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Tuesdays Tip

Search engine optimization, also known as SEO, is more important now than ever. Simply defined, SEO is the ability for online search engines to recognize your site through proper indexing. With a sound SEO strategy, you will be able to organically drive customers to your business, based on keywords and common search terms.

With a saturated marketplace, it is often challenging to drive your desired client base to your website. It is proven that just about 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results (imFORZA), so it is absolutely vital that you stay on top of your SEO game. Getting your site boosted in search engine results will result in a free rise in traffic to your website.

liveBooks takes the guesswork out of your SEO strategy. Our SEO EVERYTHING™ tool is here to help boost your online visibility, allowing users to connect with your site organically. Easily add title tags, page and image descriptions, and keywords to every aspect of your site. From your homepage, down to individual images, your site will be working to ensure that the right customers are seeing your site in their search engine results.

SEO EVERYTHING™ OVERVIEW

Quickly add tags, descriptions, keywords, image alt text and more to your website so that your site is easily searchable and indexed properly, resulting in increased traffic from search engines.

IMAGE/PAGE LEVEL

Add a title, description, keyword, and even a photo credit to every image on your site to ensure search engines can crawl all of your content.

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  • Title Tag – add words and phrases to explain to search engines what your website is all about, ensuring that you come up under the appropriate search term
  • Description Tag – provide concise explanations of the content of your web page for search engines to crawl through
  • Keywords – add words or phrases, relevant to your business, to be crawled and cataloged by search engines
  • Navigation Label – change the navigation label on your site’s URLs to specific pages on your website
    • For example, yoursite.com/about-us can be changed to yoursite.com/abouttheteam
  • Page Indexing – allow search engines to index your page
  • Follow Links – allow search engines to follow links on your page
  • Canonical Links – if someone tries to copy your content and paste it on their website, search engines will still recognize you as the primary owner of the content. This is especially important for websites that are constantly generating new, fresh content!

SITE LEVEL

Your liveBooks8 site will allow you to edit your site title, site description, set your search settings, and choose the most accurate Schema.org organization type to help search engines better index and leverage your content.

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  • Site Title – edit how the title of your website appears in search engine result lists
  • Description – edit how the description of your web pages appears in search engine result lists
  • Option Edit Search Settings – site verification codes help validate your identity to third-party sites and services such as Google, Bing, Pinterest, and Twitter
  • Schema.org – choose the most accurate schema.org organization type for your site to help search engines better index and leverage your content

We’ve discussed the importance of branding for your business and finding your unique voice. One incredibly important aspect of that branding is designing a fantastic logo that potential clients will begin to recognize and associate with your business. In this post we will outline a few things to keep in mind when designing your logo.

Style

In the photography industry your images are always going to be the most important aspect of your business, however your logo is an important indicator of your style and can have an impact on a potential client’s decision to work with your or not. Make sure that your logo is reflective of your overall style and is consistent with the way you want your audience to view your business. For instance, different font treatments, colors, and designs can automatically evoke a certain emotional response from a viewer. Commercial and editorial photographers typically have a simpler logo with a specific font and maybe one or two design elements thrown in that speaks to their professionalism. A wedding photographer, for example, might have a more elaborate logo design and graphics that speaks to the emotional nature of their clients. Whatever your niche, it is important to remember that a logo is a graphical representation of the style of your work.

Bonus: just in case you are designing your logo yourself, FontSpace, Fonts, and dafont all offer free or low license rate fonts to help you spruce up your logo design.

Color, Size, and Placement

Much like deciding whether your images will have a greater impact in color or black and white, the decision to use color in your logo design should be approached in the same manner. If your logo design has a lot of graphics in the background, using color will make those graphics more prominent; if your logo is a simpler design that features either just your name or the name of your business, a black and white color scale may make more sense.

In the same vein, deciding on the size of your logo will also be important. Keep in mind that no matter how stellar, cool, and unique your logo turns out to be, a potential client’s focus when looking at your website or marketing materials should be on your images. Your logo should not only serve as a supplement and a reinforcement of your photography and therefore should not overwhelm or take over the entire page or website.

Lastly, deciding on the placement of your logo within your website will also be integral. Does it have more impact being used as the background for your splash page when a user first lands on your site? Or do you simply want it placed in a small portion of the upper right/left corner of your website? Whatever you ultimately decide, your editSuite and our Support Team allows you the ability to customize the placement of your logo to fit your needs.

What Does Your Logo Mean?

Much like every image you capture, every logo should tell a story – even if it’s just to you. It’s important that you are able to articulate why you chose the logo design that you did, what it means to you, and what message you want it to send to your clients. A good exercise to try is writing down three words or ideas to describe your business or style. Once you have a few logo designs that you are deciding between, ask some friends and family (who will give you an honest, objective opinion) to look at the designs and write down the words that come to mind when they view each logo. If you find that some of the words they use match-up with the descriptions you’ve written about your business, you’ll know which logo is on the right track.

Be Consistent

While many businesses (especially ones that have been around for many years) go through re-branding, it is important that you are not changing your logo all the time. In order for potential clients to really associate your logo with your brand, it needs to remain consistent and have time to become recognizable.

Ultimately, whether you design your own logo yourself or hire a graphic designer, having a logo for your business is an incredibly important aspect of establishing your brand and professionalism. What other tips do you have for designing a logo?

Posted in Business / Marketing

You spend hours upon hours getting the perfect photo. You love everything about it and can’t wait to showcase it everywhere possible – your website, blog, Facebook, Instagram, Google+. Then your worst nightmare as a photographer happens – a few months later you notice your photo is being shared around, but with absolutely no credit to you as the photographer. In the digital age we’re living in, this scenario happens all too often. How do you protect yourself against this type of situation? Watermarking images is a constant debate in the creative community. In this post we will explore the pros and cons of watermarking. We will also lay out a few other easy options to protect your work.

Pros of Using Watermarks

Beyond helping to protect your images from theft, watermarking your images can serve a few other purposes:

  • Free Marketing – Photos get shared on the internet (and social media) at an alarming rate. Having your logo, name, or website URL in a subtle place on the photo can act as free advertising for you. This is especially effective for wedding and portrait photographers; people will always share their wedding or family photos on their personal social media pages, which in turn goes out to all of their friends, and their friends’ friends. Having that watermark not only gives you credit, but drives potential customers to your work.
  • Professionalism: Watermarks (if done correctly) have the ability to make your photos look more professional. Watermarking adds a layer of commercial into your work and can help establish your branding, especially if you have worked hard to design your logo and want it to be immediately recognizable.

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Cons of Using Watermarks:

  • Distraction – If a watermark is not subtle enough, it can distract the viewer from the main subject of your photo and can sometimes look amateurish, cheap, or arrogant.
  • Doesn’t Always Protect Your Images – While watermarking does add an extra step for would-be thieves, it does not completely protect your photos. Even someone with very little Photoshop experience can easily remove most watermarks from images and pass them off as their own.
  • Less Sharing – Watermarks are a great way to get some additional advertising for free; however, people are less likely to share heavily watermarked images on their social media accounts. Furthermore, the people who are most likely to steal your photos probably never had the intention of paying for them in the first place, watermark or not.

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Watermarking the Right Way:

In an effort to combine the best of both worlds, here are some quick tips for watermarking your images in a way that allows you to enjoy all of the pros and experience few of the cons.

  • Subtlety Is Key – Place your watermark in the bottom right-hand corner with a low opacity. This method mimics what famous artists such as Picasso have done in the past to sign their work unobtrusively.
  • Class It Up – Another option is to place a strip at the bottom of your image that brands your name with a nice font but isn’t disrupting the actual photo itself.
  • Don’t Overload – Having your name, website URL, logo, copyright symbol, etc is overload for a watermark. Choose one of these items (your URL is a great way to drive people to where you actually sell your  photos!) and use only that on the image.
  • Hide Your Logo – If you want to get really fancy, you can incorporate your logo into the photo somewhere where only you can find it. This will probably only work if the images you create are very unique, less so for everyday photos.

Other Alternatives:

Let’s take a look at some easy alternatives to watermarking your images that will still provide you some protection from theft.

  • Don’t Upload a Full-Resolution Photo Online – For social media sites where sharing is rampant, this is extremely important and in the event that your work is stolen, will be an easy way to prove the original work was yours. If you sell your photos or prints on your website, you can always upload higher-resolution files there.
  • Utilize Your Camera – Most DSLR cameras will allow you  to add some metadata directly into your photography via a menu on your camera settings. This can help make sure that every shot you take has your name, copyright, and URL injected straight into the digital thread of your image.
  • Description + Google Alerts – Most digital thieves will not bother to rename your photos, so using a description that is personal to you and setting up a Google Alert for that exact description can help let you know immediately if someone has tried to publish your work online.

Lastly, make sure you are educated on the tools out there to help you keep track of your images. TinEye is a service that allows you to submit an image to find out where it came from, how it is being used, and if modified versions of the image exist. Google Image Search is also an easy and free way to track your images – you can enter the URL or upload your image to see where it’s been or see any images that look similar to it. Whether you choose to watermark your images or not, it is always best to make sure you register your photos with the US Copyright Office.

Sources:

Why You Shouldn’t Watermark Your Photos

The Pros and Cons of Watermarks

To Watermark, or Not to Watermark?

How to Protect Your Photography Online

Watermarking Your Images: Pros & Cons

 

Many professional photographers start out taking photos as a hobby or a creative outlet. At some point, you realize that your talent is too good to be limited to a few nights and weekends here and there, and take the leap to becoming a full-time professional photographer. Starting your own business can be challenging. Once something goes from a hobby to a livelihood it’s easy to get lost among all the things that need to get done. Building your photography brand and voice is an extremely important piece of creating a successful business. Here are some tips to help you build your photography brand while still enjoying what made you take that leap in the first place: capturing amazing images.

Take photos because it makes you happy

One of the best ways to find your voice and build your brand is to always remember to take photos because it makes you happy – not because you need to sell them. This may seem intuitive, but many times photographers will spend so much energy researching the perfect equipment and collecting different lenses that they forget to step back and enjoy taking pictures. Having fun, trying new things and exploring will naturally bring out the creativity in you and lead to some of your best work. Plus, taking beautiful photographs comes from the heart – trying to “force” a perfect image for the sole purpose of selling it will probably result in a lot of frustration. Bottom line: if you do it because you love it and it makes you happy, people will feel more of a personal connection to the pictures you capture, in turn helping you to build a consistent voice and brand.

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Study your previous work

Chances are that if you’ve been photographing for a while (professionally, or otherwise) you have thousands of photos to look through. If you are just starting out with your business, devote some time to studying all of your previous work. Try to find common themes in your images – do you tend to like a certain time of day best? Do you prefer shooting people or landscapes? Do you prefer candid shots, or giving your subjects more direction to stage the perfect image? Once you’ve determined some common themes, this will give you a better idea of how to brand yourself and describe the type of work you do to others.

Build your portfolio to reflect your brand and voice

Studying your previous work is also the best way to start building your professional portfolio. Once you’ve landed on common themes in your work, figure out which photos you’ve taken that have garnered the most responses out of people in the past. Utilize social media. It is probably pretty likely that you have posted your previous work to some social media outlet at some point or another. It would be very simple yet extremely beneficial for you to go back and look at the comments people made on the photos that you shared. Which ones resonated the most with your audience? Which ones got the most attention, likes, shares, or engagement? This will help you determine your best work and what should ultimately make the final cut for your professional portfolio.

Write a stellar ‘About’ page that shows off your brand and voice

While most of your brand and voice is going to be conveyed through your images, being able to show off your personality through your website’s ‘About’ section is also very important. The ‘About’ page is most likely the first time a potential client is really “meeting” you – and it will set the tone for all your written communication with your clients. Whether you decide to use that space to talk about the inspiration for your work, your camera gear, or your personal journey as a photographer or creative – what you decide to say and how you say it will tell a potential client a lot about the way you do business.

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Don’t kill your creativity

So much of your voice and brand as a photographer comes from your creativity and is what makes you unique and sets you apart. Sometimes, when photographers start to take photos for a living, they become perfectionists – always critiquing and criticizing their work. Constructive criticism is definitely a good way to learn and grow, but too much of it can cause you to shut yourself down as a photographer. Some of the best and most famous photos have some technically “imperfect” aspects, and yet those are part of what has made them so fantastic. Don’t lose sight of your voice in an attempt to create an image that everyone else will love – focus on why you love it.

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What other tips have you employed over the years to help build a successful photography brand? We’d love to know!

 

How to Find Your Unique Voice as a Photographer


Four Tips to Finding Your Photography Voice

 

 

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