Standing out as a photographer is tough. To get noticed, you’re going to need more than great content. You’re going to need a strategy.
Submitting your photos to the right website gives you the opportunity to curate, present and share your content. Importantly, you will reach key networks of prospective clients, other professionals and enthusiasts.
[Note: ExpertPhotography is supported by readers. Product links on ExpertPhotography are referral links. If you use one of these and buy something, we make a little bit of money. Need more info? See how it all works here. — Ed.]
SmugMug’s main strength lies in the vast degree of customisable features. Content is always king. SmugMug allows you to add a personalised flair to your portfolio. This way, you can express your individual style and stand out from the crowd.
SmugMug has over 70 themes, easy user interface and high-resolution, full-screen photo display options. There’s almost an endless array of ways to organise your portfolio.
The site is also strong on its wealth of sharing functions. For every photo or text section on your profile, you can get a custom URL that clicks through directly to a ‘buy’ page.
You can also get a link for each photo you upload to that will let you embed it into any of your other blogs or websites.
Make sure to publish SmugMug content on your Google+ profile. It’ll help build what Google calls your ‘author profile’. This will boost your credibility when people search for you using Google.
Like SmugMug, 500px’s user interface is accessible and allows for high-resolution photo display.
500px may offer less customisable features. But it is a popular networking tool amongst professionals.
Thanks to its new networking features, you can stay up-to-date about your competition as well.
This transparency is not to be underestimated. You’ve got unlimited access to what you’re competition is doing and how people are reacting to their work.
You can see what’s popular and what products people want to buy. You can also identify gaps in what’s being produced.
Plus, the site lets you directly get in touch with others. Reach out and introduce yourself to other photographers whose work you like. Or get in touch with someone you may want to work with.
Perhaps they have an industry lead you could pursue. Or they have a particular photo that is generating a lot of attention. Why don’t you get in touch and ask how they took it?
SlickPic has similar features to SmugMug and 500px. It is sharable, easy to use and allows for full-screen photo display that’s easy to scroll through.
Again, you’re able to make your own customised gallery. You are also able to batch upload your images from a camera phone or email. You can also upload video clips.
SlickPic’s secret weapon are the labels you can add to your page. This might not seem revolutionary. But labels are useful.
People are drawn to things that they’re told are popular. You can organise your work with labels like ‘most popular’. This way, you’re directing your audience through your site by showing them that other people want to be there too.
Support this with some clever social media shares (i.e. “Most popular picture on my site this week, what do you think?”) and you might go viral.
As with 500px, SlickPic is a very social site. Visit other profiles, comment and connect with other minds in your industry. Remember: online, your profile is clickable from everything you do.
Zenfolio wins awards. It is a website for your photos, a mobile website and a photoblog. It also allows you to customise your content in many ways. The page designs are minimal and allow easy organisation of your pictures.
When you build a site, Zenfolio automatically submits it to all major search engines. It offers advice on how to organise your page to rank higher.
You can monitor traffic to your page, and figure out what kinds of people are looking at your work. From here, you can get crafty in connecting with them.
What’s more, Zenfolio allows you to list your profile on Photographer Central, a professional photography directory. From here, new clients can search and contact you directly.
You can add ‘share’ buttons for all your social media profiles on all your pages. Plus, you can set up an e-commerce function on your website and mobile site for up to 500 of your photos.
jAlbum is more like software than a website. But it is a useful asset in building yourself a profile.
jAlbum lets you present your photos as groups of albums. You can host them on the jAlbum site. Or you can decide to upload them onto any other site on the web.
This is quite useful if you want to pitch a particular photo project or showcase a particular part of your portfolio.
You can add text pages to your jAlbum site. And you can also include a shopping cart function that lets you sell the work you put up.
Like Zenfolio, jAlbum carries a bit of industry prestige. It has been mentioned in key magazines PhotoPro, Shutterbug and Photo Life.
jAlbum isn’t as strong in network building as 500px or SlickPic. But it is a very strong profile site that lets you get into the nitty-gritty of curating your work as groups of photos and projects. It also allows you to share them in an easy way.
This degree of creative control gives you the tools to showcase your work in a variety of different ways.
The main strength of Google Photos is that it’s a Google brainchild, and so can be directly linked to your Google+ account. This is quite useful in making your content rank higher in Google searches.
When you publish content that’s linked to your Google+ account, it adds content to your Google author profile. As that grows, Google begins to trust you more as a producer of quality content rather than spam. This way, you’ll rank higher in Google searches.
Of course, there’s more to ranking higher in Google than using Google Photos. But it’s free and will help your cause. There’s not much of a reason not to use it.
Google Photos leans more towards social photo-sharing than plugging your work in a professional way. But it is a useful additional profile to build up and maintain to gain some extra traction.
You can also create high-quality picture collages with customisable colour options. You can use these to craft decorative pieces you might use to head a pitch. Or use them as a decorative header for one of your other social media profiles.
Your work is more than a collection of your ideas. Together, you’re a brand and a personality.
With the curation, design, networking and sharing platforms these sites offer, you’ve got what you need to make your work stand out.
It takes more than just having a blog to make things happen. It will take time, effort and patience. But if you are consistent and keep adding content regularly, you’ll start to see things happen.
For all the best social media knowledge, check out our ebook – Social Success Strategies!