Utilizing Your Website to Book the Right Clients
We're ready to jump into your website. So, the biggest thing is first impressions. We all know about first impressions. First impressions are key. What do they see? So, we need to think about what do you see when you go to your website? Do we see pictures of weddings, but you wanna shoot babies? She's nodding yes! You have wedding pictures? (muffled speech) Wait, we have a mic? We need to hear this, because this can pertain to everybody and we need to talk about this, we're getting real. Okay, so let me rephrase what I said. So I said, as a joke, (laughing) do you see pictures of people in wedding gowns when you wanna photograph babies?
Yes. And I'm saying, don't use me as an example. Don't go there. I definitely just want to toss the whole thing and start over. I just haven't done it, but it's interesting, like you say is that I strive to do Lifestyle photography and I also photograph weddings so it's a documentary style that I'm going for, but the first five slides are weddings and...
couples when you go to my website and babies are kind of in the back.
And you know, on that, it's tricky because there's no rule to say that you can't photograph a wedding and then photograph your newborn. You can be good at multiple things. Nobody's saying you can't be good at two things, right? But you just need to make sure that if you do want to photograph weddings and then continue them on as a family, which many photographers will do, that you show that on there that you're also a family photographer as well, because that's a really good transition. If you're a fabulous wedding photographer and you wanna continue them on in their families, it's wonderful, but you just need to make sure that you show that. We don't have to be pigeon-holed into certain things. If you wanna do all of it. Yes, another question.
So, I've heard different thoughts on this. What if you really love taking landscape photos and you really love taking baby photos and you wanna do both? Do you bifurcate your website? Do you have two sites? Do you think it's possible to be two things at once or would you just pick one and go?
So, it depends. Now, would you wanna be a landscape photographer and charge for it?
So, probably, this is just my novice opinion on this is I probably would have two separate websites. Here's an example that I see happen quite frequently is that a lot of people will have a newborn website and then a boudoir website. Because a lot of people who shoot newborns, photograph newborns, who also photograph boudoir because it's kind of that light, ethereal look, and a lot of people who do boudoir maternity will do the boudoir maternity site as well as the newborn site and you can have them linked together on your page. This is actually a really good question for Michael, my webperson, he's... Everyone needs a Michael. You all need to invest in a Michael. TK142 website, he's amazing and he is for hire, but (laughs) honestly, though, when you guys are building your website, I always used to use a website platform that a lot of us use and I don't wanna start namedropping websites because there's a million out there and they're wonderful. You can get them and you can do your own website. But once you kind of get going, if you really need some SEO help to help your Google, you really, the most important thing to invest in in your business, is getting a good website. And that's why I wanna talk about this. There's a lot of websites out there that are gorgeous, but they're hard to navigate, or they're not mobile-friendly, or they're not doing well in SEO because they're not laid our correctly. We're gonna show you all that in a minute, but for you, landscape and people, those are two totally different genres, so I think what you would do is have two sites, maybe similar names and then link them to each other. You know, so, "If you wanna see more of my landscape stuff, "click here," or, "If you wanna see people, click here." That would just be my recommendation. Website people may say otherwise, but...
So this is along the same lines, but, I love to do, love to shoot fine arts studio. Like, very carefully composed, and I love to shoot Lifestyle. And I've started trying to create Lifestyle-type situations but in my studio with my backdrop because I don't want the distractions. Now that I'm starting to produce images that have a very studio-fine art look, and then I'm still doing the stuff that is fun and lighthearted, would that be the sort of things where I might also go in two different, like, split my website and have, you know, a Lifestyle option and then a Fine Art option? Or, how would you go about bridging those? Because I enjoy them both.
So, for that, those are both people, so that's different that doing landscape and people. Wouldn't you guys say? So for me, if I were somebody looking to book you, and Fine Art photography is gorgeous, "Fine Art Photography, enter here. "Fun People," whatever you wanna write, "Fun People Photography", "Lifestyle Photography", or whatever you were wanting to call it, "Enter here," and then it would bifurcate that way. That's just my opinion. Take it or leave, but, they're both people so it's the same thing. I think what gets tricky is when you're going from people to landscape or from babies to boudoir. Because a lot of people looking at the baby sites don't wanna look at boudoir sites. If nobody else has any questions, I wanna move on and show my website. Okay, so what I have here, I have a slideshow at the top, and what I'm showing, that's a family with 10 children. (laughter) I wanna go through this. I still pose. So I still wanna show posing because I do still pose. Lifestyle. And it's really, really difficult, I want you guys to know. This was a very hard decision on which photos to use for my slideshow. I love a classic black and white in the studio. I love classic black and white imagery and I love fun. The one thing that I wanted to portray was the connection on all of these pieces. Now, obviously that's a maternity, they're connected. Obviously. Can you imagine having them all summer? And they're such well-behaved kids. Beautiful family. I'm gonna get through this next one here. Connecting with the camera. Huey had just done a birthday cake smash so he was in the bath. So it was the bathtub. Connecting, they're smiling at each other. This is actually a studio shot, but that could be a studio or a Lifestyle picture, for all we knew. Nobody really knew the difference. So, the very first thing on your website. I'm gonna scroll down. "Hi, I'm Emily Lucarz, your next photographer." You want people to think that's what it is, right? It's a mental thing. So here, photography sessions? Easy to find. There's my shop where I sell all of my Lightroom presets and actions, stuff like that. And my photography workshops. Easy to navigate. Scroll down. "Would you like to see more of Emily's work? "check out her portfolio to find inspiration." Did I make that more fun than normal? Yes. Because I didn't say, "Hey, here's my portfolio. "Click here." So, if you were gonna be doing something fancy, you would be like, "Enter here to see beauty." So, for me, I'm like, "Check it out!" So, stay true to yourself. This is just the homepage. So who am I? Don't laugh. Take a little read. Okay. So it's fun. "Known for a happy personality "and extreme patience with children. "I've become one of the more sought after "family and newborn photographers in the area." And then we talked about don't talk about yourself, but we have to a little bit, but you need to infuse fun into that. So I talk a little bit about myself and then I show you a little bit about myself. 40 percent water, 10 percent wine, 30 percent coffee and 20 percent Diet Coke. You know, something fun. I wanted to have playful, so I did something playful. And that might change later. Sometimes I fib on the percentages. (laughter)
Emily, I wanted to jump in here because this question had come in when we're talking about our Why, and determining our Why and the question was, would you put what your Why is on your website? Kind of infuse that in, or is that something you would keep personal? That was from Erica Bowls.
So, Erica when I, when we head over here and show you the Sessions pages on my Lifestyle Session, I'm gonna go into a lot about what I think Lifestyle is and I think the Why is kind of within there. I think it's a personal preference and how, I don't wanna use the word cheesy, but kinda cheesy when you get on your website without making it feel fake. I think you have to be careful when you meet somebody, how they portray themselves in real life is different than on a website. So like when somebody sends you a text, you can think they're really mad or they're really goofing around but it's the opposite, so with your website you just have to keep that in mind. How will somebody read this versus in real life. So I'm infusing fun in here but I'm still staying professional. And we'll kinda see that. So let me scroll down. "Let Emily capture your life inspired moments. "Message Emily about booking." We need to talk about the call to action buttons. I cannot tell you how many websites do not have Book Me. They just have Contact at the top. Who has a button on the front page that says Book Me? Who does not? Ah! That's the majority. Do you see the problem? Why do you wanna make it difficult for people to book you? You don't. So you need to have the Call To Action and Michael and I already went through this the past few weeks debating. We don't wanna be too in your face. We don't wanna be like, "Hello, I'm here, I'm here," but you wanna make it accessible and easy. So make sure that you have a Call To Action button on any page that you think somebody is gonna be kind of hanging out on. It's extremely important. We also went back and forth on, I kept telling him, "Michael, I really want a white button," because I'm really into clean. And he's like, "Emily, you're kind of a hot pink person." (laughter) So, he's laughing right now because I know he's watching. That's why the hot pink's on there because it infuses fun into the clean imagery. So do you guys kind of feel where I'm going with this? Then at the bottom, you know you can put whatever you want. What I've been writing about. These are my local, my most recent blog posts and I wanna say because we just moved my website over, the blog is kind of lacking, but I'm gonna go into what's gonna be coming on there, so what's gonna come into fruition. And then at the bottom, "What my clients are saying," and they just scroll through. So anybody who sent me little cards. People send me, it's funny, more people send me handwritten notes than anything, than emails. I have my Facebook thing turned off just because I think it's in people's faces, but I know, then I kind of go back and I'm like, well, maybe I should turn it back on and I kind of battle with that. But I get so many handwritten notes and I always ask them, Hey, would you mind if I took what you wrote and put it on here? I think these are the ones from Yelp. But the ones that I have on my Review section, which I'm gonna show you, were all handwritten notes that came to me. And then on top of that page, I'm gonna put a picture of all the handwritten notes so people will know that it's authentic that way. But you need to ask permission from your clients, if they're comfortable will you putting their review on the page. "Emily on Instagram." Make sure, on a sidenote, that if you're watching, to follow me on Instagram. I am gonna be doing some launches of some things soon. But make sure you have this on your website. Instagram and Facebook or wherever you guys are the most active. I am not an active Twitter person. I'm just not. I tried to be. I had it linked for a while, and when I posted on Facebook, it would also post on Twitter. So I just have Instagram and Facebook. If you notice that at the top of the website, I do have all my social media icons. So whoever wants to follow me on those, they can. Again, make it easy for people. People are asking, "How do you get followers on Facebook? "How do you get followers on Instagram?" Well, if I go to your website and there's no link, I don't know. Do they even have a Facebook? Do they even have a Pinterest? And then, do you even have any of that, and you go Search and there's six of you, and they give up. How many times have you searched for somebody and given up? Don't make them give up on you. (laughs) Okay? Just some things on where I've been featured and these are linkable. There's CreativeLive. So some things I've been featured on. And those are all linkable. And at the bottom, I always put, "Say hello," not just Address. I want to stay fun. We're trying to stay true to my personality and my address on there. Now, let's go into Details. Details, we have, "Meet Emily and Ken." Ken and I are a team. My husband, he runs the business side of things. It used to say, "Who's your photographer, "Meet Emily," but Kenny is now officially on my website as of couple days ago. I'm just kidding, he was on there for a while. Pricing. I used to put on there, Investment, or you know, some fancy word, but with Google Analytics, what we were finding was nobody was searching for those terms so I had to let go of fancy and fun and go back to normal. You guys have to think about not only are you making your website fun, but you're making it functional. This is important to remember when you're picking words. The Studio and then Love Notes. Michael had written What Clients were Saying, and I was like no, no, no. I put Love Notes because I thought it was cuter. Infusing some fun. And then the back end of it, he has What Clients Are Saying for Google. I won that battle. So let's go ahead and go to these pages. I want to show you guys this. You see how easy this is to navigate? This is important. So meet Emily and Ken Lucarz. Here is me and my two monkeys and Kenny. Sara Beth from Sara Beth Photography. If you know her, she's one of my very best friends and she took this photo and that is in here. So here's Meet Me. All about this. Here, something fun and playful, look what we did. Meet Emily and Kenny. Cities Lived In, four. Homes We've Occupied, eight. Children Created, two. Business Together, one. You guys feel you're getting to know my personality a little bit on my website. Meet Kenny. There's my husband. I told him I felt bad. We need to give him some more information on there. He used to work at the Chicago Board of Trade and now he's doing this. Then connecting at the bottom again. Always connecting. Let me show you how I have the pricing laid out so people will know what they see when they go to my website. "Basic pricing information for your next session "with Emily Lucarz." Now, it's very important because as you know, people will read pricing, but they don't really read pricing. You need to make sure when you are booking this client that you are going over pricing all the time. Every follow-up phone call, every reminder, "Don't forget about the Pricing!" Because still, to this day, I'll do that and people say, "Oh yeah, I forgot. "Where is the pricing?" All the time. It's not just you guys. So for all full sessions, the session fee is required. So you just kind of describe how your business is run. A la carte purchases, as well as collections, are available. $600 minimum purchase order. It can go towards whatever. I say that right off the bat. Then I have a little quote, "The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, "even when the people in it do." There's your Why. We talked about incorporating your why. There's a Why, a Why statement. It makes somebody feel like they know you a little bit. Okay, so here's our session fees. It says what's included. And then we'll scroll down. "Ready to let Emily capture your life inspired moments? "Let's get started." Not, "Book Now." Happy? And so we keep that on there. And then we have a little bit about travel because I do travel to shoot for other photographers quite frequently so I just put that up there. And then Sales and then I put on here about sales tax. I put "All sales are subject to applicable Missouri "sales tax and paid for at the time of your order." It's very uncomfortable when you get to your ordering session and you're like, "Oh, it's $1,000 plus tax." As long as they know tax is coming, they're not gonna be scared of the tax. As a photographer, we always feel bad like, "Oh, we have to add tax now too "on top of our already expensive collection." Let them know ahead of time and you'll be fine. "Payment plans as well as one year packages are available." Okay, "Essentially what photography is life lit up." Something happy.
Do you have to get a copyright release to use a quote on your website? I know that you, I know that you said that you ask your clients if you can use their testimonials, but do you have anything written or signs.
No, I just call them.
And I ask. A lot of those were emails that they sent me or notes which we're gonna be taking pictures of. Pretty soon I think what I'm gonna do, I'm having a hard time getting the site to load, pretty soon what we're gonna do underneath the Love Note section is we're gonna have, actually, a picture from each shoot that they're referencing. We're just still in the process of getting that up there. So people don't think you're just making up quotes. (laughter) I mean, it's kind of true, it seems silly.
When you're talking about the add-ons and their question was, is the add-on Lifestyle, Newborn done on the same day as the Studio,
Or are those on different days?
Those are on different days. With Lifestyle sessions, and we're gonna talk about this in a minute, I like to shoot my Lifestyle clients when they're a little bit older. So I don't actually... I prefer my Lifestyle clients to be like two to four weeks versus that really early age because what happens with your connection? No pirate eyes, no crooked eyes, right? Feel a little bit more connected. Newborn babies have a really hard time connecting visually with their eye contact, so I find that we get a little bit more connection with older babies. So what we'll do is we'll do the posed session first and while they're there, we'll schedule their Lifestyle session around two weeks after that.
So there's a lot of photographers of course use their name for their business name. I chose not to. I'm sort of having conflicting feelings about that now. So I was wondering what your thoughts were about that.
You know, I think it's just a personal preference. I have a lot of friends right now that are changing from the non-name photographer. My good friend in Chicago, Pixie Photography just changed it back to Robert Hanson. If you know her. Just a lot of people changing back. I think it's a personal preference. I don't think it's, you know... The thing you have to be careful about is if there's another photographer with your same business name because business names are easier to come up with than real names. So then you just need to be mindful of that but I don't think there's anything that needs to be said. The only tricky thing that you could run into, so now we're talking about expanding the business, and I'm like, hmm, what do I call it? If it's me and people? (laughter) Right? Right? So, you know you can look at it either way.
Is your personal studio, is that attached to your home or do you have a separate location?
So I have a separate location from my studio. Yeah, absolutely. I know a lot of people have home studios and that's wonderful if you can swing it. I don't have enough space for that. And it's nice to get out of the house.
How did you transition? It sounds like your studio work kinda has caused your Lifestyle photography sessions to bloom. I'm wondering if you don't have a studio, how do you make that?
I think it comes back to portfolio building. I think as long as you have, if you're showing the right things all the time on your website, on social media, a big thing is having your friends share the images too. Social media's huge for gaining clients. That's just, I mean, my Lifestyle stuff was kind of big before my studio stuff had taken off. The reason I have the studio is because I like to be able to have a spot. You know, we're in St Louis where half of the year is inclement weather. So I really needed a space to shoot mini-sessions and families consistently and I like that white, bright look, but I don't think that it's per say, pushed my Lifestyle any further than it already was or taken away from it. I think I use the studio to supplement my Lifestyle sessions. I think as long as you're consistently showing imagery that you want to book, you're gonna book those clients. And it takes time. It's not overnight. I sponsor posts all the time. Just locally. And I every single time I sponsor, I book somebody. It's pretty amazing. As long as you're sponsoring your ads the right way, you know, on Facbeook, you'll get some clients. You know, in the right age group. And I always only sponsor women and that's a whole other class. Facebook or Marketing. Okay, "Browse Emily's portfolio." Typically, let's think about what a portfolio normally looks like. What does it typically look like? A slideshow? Of about, people always say there's a magic number. Don't have too many, because people will stop looking and they'll slow your site down or whatever. So what we decided to do, instead of having a standard portfolio, I am obsessed with so many shoots as a whole. I always have a really difficult time saying, "Hey, I'm just gonna pick two images from one session," so instead, what we've done is, "Browse Emily's portfolio." Watch this. So these are actually full sessions. So what we do now, for Lifestyle, and I'm in the process of adding more of these. These take a long time, especially since I just switched over to this new platform. Lifestyle. So we can click on a shoot, and you'll actually see within the portfolio, the full session. So you're not having to pick and choose images to put on your portfolio. So this is how most of us would typically be blogging. We'll be blogging sessions. But what this does is it actually opens up your blog to actually blog things like old-school bloggers used to do, all right? Before photographers took over the blog world. So and this is full imagery on here, okay? So this is just a regular Lifestyle shoot. There's the little guy again. (laughter) Cute, right? And what does this do? What am I showing people? The story. We're going back to the story. He had cake. So do you guys see the point of this, though? This is the biggest switch from when I went over to my standard site over to here, because now my portfolio is actually full and it's full of full shoots. Because a lot of photographers will post just the one, really good image, and then, we're like, well, what about the rest of the shoot? So then what happens is, you do a full session and they weren't expecting the images to look so raw and so non-posed because you only picked the posed picture to put in the portfolio. But if you're showing every single image, they're gonna understand.