Hi there, I'm Manali! A wedding & portrait photographer serving DC, VA & Worldwide. Click through for all my favorites from recent sessions, adventures and travels, as well as tips & tricks for clients! Grab a cup of coffee, relax, and feel free to connect with me elsewhere as well! Cheers to you!
Manali Photography is a wedding & couples' photography business based out of Washington D.C. and Charlottesville, VA. When she's not making couples laugh or editing for the fastest turnaround time you ever did see, you might find her with family & friends at a vineyard with cheese & rosé to share! Cheers!!
As critical as it is to show up on social platforms to market your business, I think one of the most overlooked essential components of marketing is actually YOUR WEBSITE! Think about it, your website is your online home where you can publish your best work, have potential clients get to know you better, provide information about your services & offerings and allow interested clients to get in touch with you! A good website signifies that you’re established, your business is still running and gives your clients a feel for what working with you will be like!
Putting together your website for the first time can definitely be a daunting task, but I encourage you to work on it page by page! Even if you’re updating your site, I’ve found that updating one page at a time is so much easier than trying to overhaul the entire site at once and hitting LAUNCH! I’ve actually made updating my website a part of my weekly routine so that I’m constantly improving and tweaking things for the better! Here’s a couple of things that I’ve found are ESSENTIAL to a great website!
ORDER YOUR NAV BAR STRATEGICALLY
By ordering your navigation bar, you somewhat can provide your potential clients an easy to follow map or guide through your website pages! This shows in the way that you want your clients to get to know about you and your services!
Your about picture should first and foremost have a picture of YOU or you and your team! And it should be one of you LOOKING into the camera, not hidden behind something or your silhouette or something artsy where people can’t see your face and your eyes! Trust is established through looking someone in the eye! It’s important that people know the FACE and the person behind the camera as well!Some people choose to share how they got into photography, their brand mission, or why they love photography which are all great things to include about you and your story! However, your potential clients (unless they’re photographers themselves) are not going to connect and be able to relate as much as they’ll relate to little tidbits about you that don’t have to do with your business!This is definitely going the route of running a business very personally but I found that this has worked really well for me! It helps clients feel more like friends which happens to make the experience better for them AND me! And I think the starts at the very beginning from how I post online where they might find me! Establishing a personal connection with your clients makes you stand out among a saturated market!
Show what you want to shoot! This can definitely be tough when you’re first starting out and taking pretty much anything you can to build your portfolio. BUT putting forth your best work (even if you don’t have a full portfolio yet) will attract customers with your style and will help push your business forward!When you’re first starting out, or if you happen to shoot a wedding that’s totally in line with your brand aesthetic, I think it’s totally OK to use multiple images from the same wedding! Too many might be overkill but if you’re really strategic you can use different parts of the wedding without it seeming like TOO much! For example, I have a ring shot, pictures of florals as well as a bride & groom portrait that are all from the SAME wedding in my portfolio but you wouldn’t be able to tell that they were all taken on the same day!My biggest tip for a killer website is to take the time to update it WEEKLY!! I’ve built this into both my weekly routine as well as my workflow for each shoot! I’m constantly updating both my portfolio as well separate website pages THROUGHOUT the year, even during the busy season, to make sure it matches the level of my work and my brand as I keep refining those both!
BLOG WITH FRESH CONTENT
I might put a lot of weight into this over other photographers but I full heartedly believe that you should keep your blog up and running and be consistently creating content for it! It definitely takes a lot of planning, time and energy to blog each shoot on top of actually shooting & editing but I’ve also seen the result of all that hard work. Blogging has done WONDERS for growing my business! Not only does it make each client feel special and unique, showcase future clients the TYPE of people I love working with, keep you top of mind for people that might know someone that needs a wedding photographer but also it demonstrates that your business is alive and thriving to potential customers on your website! If you’re busy and in-demand, that automatically increases your value since you can only take a limited number of sessions each year!! Plus, it gives potential customers PROOF that you do what you do WELL and with a lot of HEART as well and gives them a peek into what their pictures will look like AS WELL as what the experience with you is going to FEEL like which can be equally as important!!If you need even more reasons to blog, I hear it’s great for upping your SEO over time and that Google goes through your website each time you publish a blog post! I could probably write an entire blog post JUST about why blogging is still a great idea and show you proof that it’s not “dead” like some people THINK it is!!
INVESTMENT & INFO
There’s a lot of debate about this in the wedding industry and I think ultimately this is a decision you have to make for yourself in your business, but I’m just going off of what works best FOR ME and my business and that I think could help you out! I always include my starting prices on my website! I always want to have a ballpark of an estimate instead of guessing as a consumer myself!Plus, my wedding clients are BUSYYYY guys! They have so much planning to do and are meeting with so many vendors in a really short period of time and trying to finalize basic details for their wedding! AKA they don’t have time to waste! The saddest thing is when you hop on a call or meet with a couple in person and happen to be a great fit only to realize you are so far out of their budget range that they’d never be able to work with you and comfortably stay within their budget! Pretty sad, right? Putting my starting price up on my website helps qualify my leads as within budget and so when I meet with people they’re almost ready to book!
DESIGN & AESTHETICS
Three words for you here: LESS IS MORE! I definitely have learned this the hard way!! If you take a look at the branding of higher end shops & boutiques, you’ll notice that a lot of them incorporate a lot of white space and margin (and WHITE floors / interior / etc.)! Sure they’ll have pops of color here and there but they let their products be the main focus in their store and don’t have a lot of distracting elements in the spaceAlso, I suggest sticking with TWO complimentary fonts & colors to base your entire site around! This provides simplicity and consistency across the board! When in doubt, SIMPLIFY! And along with this idea, more and more recently people have stopped reading as much text on pages. If you check the amount of time people spend on a page, you’ll be shocked to find just how little it is! So, I’d avoid having really lengthy paragraphs and stick to the point as much as possible! This is something I’m still definitely working on seeing as from the length of my blog posts, you guys know I type A LOT!
This is the one thing I see where a lot of creatives can up their game on for their website! Make it easy for people to get in touch with you!!! This means putting your contact form on several (if not all) of your website pages! If you go through my website you’ll see that my contact form is at the bottom of every single page with the exception of my blog!Also, go ahead and post your email address so people can reach out directly if needed! Sometimes I find it a little difficult to reach out to vendors with photos from an event we worked together if they don’t include their email address on their website in an easily accessible place! Make it EASY for people to reach out to you as needed!Here’s a couple of essentials I always ask for on my contact form. If I get an inquiry from somewhere OTHER than my website (and trust me, I get inquiries from literally every communication platform that I’m on), I always funnel them to my contact form so that I can get all the details that I need to respond back to them in a comprehensive manner and can cut back and forth emails trying to source details that I need to provide them with a great response back! I always ask for the following things:Bride AND Groom’s Names – Addressing by their names is a good personal touch to include in the email response back! The sweetest word in any language is your NAME so I make sure to include their names at least twice in the email back!
Date – This lets me ensure that I’m available to shoot their wedding or refer them to other photographer friends!
Venue – This helps me decide if I need to include additional costs to cover travel within my initial quote of their investment with me
Email – If you have space have people double confirm this!
Referral Source – This helps you track analytics on WHERE your leads are coming from which helps determine where to spend your time marketing! Also, when possible, I like to always send a kind little note to people that refer me to their friends because I always SUPER appreciate it!!
About Wedding / Event – Generally I can tell how strong of a lead is by what people type here! This tells me if people are just looking for a photographer based on price or if they’re looking for a personal connection with their photographer as well as a general aesthetic/style they’re going for! I also use this to email back and write about what strikes me as unique about their wedding because I’m always interested in the details! It provides points of connection I can make with my client which helps me stand out among other people that they’re reaching out to as well!
That’s all I’ve got for today but I hope this helps with the next time you revamp your website! Let me know if there’s any other tried and true tricks you guys have for a great website that converts potential leads into loyal customers down below!
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