TPF Noob!
May 3, 2005
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Des Moines, Iowa
I just finished a new website and I'm looking to get some feedback on it.

I really want to get some critiques and suggestions from other photographers about the photos that are on the site, and the layout in general. The main purpose of the site is to show my work to prospective clients and to get local work from it.


Friedrichs Photography
A couple of things immediately leap to mind:

-No thumbnail galleries. I might be looking for a specific type of portrait or other image, but I'm probably not patient enough to scroll through all the high-res images on your site when there are a dozens of others available in the area.

-I would consider a different portrait on your contact page. That one has blown highlights, too shallow a DoF and while okay, is not great. Photographs on a photography website with technicals issues are not going to speak well of your abilities to potential customers, regardless of how skilled you are.

-There is introductory page. The first place I land should tell me a little about who you are and what you can do for me and why I should hire you. The image used on your index/home page is interesting, but I would suggest something a little more mainstream to appeal to a wider audience, UNLESS this is your specific style of photography.

Just my $00.02 worth - your mileage may vary.

Nice, simple, to-the-point web site Darin. Doesn't offend me at all.

I agree with John that unless you're targeting just one specific niche, having some thumbnails or separate galleries would be helpful. If I'm looking for a baby photographer and the first eight photos I see on your site are of college-age men and've probably lost me.

Most of the images in your Portraits gallery are college-age men and women, it if that's your specific target market, rename "Portraits" to "College Portraits" or "Facebook Portraits" or something that might touch that market directly.

Your art is lovely - don't hesitate to let potential clients find what they want.

Your Commercial gallery is great - lots of variety there. If I'm a buyer, I want to see consistently good, eye-catching images, which you feature here. Unless you have notable local competition in the commercial field, you can get away with this kind of broad image offering.

Great tearsheets from your Published gallery, some really fun, imaginative images in there.

I'd honestly nix the Personal gallery...create a separate "art" site if you want to show your chops as an art-eest. Same with the main image on your intro page - show me what you want me to buy (portraits? commercial work? what's your primary focus?), and like John said, perhaps give me some info about who you are and why I want to work with you. Your site/business has no 'voice.'

I think having a blog is a great idea, but if you're just posting images, you're missing out on the greatest value of a blog: search engine love and, again, building your voice.

When you blog an image or set of images from a shoot, talk a bit about who these folks are, what was the shoot like, how did you use your expertise as a photographer to make these lovely images and why - what was it about the subject that made you choose to create this very image.

To draw the search engine love, especially valuable if you're targeting a local geographic area, you need to include comments about where the shoot took place - what church, what park, what area of town, what city.

Your goal here is to connect the dots, the keywords, your market is trying to connect when searching for a photographer in your area.

When someone types "portrait photographer Des Moines," you want to be No. 1, or at least first page; if all you post are images and never write about who you are, what you do, who you do it with, or where you're doing it, you won't build that search engine love that gets you on the front page.

A short, simple example: "Mary and I had a great time shooting her high school senior portraits together today at the City Park in Des Moines. Mary will graduate from Des Moines High School this year, and her parents wanted me to photograph their baby girl before she heads off to college. Mary was great fun to work with, big smiles and big personality all the way in all her photos; she and folks like her are one of the reasons I love being a photographer."

...high school...senior portraits...Des Moines...Des Moines High

Mix and match those keywords and you get the keyphrases your clients are searching online for to (hopefully) find your services.

Right now, your blog has no text, your web site has no text, all your title tags (what appears in the Title bar of your browser, and in the search engines) on all your pages are just "Friedrichs Photography"...there's no keywords or keyphrases there for search engines to learn and rank you for. Even your contact information on your Contact page is an image! And there's no alt text (text that appears when you move your mouse over the image) to say what the image is of!

Each of these pieces of the puzzle fit together to give you great search engine rankings, and to help people find your services who are most interested in hiring you.

There's also no link to your Facebook fan page or profile, which in my market, is where I get the vast majority of my business from.

It's a great start, a stylish site that does a great job of showing your art. If you don't care about search engine rankings or traffic, and just want it to serve as an online brochure for you, something to send folks to with a business card, it'll serve its purpose well. But just a few easy, logical changes would add a whole other layer of value and marketing power to your site.

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