Every day I look at websites of professional photographers, and I'm shocked at how many artists compromise on the quality of the images they share.
They seem to fall into a few different categories:
- A lack of consistency from one image to the next. For example, the same bride with varying flesh tones from one image to another.
- Too many images - great galleries are about quality NOT quantity.
- Irrelevant images: If you're a children's photographer don't mix in your landscape images with your core business. At the very least give them their own tab like "Personal Work" or if you're trying to become a landscape artist as well, a separate site might be more appropriate.
- Limited subjects: I know some of you are just starting out, but recently I was on a senior photographer's site who had only photographed one subject, a female. There were twenty different images of her in different poses, clothes and black and white as well as color.
- Bad exposures and composition: It's more of the same challenge - ONLY show your very best work.
- Bad lighting: If it's a poorly lit image, then why show it at all? I'm not talking about exposures, but a lack of understanding of portrait lighting. And, there are so many great educators to learn from like Sue Bryce, Tony Corbell and Bobbi Lane, just to name a few.
- Filter junkies and special effects: If it's a bad photograph, it's simply a bad photograph. Let it go and work on your skill set with a goal of clean images right out of the can! Then use manipulation to enhance your images, not build them from scratch.
Having galleries with great images is essential. You don't need a lot of images to show your skill set. And, if you don't have the skill set yet, then stop calling yourself a pro. Your galleries have got to look better than "Uncle Harry's." If they're not, you're building a weak foundation for the brand awareness you're working so hard to establish.
Sadly many of these artists do have the skill set and the passion for the craft, but early on they wanted to fill their galleries to the max. They never went back to update their galleries. They didn't take the time to do a "lifeboat drill" on their images and decide which ones get saved and which ones need to be trashed.
When I was a kid, I had a red Mustang, and I was trying to sell it. It had a fairly significant dent in the door, but I didn't want to bother fixing it. Everybody who looked at the car loved it, but not the dent. My Dad finally took the keys, got the dent repaired and sold the car for $200 more than I was asking. He sat me down and gave me a life lesson I've tried hard to never forget,
"Whatever it is your selling, don't set yourself up to have to apologize for anything!"
Think about how that applies to your business. Whether you're showing images to sell your photographic services or a house for that matter - don't compromise. Don't show people anything that would require an apology, excuse or an explanation as to why it's not their best choice.
If it's a lousy image, don't show it! Never show less than your very best work. Never compromise on quality. Only show "wow" images - images so good you'd just have to show one of them to get hired! Most important of all, be consistent in everything you deliver!