Forget Gear: This is the Best Way for a Photographer to Grow

The idea of making an investment back into yourself and getting over GAS is a powerful one.

Let’s be honest, you probably have all the gear that you NEED as a photographer–wanting and needing are two different things. But what every photographer needs (and it’s true today more than ever) is an actual functioning website. Your Instagram isn’t enough–that’s a place for us to see the work that you do in a less curated fashion as you work tirelessly to beat an algorithm. But a website from a company that is ethical to photographers like Format is worth the investment into yourself. Your Instagram can get shut down, shadow banned, etc. But a platform that you control won’t have that problem. And trust us, it’s a set it and forget it type of thing with occasional updates and a far less toxic community than Instagram can be.

Editor’s Note: When Phoblographer readers use the code PHO20 at checkout, they’ll receive a 20% discount off of their first year.

Choosing the Best Layout

When you sign up for Format one of the first things that you’re going to need to do is choose a layout for your website. This requires you to do your own user test and exploration of some of the options they offer. But in addition to creating and looking at the site from your desktop, you should also check out how they render on mobile. Format websites are all mobile compliant but the way that your website renders on a phone will vary depending on which layout you choose. Here are a few examples and recommendations:

Client Proofing: The Not Messy Way to Get Images to Clients

One of the most standout features of Format is Client Proofing. For those of you wondering exactly what this is, it’s the system of delivering images to your client and having them select which ones they want to work with. Many photographers tend to do this via WeTransfer, Dropbox and Google Drive. But this way, you’ve got full control over everything. It’s much more personalized and it’s great for branding. Best of all, it’s built into your website.

Building Your Own Community and Following

These days, social media isn’t that great for marketing. In some ways, it can be fantastic, but ultimately it makes the most sense for a photographer to build their own communities. Being on social platforms is fine, but the best thing that you can possibly do is create an email list. By bringing people to your Format website, you can ask them to sign up for your newsletter. This newsletter can be sent out once a week or however often you’d prefer. It can contain things like tidbits from your latest shoots, special pricing, etc. This is how you build your own community that you’ve got control over–not some algorithm.

How to Get People to Your Website

For many of you, getting folks to your website is something that is foreign. With Instagram and Facebook, it’s always just been about working around an algorithm of some sort. But with your Format website, you’re put into control with creation all over again. Some ideas to get folks to your website:

  • Blogging: Format has its own built-in blog.
  • YouTube: Videos work
  • Emailing Editors at publications: Look out for big photography publications and develop an ongoing relationship with the editors. Here at Phoblographer, we regularly work with photographers.
  • Small contests
  • Working with other outlets symbiotically
  • Putting your name out there on the web and therefore using other companies’ social media outreach to reel in new customers.

It’s Nice to Not Fight an Algorithm

Lastly, as we’ve been pointing out, with no algorithm for you to fight, you’re going to just have to switch over to doing stuff like creating really good organic content. There is no need to constantly upload images for no apparent reason except trying to beat an algorithm. Instead, you go at your own pace and exercise discipline on posting and such. Then direct people to your website, but of course find ways to give them reasons to click on over.

Editor’s Note: When Phoblographer readers use the code PHO20 at checkout, they’ll receive a 20% discount off of their first year. This post was sponsored by FORMAT.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.