As much as we talk about how important your business’ unique branding is for your website, the truth is that a custom logo and carefully selected fonts and colors can only do so much to help clients determine whether you’re the right person for the job.
Savvy business owners try to anticipate new clients’ questions and concerns, and address those right on their website. They also have a voice – and while we’re image makers at heart, having a way with words will give clients a sense for who you are as a photographer and overall person. If you keep them interested and they like what they see, you’re that much more likely to get the job.
For all the reasons above and more, it’s only to your advantage to use the extra pages built into your website template provider’s platform so you can add and easily customize pages with additional details about you and your business. The type of information you display will obviously depend on your specialty – for example, fine art photographers might choose to put up details on printing options, while wedding photographers might showcase their package offerings.
Many website providers (like Photoshelter!) offer extra pages alongside the standard portfolio pages on your website, and ideally you won’t need any coding experience to customize them. With Beam, PhotoShelter’s new platform for online portfolio websites, you get an unlimited number of custom pages to do just that.
You have three options to use these “pages” (some are actual pages, while others look like pages but point to an external link):
- Page: Use a standard WYSIWYG editor (similar to what you see in many blogging platforms) or access the HTML code for additional customization.
- Link: Simply link out to an external page such as your blog, your agency representation, etc).
- Menu: Create a dropdown menu that houses other pages.
We’ve rounded up a handful of PhotoShelter members who are using Beam’s new website platform for their portfolios, and taking full advantage of the custom pages feature. Check out a few of our favorites for some inspiration when building your site.
Former Air Force photographer Stacy Pearsall is a highly regarded freelance photographer, author, educator, and public speaker. She’s received numerous honors, such as NPPA’s Military Photographer of the Year, and published two books on her experiences in combat behind the camera.
Stacy has spoken at a number of different events, including the Deloitte National Leadership Conference. She uses one of custom pages to include more information about her speaking engagements, and how interested parties can contact her.
Nature photographer Peter Hewitt spent 30 years as a scientist before rediscovering his love for photography. He sells a variety of prints and products through his PhotoShelter website, and also exhibits at galleries and shows nationwide.
Peter promotes what he calls the “Peter Hewitt Print of the Month Collection” using one of his custom pages. Every month he features a different print matted and framed on 18×24 inch fine art paper. Peter also shares the story behind the image on this page, and links buyers to where they can make purchases. It’s an effective way to drive more print sales.
Award-winning flower and landscape photographer Yvonne Boyd sells prints of her work primarily to private collectors and commercial clients.
To avoid confusion on how to order prints from her website, Yvonne customized one of her website’s pages to include details on limited edition prints, shipping, and more.
Dean Oros works as both a commercial and lifestyle and wedding photographer. His clients include private commissioners, art collector, and corporations.
Dean also offers photography workshops in Toronto for beginner SLR camera users. He uses one of his custom pages to promote the workshop (called Foto Skool), and has used basic HTML to include images, videos, and even a registration form.
German photojournalist Benjamin Hiller has an impressive list of editorial clients worldwide. While he also includes the list on his About page, Benjamin takes advantage of a linked custom page to direct visitors to a gallery featuring tearsheets of his published work.
Here, Benjamin is linking directly to one of his PhotoShelter galleries where he’s uploaded PDFs of his tearsheets. It’s a great way to show off your previous work and help potential new clients visualize how your work could be a good fit for them.
Rick Brown worked in biotech for much of his life before returning to pursue photography full-time. Moose Photos contains his wildlife stock imagery, including architecture, landscapes, and macro work.
To help direct visitors to his social media – specifically Google+ and Facebook – Rick customized a dropdown menu on his new Beam site and included links out to his pages. Every Beam website comes social media sharing buttons for your visitors to share your galleries and images to their social media accounts, so this is an easy way to make sure visitors are also aware of your social media presence.
UK-based photographer Neil Alexander shoots commercial, lifestyle, and travel photography. He’s an avid blogger and sends out a monthly newsletter that contains discounts on prints and giveaways.
Using basic HTML, Neil built a newsletter signup page where visitors can enter their contact information and get on his list. He directs people here by linking out to the signup page from his main navigation.
Swiss freelance photographer Andreas Mueller’s passion lies in nature and travel photography. His marine and underwater work has been published on diving and traveling blogs. Andreas’ photobook, The Heart Of The Coral Triangle, features his expedition to some of the most remote scuba diving locations in South East Asia.
Andreas uses one of his custom pages to highlight his photobook, and drive visitors to his Blurb page where they can purchase it. The custom page even includes an embedded slideshow from his Blurb site that lets visitors preview the book.
General tips for custom pages
- Custom pages feature a WYSIWYG editor – hover over the various icons for a tool tip on what each one does (font color, paragraph styling, etc.).
- The menu option is great for grouping together relevant pages – i.e. links to your social media pages or links to specific images for which you’re offering limited edition prints or stock images.
- To add an image to the WYSIWG editor on a custom page, follow these steps:
1) Upload the image(s) to an unlisted but visible to “everyone” gallery in your Image Browser. Make sure the images are marked as “searchable” (indicated by the magnifying glass in the right pane of the Image Browser).
2) Select the image in the center pane and click the Actions dropdown, then select “Embed”.
3) Copy the code next to Image Link.
4) Return to the WYSIWG editor and click the icon for inserting images. Paste the code, and delete everything but the link.
5) Click “Insert”. You can change the placement of the image (i.e. Left, Center, Right alignment) by clicking on the image. You can also link the image to another page.
- You can link to any of the Archive pages in your main nav. Simply copy the link from the page you’d like to link to (for example, Client Login or Gallery List pages), and create a new custom page that links out.
- You can embed any number of different content feeds, as long as the app makes the embed code available. A great example is Twitter. Log into your Twitter account and head over to Settings>Widgets. Click “Create New”, choose your configuration options, and then grab the embed code. You can input this into the HTML of your custom page’s WYSIWG editor.
For more information on custom pages and customizing your Beam site with PhotoShelter, please visit our Beam FAQs page. As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.