our website . . comments please

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by JMphotographyweddings, Dec 31, 2016.

  1. Hi all
    I come here quite often to read the boards looking for advice, general inspiration and help. We are in the final stages of setting up our wedding photography business . . I recently completed our website and would appreciate some feedback
    A member here (Ann Schwartz) was very instrumental in helping us decide on our target audience, pricing and we believe that we now have a well balanced package for prospective clients.
    We would be grateful if some of the wedding photographers here would have a look at our site and offer some constructive feedback regarding our services, our photography and the general layout and ease of use.
    2016 has been a great year for us we spent lots of money on photoshoots, buying equipment, working on our techniques and defining our style . . . . We just have a few things to purchase now and then we aim to join a couple of wedding photographers community sites, and attend some bridal fairs. Hopefully 2018 will see us begin to get some bookings we have one already lined up and that will give us our third wedding to date.
    we look forward to your comments
    thanks in advance
    Mike & Jill (uk)
  2. ha I forgot to ad the link (doh) here it is ;
  3. Hi Michael. Hopefully you will see success as you start your new venture in 2017!
    I reviewed your site and have a few comments and hopefully constructive suggestions based on many years of doing weddings ... plus my main career was in advertising and marketing as a Creative Director.
    Over-all it is a bit amateurish and doesn't really showcase your better work ... work which is good for a start up wedding company!
    Consider having a graphic designer help you out.
    IMO, stating that you will shoot in any style the client wants sounds wishy-washy and places the creative direction in the hands of the client, or can be confusing at a time when a bride may be looking at a number of sites to define what they want ... they tend to respond to what they see as opposed to what you say.
    Your current work is pretty consistent, which is a good thing because the client can count on you to deliver. When offering to do any style, in a few cases expect tear sheets of magazine ads etc. with a style that you may be hard pressed to duplicate.
    Perhaps think about what YOU emotionally stand for visually, without direct references to "style".
    Your landing page should demonstrate that visual "WoW! factor, and have just enough words to entice them to continue.
    Everyone says they are passionate about photography, feel privileged to be a part of the client's special day, etc. What is it that is different and special about you?
    All those photos in the Image Gallery are packed in together which makes it difficult to for anything to stand out ... especially if the client is using a cell phone.
    Highlight the best, suppress the rest.
    While I am now semi-retired and have removed my wedding site, it was successful for many years because: 1) I took a position which was not common back then ... "Romantic Photojournalism" and supported it with images, and 2) Tailored my approach to reflect the clients personality rather than fit it to a "style". It is about them not us.
    You mention a relaxed unobtrusive and candid style as opposed to the more traditional posed approach ... yet a vast majority of your samples are posed (?). Generally, the candid approach has run it course as a main draw anyway, and trends are running in different directions ... so what you are doing with further enhancements may prove more successful
  4. Hi marc
    if you have the time I would like to get into a conversation with you regarding this thread
    I understand what you are saying and I would just like to clarify a couple of things
  5. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Marc gave you some excellent advice. I would add that the website has a very dated look. Modern websites have immediate impact through large images and open space. When someone goes to look at a wedding site, what they see first isn't necessarily the photography, it's the feel of the site. For comparison, here a couple of sites that I think are in your geography:
    They take different approaches but both hit with the images in a way that gets the message across immediately.
    I'm not sure you need a graphic designer right away, especially if you are just starting up. It's costly and many of them design sites so that you have to keep going back to them for changes. A good business strategy for the designer but not for the client. You should look at WordPress and some of the wedding themes there as an alternative. WordPress is easy to maintain and update once it's set up, and so many themes that it's possible to find something modern.
  6. Adding to the already suggestions, I would say change the about page. You really don't say anything that relates to why I should hire you for photography. It sounds more like a dating profile. If I want martial arts lessons I know who to call.
  7. Michael . . ha I know what you mean I guess when it comes to writing about yourself it gets very hard to put into words why you should hire us . .I have no idea of how to even start writing something like this .. but I thank you for your input and its something we will think about . .
    in response to the previous two replies . . many thanks for your contributions it has given us food for thought.
    We did hire someone to do us a website but that didn't work out so I decide to do it myself I looked at loads of sites and we kinda wanted something simple classy and to the point . . . isn't that the idea ? We were told that websites alone would not garner any real leads and so it remains our shop window where prospective clients can see our work . .and read about us
    as I understand it there are 3 factors that relate directly to getting bookings : these are
    A/ can we produce good quality work
    B/ does the client like us and can they see some sort of relationship developing that will make the big day run smoothly
    C/ is the price right
    As to whether our site is "dated" im not sure what that means surely it fulfils a certain criteria . . ie it is informative . . and we have asked a couple of friends to review it who are in business and we respect their opinion and after a couple of changes we were left with what we have now
    My partner went on a wedding course in 2015 she passed gaining a grade 1 diploma recognised by the MPA this leant toward the more traditional kind of wedding photography where as I tend to do more PJ style . . . the fact that we can offer clients both of these approaches surely means we are flexible ? I was really trying to say that we can cover all the bases . . . yes our portfolio as it stands is mainly posed shots I did a portfolio builders day and along with all the model shoots we did last year this is now the basis for our current portfolio as we get more bookings we will replace the shots to fall into line with what we currently offer but its the old catch 22 isn't it ? I have just tried to get going as best we can with what we have . . . to date I have done 1 wedding on my own and in 2015 we did a friends event together. I will add that the gear we were using didn't quite cut it but despite that we learnt loads . . we now have better gear and we are more experienced we have invested quite a lot into this venture so far . .and I knew there would be some setbacks and that some things would have to be changed . .but I don't have the skills to do everything im quite focussed on the photography at the moment and I was glad to read that at least this was up to scratch and for me that's the most important
    I look forward to reading the replies . . maybe someone could point us in the direction of how to improve our writing on the about page ?
    thank you all for taking the time we really appreciate the efforts
  8. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    We were told that websites alone would not garner any real leads and so it remains our shop window where prospective clients can see our work . .and read about us​

    It's a lot more than that. It's your best chance to grab them and let them know you're their team. People look at shop windows the same way, some will grab them immediately and some won't. That's why this is an issue:
    As to whether our site is "dated" im not sure what that means surely it fulfils a certain criteria . . ie it is informative​

    It doesn't have the impact of the sites I linked to above. The first impression is going to get them past the door, if they like it, and that's missing on the splash.
    we have asked a couple of friends to review it who are in business​

    The best people to ask are people in your target market or people who (like me) build and run websites as a business. Your friends are the wrong people to ask. I will give you a simple example that isn't selling photography service because there's no gain in it for anyone here. These are both sites that are aimed at recruiting engineers but they do it without a recruiting slant. Which one do you think grabs its audience most quickly:
    (Full disclosure, I was a contractor for the second one and did a lot of work on it.)
  9. Ok Jeff
    Now I get it. . . . .the impact is very noticeable on the 2nd site ! its a pity we didn't have you in our corner when we started this. We are commited to site builder for a year now I don't suppose you would consider improving our site (how expensive are you )
    thanks for the replies
  10. It isn't THAT hard. Just study other sites and then have the existing person you are contracted to use for your site make some adjustments.
    Here's an example of a grabber site that spurs you on further.
    Also check out his "about" part ... it's all about why he has a passion for wedding work without ever using the word passion. He also personifies what I said about the wedding being about the client, not us.
    - Marc
  11. Thanks Marc
    this really helps us I guess once you have the "angle" a pace to start from im thinking it gets better from there on in . . this guy takes great shots and his about page will provide some inspiration for our rewrite
    thank you for posting much appreciated
    Mike & Jill
  12. Hi Michael,
    Good luck with the new business. I started out about three years ago with a friend of mine. We also made our own website. One thing I remember reading is that it's mostly the brides who spend hours online looking at websites. With that in mind we made our site quite light and airy, and I guess it has a bit of a feminine feel to it. If you don't mind me saying, the black borders on your images are a bit 'heavy'. We did 6 weddings in year 1, 12 in year 2 and have just done 20 in 2016. We probably get most of our work through our website. We're by no means experts We're by no means experts but we do get lots of clients saying that they liked the look of it.
    Mod Note: A link to your website can be displayed on your Bio Page
  13. Hi Michael,
    great to see you have done quite a lot of work on your website and you're geared up for a busy 2017. Just to echo some of the suggestions made by other people
    - I'm aware that you only have two weddings to draw from but IMO your portfolio needs slimming down. There are a few photos in there that I would personally get rid of (e.g. the top left group photo image gallery 3 and similar). The best advice I ever got (from the esteemed Gabe McClintock, no less) was that you should only have images in your portfolio that reflect stuff you want to shoot MORE of. So unless you want to keep shooting super low budget weddings, slim your portfolio down to 10-15 images maximum and only show your BEST work. There's no point having 'filler' images in your portfolio, all your images should be 'killer' - and if that means you end up with only 5 photos that's better than diluting your portfolio by adding 10 bog-standard pictures just to pad it out.
    - I guess site builder is quite restrictive but still... your website does unfortunately look quite dated due to the textured background (white, grey or black works best for showcasing photography online and also looks professional), the black borders around your portfolio images, and the choice of font. I'd also make the portfolio photos much bigger (750px width is standard) and have only only one or two per page. At the moment the portfolio looks very 'busy'.
    - Regarding the text: everyone is waffling on about the same things on their websites (I'm guilty of it as well) but you're a photographer so ultimately your images should do the talking. If you're talking a lot about candid moments, your portfolio has to reflect that etc. Less is more. In the first instance, most brides just want to look at some pics, read 100 words about you (if that) and get an idea of pricing...
    -...which brings me to the final point: I've extensively researched this and one of the things people always tell me in consultations is that they disregarded all the photographers who didn't have prices on their website. This is probably different for the super high end shooters but for the mid-range there's no point in keeping people in the dark about your pricing. Most couples have a budget in mind and if you don't display your prices they'll either not bother to get in touch or if they do and you're out of their price range, they won't book you and you've just wasted everyone's time. It's always good to mention that you are open to customising photography packages etc to cater for the 'just outside our budget' clients but other than that I'd add prices to your packages.
    This forum is such a valuable resource and there's such a wealth of experience, I hope you can take our comments on board without feeling disheartened.

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