How to Get Bookings From Your Photography Website

How to Get Bookings From Your Photography Website

Most clients today look at a digital portfolio rather than a printed book. Granted, the higher up the ladder you go, the more it leads toward print, but for the vast majority of us trying to make a living from photography, digital is king. Here are some tips on how to get bookings from your website. 

Make Your Work the First Thing You See

It probably sounds really obvious, but you shouldn’t have to click anything to see your work. After all, this is the reason for having a portfolio online. If a client is looking for a photographer, they probably have 10 tabs open; if it's a pain to find your work, they will just close your tab. There are plenty of photographers out there with fast and easy to navigate websites. 

The About Section

This is an area that you are more likely to lose clients from than you are to gain them. By the time someone has got to your about section, they have already decided that they like your work. I do a lot of portfolio reviews and end up looking at a lot of photographers' websites as a byproduct of this. Here are some helpful dos and don'ts:

Do

  • Include where you are based. 
  • Talk about who you have worked with in the past. 
  • Show your personality. You need to demonstrate to people that you are enjoyable to work with while remaining professional. 

Do Not

  • Tell people how old you are. It will only ever work against you (on both ends of the scale). 
  • Avoid mentioning how many years you have been a professional photographer (unless over 20 years).
  • Talk about what camera you have: no one cares and it shows that you are more into your gear than your craft.
  • Using the term “award-winning photographer" unless you have won an award of merit. Most creative directors will see straight through some Internet award or small local victory and it will work against you. 

Image Size Versus Load speed

In one of the early website builds I had, I insisted on really large image sizes because I wanted my clients to see my work at the highest possible resolution. It turns out they really don’t care about sharpness, clarity, resolution, or any other technical specs that we photographers care about. What they are interested in is a fast website where they can see all of your work easily. Now, this may differ for those selling prints, but in the commercial world, I would always go for load speed over large image size. 

Make It Easy to Connect

Any blog post with a call to action should have a contact form or contact details at the end of it. We have all got a bit lazy on this front with the advent of Instagram and "contact details in profile," but clients are far more likely to contact you when your details are right in front of them. Having a contact page that's easy to find is also really important. On mine, I have my mobile number (should anyone be lost on their way to the studio), my agent's email address and number, and well as my studios' address. 

Prices

There are people who need to list prices and those who do not. You need to know which camp you sit in. As a general guideline, if you start saying “Prices from SSS,” then don’t list them. Everyone will want their extravagant shoot to be produced on your minimum fee. If you are working with a range of clients from local businesses who can only afford $500 through to major clients paying $10,000+ a shoot, it’s best to wait for the client to contact you. 

However, if you are selling prints at set prices, wedding packages that do not deviate, or portrait sittings with a fixed style and set deliverables, I think that listing your prices can be a good way to stop time wasters from contacting you. For example, I do not list my shooting costs as the production fees vary so widely, but I do list my studio rental costs as it is a set product that does not deviate. 

Of course, my website is a constant work in progress. What are your top tips for creating an engaging commercial photographer's website? Share your site below.

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39 Comments

Studio 403's picture

Good post. I need to rethink my site and make some adjustments

I've just recently done an overhaul of my website, and many of the tips you gave above are are things I found out the hard way! It's especially difficult finding the optimal size where I'm happy with the quality and the site loads quickly. For me, it's still a work in progress. Great article, I'm going to continue tweaking with this advice!

If anyone could spare a minute, I'd love some feedback on how it is currently: www.cdbradley.com

Scott Choucino's picture

Hi Colton. The images look great. There does seem to be a loading issue though. Clicking the word portfolio seemed unresponsive, clicking on "creative portfolio" is also unresponsive. Yet, when you click on the next one down it does load up a portfolio. It might be worth making those images no more than 1000px and 72DPI as it was pretty slow going load wise.

Thanks for the reply, Scott! I appreciate the article and the additional tips, I'll try those image settings.

Michael DeStefano's picture

Loved the nature images. Load times for the gallery seemed fine for me but clicking an individual image was a bit slower. I also felt like the dark borders around the images and galleries made it feel claustrophobic if that makes any sense. i think a lighter color might make them pop out more.

I'm a fan of dark colors, but I see what you're saying. I'll try playing with lighter colors to see if that helps.

Umar Junaid's picture

I would also use the JPEGmini tool. Super good thing to have for your website. Reduces the file sizes for all your images on the website without too much quality loss.

Good idea, I've heard of JPEGmini but forgot about it. I'll try it out.

Super helpful post. I’ve really been ignoring my website because I just don’t know how to make it work for me, don’t even get me started on SEO. Definitely need to adjust a few things based on these tips!

My website is www.joe-u.com if anyone is interested!

Scott Choucino's picture

If its wordpress, use YOAST to help with the SEO. Quick tip having had a quick look, name your images with a meaningful name rather than IMG_6384. The site looks visually great though!

Bjørn Aakre's picture

Agreed about the page looking good. Lots of visual interest, Joe!

Do have mobile/responsive version

Max Chesnokov's picture

Would love to get your advice/opinion 😎 www.maxstudio.nl

Scott Choucino's picture

Looks great Max. If you want to show up on google it would be worth adding an SEO heavy about page and a blog too, if not then it looks spot on!

Max Chesnokov's picture

Dear Scott, thank you for your advice and great article! If you can give me a hint how to add SEO, it would be great because I don't really good in it :)
Thank You!

Michael DeStefano's picture

Great article Scott. I'd also ad put more time into filling out all the possible SEO and text fields as this will make a huge difference.

william mitchell's picture

My site is made with rapid weaver a mac only program. The text on the home page can be hidden. The site is www.wcmitchell.com i added contact info at the top of each page, Contact page has social media links.
Great article by the way.

Scott Choucino's picture

Cool work William. I would hide that text at the top as I originally thought the website wasn't working correctly. but once I got to the images it made a lot more sense (compared to what I am used to seeing).

Jim Bolen's picture

The only thing I miss about Mac is RapidWeaver! What a great program that is. I'd pay twice for a Windows version.

Tom MacDonald's picture

Nice post Scott. I've just redone my site. Moved away from full page images and onto a tiled approach. Once I moved to a 4k monitor the full page images looked soft so that' another reason to go tile and have the images as pop outs. As for the about section....That's a work in progress!

If you've a spare moment you can look at it here www.tommac.photography Would love to know your thoughts!

Scott Choucino's picture

Looks great Tom. I am a big fan of the tile approach as it mimics Instagram, most people like that layout. You need to have a look at your about section though as there are some typos in it.

Tom MacDonald's picture

Thanks for the head up Scott. The whole about section is a bit of a headache!

Sam David's picture

Well done and some valuable, implementable thoughts.

This is really great information. I have recently been working to revamp my website for both better gallery speed and SEO. Any feedback you could give would be great! www.ericcathell.com

Scott Choucino's picture

Good info on there and great to specialise. I would go through the portfolio though and cut it down a bit as some images are a lot stronger than others :)

william mitchell's picture

Tom mac good site

Tom MacDonald's picture

Thanks William!

Taz Rahman's picture

What a useful article and the only regret is that it is not longer. As a UK based wedding and events photographer, I am constantly tweaking my website, so I certainly can relate to that last paragraph about 'work in progress!'

Jason Lorette's picture

My plan is to rework my website over the next few months, but every time I start I revert back because my changes I don't end up liking more than what I currently have.

Feedback is appreciated: www.refrainphotography.com :)

Scott Choucino's picture

Few quick tips. 1 is to have a gallery rather than images on a page. When you click on them they open at a high res as a full screen, but then you have to go back a page to see the next one. When looking for a photographer , I would just ditch that page as its too many clicks for a simple process.

Apart from that, I think you need 3 websites.
1 for weddings
1 for commercial
1 for boudoir

I think having the three together will put off clients from all three categories

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