Make Your Website More Intentional: Using Imagery
The next step after you kind of get your words speaking the language and talking to the people you're trying to talk teo on ge one quick note about that if you're trying tio make your sight more inclusive in terms of lgbt couples, I really encourage you to consider changing your forms on changing your like about me or what not in into gender neutral language. So instead of saying bride's name groom's name, you know you can say like person one person to or like spouse and spouse because people really appreciate that and it helps them again feel like you're really speaking to them. So the second thing is using images to reach out to these couples and so you're already talking to them. The next step is to show photos of that uh this photo is a photo I took before I became a wedding photographer before I became a professional photographer actually just bought my first professional camera and I really wanted to have a same sex couple on my site I was extremely dedicated to that and this is ...
a friend of mine who where I get my two spoons name from which is like a long friend story but on dh this is her girlfriend at the time now fiance soon to be wife andi I basically told them I'd buy them shake shack if they would let me take their picture and they were a little resistant, and obviously the lighting and shake shack was terrible. Um, and we're just like some dumb booth and there's catch up everywhere, but I really want I knew that I wanted to have a picture of a same sex couple in my portfolio and on my web site, so I shot this. I moved back to virginia after living in new york and my first cold call email from from a couple for a wedding that I'd never I'd never spoken to them before, wrote to me and said that they were an interracial military lesbian couple with do kids, each coming from previous relationships, and they wrote to me and said that I was the only photographer they could find in virginia who had any pictures on same sex couples on my site, and to think about that now, like it just gives me goose bumps. This is about three years ago, but to think about the experience that they must have had looking for wedding photographer and trying to find themselves in other people's work and on other people sites, it must have been so isolating for them, and then they found this admittedly kind of shitty picture that I took in a shake shack that I knew I wanted to have on my web site. And they re shot to me and said you we were looking for anything and you were there on dh so I ended up shooting their wedding there my first stranger wedding although now they're friends because they're awesome people um so how to create images of your ideal clients before you even have any clients? Because that's the question that I was asking myself when I first started how can I show pictures of clients that I want to reach if I I don't have any clients yet on dh my number one piece of advice is forced people going to shake sex you uh ask around to your network and find couples who fit the bill or here you can kind of like massage in defeating the bill on dh offer them pictures just say, hey, I really want to practice and I really am trying to reach more interracial couples or I really want to do indian weddings can I d'oh engagement shoot with you and your indian fiancee like whoever it is that you're tryingto to reach, go find them through your networks because chances are you have them in your networks on dh then offer to shoot them and I understand that not everybody has the time to shoot for free and that's a lot of legwork on die completely acknowledge that however, if you have a camera and you're trying to be a photographer for money you can spend an hour shooting your friends friends in your backyard to pop it up on your web site just saying pretty sure you can't just ask if you could bring your baby if you have a baby it's fine. Um so basically, the idea is, tio invite people to take part in expanding your network and expanding your reach because often times especially for women it's a little difficult to ask for things and ask people to help you, but you would be really surprised how eager people are a to help out a friend or a friend of a friend or be get free professional photos of themselves s o once you, um oh, and if you have trouble with that if for some reason you have your networks not really helping you out or you're having, you know whatever challenge it is finding people try online, there are infinite numbers of ways you can meet people online based on, you know, their cultural background based on their interests, you can go to meet up dot com you can basically, you know, the internet is full of people and full of niche web sites for different types of people, and so basically you can do that online or you can do it in person. A lot of people, especially people, were trying to reach out to lgbt folks start at well, I don't know any gay couples I don't know any gay people or like they're not they're not ready to be open for whatever reason until that I would say first of all you definitely dio and secondly they're places that you can go in your community where those people will go to find each other and you should go there as well and say, hey, I'm here trying to be a resource I'm trying to work with clear couples and I would love to take your picture and I'm pretty sure you'll be able to find somebody or you know if you want a music lover go to record store stuff like that don't be afraid to feel don't be afraid that you're going to seem stupid or were teo I know for introverts to it's especially hard and I think I will address that in the second but basically we're going back teo the idea they have to make make images and show images so that people feel included once you have some images here's what you should d'oh put them in your gallery don't create a whole separate gallery for clear couples or for different races or for different cultures just that's it's kind of like this long political academic thing but that's basically to organizing and it's not gonna help people want to feel like they're included in the conversation that's the entire idea and to have like a special ah special segment for them is just not authentic and not going to work I saw a web site and now I can't remember who it is so I'm sorry about that, but I did see someone posting about a photographer who had a gallery for styled shoots just cool gallery for riel weddings make sense and then a gallery for lgbt hugh couples for weddings but that gallery was next to rhea weddings and so is kind of like things like that um that's a good way to isolate people and make them feel a little bit bad, so I just encourage you to incorporate people into the conversation in a little bit more of a holistic way um you can also create a standalone block post again. I'm really big on writing, although if you look at my website, you wouldn't know it um but you can create a standalone blogged post about this whole experience for you because people want to know that you're that you're open about your process and that you're open about who you're trying to reach. And so if you're you know, living in the midwest, you don't really know very many gay people you but you really or supporter and you're just trying to get out there once you get your couple and you do issue with them and you post it, why don't you say like this is the first experience I had shooting a same sex couple it was really meaningful to me this is how I got in touch with them. This is why it's really important just being as transparent as possible again when these people come to your site, they're going to see it and say, well, my gosh, like, this person is really trying to reach out there doing it in an authentic way they care about people like me, I should reach out to them on dh, then also just incorporating it into your social media, especially using hashtag um, one of my ideas was to list a bunch of hash tags on here, but then I realized you could just google it there's lots of different hash tags for all different types of weddings there's like, you know, love is love and other similar things to that for a queer weddings, but also things like excuse me, things like adventurous bride or, you know, rock climbing, wedding or mountain wedding and all of those sorts of things I would encourage anybody who's trying to, like, use hashtags to reach those people um, tio kind of get into it through google because I don't know the best one for everybody's special idea we don't have any questions or anything, do we ok, just a reminder if anyone has questions feel free to ask them I hope I'm not going too fast. I have a little bit of ah, I know I speak a bit faster way have some comments going back tio going back tio back just a little bit j status as I definitely want to do some restructuring after this going back today about me. Okay, cool, I definitely want to do some restructuring after this. My about me does not honestly reflect who I am that's a lot more formal, perky and feminine. Now I want to change it to show my sarcastic side um, my willingness to accept homosexual couples and again, my geek side yeah, geek side and I'm all about that. I just I'm not trying to call anyone out specifically about, um so we can go back to about these, uh, anyone specifically about having, like, a generic about me. But I went personally as a photographer when I'm looking to like network with people or just like, check someone out. I read people's about pages religiously and so it's like almost the exact same thing like, I love my puppy and my husband and taking photos and I'm kind of like, tell me more about you like, what tv shows do you watch? Like what? What do you do on the weekends when you're not shooting a wedding like there's a lot of there's, a lot of personality that you can put out there, and it will make people feel like they know you and that they can connect with you and that they, you know, that you're a person that they can work with and not just like, um, an idea of, like, a nice person, did you the question I do actually the, uh, admire the work in the area, taking photography to prove because, like you said, there, there is a there's, a lot of opportunity out there and really should all be addressed out there, but I know in being in the wedding business, um, in other capacities, but as a photographer, how much interaction is there from being, say, maybe a documentary feder journalists and then transferring into being more of a consultant and adviser for helping, um, inspire a couple that may be struggling for creating a special day for them in their own unique way? Yeah, yeah, definitely that's an awesome question, and I think that it's a clear extension of what I'm talking about here in terms of your personality. So for me, I love to travel people talk about how they're doing things. What are their plans? What are they most excited about and that translates into me helping that you know, making a recommendation for my friend the florist or whomever and they're definitely people who try to be a little bit more pulled back in a little bit more of a documentary, but I think different couples are looking for different things and that is a perfect example of something that you can articulate in your about me is like, you know, I really believe in documenting things is a photojournalist and I'm going to stay out of your way and I think that reads in my work and then you're going to get couples who don't want someone to be like all up in their business like I am they want someone who's just going to take photos whereas I get couples who are like, oh my god wedding planning exhaust me and I need like, who can I heard the florist there's so many options and I could just be like, oh yeah my friend here's amanda she's amazing, you know like that does that make sense? It does and so that way we can decide as faras yes, your roles as a photographer and documentary you can decide a building kind of a team because doing weddings is this teamwork yeah, you're working with other professionals and you can decide I don't want to be the consultant or the um is a source of inspiration, but I know of people in the industry who would be a great resource is if you're interested s so it's really just deciding how much you're gonna interact yourself personally and then also maybe building your business out with other professionals and community who I want to play those roles? Yeah, totally and I think that that's a perfect example of like, if you flip it into the client side you if you want to be a little bit more pulled back and let other people take the the more helpful roles who are the people you're looking for, you're looking for people who want a photographer who's going to be pulled back and so you say I'm a little bit more pulled back there are lots of people who are around to help you, but but you know you don't like I'm not going to help you, but there are ways to phrase it t demonstrate to people this is how I this is my m o on the wedding day this is how I roll and people who want that are going to be like, perfect I want that I want that photographer I want that person to help me to be my photographer yeah, yeah any questions they have questions? Yeah, just about about me page still, now you are working with the team of individuals you have someone who's helping you with editing and it is a part of your team is kind of your your business family are you it's beneficial to include everyone in some way or for are you this was to be about I'm the queen it can be so for me I have a studio manager and her name is meredith a super merida she's amazing andi it's part of my personal politics that even if you're like an underling even if you like the internee ist of interns I think that you deserve recognition so I would put that person on there if if that's not something that's of value to you and some people do want to be sort of like the figurehead and have the rest of the team b a bit anonymous or maybe they change a lot so it doesn't make sense I think that's totally fine I'm not sure to what extent people pick up on that but for me it was important just to like tohave someone who works for me included as part of the team but I don't think it's like an essential part especially if you have a lot of people or a few outsource to like another team who might be ten people or whatever yeah it's kind of it's kind of up to you sorry if that's not a good chance they went also the question you have a question from online yeah all right. In the ghost silver says carly is using specific hash tags or key words the same is token izing how can we reach a specific market without token izing what is acceptable and what is not example hashtag jewish weddings hashtag indian womens hashtag bi racial club it's a good question that's a really good question here's how I conceptualized the use of hash tag I imagine that I'm a person who's looking for a wedding photographer and these things apply to me so if I'm a jewish person half jewish getting married, I might go on instagram and search for the hash tag jewish wedding because that's what I'm trying to find and that's a hash tag, but I think people might be using so that I could get inspiration for my wedding that said, I think that on your web site using it as kind of like a like the on ly descriptor or the main descriptor of the wedding is what for me brings it into the idea of token izing. So if you're a person and you're looking, you're gay person getting married and you want a photographer who has same sex couples you're going to maybe search on instagram the hashtag same sex wedding or lesbian wedding because you don't have any other way to search for those people like that's sort of the nature of hash tags and how how that's going to work out um, versus like being on your website and being like jewish weddings, black weddings, et cetera. So that's, what I would say is the distinction there, but that's, my own personal thought on it.