October 25th 2008 by Andrew S Gibson
11 Reasons Every Photographer Needs a Website or Blog
Have you ever wondered why you should have your own photography website or blog? Here are 11 great reasons that every photographer should have a website.
For anyone who doesn’t know much about web design, the thought of creating or commissioning a website can be daunting. But before you even begin to think about how, the important question to answer is why. It’s so easy for just about anybody to have an account on a photo sharing site like Flickr that you may be wondering exactly why a photographer would need their own website or blog.
To promote your photos
If you sell prints on Imagekind, stock photos through Alamy or photo downloads through a service like Photoshelter Archive, having your own website or blog is a great way to promote yourself and bring your photos to the attention of the world. With over 13 million photos for buyers to choose from on Alamy, for example, you need every bit of help you can get!
Cody Redmon is a photographer who sells limited edition fine art prints of the American west. He also sells his photos through a specialist stock agency. Take a look at his website to see how it works. For instance, imagine a photo buyer looking for landscape photos of Montana. The buyer does a search on Google, Cody’s website comes up, and he’s in with a shot of making a sale (Cody’s site came up in 16th place when I googled ‘photo landscapes Montana for sale’).
To sell your photos
Maybe you would like to sell prints or stock photos. This can also be done through your own website. It may not be particularly cheap, especially if you want to sell stock photos, but it’s certainly possible to set up a part or full time business this way.
Gavin Gough’s website is a great example of this type of website. It introduces the photographer, displays his best photos, and keeps readers updated with the latest news. Gavin uses the website to establish his professional credentials, build a brand and sell his photos.
Mark Sunderland sells fine art prints on his website. The reader can learn more about the photographer, browse his photo gallery and buy a print using the shopping cart.
To look professional
Flickr is great for sharing photos and connecting with other photographers. But having your own website or photo blog looks a whole lot more professional and impressive. Whether it’s just for fun, or a serious effort at self-promotion, even a simple website with a photo gallery and an about/contact page can be extremely effective and fairly straightforward to put together.
To join the photo blogging community
There’s a whole community of photo bloggers out there and if you have your own photo blog you can join in. Websites like Photoblogs.org and VFXY are a good entry point into the world of photo blogging. VFXY shows the best photos from a list of over 4400 photoblogs and Photoblogs.org lists over 32,000 photoblogs!!
To promote your offline photography business
Let’s say you’re a wedding photographer based in Barcelona, Spain. Now imagine that a potential customer googles ‘wedding photographers Barcelona‘. I think you can see where I’m going with this – a professional website that appears on the first page of Google’s search results will definitely win you more business.
To learn how to make a website
Learning to make your own website is a great skill to have that may one day lead to a part or full time career. Be aware though, that there’s a LOT to learn – it’s not just a simple matter of buying a book or two on HTML.
To help avoid copyright infringement and protect your Intellectual Property
Did you know that recently every photo on Flickr ended up on sale – without the photographers’ knowledge? Copyright infringement and intellectual property issues are hot topics for photographers right now. Even large organisations with plenty of cash (and who should know better!) like the BBC have been accused of copyright infringement.
This means it’s imperative for photographers to be aware of where their photos are appearing online and how to prevent image theft. It’s a complex issue with no easy solution. But keeping your photos in one place – such as your own website – is an excellent start. You can decide which photos to display, watermark them, and make it as difficult as possible for someone to steal them.
To promote your photography related business
Tewfic El-Sawy is a travel photographer who runs photo expeditions to remote locations like Bhutan and Kashmir. Advertising is expensive – but on the internet you can advertise for free if you don’t mind putting the work in.
Tewfic runs an excellent travel photography blog, which he updates regularly with links to the work of photojournalists and travel photographers. The result is an informative website that’s a great resource for anyone interested in travel photography. Tewfic provides a service and promotes his business at the same time. Best of all – the blog is hosted on Blogger and is 100% free.
To raise cash
Photojournalist Zoriah photographs some of the world’s most dangerous hot spots and war zones, such as Palestine and Iraq. He’s a man driven by a desire to bring these stories to the world’s attention. The only thing is, this type of photojournalism doesn’t pay so well. So he uses his websites to raise funding for his photo stories.
To earn advertising revenue or sell eBooks
Yes, you can actually make money from a website or blog! You can sell advertising space, display Google ads or sell a product such as an eBook. The concept is simple, the more visitors that come to your website, the more advertising links they’ll click (pay per click is a common revenue model) or eBooks you’ll sell. With the internet’s worldwide reach, the earning potential is enormous.
Does this sound a little too good to be true? In some ways it is. To earn a decent amount of revenue you need a LOT of visitors, but it can be done. A recent Technorati report showed that blogs attracting 100,000 or more unique visitors a month had average advertising revenues of $US75,000 per year.
Getting 100,000 unique visitors a month to your site isn’t easy though. Be prepared to put in a lot of time and effort. Again, there’s a lot to learn (Search Engine Optimisation, social networking etc). If you’re going to succeed you will need an excellent blog or website and be prepared to work hard at building content and promotion for a year or two before seeing any substantial revenues.
Your website will need to be top quality to succeed. Remember the 32,000 plus photo blogs at photoblogs.org? That’s your competition.
See how much PSDTuts are charging for adverts on their website. Pay attention to their visitor numbers!
To have fun!
The most important reason of all! Learn something new, contribute to the online world and enjoy yourself.
Can you think of another good reason that a photographer needs a website? Leave a comment and let us know.