect image just looked to a lot of very bland photos.

History

I’ve been doing photography since my early teens in the early 1980s, but fascinated with photography long before that. Owning numerous film cameras until the digital age, then jumping on the digital train as an early adopter. My photography had always been people and places based, but around seven or eight years ago or more, when I moved to Aberavon and had the beach literally on my doorstep, my photography turned more and more to landscape based photographs. This, compounded by the start of Great Photography Walks four years ago seen my ploughing more and more effort into taking the perfect photo.

During this time, I’d always mixed up digital and analogue photography, but my 35mm photography (which I would dip into once or twice a year) I would always keep for family occasions. I always find film much more candid for family photographs, and that makes them all that more special. In recent years I rarely attempted landscape photography with 35mm film, the main reasons are that I had done it many times over the years, and I just much prefer shooting digital for landscapes as you have much more control over the final image.

Film, but not film in 2021

Currently I’m planning a huge project for 2021. I’m a photographer, and because of that I get all my film developed and I print out all my favourite digital images. Nothing, but nothing is better than having an image in your hand in print. It will be there for you, your family and your children, and even your children’s children (see my popular article on this subject).

On top of being a photographer, I’m a documentary photographer. I want to have life and soul in my images, they are real, they are almost always straight from camera, they are of a time and a place. So, my idea for 2021 is to purchase a Fujifilm Instax LiPlay mini instant camera or a Fujifilm Sq6 Square format camera. Having researched many types of instant camera, these ones have everything I want for my project.

My original choice was the new Fujifilm Instax LiPlay which uses mini film. It’s great because the images take up less room and is quite cheap at around £1 per shot. The LiPlay can also be used as a printer and you can selectivity print only the images you want.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I like the Instax SQ6 which is a square format film. You take the photo and it prints out, no second chances. This sounds more fun and in line with the nostalgia that instant printing is associated with. It’s a bit more expensive at around £1.40 a shot, but it’s direct from button shot to film without any digital middle ground, plus the images are square, just like old Polaroid images.

It’s a difficult choice between two very different cameras, but one I will make sooner rather than later.

I’ve always loved instant film, and like many families in the 70s and 80s, we had numerous instant film cameras. It’s film, but it’s in an instant! You get to see your results straight away, wherever you are! The thrill of this is as important as the process of taking the photo in the first place!

Goal

My intention is to catalogue 2021 in a photo album, as a project, using Instax film. I’ll be looking at just 10 or 20 photos a month from family, my GPW group outings and other special days. I intend to print the images I like wherever I may be, for others to be a part of the project.

It’s going to be about people, places, moments and maybe the odd landscape. I’ll be using the standard colour film, plus the odd set of monochrome film. I’m really looking forward to the experience, it’s going to be exciting times!

Why?

I’ve already been asked why use instant film. I’ve already had people say the quality I print on my printer is better than instant film. I’ve already had people mention the cost and that is not a “real” camera.

I’m doing it because it’s a challenge, I’m doing it because it’s different, and I’m doing it because imperfection is perfection. But mostly in doing it for me.

Edit Photographs For Your Wall And Become Successful

Photography is a fun past time for a lot of people, but sometimes it’s nice to sell a photograph. Selling requires a number of things to be successful; a great and interesting subject, the right price and a fine edit. Use the “Edit For Your Wall” philosophy and you’re on to a winner!

If one of those points is wrong, chances are you won’t sell on a regular basis. The first two points are simple enough, although you may not always be able to tell if you are right or wrong until discussing with someone who is totally impartial (such as your partner, or kids, or friends).

Point one, is the subject. You may find it totally mind blowing, but see what the reaction is from a number of people! For the second point, stick to your guns on prices for your work, people will pay whatever you ask if your work is good enough!

The final point is the hardest. You may have your own editing style, but for selling you may need to tweak your style. When people are looking for photographs to buy, they are usually looking for mostly one thing… How that photo will look on their wall! It doesn’t matter if you think you have the best photograph ever, if it’s not edited with being hung on the wall in mind, it just want be as successful.

This all depends on your subjects of course. People generally love bright and dramatic sunsets, or life-like but sharp flowers, or portraits that are complementary to the person’s features etc. Of course not all people are the same, but over time you will discover which editing technique brings more attention or more sales.

Keep it simple, edit as if the photograph is for your wall. Think what others around you would think. Try and think the same as your target audience. And most importantly, still do what you like to do for yourself, as that’s your pleasure.

— If this has inspired you, or given you thought, please leave a comment, like and follow for more photography related posts.