The instructor on a webinar I recently attended was advising photographers how to manage their website these days. Whereas just a few years ago it was fine to consider a website as an alternative portfolio, with just a few of your very best images displayed on a white background, today social media and networking has viewers expecting to see more, and more, and even more. And something different every time they come back. Sort of blog as portfolio.
His recommendation was to post lots of pictures, group them in a logical fashion, and let viewers look through them at their own pace. Even post images you don’t expect to sell – use them to show what your style is or what your technique is capable of for existing and potential clients to learn more about your work. He said web users expect that now, and will rapidly dismiss anyone not playing by these new rules.
So, I’ve spent the past week putting new images on my website. Well, actually I spent one day uploading them and the other six getting them ready. Sure it’s easy just to dump some images on my site but as a professional it’s my responsibility to make sure they are the right size for framing/matting if someone wants to purchase them. And that the cropping is for maximum effect for the subject. And that pricing reflects my expected value for each. All these things that go beyond what I see on other social media sites designed simply for sharing snapshots.
Initially I felt this blog was a good place to achieve the goal of showing a variety of images and styles along with some background information about my technique or story about the image. Not that I’m planning to stop this blog now. It continues to be a place where I can tell more about images, or my photography, or my growing expectations for my photography, or provide links to interesting people and their work. But I have decided to take this instructor’s advice and use my website as more than a gallery wall where a few images hang around waiting for viewers. I hope it will become a more active forum where viewers learn what I’m seeing.
What this change represents is another of those “intentions” I’m learning to expect in photography. Now I have to be intentionally mindful of images that will merit being added to the website and take the time to prepare and upload them. I will also have to intentionally consider images on the site that may have outlived their shelf-life. Already I’m looking at a few, knowing what I now know and have learned, that I wouldn’t have put up in the first place!
But my opinion is simply one. Of true importance to me is feedback by viewers, opinions to help me learn how I’m doing and whether this change of approach is meaningful, useful, and pleasing to anyone who ventures through my website. So, in the next day or so after I’ve got the new images up and running, take a look. Let me know what you think. And hold me to the modern ethic of keeping the site fresh. With the pressure to display new material more frequently I expect my photography will have to improve!
I’ll continue putting words and images out here and always appreciate your comments. My plan is for both sites to be interesting enough to bring you back.