Your “About Me” page; let’s talk about it. This is perhaps one of the single most important pages on your website, and surprisingly it is also probably the most neglected and poorly presented page on most websites. How does yours stack up?
As a photographer competing in this crowded marketplace you are your brand. Who you are as a human being is a direct reflection on the art and vision you create. Potential clients don’t just look to your portfolio to get a sense of what you do. They look to your persona and they see the kind of message you are putting out to the world. The “About Me” page on your website is the first point of contact most potential clients will have with your persona.
Sure, you need a good portfolio, but that little blurb about yourself is what will put your work into context for potential clients. They want to know about your working style, your beliefs, and what you look for. Why? Because they want to know that it aligns with who they are as a brand.
Start With The Basics
This is where most about me pages start, and sadly, it is also where most stop. Naturally you want to cover the basic information such as your name, where you are located, and the kind of work you specialize in. You may find this surprising, but I have seen pages that don’t even give this information, so please make sure it is in there.
Peel The Layers
I’m not talking about pedantic details like what your favorite color is or your impressive stamp collection. Sometimes folks will toss in these tangents in an attempt to come across as more human, but ultimately they are just tangents, and lose reader interest.
What I am talking about here is to peel the layers of your basic information, and go deeper. If you are a fashion photographer for example, what EXACTLY do you do as a fashion photographer? Don’t just tell me you shoot fashion. I don’t know what that means. Can you shoot product fashion? Do you do advertorial work? Do you have experience in full blown commercial composites?
Be specific about WHAT you shoot and the kind of clients you hope to serve.
You may have told me that you shoot fashion, and what specific genres of fashion you specialize in, but don't stop there! You still need to build context for your work. In essence, what is the message you want your work to portray? What kind of emotions do you want your work to evoke? Putting this into writing is important because it allows you to guide the viewer through your portfolio as you intend.
Yes, the viewer or potential client will have an initial reaction when viewing your portfolio, but when they are browsing multiple portfolios and shopping around for photographers it may be hard for them to immediately see or understand the greater story that you present in your work. By guiding them verbally you can ensure that they get the full context of your work.
Effective Story Telling
The key to building a successful “About Me” page is to inject personality into what you write. At the end of it all you want to come across as human and you hope that those reading it will walk away with a good sense of the real you.
The best way to inject personality into any piece of written work is through colorful language and effective story telling. Earlier in this article I mentioned avoiding tangents. At this point I will clarify by saying that unrelated tangents are what you should avoid.
If you are going to slip in a tangent about yourself, make sure that it always ties back into a conversation about photography, and only focus on one tangent. For example, if you are a lifestyle photographer, you may want to quickly talk about a specific location in your youth that shaped your vision and defined your outlook on life. Even though you are taking a tangent, the reader can clearly see how it relates to photography, and it is also an emotionally and visually charged fact that adds a lot of perceived personality. It is also the kind of story a client who is looking for a lifestyle photographer may want to hear because they are looking to tell those kinds of stories through the images they need created.
When writing your “About Me” make sure to use keywords throughout that your potential clients can identify with. One way to prepare for this is by making a list of the kind of clients you would like to work with. Visit their websites and go through their promotional material and their own about us pages. You will find that once you start reading several of these pages some common words will jump out at you. Use these same words in your own material because they will appeal directly to those clients you are after.
A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words
You are a photographer for crying out loud. How are you not capable of a decent headshot. Some of you might say there is no need for a headshot. The client should hire you based on your portfolio. While the portfolio is very important, studies show time and time again that people like to know who they are dealing with. They want to connect with a human face because our deep rooted human nature craves facial recognition and seeking out familiar facial cues that tell us we are in good hands. The reasoning here is that our human nature looks to identify those around as either friend or foe. The human face is the best way to express to others that we are friendly, and when clients are shopping around for a photographer, that instant friendly connection is very important. This is something they can't get out of a missing picture, or one that isn't very clear. A well crafted “About Me” section can help get you there verbally, but a good headshot makes the first impression.