Photographers may take photos, but you need the right tools to be successful in business today. The best tools make your job easier, allowing you to spend more time where you want to be – behind the camera. Here are four tools every photographer needs to be successful online. We’ll explain why these tools are invaluable to photographers.
Photo Editing Tools
While there are many tools out there that you can use to edit photos, software by Adobe stands out as the best for a number of tasks. Adobe Lightroom allows you to create pre-set image adjustments so every photo has your signature editing style, applied with the click of a button. You can edit the tone and clarity with easy to use sliders. Adobe Photoshop is the best editing software out there. It stands out when spot editing is necessary across the image but you need to maintain the integrity of the original image. That’s why Adobe is the industry standard.
File Management Tools Designed for Photos
Photos are high resolution images that require special care and specialized software. You also have to facilitate workflow with clients when it comes to proofing, for instance. Some services will not only allow you to create stunning portfolio websites on your own, but will have great features like private photo galleries. Private proofing galleries allow clients to see images before and after editing whilst collecting feedback and protecting your intellectual property rights. Another feature you should be looking for is the ability to watermark all your images and control who downloads them.
Social Media Management Suite
As you may already know, social media should be a cornerstone in every photographers marketing strategy. However, managing your posts, followers and interactions on all platforms can be a challenge, especially as you grow your audience. That is why you should start looking into social media management and automation tools to make your task easier.
It’s essential that you maintain a solid and constant relationship with your audience. You don’t want them to feel neglected. And the more active you are, the more visibility you will get, which will give you more chances to showcase your work and expertise. This is why you should never underestimate how important interactions are and what they can do for your brand.
If we were to recommend one social media management tool, we would go with Hootsuite. Hootsuite is used by thousands of professionals and allows you to track, manage, and automate your social media posts and interactions all in one place. It also allows you to track a wide variety of analytics that will allow you to pinpoint which posts, platforms and strategies work the best.
Information Technology Tools
A photographer will lose points if they have a clearly personal email address instead of a professional one. The best situation is to have a registered domain name that is also your business name, and then having an email address taking the form of “firstname.lastname@example.org”. This requires securing a top-level domain name and setting up your website on that domain. A good web host is critical for photographers, since your visitors will bounce away if your image-rich site takes too long to load. The average mobile user won’t wait more than ten seconds, and you lose around 10% per second.
As a photographer, your images are your business. You can’t afford to lose them. This makes storage space for backups and regular backups essential. Most photographers understand the importance of website design that displays your portfolio in an attractive way, though making the site mobile-friendly and easy to navigate may not be. Whether you take the time to learn how to do these things or hire services to take care of these issues depends on you.
If you aren’t ready to build a professional website on a top-notch web host, look into the WordPress plugins specifically for photographers so that your site is as good as it possibly can be.
However, that is meaningless if people can’t order photos or book appointments. Either integrate the right website modules into the site yourself, find a platform that provides this functionality, or hire a designer to add it to your site.
Search Engine Optimization Tools
A beautiful, functional website is almost meaningless if no one sees it. Search engine optimization or SEO is what you need to do to ensure that potential customers can find your business when they’re searching for someone like you. You can get started on your own by referencing your business name, personal name, brand name and location information throughout your site. SEO tools exist to help you identify the search terms used by prospects to reach your site and determine the search terms your target audience is using. The best tools will give you tips on what terms to add to the page or changes to the site to improve your search engine results page ranking. Remember that local references are what will bring people in your area to your website.
Don’t forget to make your photos more easily found in search. You can’t just post the photos. Put a little descriptive text under each picture and add keyword tags. It isn’t just a wedding photo but a “professional wedding photo by X in city Y”.
Email Marketing Tools
In this day and age, you cannot simply afford to let prospects slip through the cracks and get out without at least trying to get their information for follow ups. Contact information is extremely valuable and is a great way to reach your audience in a more direct way. So, make sure that you add an email capture form on your website and make sure that you build a solid list.
Even a small list could give you tons of exposure and can also help you gain traction for your other platforms as well. Email marketing isn’t as complicated as it seems and there are tons of cheap autoresponder services out there. Just make sure that you pick one that will be scalable and won’t charge you for every different list you have. Also, check if your list can easily be migrated and beware of free offers; there might be some sort of catch on the back end.
While major social media platforms could give you a huge boost when comes the time to promote your pictures, people often neglect other tools that could allow them to showcase their work online. Flickr, for instance, is still very popular and posting your photos on Flickr could get you noticed. Photobucket is another one you could try.
Sites like Coversplash are also a great place to show your work and allow you to set up your own personal portfolio that people will be able to browse through. But the particularity with Coversplash is that creators get to keep 100% of the commission when they make a sale. The platform allows you to sell your pictures from one place and manage the licensing rights easily.
Find the right tools for your business and integrate them into your daily operations, and you’ll find that you earn more money for less effort. And you’ll be free to grow your business.