Up until late April '09, I lived on the west side of Los Angeles for seven years. It's the world of "nip and tuck" and it happens to make a great theme for this morning's blog. Living in LA you never say, "I've seen it all," because sure enough an hour later you'll see something more bizarre. It's great to look young, but so often in LA you see women (and men too) who have just pushed the envelope on youth too far. Personally, I don't want my gray hair died back to what I looked like in High School. And I earned those bags I get under my eyes, why would I want to give them up? The list could go on and on, but here's my point:
Take a look at your website. It might be perfect or, like so many other photographers, you either need a facelift or you've overdosed on photographic Botox!
First, photographers often get tired of their images before they really need to be changed. They're constantly changing images, getting tired of them before your potential clients have even seen them. I've seen photographers do the same with their logo. In fact, years ago I worked with a photographer who changed her logo three times in two years!
Second, at the other extreme, many of you can focus your camera, but can't focus on your specialty. You have all kinds of images on your website - some of them might be great, others are mediocre, even bad and were just included to fill up space. You tend to put up everything you shoot.
Pretend you're a potential client and you're looking through your galleries. Let's assume you're guilty of inconsistent quality, with a few great images in the beginning, tapering off to average and poor later on. Look at your images through the eyes of your client. For me the first question I'd worry about as a client, is who am I going to get if I hire this photographer? Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde? While one image might be spectacular, a minute later I'm seeing images that are terrible and no better than Uncle Harry's. The gap between great images and everything else might be huge, leaving me wonder which persona will I get for my shoot.
Third, are your images in sync with today's styles and trends? So often I've seen images on websites I know were taken years ago. You need to keep your website fresh! Personally, I love it when photographers use their images in a blog style with a little copy that describes when and where the images were taken and especially demonstrates their enthusiasm.
Last but not least, limit your copy! If a picture is worth a thousand words, then don't bury people in paragraph after paragraph about yourself - give them images demonstrating quality and consistency. It's outdated terminology, but your goal is to create "sticky pages". Sticky pages means they literally don't want to leave your site. They want to share your images with their friends and they come back to look at more of your images at other times.
In the end we're right back to getting a face lift! Your website is your storefront - it's who your future client sees before they ever pick up the phone or meet you. Show images created from the heart and you'll be able to pull at people's heart strings!
Need a little more help on your webiste, check out "One Step at a Time" and the multi-part post on websites.