Hey! I’m Melissa Love from The Design Space and I’m thrilled to be guest blogging for my good friend, David Molnar. We’re working on some fun website projects together, so we thought it would be a good time to share some easy but professional design techniques with you that you can use for your next creative project.
Are you starting to think about building a website? Itching to dive in and get started? Wait right there a minute. I want to make sure you’ve got a beautiful brand guide to help you make the right design decisions when it comes to building a website. You might be planning to hire a graphic designer to create your logo or maybe you’re going to do it yourself. Whichever way you choose, a brand guide is your road map to making sure you create a consistent look and feel both on and offline.
I’ve put together a short video, walking you through the basics as well as a layered Photoshop file that you can download and use to create your own brand guide. You can see what it looks like right below the video (which also contains a step-by-step demonstration of how to use it). If you have any questions about brand guides, make sure you leave a comment. I’d love to help!
The question of whether or not to display your pricing on your photography site is a scandalous debate…
Showing your pricing on your site can do a few things – it can qualify your leads, so you know they can afford you and it can also also prevent potential clients from contacting you because of sticker shock.
Some clients may still contact you, but if your pricing is $4,000 to shoot a wedding and it’s not in their budget, they’ll be too scared to contact you at all.
On the other hand, if you charge $1,000 to shoot a wedding potential clients might be suspicious of that low of a price, especially if the average rate is much higher in your area. They won’t be sure if they can trust you. They may not be confident in how professional or experienced you really are.
If your pricing is on the low end of your local market, and you’re okay with being cheaper, then it can also benefit you to post your pricing on your site. You’ll attract more inquiries, and probably book more work.
It’s not a good long term strategy, but if you’re a new photographer, this can help you get through the initial period of building your portfolio and your business.
And if you’re selling prints, posting those prices online is important. Prints are a commodity, a hard cost. Show those prices.
So the burning question… Do I or did I display my pricing?
NO. I don’t display my pricing on my site.
There was a time when I had “packages starting at…” on my website, back when we were just starting out. I think it hurt us, our inquiries went down.
If you’re the sort of person who likes to feel out a potential client, learn more about the wedding venue, look for just the right clients for your portfolio, posting your pricing on your website is going to result in fewer leads. They’ll be more qualified to pay your full rate, but there will be less of them.
By not having my prices on my site, and bringing in more leads, I have a chance to refer clients to my friends who might be a better fit for their budget.
Being able to offer a referral is a nice way to give back in your community, and it’s always nice to know you’re helping other photographers to put food on their tables, too.
Another thing to consider is what type of photography you do. If you are a commercial photographer, shooting advertising campaigns, album covers, or editorials, don’t put your prices on your site!
Companies have come to me, and their budget may be lower than my usual day rate. Sometimes, I want to take the shoot anyways, because it’s a celebrity client that will look great in my portfolio, or it’s a brand I’ve always wanted to work with. If I had my pricing quoted on my site, those companies would have never approached me, and I would have missed the chance.
Companies also come to me with huge advertising budgets. If I had a lower day rate and it was listed on my site, I will either end up leaving a lot of money on the table (while the company gets a great deal!), or they might decide not to work with me altogether, because they might think I’m not the level of photographer they want to work with.
The magic question is always “What’s your budget?”
Bring them in with your photographs, your site, your about page, and then let them contact you to inquire about your packages. If you’re a wedding or portrait photographer, you can have your generic pricing in a PDF or on a private page on your site, ready to send them.
If you’re a commercial photographer, talk to them to get an idea of their budget and the scope of the project, and then quote them based on those factors. You’ll end up having to consider things like exposure for the images, the type of client you’re working with, and so on. But your best way to start to figure that out is to go straight to the contact and ask what the budget is.
Have a candid conversation, on the phone, or via Facetime. Give them examples of the types of sessions or shoots you’ve done with similar budgets, talk to them about the ways the images will be used, and go from there. Have fun, get out there, and do the work you love!
If you asked ten of your friends what the most important page on your website is, chances are you’d get a bunch of different answers.
Some would say it’s your Portfolio. You’re a photographer after all! What good is your website if it doesn’t show off your work?
Others would insist it’s your Contact page. You can’t book any work if they can’t contact you.
Still others would believe it’s your Pricing page. A person who can’t afford you is a useless lead, right?
They’re all wrong.
The most important page on your photography website is your About page.
It’s also often the most neglected page, the page you’ll find a “Coming soon” message on for months, or even years, or the page that includes a super artsy (and barely understandable) description of you, your feelings and how your art can be found in the meaning of the Earth, nothing that a potential client really cares about.
The truth is, people want to know who you are, what you look like, and whether they like you. Can they trust you? Are you someone they feel comfortable enough to navigate them through what is quite possibly one of the most vulnerable times in their life? (Being in front of the camera.)
As photographers, we should anticipate seeing people in their most open and insecure state. Your About page is the best way you can show them that they’re going to feel comfortable, and not judged. Your About page will be your invitation to like-minded clients, but only if it’s authentically telling them about who you truly are.
For example, let’s pretend you have tons of tattoos and piercings. They’re really important to you, and you won’t be hiding them on your wedding day. You’re trying to find a wedding photographer, and you’re on the About page of a photographer who is super preppy, clean cut, and has a background in business banking. You probably don’t want to work with them. You won’t feel comfortable. You’re going to try to find a photographer who has tattoos and nose rings, too, who believes that every bride and groom should show off their ink.
The main message of your About page is “This is who I am. This is my brand. This is why you should hire me.” Most people want those questions answered first. For many, it will be more important to them that YOU fit who they are, and who they want to work with, than it will be that they love your photos.
Make your About page inviting, personable, and pack it with great info about who you really are. Keep it up to date, and remember to include a photo of you!
Here’s the first part of my about page. I’m not saying I have the perfect about page, but you get a good sense of who I am and if you’d want to hire me for a shoot. You’re not left wondering who the heck is this guy. Hopefully, you feel like you get to know me a little bit.
That first visual impression of you is your connection to a stranger, and can be the reason they stay, or click away.
David is a celebrity, music and advertising photographer, the author of iPhone Only Photography, husband, believer, and new daddy. His work has been seen on over 28 million Pepsi and Mountain Dew cans, in People Magazine, on American Idol, and in The New York Times.