Squarespace Template: Avenue
Over the last ten years, Feature Shoot has showcased thousands of photographers, and one question we get frequently is, “What advice do you have for emerging photographers?” Breaking into the photo industry can seem overwhelming, but it’s also a fun and exhilarating process. While putting together this handy list of tips for image-makers, we made sure to keep things simple and doable by including some concrete steps to help you achieve your goals.
As a photography website, we’re also cognizant of the value of a powerful internet presence. A strong, clean website gives clients and photo editors insight into your work and your process, takes them behind the scenes, and shows off your skills. We’ve built more than a few websites using Squarespace, so we know firsthand how easy it is to customize their templates. For that reason, we’ve chosen to include a straightforward “web hack” to go with every one of our tips.
Squarespace Template: Wexley
Know your point of view. In a digital world, it can be hard to make your voice heard, so think about what you can do that no one else can. Make your projects personal. Regardless of background or experience, everyone has the tools to make something unique, whether it’s a rare understanding of shape and color or access to a place or a person that’s usually off-limits to the public.
Photo projects should tell a story and contain a narrative, even if the plot is abstract. Artist Statements are useful for your followers and clients, but they can also help you to understand your work more clearly. Try writing and rewriting until you find out exactly what it is you have to say.
Web Hack: Your work isn’t generic, and your website shouldn’t be either. Squarespace continues to roll out brand-new website templates (often designed specifically for photographers), so put some thought into how you want to present your work to the public. Do you want text blocks for your statement? What about a slideshow? Your website is a representation of who you are as a professional, so think about your online portfolio as you would a book or a gallery show. All Squarespace website templates (and domain names) are fully customizable, so it’s easy to make a website that stands out from the crowd.
Squarespace Template: Vow
Promote yourself. Putting yourself out there can be intimidating, but as my mother would say, “Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn.” A significant percentage of the projects we run on Feature Shoot are pitched to us by the photographers who made them. Photo editors and potential clients want to hear from passionate artists, so reach out whenever you have a great idea. Once you’ve built a network, remember to stay in touch with regular updates and news.
Web Hack: Using Squarespace Cover Pages, create a website that invites visitors to subscribe to an email newsletter right off the bat. These pages are also perfect for announcing events, launches, and exhibitions whenever someone enters your website, and you can even introduce call-to-action-buttons to collect RSVPs. Even if you don’t have events in the works, think about starting a blog to share news on a consistent basis.
Squarespace Template: Wells
Make work consistently. This is a tough one. Resist the urge to press “pause” on your photography. As far as advice goes, “Shoot every day” and “Always carry a camera” have become cliches, but they work. Think of photography not as a job but as a part of your daily life. If you don’t have any assignments in the pipeline, focus on personal work. Take pictures without any goal other than to observe the world around you. Start a sketchbook for ideas. You don’t have to share these photos with anyone if you don’t want to. If you keep clicking, a new project will eventually emerge.
Web Hack: Once you’re ready to show your new work to the public, remember to be thoughtful about your web design. If it’s something you’ve put time and effort into, show it off in the best possible light. Consider different ways of incorporating new projects into your website. With Squarespace, you can even swap templates or add customized tools at any point. Squarespace websites are easy to update, so you can always give your site a makeover to suit your ever-evolving body of work.
Squarespace Template: Ishimoto
Stay active on social media. Instagram is a major resource for image-buyers, photo editors, curators, and brands. At Feature Shoot, we’ve found some of our most popular story ideas by browsing Instagram and looking for talented photographers flying under the radar. Follow magazines, blogs, and other photographers you admire, and study what kinds of images do best on every platform. On Instagram in particular, hashtags can be your best friends. Using the right hashtags can help you reach the right audience. For example, we regularly check Instagram for images submitted to the @featureshoot feed by photographers who use the hashtag #myfeatureshoot.
Web Hack: Connect your social media accounts to your website. Squarespace makes it easy to add icons right to your homepage, so everyone who visits your site can head straight over to your Instagram or Facebook page. Amazingly, Squarespace allows you to integrate up to thirty-plus social accounts into one website. It’s the perfect website builder for the active photographer.
Squarespace Template: Clay
Open a store. We see a lot of comments on Instagram from people wanting to buy prints of the photographs we feature. While the virtual arena is great for establishing who you are as a photographer, your followers also want to connect with images one-on-one in a tangible way. Physical prints and objects are precious because they remind us of photography’s roots. In addition to prints, we’ve seen photographers selling everything from calendars and tote bags to placemats and mugs. Encourage people to think differently about your images and to engage with them in their daily lives. Get creative!
Web Hack: Thanks to Squarespace Commerce, all Squarespace users can build their own online store. These stores are beautiful, and they’re easy as pie to make (we interviewed one photographer who created his entire store in an hour and a half). Another perk of Squarespace Commerce is the platform’s stellar analytics; you can use them to track the demographics of your buyers and better understand your audience.
You can try Squarespace free for 14 days. When you’re ready to subscribe, be sure to use coupon ‘FEATURESHOOT’ for 10% off your first purchase.
Squarespace is a Feature Shoot sponsor.