Editor’s Note: Fabrizia Costa is a portrait and wedding photographer who also helps photographers raise the level of their work and their business through workshops and personal coaching. Her work is all about deep shifts in perspective, seeing things with new eyes, and thinking outside the box. If you’re a professional wedding or portrait photographer, you can join her free Outside the Box Evolution group on Facebook.
You have your homepage set up, the logo looks good, the colors match and you’re on a roll. Making a website has never been this much fun! Well, maybe not, but trust me — you will do a good job of this if you pay attention to a few little details here.
The next thing is your TEXT. In Italy, we have a saying: “Speak like you eat.” Simply translated, it means to make sure the words on that page are totally and utterly yours. Not a copy of someone else’s idea of what a photographer’s page should or should not say. Your tone, your voice, your words. Your reason for doing what you do. Your most compelling argument to keep your visitor reading, and wanting to know more.
Keep Your Text Sharp and Concise
When you write your text, make sure you don’t repeat words or ramble on — keep it sharp and super concise. Time is gold and nobody has any to spare, so whatever you have to say, you have to say it well.
Mark Twain once wrote to a lady friend, “I would have written you a shorter letter, but I didn’t have enough time.” Writing well means cutting out everything that can be cut out without sacrificing the meaning of a sentence. Mercilessly, again.
When you’re done, or you think it’s done, cut it in half. If you’ve been really good at keeping it short, cut it by a third. No complaining — just do it. In the end, you’ll thank me.
And when it’s time to upload it to the page, choose your fonts carefully. Your fonts are your tone of voice and should be picked to match your brand and your personality. A maximum of two fonts are allowed on the page, because we’re muggles and not graphic designers who know what they’re doing and can use more and still make it look good.
To stay safe, pick one font for text and one for titles. If your title font is in any way ornate (fancy), make sure the text font is very simple. Use a color for the titles if you want to, and maybe the same color when you highlight bold text. And make sure the text font is big enough and readable on every device. It’s that simple, really.
Galleries Aren’t for Sissies
Banging your images in a gallery or two will require some hardcore decisions, as not all images are created equal. Decide if you want a fixed image gallery or a slideshow, and always remember that your portfolio is as strong as your weakest image (another mantra there). Be merciless. Make a selection and then take out everything that doesn’t have the wow factor. You may end up with 10 images instead of 100, and that’s OK. The others would just dilute the impact, and they should not be on your website at all. Start strong, and build on that.
You can have your images in one gallery or divide them into series, just make sure that each series has enough photos to be representative of your work. Especially if you’re just starting out and don’t have a lot of work done yet, know that a gallery of three photos is not enough, but you can probably combine them together with another small series to make it look good — or just start out with one gallery to rule them all.
When you’ve assembled all this on the page, squeeze it/squash it/smash it to make sure it looks good on mobile, tablet or teleporter, and adjust accordingly. Then sleep on it, read again in the morning (or the afternoon if you finished at 4 a.m., which is likely), and voila! You’ve got yourself a homepage with samples of your work that won’t send your clients running to the next Google search result.
Now rinse and repeat for all the other pages. By the time you’re finished, you’ll probably want to change something (which is why you should make sure you have access to it to make all future changes).
YES — do it, but then set yourself a time and click Publish. Don’t let perfectionism kill you. You can come back to it later, and tweak to your heart’s content. For now, pat yourself on the back, and start promoting it.
But how do we do that? Stay tuned.