The Quick & Dirty Guide to Wedding Photography Business Branding

We’ve written about branding at length before, with talk on finding your own niche and sticking to it, as well as several other techniques to help you stand out on today’s complex photography market. Today, however, we’re going to make everything simple and clear for your convenience, with a quick and dirty guide to wedding photography business branding. We’ll be covering all the basics, from getting your reputation off the ground, to putting it to work for you – all outlined in some simple, easy-to-follow steps. Oh, and good luck!

The definitive guide to wedding photography business branding: Newbie edition

1. Making a name and a living at the same time

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Back in the day, when print photography was much more important than it is today, in the digital era, photographers would make a name for themselves by getting gallery exposure, followed up with editorial work. Far be it from us, in our guide to wedding photography business branding, to dissuade you from garnering exposure via exhibitions. But, since they’re less likely to draw lucrative clients today than two or three decades ago, you’d be better advised to get some exposure online first, via curated websites. Promote any exposure you can get on your own social media channels and watch as the work rolls in.

2. Don’t underestimate stock photography

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As many a seasoned photog will tell you, stock photography doesn’t sell nearly as well as it used to, nowadays. However, if you manage to get a bit of reputation off the ground, you might be surprised to learn that stock will provide a welcome stream of steady income. The trick to making this work often entails taking up several assignments at once – the pay isn’t big, but it’s dependable, when you do strike a lucrative stock photography contract.

3. Have the best possible online presence

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In between running and maintaining a blog, several social media accounts (Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are nearly compulsory) and setting up a professional website, you might even want to look into hiring an assistant to handle the workload for you. At the same time, even if you do choose to go down this route, it’s important to maintain a personal approach to your online presence. In other words, don’t make your fans and followers feel like they’re been talked at by a company, but by a genuine human being.

4. Consider hiring an editor

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What’s all this talk about hiring someone else do the work for you?, you may ask. After all, the best way to take care of business is to do it yourself, right? Most of the time, yes – but not all the time. If, for instance, editing your work is not your strong suit (which, incidentally, is something that a lot of photographers struggle with), you should definitely think about hiring someone to edit the photos for you. After all, your end goal is to put your best foot forward, as it were, and make sure that the images that get out there with your name on them are the best possible ones.

5. Work on as many projects as possible

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We’ve mentioned this before, in connection with stock photography, but it’s a good rule of thumb to go by, no matter the type of assignment. From shooting weddings pure and simple, to taking on editorial assignments, it’s a good idea to put out as much work as you can. You will thus expand your scope, grow your business, showcase your skill, and make sure you get your name out there, on as many people’s radars as possible. And that can’t be a bad idea, right?

5 Online Photography Portfolio Mistakes to Avoid

Curious to know if you’re at fault for one of these common online photography portfolio mistakes? Read on – about loading time, the importance of contact information, the vital presence of passion, and plenty more errors that many otherwise skilled and professional photographers can succumb to. Bear them in mind, when you work on articulating a coherent online presence and business is sure to freely flow in.

Your contact info is not crystal clear

Let’s not beat around the bush about this one – one of the most frequently encountered online photography portfolio mistakes. If your contact information is not literally plastered on each and every single page of your website, portfolio included, then you’re definitely doing something wrong. Think about it: how else are you supposed to attract new business, if your potential clients don’t know how they could reach you? And, no, putting your contact information up on the first page is often not enough since, contrary to what you may think, most visitors to your website don’t start their visit with the main page.

You’re all business and no fun

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We get it: your job is photographing weddings. Or commercial products. Or architecture. But do you actually like what you shoot? Are you passionate about your job, your subjects, and the stories you convey visually? Another one of those dreaded online photography portfolio mistakes that we often run into is that photographers all too often focus on coming across as professional and don’t manage to convince us, their audience, that they’re actually passionate about what they shoot – be it weddings, clothes, or luncheon meats.

You don’t know your audience

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Be honest to yourself: in the day and age of SEO and Google Analytics supremacy, even your grandma would probably be able to take one look at the traffic data your website provides and understand the audience’s profile and needs. Your online photography portfolio needs to speak to actual people. What kind of monitor are they likely to have? What’s their age? Where do they live? What pages do they interact with and how? Are they more likely to browse your site off a PC or a mobile device, like a laptop, tablet, or smartphone? You need to know all these things and make sure your website design responds to them.

You avoid words

Yes, your main occupation is working with images – but you need to remember that one of the biggest online photography portfolio mistakes is to not include any words whatsoever on your page. On the Internet, words are your friend. Not only do they help with SEO, but they also enable you, the artist, to tell a more complete story. If your work ends up featured in a magazine or on a website, chances are your words are going to follow it there. And, most importantly, your potential clients will get a better shot at understanding how you work and what drives you.

The loading time is through the roof

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The one biggest pet peeve, for people who browse photo-heavy websites is a long loading time. A recent buyer survey from Photo Shelter has revealed that absolutely no one likes to be kept waiting around, until the pictures on a website have finished loading. We’re talking load times that need to be far lower than even one second. Otherwise, your visitors are going to perceive a break in the pace at which they’re used to browsing – and simply head elsewhere. There are plenty of website optimization tricks to help speed up loading time, including pre-loading a part of the images, as visitors browse, and so on. Don’t let such a seemingly small issue drag the quality of your whole website down.

5 Tips on Building the Best Photo Portfolio Website

Say what you will, but building the best photo portfolio website is still important, even in 2014 – the day and age of social media, mobile apps and all other great digital trends. Why does a good website still matter? The answer is simple enough and has a lot to do with one of the most basic principles in marketing: a website for your photo brand is the most comprehensive way for a potential client to sample your work and decide whether or not they want to hire you. They’ll be basing their decision on what they see there to a great extent, so it pays off to know how to best represent your brand and showcase your work. That being said, here are five efficient tips on how to build the best photo portfolio website for yourself.

#1 Getting praise for website design? Think again

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There’s nothing inherently wrong with having a website design that gets a lot of compliments… if you’re a website designer. But you’re not; you’re a wedding photographer and that’s what your site should convey. Forget complex Flash animations and other artifices. Keep it simple and clean, let the photos speak for themselves, keep the number of buttons at a bare minimum, and, if possible, even add an option that conceals them when they’re not being used. K-I-S-S, as they say, and you’ll be on your way to building the best photo portfolio website possible.

#2 Reconsider your views on image theft

This point might turn out controversial, but it bears mentioning. As you may or may not have noticed, more and more photographers with a strong online presence choose to put their images up at full-screen size on their website. They’re also keeping the area of the picture that’s taken up by the watermark at a bare minimum (as do major image repositories such as Getty Images). Of course, you want to protect your images from being stolen, but you also want to see them featured, shared, and admired. It’s easy to protect your full-size images from being downloaded with a right-click blocker, for instance; similarly, too big a watermark might deter your visitors from actually looking at the pictures.

#3 It’s a website, not a brain puzzle

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Another sure-fire way to create the best photo portfolio website you can is to make sure it’s efficient, in terms of user-friendliness. Keep your number of featured categories at a bare minimum, too. Don’t get too creative with naming them, or the labels, tags, categories, and menu buttons you’re using. It might seem fun at first, but you also risk alienating visitors. It should be simple to get to see the pictures – and this involves a choice of wording that your viewers will understand and that is also typical of your niche.

#4 Go mobile

This is 2014 – everyone and their grandmother is browsing the web off a smartphone, tablet, or another type of mobile device. These devices have smaller screens and they also react differently to usage patterns. As such, make sure you’re investing into the development of a mobile, responsive design version for your website. The best photo portfolio website you can build is definitely not one that looks the same on a computer screen as it does on an iPhone.

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#5 You are your own worst editor

It may sound harsh and it could even be too much to stomach for some photographers, but the truth is that you’re better off hiring an editor, when trying to build a website. They will do a far better job than you at selecting the pictures in the first place, since they’re not as emotionally attached to them as you are. And, as they say, a photographer’s portfolio is only as good as the worst picture in it.

5 Cute Photo Album Ideas

When trying to set up a photography business, one of the key aspects which gain most of your attention is, of course, your technique and equipment. There’s almost no end to the constant strive to improve your skills, learn more about how to use various tricks to obtain stunning effects, and to the desire to invest in the next best thing as far as equipment is concerned. This is all very well, but maybe you should spend a little more time considering the experience your clients have after working with you. This isn’t just about the so-called bedside manner, or making your subjects feel comfortable during the shoot, but it should also be about the mementos they’re left with. Of course, they’ll all order digital photos and a few large portraits, but not all of them will think about photo albums. Maybe it’s time to consider surprising your large-order customers with a custom made photo album featuring their best shots. Since there will be some clients who’ll think about it themselves and order one, having the skill to create beautiful photo albums will help you even more. Here are our top 5 suggestions.

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1. Center the photo album pages around themes and sub-themes

Even if the album is basically one big splurge of photos from a certain event or photo shoot, you can still organize them by the feeling they give you. Pair 2 or 3 photos per page either by what people are doing in them, either by seeking to create a funny effect by matching them together. Such a funny effect could be, for example, someone making a sad face, then a photo of another person appearing, and then another of the first person looking all bright and cheerful. You get the idea – just play around with the photos in order to create a funny and delightful walk down memory lane for the people who will receive it.

2. Handwrite labels for each photo, page, and cover

Handwritten labels look way better than printed ones, and an album without labels on its cover and pages looks like it’s missing something. Fill in the labels on the cover or inner covers yourself, and let the recipients fill out the rest of the labels from underneath the photos. They’ll surely appreciate the opportunity to caption it with funny or witty or simply emotionally significant things, and grow fonder of the album you compiled with each passing year.

3. Personalize the photo album with fabric and little insertions

You can get most of the props you can apply over a photo album in any large general store. You can start experimenting with decorations by gluing a large piece of fabric over the main cover, and cutting out a piece of its center so you can still feature a photo on it. Careful at how neatly you tuck in the pages so that the fabric can’t easily be torn off afterwards. Feel free to add all sorts of creative insertions on it afterwards, according to the theme you want to highlight.

4. Take it even further with metallic monograms

If you think you’d be willing to take the personalization even further for a couple of special customers, you could consider decorating the photo album with metallic monograms on the cover, or even on each page. The technique is pretty much a classic and won’t actually require that much skill, but it will look impressive to your more sober clients.

5. Try making a photo card as well, scrapbook-style

If most of your clients don’t really place such large orders as to justify the business decision of gifting them a scrapbook, maybe just apply the same idea to a stand-up photo card. Decorate its frame as nicely as you can, maybe even include two photos on it, and send it with your compliments. Your photographer renown will benefit from these small moves as well.

To maintain inspiration, it never hurts to keep an eye out for new photo album ideas which pop up around the web, gathered together in a growing collection like this one on Pinterest.

Get More Exposure for Your Work: Curate a Themed Gallery

Struggling to make a name for yourself as a (relatively) young photographer is quite challenging, as we all know. One of the main challenges of this convoluted process is developing your own voice. In an age where visual information seems to prime and the old cliché about a picture being “worth a thousand words” seems truer than ever, this shouldn’t be too hard. Unfortunately, against this apparent set of good premises, there are so many other aspiring photographers out there, that things are often harder than they seem to the outside world. This increased competition is precisely why developing a unique voice as an entry level photographer is crucial in securing a spot on the photography market and in transitioning from an amateur to a pro.

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In the effort to develop a more unique voice, you need to secure yourself a photography niche; but in order to make your work more known within the field, you are required to invest a different kind of efforts. While the first task requires more artistic vision, in addition to a good knowledge of what other photographers in the game are currently doing and what the main trends are, the second task of promoting your work has more to do with marketing strategies. Indeed, knowing how to bring the right people’s gaze upon your work can be the key difference between a success story and an ordinary one. Today we will give you a hint on how to promote your work better, besides using social media and such: why don’t you try to curate a themed gallery of photos somewhere?

Yes, it might sound like a huge plan and a costly one too, or at least too costly for an amateur photographer aspiring to go pro. Don’t worry, while it’s true that a professionally organized photo gallery can require quite an investment, no one is expecting you to host one of those. On the plus side, you might even have more appeal by adding an indie charm to yours precisely by not making it a traditional established kind of gallery. The underground air of the whole thing will work in your favor, especially if you’re a relatively young photographer with a fresh approach or a controversial theme.

As to how exactly would it help you gain more exposure if you were to curate a themed gallery, this is how it works. You think of the theme in your photographs that you like best, or which is the most interesting and fit for a whole story; in other words, something which would qualify to put you into a certain niche. After picking it, you select 4 or 5 photos of yours that best illustrate that vibe and think of how you could highlight them when you’ll curate a themed gallery to be built more or less around those picks. Next, you launch a call for contributions to all photographers who may be looking for ways to become more visible as well. The only condition will be respecting the theme (and not asking for money from you, obviously, but you should make it clear that this is a no-profit event).

The rest are just organizational details which may seem prohibitive at first, but after you manage to relax you’ll see that they’re not so impossible to work out. So what if you can’t afford to actually rent a place to curate a themed gallery in? Do it at your place or a friend’s house, if it’s big and cozy enough. Heck, do it in an abandoned factory or a cool underground venture, whatever. Just make sure to send invites to all the people in the business and especially to photography magazines which you’d like to see featuring your event. Good luck with everything and don’t fret with the preparations more than necessary.

Why Photographing An Animal Will Make You a Star

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Animals are the most genuine models a photographer could ever dream of. You know when you have problems relaxing and someone just comes out of the blue whispering: Just be. Nothing more. It’s that easy. Well it seems that animals are the absolute masters of presence or gurus of our perceived present. They can always do that, no matter the circumstances. However, trust me on this one: if you get to be in control of photographing an animal, you’ll become a true star! You’ll become widely appreciated, just like you’ve always dreamed of. No one will ever doubt your talents again. Because this is no piece of cake.

Let’s walk through the reasons why this is a praiseworthy deed. First of all, despite this obvious communication barrier, animals are better than humans. Why is that?

1.     Animals Are No Hypocrites

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They are always themselves. Despite the fact that this actually means that they are never in the mood for photos, once you get the chance to immortalize something, it cannot be anything but genuine. Animals express their feelings and their moods without restraints. They don’t strive to be cute, they just are. They don’t strive to be fearful, they just are. What you see is what you get – no games played, no half measures, no fake smiles.

2.     Animals Don’t Care About Appearance

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Not caring about how you look today means no useless obstacles, no secondary thoughts, no brakes, just sheer freedom and excitement. So go for it! Immortalize the instant, cease the moment and send emails to employers afterwards. That’s why everybody is so impressed by cute photos with furry creatures. They are authentic!

3.     Animals Don’t Care About What Others Think

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Caring about exterior opinions usually refers to humans, not their animal friends. Parasite thoughts kill both freedom and creativity. And non-human models seem to have guessed that somehow, because no second thoughts interfere once they decide to start posing like there’s no tomorrow. They are relaxed, they are focused on what matters when magic happens – their own state of consciousness, and they simply mind their own business after all. And how fascinating that is!

4.     Animals Are Giving And Sincere

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It goes without saying that there’s a special connection between humans and their animal models. Well at least with some of them. When it comes to the less friendly species, one should just hide in the bushes and hunt the moment. That’s the only way. Therefore I’d strongly advise you to start by immortalizing the species that live among humans, just to get used to the vibe. What I’m trying to convince you of is the fact that you should start your training in this way.

Unfortunately people are wearing masks all the time. In other words, whenever you photograph them they are likely to be wearing at least three. If you want to get an honest vibe, start with your pet. For instance, let’s take a photograph showing a man and a dog. The dog in the first place, and not the man, would always draw one’s attention. It’s a simple fact of life. Animals can just exist, can just relax, and can just enjoy a moment, a meal or a sip of water without any further complications. For us humans things are always so abstract, so multi-layered, so blurry, so bring, so old, so confusing. That’s why photos of the animal kingdom are so successful; because they are authentic, and powerful, and they can say so many things using a totally different language than ours. So take your camera, make a simple plan or just start chasing your dog. Photographing an animal will make you a star! Just get off the right foot and trust me on this one, will you?

3 Updates on Social Media Tools for Wedding Photographers

We’ve written about social media tools for photographers before, but here are some fresh updates for you, for summer 2014. The wedding season is upon us and we bet you’ll come out at the other end with some great new material to showcase all over the Internet. Check out our three tips, which will hopefully help you make the most of your work, in terms of branding and exposure.

Wow them with pictures

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These social media tools for wedding photographers have been hyped endlessly already, but this is one tip that bears repeating: you need to put your content out there on Pinterest and its wedding-focused ‘little sister’, Lover.ly. You can target your audience very accurately through these websites and bring traffic back to your website and blog. However, you will need to optimize your pictures, add credits to each image, and make sure your name is included in the file title. This tiny personal branding effort will go a long way in the long run. Pro tip: you will need to be relatively active, especially in the beginning, since these sites are already teeming with great content from your direct competition. Find a way to create content that stands out, such as color-themed boards, wedding guides in pictures, etc.

Follow the right crowd

Since we’re on the topic of social media tools for wedding photographers, we have to acknowledge that there can’t be any talk of social media without connecting, following, and accruing followers. Connecting with the right crowd can be a daunting prospect, especially for an up-and-coming photographer who doesn’t have much exposure. However, if you keep a blog, a website, or at least maintain a social media presence, you might want to get bold about it and reach out to some of the big names out there in the online wedding business. There are a few blogs and websites that we would recommend anytime, like Green Wedding Shoes, Bridal Musings, and Style Me Pretty.

What makes these blogs and websites great? For one thing, they are among the most important sources of images shared via Pinterest, Tumblr, and Facebook. For another, their numbers of followers are impressive to say the least. But, most importantly, they consistently feature great quality content – which is exactly what made them massive to begin with. If you can get them to showcase some of your wedding photography work, you can count on being credited and in seeing a traffic spike on your own website. And if your outreach efforts turn out to be less successful than you’d hoped, you can always promote your work on these websites via paid advertising. It tends to run cheaper than the standard promotional fees on Facebook and Google.

Pay for promotion

The debate on the efficiency of Facebook advertising continues to rage on. Some believe that the decrease in organic reach that the social network has imposed on its users will spell the site’s demise. They argue that Twitter and YouTube are still keeping social media promotion free – and they don’t seem to be losing market share; quite the contrary! On the other hand, another faction believes that Facebook is entirely right to capitalize on its paid advertising potential. After all, they say, “if you’re not paying for a product, you are the product”.

Debates aside, investing in Facebook ads might be one of the social media tools for wedding photographers to consider, if you want to increase your reach and score new sales leads. Yes, it can be expensive, but it’s also easy to refine, in order to reach very specific targets in the audience. You’ll probably need some expertise with CPC and CPM ad campaigns, as well as with SEO and keyword research. Experiment with the keywords that connect with your particular photographic niche, target people in your area, and also target audiences connected with some of the major wedding-focused websites we mentioned above. Throw in a sweet deal or discount for your first clients and you’re all set!

The Best Small Investment Tips to Become a Pro Photographer

A lot of young photographers to be are trying to make the transition between being just a passionate amateur to being a fully legitimate professional photographer. What separates the first from the latter isn’t necessarily the skill or talent and or even the experience; but more like an arbitrary convention that differentiates between a hobby and a business. In other words, if you get paid for it, or if you open some kind of official start-up, it means you’re a pro. If you just do it for pleasure, you’re an amateur. In a way, it’s completely unfair, because if you’re striving to become a pro photographer, the term “amateur” stuck to your current identity somehow implies that you’re not doing a really awesome job, but the truth is that you may be very skilled and talented, but you just didn’t get a paid gig so far.

Still, if you want to make that transition once and for all, either by founding a small photography start-up or simply by charging fees for your services, you need to do a couple of things first. The most important thing is to be really good at photography and to keep getting better, but we’re sure you’ve already got that covered. As a young photographer striving to prove yourself, it’s probably the main thing you’re working on when it comes to improving your odds of making it to the pro league. But the other thing you should pay attention to, in addition to simply improving your skills, is investing a bit in some essentials that would help you become a pro photographer faster. Here are our tips on what small investment you should consider, the matter is of course debatable, but our suggestions do make a fine starting point.

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A tripod: We will not start this list with a good or professional camera, because it’s the first thing photography aficionados think about by themselves. Chances are, if you’re trying to become a pro photographer, you already though about it and invested in your camera by now. But our experience with aspiring photographers tells us not all think about getting a tripod as well, many preferring to just point and shoot. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider this approach.

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A cheap old film camera: Nowadays everything has of course gone digital and that has become the standard for quality and everything. Vintage film cameras are, in consequence, very cheap now, and somehow regarded as being not so good. While it’s true that digital photography opens up a world of processing possibilities and filtering options and so on, film photography should not be despised by an aspiring pro. Not only would it help your overall skills and understanding of photography if you experiment with such a camera for a while, but it would also allow you to produce some wonderful pictures which current cameras couldn’t really achieve in the same way. Just look at the wonderful work people like Oleg Oprisco are doing and you’ll understand. Also, a vintage film camera looks really cool and makes you seem the master of all equipment. If you can create amazing images with that, you can do it with any kind of gear.

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A high-power Monolight:  Professional lighting can make the difference between an amateur photo and a truly stunning and impeccably done photo. It would be a shame not to highlight your good camera and good skills with the proper accessory, and this one should be the first on your list. Why a Monolight, in particular? Because one of these can be also used indoors to create a studio-like setting, but it’s also portable enough to take with you outdoors as well (or to other locations). Until you can afford an actual photo studio, it will give you the best chance of shooting like a professional photographer and of impressing the people you work with as one. If you’re on your way to become a pro photographer, these three are the magic tricks you should have up your sleeve.

Expand Your Photographer Profile in Social Media: 3 Ideas

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Being a photographer can be a practical job choice, even though it usually starts from a spark of genuine passion (which is admirable, considering that most practical job choices out there probably get picked precisely for their practicality first and foremost). But managing to earn money out of your photographing of things (mainly people, since they’re the only subjects that afford to pay you for your work – just kidding, many other photography branches pay off as well) will take some time to happen. Building the credible profile of an employable photographer isn’t done overnight, but more like a goal to slowly work towards. As your skills improve in time, so will your portfolio, and so will your number of satisfied collaborators and your professional good name or renown. But to make sure your good work and polished skills don’t go unnoticed, especially in this time and age, it’s crucial to be as visible as possible in the realm of social media.  We’re pretty sure there’s no need to start with the basics and you already have a facebook account and a twitter fanbase and so on. But perhaps applying some unintuitive tweaks can refresh your online presence and give it a welcome boost. Here are 3 ideas to try in order to up your game.

1. Improve Your Online Portfolio

If you want to be taken seriously as a photographer, you probably already know that having a deviantart account will not be enough to count as an online portfolio. But beyond having a professionally looking profile, your main priority should be branching out. By branching out we mean creating a profile and a presence you remember to update once in a while on every platform that could offer you a fanbase, and especially every platform other photographers wouldn’t immediately think of. For example, consider being present in an online game community, like for a quiz app, as way to get publicity. You can promise some coupons for your services to the first 10 people who accomplish x points, or whatever else you can think of as a good way of reaching previously unreachable targets.

2. Promote Your Images in Video Format Too

Make a video out of your best images by compiling them in a visually powerful clip. Then upload it on your Youtube profile (time to make one, by the way) and make sure you optimize it in order to make sure your video is selected by search engines as a highly relevant return to those searches that might be interested in someone like you. Since we were already discussing the idea of branching out, going into video territory might seem counterintuitive to a photographer, but it will gain you the recognition you wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise.

3. Include Fans’ Voices in Your Social Media Presence

We’re not talking about the already done and overdone section of customer reviews and feedback, though an approach like that in your profile set-up is not only welcome, but usually even required. So while not encouraging you to forego it, spice it up with unexpected formats and content. The more you can incorporate the voice of your fans in your social media profile, the more you get content related to your name as a photographer without actually having to create it yourself, not to mention that the praise always helps. Furthermore, having a “human” voice speak highly of your skills can work wonders, as opposed to a cold voice of a corporate-like PR strategist.

As for ways in which you can do that, think about including feedback videos of you fans in your “what other say…” section. A video is a much more powerful message, and if you have many enthusiastic voices talking about how good you made them look, that makes you look good as well. Another idea is to promote the use of tags and check ins done by others which are linking to your profile (by offering bonuses to the first 20 to check in and so on). This way, you are present within the social media spheres of others and nothing gets you more viral than that.

YouTube Video Optimization for Photographers: 5 Tricks

youtube-video-optimization-for-photographersIf you’re a professional photographer, not only do you (hopefully) have an online showcase of your work, as well as a website and a regularly updated blog – but you are also active on social media and know a thing or two about SEO. Now, content optimization for search engines is neither brain surgery, nor rocket science, but it’s the sort of differentiator that can turn your business into a highly profitable one, when used properly. This is why today we bring you five ideas on how YouTube video optimization for photographers and videographers can bring you new business leads and help you grow your profit margin. They can be used both for branding, as well as for marketing purposes and are a great way to increase your visibility. So here’s what you need to do:

#1 Create a video

It goes without saying that the building block of YouTube video optimization for photographers is actually putting that video out there. Some photographers are camera shy, understandably enough: after all, your job is to stand behind the lens, not in front of it. But the thing is you don’t need to be on camera, in order to create your video ‘business card’, as it were. You can use a platform like Animoto to turn your pictures into a video – and you will definitely want to do that, since, in case you didn’t know, YouTube is the world’s largest search engine, second only to the web giant that owns it, Google itself.

#2 Tagging is essential for YouTube video optimization for photographers

All right, so now you’ve got your video ready to hit the intertubes – but before you upload it, there’s one essential step you need to fiddle with and perfect. That’s tagging, i.e. attaching tags to your work. They work like labels and are best employed as keywords that potential clients in your area are already searching for. They can be anything along the lines of “wedding photography in [your area]”, “[your area] wedding photographer”, or anything along those lines. Choose top targeted keywords as tags and make sure to enter them into the Details tab of the video’s properties, in the title, subtitle, target, and comment areas. In order to find the most appropriate keywords to use, you can always get some hints by using the Keyword Planner function in Google’s AdWords platform.

#3 Use a good title for your video

This one might go without saying, but it’s important to mention, since it’s the second step in our crash course on YouTube video optimization for photographers that needs to be performed before the video is uploaded. Use the top ranking keyword among those you’ve culled out to use as tags. Another important tip is to use the keyword in the beginning of the title, since this lends it more ‘weight’ in the eyes of search engine crawlers.

#4 Drive traffic back to you

The main purpose of YouTube video optimization for photographers is to lead potential business back to your main HQ, which is probably your website or online portfolio. For this purpose, you’re going to want to include a link to said domain as early on as possible in the video description. Use a clear call to action and make sure the link is visible, or else risk losing a business lead in the endless pool of distraction that is YouTube.

#5 Use GeoTagging

Chances are that, if you’re a wedding photographer, you’re going to want clients in your area to find you – receiving the admiration of viewers across the globe may be flattering but, at the end of the day, it doesn’t help lift those profit margins. So add Geo Tags to local videos, via the Advanced Settings option of your account on YouTube. Input your address, then get the precise coordinates on the map that pops up and remember to “Save Changes”. Presto – your vid is now optimized for local searches!