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Archive 2013 · Long time lurker asking for help with website
  
 
mikelirette
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Long time lurker asking for help with website


Hello Everyone!

Looking for outside opinions on my website layout. Which pages need more work or less work?

http://www.mikelirette.com

Currently using that site plus a Facebook business page to get my web presence. Do you feel that a blog is necessary these days?

Thanks in advance



Mar 03, 2013 at 04:37 AM
Ian Ivey
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Long time lurker asking for help with website


Ian Ivey thinks talking about one's self in the third person is more distracting than helpful. He thinks it makes otherwise simple statements hard to read because he's not a team of people big enough to justify having staff on hand to write about him, so his readers aren't expecting to read a self-bio written as though someone else wrote it.

Congratulations for telling us where you are more than once, and (most important) on your home page.

Your "Portfolio" menu lists "Engagement, Bridal, Ceremony, Reception." Reasonable people disagree, but I tend to think there's value in offering at least one or two full weddings for review.

Additionally, I suspect most clients don't divide "wedding" into "Bridal, Ceremony, Reception" exactly the way we do. The "bridal, ceremony, reception" and similar such divisions (I know photographers who conceptualize six divisions) are more important to photographers than to clients. We see these divisions because they represent changes in our workflow. Clients see "wedding" as the event, and I think these divisions may be counter-productive for you. You may be better off just showing a "wedding highlights" gallery featuring your best from across several weddings.

On your contact page, consider changing the image. My initial impression was that you were temporarily closed for business.



Mar 03, 2013 at 06:07 AM
Dave_EP
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Long time lurker asking for help with website


Hmmm..... ok this is how I read it...

Mike Lirette loves New Orleans and enjoys photographing people in the moment on their special day!

OK - if you want to talk in 3rd person, no problem, but we're talking about 'Mike' (the photographer) here right ?

He loves to photograph them as that thought hits them on their wedding day, “This is it!”

Still talking about Mike here I assume.....

If a picture says a thousand words, well, that moment says four thousand (not sure why it's 4 thousand, but let's go on) . And then, when the moment comes, and he sees her for the first time, priceless

Are we still talking about "Mike" here when "he" sees her for the first time? I'm pretty sure "he" was supposed to be the groom and "her" the bride, but really, you may want to re-phrase all this so that it's clear we're not talking about "Mike" anymore.

And yeah, change the contact page picture



Mar 03, 2013 at 03:04 PM
mikelirette
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Long time lurker asking for help with website


Thanks so much for the replies Ian Ivey and Dave_EP.

The 3rd person came from a couple business books recommending to sound larger than you are. That and theknot.com rep saying no I's and Me's. But I agree with you guys, I should try to look more personable online.

Thanks for the tips on the gallery pages too. I read that response last night and slept on that idea. Maybe I could go with Engagements and Weddings in an album-like layout. That could possibly help with album sales too.

And the Contact page image was intended to be a play on you (client) booking me and not being available to anyone else on your day (clients wedding day). But I can totally see your point of looking closed temporarily.

Thanks again for the responses.



Mar 03, 2013 at 05:06 PM
Dave_EP
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Long time lurker asking for help with website


mikelirette wrote:
The 3rd person came from a couple business books recommending to sound larger than you are. That and theknot.com rep saying no I's and Me's. But I agree with you guys, I should try to look more personable online.


The question you have to ask yourself is are you selling "you" as the photographer or not? It's not always easy to answer.

If 'you' and 'your' work are the reasons they are booking then trying to sound larger than you really are can be counter productive. They want 'you' not some associate from a company that sounds bigger than it really is.

If your work is what draws them to talk to you in the first place then the next thing they have to be convinced about is 'you'. Are you going to be fun and creative on the day or grumpy and boring?

I agree, lots of "I", "Me", "We" never goes down well, but there are ways of saying "I", "me", "we" without using those very words over and over. OTOH, shouldn't we all really talking about 'you' and 'your', meaning the bride and groom. This is their day, it's about them, not about you or me. They want to know what you're going to do for 'them' and how you're going to make 'them' feel, before, during and after 'their' day.

Why should they book you? What is it you're going to do for them that no one else is offering?. How will their pictures be better because they chose you instead of the cheaper guy down the road?

In the end, they probably don't give a crap about you and who you are as long as they get the results they feel they want and deserve.

For 99.9% of the customers, they don't care if it's Nikon, Canon, Sony, Hassy, Phase One etc. They just want great pictures and to enjoy having them taken. For the 0.01% who do care, hmmm.... they are probably the customer you're looking for

Am I wrong?

It's certainly tough when you're just starting out. There's more 'non-photography' stuff to the photography business than most people realise and generally photographers don't make good business people, which is why there's a lot of poor photographers out there!

Good luck!



Mar 03, 2013 at 07:37 PM
 

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mikelirette
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Long time lurker asking for help with website


Dave, thanks so much again for the thought out reply.

You offer some great questions that I will continue to ask myself and work on. I believe it is "me" as the photographer I am selling. I have the issue of when shooting I'm full of excitement, but when writing about it, I feel blocked. Maybe a "behind the scenes" type video could answer those questions without words on my site?

I added a couple small albums of recent weddings to my site along side the "highlights" galleries I had before. Improvement?



Mar 03, 2013 at 09:22 PM
Ian Ivey
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Long time lurker asking for help with website


Mike, the "no I-Me" advice really means don't make "I" or "Me" the dominant phrase. The advice is targeted at a specific problem: many about-me pages feature sentence upon sentence starting with "I" or ending with "me." That's too much -- mainly because no one really expects to get to know you personally by reading this page, and no one cares to do so.

The real value of the page is to communicate some information of value to the prospective customer that sets you apart from the ocean of otherwise-seemingly-identical wedding photographers.

If you want to talk about your shooting style here, fine, but be sure you have something to say that is different from what most other people say.

The best pages tell a compelling or vivid story. Daniel Lateulade's about me page is an excellent example. Not everyone has such a story (I certainly don't). So, assuming you don't, then the next-best thing you can do is describe some aspect of your approach or philosophy or treatment of the customer that is unusual.

Don't be discouraged. I promise you that writing your own about-me page is the single hardest part of promoting yourself, by a huge margin. Every good about-me page you read is the product of a painful and concerted effort by the author.

Here's an exercise. Go look at the about-me pages of as many FM photographers as you can sit through -- at least 30 or 40, but the more, the better -- and then also look at the 20 or 30 google-search leaders in your area. (For FM, just go through some new and old threads and click the "www" button for everyone who posts.)

Take notes. Print some out so you can compare. Divide them up into categories. Identify patterns, and avoid using the ideas that would make you sound pretty much exactly like other players. But also identify a few things that really work for you -- things that catch your eye, even if you couldn't say them about yourself. Try to categorize those things that work -- name them, explain to yourself how you think the photographer decided to include them. Then extrapolate, and see if you can identify one or two things about you that could work in a similar way.



Mar 03, 2013 at 10:58 PM
hardlyboring
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Long time lurker asking for help with website


an about page is the hardest thing ever... harder than wedding photography
we still cannot seem to write one.
good luck



Mar 04, 2013 at 01:52 AM
Brian Virts
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Long time lurker asking for help with website


I think it's best to work with a core friend on the about me page. Someone who can look at who you really are, and then start to correlate that into words that best describe you as a person. Most of the people that I see doing photography really don't have the level of self-awareness it takes to be very good at it. Let alone the business skills, we're all guilty of being deficient in one area or another.

Narcissists with good marketing skills seem to do great, even if they have crappy photos. That's just the business we work in...



Mar 04, 2013 at 02:16 PM





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