Food Photography Websites & Blogs
The avenues that you can market yourself are almost overwhelming. I started off, I'm a huge believer in good SEO practices with your website, having a really navigable website that's good on a variety of platforms. Let's just kinda go down, let's go down all the avenues. We'll start with marketing. We'll dabble in business 'cause there's a few things I wanna get across, but I don't want everyone to fall asleep, but there are some important topics that we have to cover. From a marketing aspect, your website, it's the first thing that people go to. When you hand 'em their card or when they hear about you, they wanna go see your website. There's a lot of different providers of websites, and I've used a few of 'em. I've never been fully happy with them, although most of 'em were very adequate. A majority of the reason why is because a lot of art directors are used to using those websites. If you have a website with X company that's popular, and let's say it's HTML5 based and really up to d...
ate and really good. Some aren't as up to date. But they're used to it. They've seen 10 other photographers who use that same, they know where to go, they know where the blog is. I went down that road for a while, and then I got a call from a lady who I really respect in the business, and said, "I just can't navigate your website at all. "None of the arrows are there." It wasn't Flash, it was HTML5. I realized that with certain structures of the website, the actual navigation buttons would just vanish in Chrome and some other browsers. I looked at some other major website of some major photographers, and theirs didn't work either. I don't even know if they know this or not. But there's a lotta big name (laughs) photographers who don't have arrows. What you do is you go through your website. I used Webflow now. I have to design it by myself, but I don't need code. It's a lot like these other sites, but it's fully customizable. There's no limits, which is kind of a lot to take in. It really was a steep learning curve, and I'm still going through it. I wanted a banner that kinda faded in and I wanted a scroll website, to a point, where it ended. It wasn't this massive scroll outside that you just cascaded down forever and ever and ever. One of the big reasons for that is, I don't know if this is currently the practice, but Google sees that as one page, and if they leave after seeing that one page, it's a bounce. It doesn't look like they're actually interested in your website. They're not perusing your website. I know that's not completely accurate 'cause there are certain pages within that cascade that it recognizes as individual pages, but I have a high bounce rate. I have a bounce rate of 90%, so nobody likes my work. (laughs) No, but it's important to configure. That's just one component. Another component is keywording. I do a blog, but mostly, there's two way to do a blog. But I will tell ya, if ya have questions about website, I kinda went through my website and just made it where there were kinda easy tiles to navigate on an iPad all the way to a desktop, where it was click and go. It was really easy to find the map, the directions to my studio, and that the navigation worked on every single device, no matter what. That was really important to me 'cause if somebody goes to your website and it doesn't work, they might never, ever check out your site again. At that point, they're just done. That's an important factor to remember is the experience somebody has when they first see your website, does it look good? An art director will have this massive monitor. Will it stretch out and still look good? Or will it be this small column in the middle of this white space that is kinda bizarre? Those things all matter. That's the cornerstone of your marketing efforts is your website. Having fantastic images is another important part of that. Once you have a style and you feel like, hey, this is different. I've looked at all the other photographers in my area, and I'm the only one kinda offering what I offer, even on a national level. Repeat that over and over and over again. Just nail it. Do pizza in that style. Don't be afraid to maneuver a little bit in that style. You still wanna be somewhat broad. I actually got too focused at one point. You wanna have a really broad, but very refined, style that covers a lotta different things, like product, if ya want, you can include that, motion. But all in this very distinct style because that's how you cut through the noise more than anything. That and your ability to connect with people on a very personal level, which I'll get to in a minute. Any questions about website design, experiences you've had, stuff from the internet, people I recommend? No? Okay.
Nailed it, okay. You all have amazing websites. No, I'd love to actually kinda look at some of your websites after class, too. I'm always interested. I love looking at other people's stuff and how they present themselves. It's always fascinating to me. I learn a lot, too. We move onto the blog. The blog is another avenue that you can market yourself. It's still a very crucial part. A lotta people don't tend to read, really type too much into blogs. They're busy, especially people who are gonna hire you. They are busy. If they wanna hire you, they're gonna look at your website and say, "Okay, this guy's a good fit. "Let's check out his blog real quick. "Oh, he looks busy." Then they're done. You wanna look, at least appear busy on your blog (laughs) if you're not. You wanna maintain it and you wanna keep updating it with stuff that you're either doing on your own to progress your style, which is important to them, or you wanna showcase jobs that you have done and the results of those jobs. It's almost like a marketing pitch. Mine is all letting people know who come to my website what I'm up to on a professional level. I don't have pictures of my dogs or anything like that. There's some other ones that are very much about cooking, very much about getting to know them behind the scenes, which I kinda use Instagram for. That's kinda my avenue for that. I use a blog as a very professional, quick look. I do a tile blog so they can see a lot in one swipe, so they're not flipping up. I always think about who's looking at it when I'm designing.
Do you feel that having a blog is absolutely necessary for all of us?
It's not absolutely necessary. In fact, I find the busier some of the photographers, there's some photographers who are working a lot. If they have a studio manager, they'll handle the blog stuff. I feel like it's important, it really is, because if you get behind, just in marketing in general, the busier you are, the less time you have to market. The less time you have to market, the less busy you end up being. You have to constantly be marketing, even when you're busy, which is why I've considered working with a rep. There's different things, but I love the marketing process, so I'm on the fence. You cannot do it alone. Yeah, when ya get bigger. Jack, when we have the ability to hire him on full time, if he chooses that's something he wants to do, he'll be handling mostly digital teching, but it'd be great to have him involved in the blog posts and some BTS stuff, as well. There are photographers who do that. But keeping a blog is important, it really is. It's really good for keywording and SEO because I rank usually, right now I think I'm number one for Seattle food photographer, and I'm number 20-something for just food photographer, which is tough to do. A lot of it has to do with getting out there, doing classes like this, which I really enjoy. Which is also another side thing is education. 20% of the work I do is education, 10 to 20, but I love doing it. Not only that, it kinda gets me out there. It helps me meet other people in the business and it helps me give back to other photographers. There's a marketing aspect to it, as well. That's a good byproduct of it. The blog is really a quick swipe. They wanna know a little bit about you, but they're not totally, they don't wanna online stalk you, unless they go Facebook. There's other ways to do that. (laughs) But, yeah, the blog's important.