Why Is A Website So Important?
Behind every photographer should be a great website. Before the days of the internet, the only way to get your work out to the world was to have a beautifully printed portfolio book made. You would send it from agency to agency until someone chose to represent you, and they would find you work. Today though, thanks to the internet, agents are less necessary. You can create a portfolio website for yourself, and distribute that the world. Your portfolio is your introduction as a creative professional to the people who want to work with you. It’s the first impression you give. You’ll showcase what style of work you produce, how much you’ve produced, and who you’ve produced it for. It’s one, beautiful, curated space where you can really shine.
Yet, for some reason, we have spoken to countless photographers who omit having a website of their own. Sure, you can reach people brilliantly via 500px, Instagram and Facebook. But you’re confining yourself to their layout. As wonderful as those platforms are, are they really showing off your work to it’s full potential?
When photographers approach us about working for Atlas, the first thing we do every single time is go and look at their website. We want to work with people who understand the industry, who aspire to be great, and who know how to curate their work. It’s the easiest and quickest way for us to understand whether you would be a good fit for Atlas. Without a website, it becomes extremely difficult for us as editors to decide whether we want to work with you.
Why You Need To Curate It And Update It
Ok, so you’ve got a website. Alright, maybe you’ve had one for years and years. The question now is: have you updated it? No one is saying that a website should be updated daily. Your portfolio certainly isn’t Instagram. It’s supposed to be something that remains the same for a period of time, showcasing what you do. But if you haven’t changed things up since 2011, then there might be a problem there. It’s not so much that we’ll know it’s not been updated in 5 years. It’s more that the work you’re showcasing us isn’t current! So we might be looking at something you shot, and think it’s amazing, ask you to do something similar, and then you say that you’re not shooting in that style anymore. (It’s happened!).
Make sure you’re updating your website frequently, not only to help editors and potential clients out, but also so that you don’t get asked to produce work that you no longer love producing. Because isn’t that why you became a photographer in the first place? Because you love taking photographs?
The next point is the importance of curation. Curation of your work is just as important as keeping it updated. You might be a photographer shooting an editorial a week. You might be testing models daily. You might be a travel photographer, wondering the world, exploring the greatest places we’d all love to visit. Should every image you’ve ever taken be on your website? Absolutely not. Your website is a representation of the best of your work. It should be perfect.
It’s really important to note that people don’t have a lot of time in this day and age. Things move quickly, and people have a short attention span. So even if you might not like to face up to it, the likelihood is that editors and potential clients will spend a matter of seconds looking at the first page on your website, and they’ll have made a decision in that short amount of time as to whether they’d like to feature you/work with you/keep in touch with you.
We recommend having one page with a selection of 15-20 of your best images as the landing page to your website. If you want to then have sections for each of the editorials you’ve shot and for whom, go for it! But having that one page with a few very carefully selected images will give people a quick and great example of what you’re about. If they like what they see, they’ll be far more likely to go digging around the at the rest of your work.
To summarise, having a website to represent yourself as a photographer is not only professional, it’s indispensable. Curate it, make it represent you and the best of your work, and you’ll be well on your way to getting published.
A huge thank you to Vera Belyavskays for these images. See the original editorial here!