“In order to be irreplaceable, one must be always different.” - Coco Chanel, French designer.
Over the past few months, the launch of generative A.I. platforms has sparked debates about the relevance of photographers and the future of photography itself. You might find yourself torn between excitement about the possibilities that A.I. offers for generating ideas, and the concern that it poses a threat to the future of your hobby and income opportunities. It's no surprise when you come across stories about apps that are already replacing human photographers.
In this world, where AI-generated images flood social media, companies create fake employee photos, and people hang AI "art" on their walls, the question arises: How can you stand out?
Our answer is simple: You need to capitalise on every opportunity to establish a strong online presence that sets you apart. Don't be just another social media account lost in the crowd. Instead, create a website that reflects your personality, showcases your unique work, and allows you to share your thoughts and make your voice heard. While social media platforms have their role in exposure and networking, having a dedicated website offers numerous advantages that go beyond the limitations of social media.
In an era where visual content dominates, photographers need a dedicated website to showcase their work and build credibility. If you think about it, social media is like your garage where you produce your work, while your website is your studio or office space where you can proudly invite clients. Your website becomes your virtual studio, enabling you to connect, inspire, and leave a lasting impact on both clients and the photography industry as a whole.
When it comes to building a website, many online resources offer guidance on what and how, but they often neglect to explain the "why," which is crucial for photographers who face unique challenges in this process. Since your photographs are both your product and service, ensuring their safety and preventing unauthorised downloads (as we see happening all too often!) is of utmost importance.
You also need to strike a balance between showcasing high-resolution photographs and maintaining a website that loads quickly, considering our increasingly short attention spans. Moreover, how you display your photographs is equally important, particularly considering that people now predominantly use mobile devices to browse websites. If you utilise a gallery, you must ensure it looks and functions well on mobile devices.
Discoverability poses another significant challenge on social media platforms, where countless images are uploaded every second. It can be difficult to stand out in such a vast sea of content. However, a website can be optimised for search engines, making it easier for potential collaborators and clients to find you through targeted keywords. By employing SEO techniques like meta tags and image descriptions, you can significantly enhance your online visibility and expand your reach.
While social media platforms offer convenience and exposure, they lack the level of ownership and control provided by a website. Platforms can change algorithms, policies, or even shut down, potentially erasing years of hard work and valuable connections. Owning a website ensures you have a centralised hub where your content can persist over time, providing stability and long-term sustainability for your passion.
Overall, when done right, a website adds professionalism and credibility to your work in our highly competitive industry. It showcases your dedication to the craft and communicates that you are serious and passionate about what you do.
As photographers ourselves, we have internally developed our Excio platforms and our website, leveraging years of experience. Recognising the lack of information online when it comes to photography websites, we created our "Captivate Online" course, with the second cohort starting on September 4. In this course, we cover all the points raised here, along with unique and interesting information that will help you present your photography in the best light possible.