Photographers are not the best editors of their own work. The task of choosing which images belong in your portfolio, either online or analog, is often best left to anyone but yourself.
A small chain of outdoor adventure clothing shops based in Ann Arbor, Michigan sends me emails from time to time since I am a regular customer. Today’s email was a holiday promotion but what caught my eye was a link titled, “Gifts for Ex-Lovers”.
Like everyone, I have ex-lovers so my curiosity got me and I wanted to see what the gang at Moosejaw would suggest I give an ex. If you’re unfamiliar with the psyche of the company, one day this past summer, they were bored, took a hunk of bologna and a deli meat slicer up to the roof of their headquarters and whipped sliced bologna at passing cars and made a video of the fun! (click here, opens in new window). Suffice it to say, they’re an irreverent bunch… one reason for their success in their target demographic I’m sure.
I clicked the link and was sent to a page of the site containing 16 items that I guess they deemed appropriate for ex-lover, most of which I’d be grateful if an ex-lover sent me. A few stood out from the rest (and I’m keeping my comments to myself): a “Ruffwear Roamer Leash”, a “Black Diamond Pecker” (that’s it to the right), a “SOG Flash I Knife”, and a “Back Country Access B1 Shovel”. Hmmmmm.
In any case, I’m guessing that link in the email will get the most click-throughs of any. Think outside the box, be different, and be successful!
I’m writing a book and find myself leaving my office to write at a local coffee shop where I can be singularly focused on the project. While there this morning, it occurred to me how unappealing their baked goods looked and why. The shop’s competitor is Starbucks, just 4 doors down. I prefer this shop because it has less traffic and is quieter than Starbucks, not to mention they make great coffee!
But I’ve NEVER bought anything out of their pastry case. Why? Because all their offerings are wrapped in plastic-wrap. It looks horrible. My brain thinks anything pastic-wrapped was packaged the day before and was encased in a polyester tomb so they could squeeze an extra day of “freshness” out of it. Not only that, but the frosting or glaze on any pastry is going to stick to the wrapper when I open it… ugh! Starbucks on the other hand presents all of their baked goods unwrapped. They’re fresh. They’re appealing. I buy them.
How are you packaged? Is your website a boring template? Hope not. Does it look fresh? Hope so. Does it have big pictures? It better, potential clients want to see large, in-your face images. Can a viewer fly through 5 or 6 images in 5 seconds? They should, web usability expert Jakob Nielsen (website, opens in new window) says visitors to your website will give you eight seconds (yes eight!) of their attention to locate what they’re looking for.
So ask yourself: How are you “packaged”? Are you a muffin in plastic-wrap? Or are you a baked-fresh, pleasing-to-look-at, delicious, gotta-have-it slice of lemon poppyseed cake?
Written by one of many Detroit Photographers, Blake J. Discher. BTW, that sentence was crafted around the phrase “Detroit Photographers” for SEO purposes for my studio’s website. Photograph copyright 2012 Blake J. Discher, it’s mine, please don’t take it without asking first.
Ever find yourself at the end of the day asking, “where did the time go?” Or, perhaps you’ve thought to yourself, “I wish I had more time for this project.”
What if I told you you do? In fact you can easily (and I mean easily!) pick up the equivalent of 6-1/2 weeks per year. How? If you set your alarm to wake you just one hour earlier than you normally would Monday through Friday, you’d gain five hours per week, 52 weeks per year. If you do the math that’s 260 hours per year. Two hundred sixty! That works out to 6-1/2 weeks of “found” time.
I love this time; the house is quiet, the tumult of the morning hasn’t begun, and it truly is MY OWN time.
What will you do with all that time? Here are 10 suggestions:
1. Call a potential client you’ve never worked for.
2. Make a “touch call” to an existing client you haven’t worked for in a while.
3. Send a hand written note to an existing client to thank them for a recent job.
4. Add a few new images to your website.
5. Revise your website’s bio.
6. Ask a couple of key clients for testimonials for your site.
7. Ask a designer to evaluate your website. Is the format still current?
8. Work with designer to create a series of snail-mail postcards for next year.
9. Send an email blast to clients (potential and existing) that talks about a recent awesome job you just shot.
10. Determine how you’re different from your competitors and incorporate that into your sales presentation the next time the phone rings. Differentiation gets you jobs!
in•tox•i•cat•ed [in-tok-si-key-tid] adjective: mentally or emotionally exhilarated.
Friends often ask, “What was it that got you interested in photography?” My answer refers back to the first time I saw a silver print appear in the developer during my eighth grade photography class. I was “intoxicated” by photography from that point on. And I still am.
That said, I’m bothered that I haven’t worked on any personal projects in many years. With 365-projects all the rage, I just might start that picture-a-day project. There are plenty of good free blogging-platform templates from which to choose to showcase one’s work and you could even utilize Instagram or Tumblr if you’d like to work with a mobile phone.
What does this have to with web marketing? The answer is that both your existing clients and potential clients will enjoy looking at your personal work. My website tracking data shows that the “Personal” category is second in clicks only to the “Corporate” category on my Firefly Studios site.
I think people have a real curiosity about what we photograph when we’re not being paid to photograph. While I was in China last month my good friend Peter Krogh turned me on to panos and time-lapse using the Nikon D800, so that’s what I’m going to concentrate on over the summer.
So get started with me as deepen my intoxication with photography. There’s no time like now to begin!