It's one of the most valuable pieces of your cyberspace real estate, but instead of high impact, many of you fill the section with an underwhelming collection of factoids about your life. Don't worry, you're in good company with a lot of other artists who do the same thing, but it's easily fixed.
“About Me” or “About Us” is one of the most abused categories on many websites, no matter what the specialty. Here’s where you have a chance to create something with high impact, yet over and again, photographers miss the opportunity. They’ll waste the space talking about their accolades. They'll talk about their gear. They'll talk about how they got started with their first camera. They waste one of their most valuable pieces of real estate talking about topics irrelevant to their audience!
First, let's hit the location for your "About" section. My personal opinion is it should be your second tab. Just like in the retail world, it's location, location, location! Your galleries should be your first tab and your "About" section next. My thought process is simple - hook clients on your work first, and then why you're their best choice. After that everything else falls into place.
Second, let's talk about your readership, which for most of you is female, being "Mom" or brides. They don't care about most of what you're currently sharing. What they do care about is why you're a photographer.
They want to hear how much you love to capture memories. They want to know why you love doing what you do because they need to know they can trust you. They're looking for a chance to look into your heart. Yeah, that sounds kinda sappy, but think about who you are and what you’re expecting people to do.
This is about trust! You’re asking a potential client to trust you to be their eyes for the day at a wedding, for a family portrait, for a children’s shoot or a portrait session. With a commercial client, you want them to hire you because of the confidence they have for you to capture images of the concept or products near and dear to their hearts. You’re asking a client to trust that your mindset and vision is the same as theirs!
Let’s start with a look at your opening statement in your About section. There needs to be a statement about who you are and what you bring to the party. Scott Bourne refers to it as his “artist’s statement, ” and every photographer needs to have one.
Make your statement from the heart! You want to convey both your passion and your ability to capture an event in a way that exceeds their vision. Scott Bourne's artist’s statement has a few favorite sentences that convey what he’s all about and I've shared these a few times in posts in the past:
”...As a wildlife artist, my gift is to know how to “show up prepared” to interact with beauty that I do not control. I must learn to be at peace with my subject on their terms, not on mine...I struggle with finding the patience and the path. But when that struggle becomes the hardest, I remember my calling. I speak for the creatures which have no voice. Perhaps this is why the experience is so emotional for me.”
Three other simple tips:
- Write your about piece in the first person, because it's you talking to a visitor who just walked into your "store."
- Sign your statement with your signature or a facsimile. Make it personal, the same way artists sign their work.
- Instead of a boring headshot or irrelevant photograph of you and your family, use a shot of you photographing a client. Or, create a small collage of images, 3-4, that show you in the role of being a photographer.
My favorite core shot is an artist photographing a client. The image is captured from slightly behind and off the right shoulder of the artist showing the photographer, camera in hand, and in the background, slightly out of focus the client. Let's plant the seed that you're a photographer early on.
I’m convinced you can’t be in business today without a website, but how well that website works for you is up to you. There may be plenty of technology shortcuts in building the infrastructure of the site itself, but there are no shortcuts in convincing potential clients you’re the one they need to hire!
Your most significant marketing tool is all about building relationships with your target audience. That first building block comes with opening your heart and sharing why you can be trusted to tell their story.