Adding a blog to your photography website is good for business, and it's great for improving your search engine ranking in Google. It seems that every portrait photographer on planet Earth has a blog these days, and I have personally visited hundreds of them. I read almost every comment on this site and follow the links to your sites. I'd like to get to know the regular readers of this site, so I try and keep tabs on the commenters.
Having seen hundreds (thousands?) of photo blogs, I know exactly what to expect. A post is written once per week and it goes something like this, “I shot engagement photos tonight for the most beautiful couple in [insert the name of your city]. They were so fun to work with and I can't wait to shoot their wedding.” Then, we see a string of a half dozen photos from the shoot, and then the post ends.
On my first day of class as a communications/advertising major in college, the professor said that the greatest rule of marketing is “WIIFM.” Although it sounds like a local radio station, WIIFM stands for “What's in it for me?” The problem with photo blogs is that the writers think about themselves rather than their readers.
The posts are about THEIR photography and THEIR clients and THEIR work. Guess what? Isn't that the purpose of having a gallery on your site? Potential clients who see your blog have already seen your work and they have already decided if you're good or not.
Oh, and isn't one of the purposes of a blog to make something that people can share on the Facebook and Twitter feeds to bring in new customers? Well, who do you think would share a post of some random photographer's shoot with two people who they have never met? Answer: nobody. So your blog isn't getting spread around, and you aren't winning clients over by your constant barrage of new photos, so let's get down to business and discover what you can write about that will bring in customers.
10 Photo Blog Post Ideas that Keep WIIFM in Mind
1. What to wear for a portrait photography shoot. Clients always have this question, and answering it for them will make them feel comfortable that you know what you're doing. Also, it is good information that they may want to spread to their friends on Facebook. Oh, and it's a big time saver because you can email the article to clients rather than explaining it thousands of times.
2. The best locations to shoot portraits in your city. This is something that actually might pop up in a Google search, so it's perfect for getting traffic. I really wouldn't worry about giving away your secret spot. There are limitless new photo locations.
3. A shoot of a community or charity event. Going with the family to watch a hot air balloon festival? Going to see a cousin run a marathon? Attending a Race for the Cure fundraiser? Bring your camera with you and take some shots. Write a blog post about your experience and include a few of your shots. Then, your photos to the organizers of the event and tell them they can share your photos on their site and Facebook page. This is a great way to get links from other sites, and it will get you connected. Who do you think that organization will hire to photograph the event next year?
4. Show what is possible in post-processing. Clients have absolutely no clue what can and cannot be fixed in Photoshop. Record a short video showing clients how you fix wrinkles, blemishes, and blinking children and they will feel much more confident in choosing you for a shoot.
5. Explain the pricing of photography services. Clients have absolutely no idea how much it's worth to get a CD of the images rather than paying for prints. Also, they aren't sure if you charge additional sitting fees or post-processing fees, etc. Write an article that explains your pricing and why your pricing is better than the $50 photographer on Craigslist. This is info that the client will appreciate knowing, and they'll feel more comfortable choosing you once they see the hidden costs from “the other guy.”
6. Give tips on creative ways to use portrait photography prints. If your clients never order the big, giant, (and expensive) prints, then you're missing out on a giant chunk of potential income. Do a quick article with examples of a giant gallery wrap hanging above a mantle or some other nice prints and your clients will be more likely to buy the expensive prints.
7. Explain the timing. Most clients would find it convenient to meet you at noon on a Saturday for their portrait photography session. Photographers would prefer to do a session at 6PM when the lighting is better. Do an article showing how the lighting makes a big difference in the photo and your clients will be willing to meet you at the best times. Also, when they learn new things on your site, they will see you as someone who knows their stuff.
8. Display different styles. Sometimes clients don't really know what they want, and it makes it tough for the photographer to guess the style of photo the client will be happy with. Write an article showing different styles of portrait photography (grungy, formal, casual, fun, etc) so you'll have something to point clients to so they can give you a better idea of what they like. The clients will be impressed to see that you are versatile enough to take pictures in a wide range of situations and make them look great.
9. Put the client at ease about posing. Whenever I arrive at a shoot, I always hear nervous comments about not knowing what to do for the photos. Some clients are nervous that they will look dumb and the photographer won't show them how to pose, and other clients get annoyed when the photographer keeps bossing them around. Explain how you do posing and why it will make the shoot relaxed and fun.
10. Photo tips. Everyone has a camera these days. Write a few posts giving beginner photography tips for point-and-shoot users and you will have content that clients are likely to share on Facebook and Twitter as long as you make it convenient with Facebook share buttons. The client will see you as being knowledgeable, and you'll get new users on your site.