This is the second lesson in the free course to create a photography website that gets you bookings.
I don’t know if you have noticed, but there are a lot of photographers out there. A lot!
Luckily there are also a lot of people that need a photographer, yay! :)
But in this landscape of photographers it is key for you to stand out. Imagine you are a bride, doing research on a wedding photographer…. how to even choose??
If you want to attract your ideal customer from the 1st second you have to speak to them with laser precision.
THIS IS ME.
THIS IS WHAT I CREATE.
THIS IS YOU.
That’s what your website should communicate. In capital letters if possible :)
Sometimes people are afraid they will loose customers this way, so they try to be everything to everyone. A happy children’s photographer, a corporate conceptual photographer and a sweet newborn fine art photographer. Sadly this doesn’t work very well. If you allow all those message to compete with each other on your website your visitor will likely get confused. Or worse: he will think you are not the specialist he or she is looking for.
A lot of times I see photographers who are just beginning and they look around and start to shoot images in a way they think it should be done.
After a while and a lot of learning they manage to create the images that everyone creates and they think they have arrived. Sorry to burst your bubble here: but you have just started :) And oh my, what a glorious journey it is. So don’t worry if this applies to you, you are doing great! You have learned so much already!
Now it is time to find YOU in your work.
Because when you show YOU in your work & website, there is no more confusion for your visitors. And don’t get me wrong, you can always make different types of photography on one website work. As long as the common theme in all of your work is YOU.
So how do you find YOU in your work?
Step 1 – open your heart & mind
Start with a little meditation. Just a few minutes, a couple of deep breaths, feeling your toes, your hands, your heart. If you’re new to meditation, that’s all there is to it for now :)
Step 2 – let your heart speak
Then grab your images catalog and go through your work. Create a folder with images that make your heart sing. If you have felt your heart during the meditation, you will know.
Sidestep: If you find nothing really makes you beam, smile or glow, take a break. Maybe you’re not having a good day and this affects your vision. Try again on another day. And if you still come up with less than zero images…. take a good hard look at what you really want. Why did you create those images? Because it pays so well? Or because you wanted to? What do YOU want to create? Go out and shoot what YOU want.
Assuming you found plenty of images that make your heart shine…..
Now you have YOU in your work. Are you proud? You should be!
Do you want to create more of that? Let’s continue…
Step 3 – ask for help
Now upload the images to a hidden album in Facebook (for example in a secret group that you call: “welcome to my world” :)). Invite your closest friends, family, and customers that you trust.
Ask them to find three words that describe you and three words that describe your work in that album. Make them send it to you privately so they don’t influence each other.
When you have your words collected, make a top 3 for both categories.
Way back, when we did this for 2Rings, we came up with 3 words for our images: emotions, happy & fresh. And about us: enthusiastic, honest, fun.
Now let’s think about your ideal customers. Who did you love to work with in the past? Who is the perfect candidate to love images like the ones that make your heart sing as well?
Write down some actual characteristics of such an ideal client. Like: how old are they, is your client single or married or a couple that is going to be married, where do they live, do they have kids, what kind of food do they eat, where do they go on holiday, what do they do in there free time, etc. After you are done, look at the list and underline what characteristic you feel is the most important one.
After that, create another list with their values. Like what are their values in live, what do they feel is important in relationships, how would they raise their kids, etc. Again, when you are done, underline which value you feel is most important.
Don’t over think this. Your unconscious mind knows more than you can possibly imagine. Try to empty your mind (I suggest a few breathers, maybe a small meditation). And just spill it out. I always use Omm writer if I have to start mindless writing that comes from the heart (like this article). But you can also use your normal text editor software with some Focus@will music or some coffitivity on your headphones. It works every time to get me in the writing flow!
For 2Rings we came up with early 30’s couples, with a positive mindset, who think their wedding day is a big thing but don’t value the ‘unwritten rules’ of how it’s supposed to be done.
Next, you want to create your elevator pitch. It’s not something that you want to put on your website, but it helps you to think about your customer and how you can help them.
It will be a sentence like: “I am a …….< fill in the top 3 words how people describe you> photographer, who creates ……..<fill in the top 3 words how people describe your work> images for ……. <fill in a description of your ideal client>.
For 2Rings we came up with: “We are fun, honest and enthousiastic photographers, who create happy, fresh & real images for early 30’s couples that are getting married and think their wedding day is a big deal and are totally comfortable with celebrating it in their own unique way (which could be totally weird to common standards ;-)). ”
Now you want to fill your homepage with images that totally align with that pitch. Can you imagine now selecting totally different images in your homepage slider? Instead of the ones you ‘think’ should be there?
You also want to create a short and sweet one liner or slogan that you can add to your homepage. This way, your ideal customer knows in a heart beat….. this is where I want to do business!
For inspiration on short and sweet descriptions from photographers check out this list: How 31 prominent photographers define their style.
All that is left, is to test your pitch on everyone you meet. When people hear your pitch you want them to respond with: ‘that’s so cool, I know people who are getting married who are just like that!’. That’s when you know you nailed it. :)
Over time, you can change it when you change your work or your values, so it will always reflect who You are!
And before you know it, you have created the start of a ‘brand’ for yourself. Next week we’ll look at how we can give this ‘brand’ some face other than your images.
Did you like this part of the ‘Create a website that gets bookings’? Let me know in the comments so I know I have to create another part next week!
When you are doing the exercise in this post, please share your results in the comments to inspire everyone!
Want to learn how to make a photography website? Start with the previous post.