After your Home Page, the About Me is the next most visited page so it’s just as important to nail this one. Photographers often suck at writing this bit so here are Lisa’s tips on how to create a really appealing About Me page.[private] So they were wowed by your awesome home page and now they want to find out a bit more about you and what makes you tick. This is a good thing ~ if you read the site map on your google analytics and see that visitors are not just clicking straight onto the pricing then give yourself a pat on the back as it means they are engaging with you, so let’s not lose them at this stage with a lacklustre apology for a biography. When Melissa is designing websites, she says that she is always waiting for photographers to send over this last bit of content… they just hate writing about themselves or photos of themselves. I admit, I’m the same but I was aware that this section is pretty important and could make or break that couple deciding if they wanted to get in touch with you. So once we get over the fear, how can we create a killer About Me?
Cover The Basics
Forgive me if this sounds obvious but so many photographers’ sites that I look at leave out the essential bits of info that people want to know. First up… we need your name! If your site is not Lisa Devlin Photography, like mine (it’s Devlin Photos) then start by stating your name ~ ‘Hi, I’m Lisa Devlin…’ so they are clear straight away who they are dealing with. Don’t assume anyone will know your name, especially if you have a company name that is nothing to do with your actual name. For instance, Adam’s wedding photography business is Viva Wedding Photography but his biography starts with ‘My name is Adam Bronkhorst.’ Don’t make them work for the information and don’t come across as too vague. This is where you need to make an impression and quickly, remember they will most likely be surfing several sites. Also make it clear where you are based, even if you would travel the world shooting weddings, it is helpful to tell people where you live so they can take that into consideration.
Show Your Face
Again, us photographers often hate this bit but people relate to faces. You don’t have to cover your site in pictures of yourself as that will make you look like an egomaniac but it is also a little suspicious to have none. Let folk see what you look like, we all have photography friends who can help us with head-shots so maybe arrange a shoot swap with a mate. Bear in mind that the shot needs to be friendly but it’s fine to show your true personality. If you are quiet and shy, then express that, if you are more extrovert then let’s see that, just be true to yourself but friendly. People will be spending a large part of a very big day with you so they need to like you!
Invest in a Film
Video works incredibly well for your About Me section as they can get a sense of who you are and how you might be on the day. Since adding video to my site, I book around 95% of my clients without any meetings. It just shows me working with a couple at their engagement shoot with a little bit of a voice over from me. I guess that people feel they know me and what to expect if we work together. I used to be rubbish at being filmed but the more you do it, the easier it gets. Again this is the place to show your true personality, don’t try to be all zany if that is not the real you. Work with your film maker to plan the shoot and what you want to get across. Writing bullet points to refer to will help you to focus and not ramble or lose your train of thought. Try to pause at the end of each sentence or two as this will make it easier to edit the film.
Show Don’t Tell
I have explored this topic before and wrote an article on how to Write Your About Me like a Dating Profile. One of the tips that resounded with me the most was show people what you are like don’t tell them. EVERYBODY says they have a GSOH on their dating profiles but that engages nobody ~ Instead write something funny. I think a great example is Jonas Peterson who lists his many achievements and attributes in the third person, then says… ‘He also finds it absolutely ludicrous writing about himself in third person.’ So although he sounds a little pompous to begin with, he then endears himself by showing he doesn’t take it all too seriously. It’s the same with any part of your personality that you want to put across, are you kooky? Write in that style, serious? Then show that. I would recommend that you write in the first person but avoid starting all your sentences with I. Maybe even attempt to write it without beginning any sentence with I. Try to project yourself into their wedding when you talk about how you work.. so instead of “If I shoot your wedding, I like to have half an hour to shoot portraits” twist it round as if you are already there “When we go off for your portraits, it works really well to have around 30 minutes to shoot. We can use a couple of locations and enjoy the time away from the hustle and bustle of your wedding”. By using ‘you’ and ‘your’ more than ‘I’ you are already planting the seed of the thought that you will be there on the day and not come across as if you are making demands or might try to dominate events.
Be Your Own PR Agent
Now not many of us could afford to actually hire a PR agent but we do need to think like one when it comes to writing about ourselves. People don’t really want to read about where you went to school or about you first picking up a camera at the age of three. They have come here because they want to get to know you a little and what their projected experience with you might be like. So express what you are about now.. how you like to work, what you do when not working, what causes you stand for or accolades you have. Nobody else is going to shout about this stuff so you have to. If you feel really uncomfortable writing about yourself in any celebratory way.. then one trick is write it freely as if it was about someone else … so imagine you are a totally over the top PR agent with big shoulder pads on and you have this client who is a photographer then write an exaggerated version.. reign that back in by about 40% and it is probably about sparky enough.
Short & Sweet
It is a proven fact that people do not engage with lots of text online.. they will merrily watch 3 minutes of video content but not read for three minutes on a topic that doesn’t really grab them. So if you don’t fancy the video route, then bear in mind that your bio should be no more than a paragraph or a few short paragraphs. If you feel you want to say more then put that in an additional section or PDF with your rates. Mine says ~
Hi, I’m Lisa Devlin… I’m based in Brighton and was a music industry photographer before switching to weddings. I was the first wedding photographer to be given an award by the revered British Journal of Photography. Eeek! My work is pretty alternative, natural and emotional and I am considered to be part of the New Wave of British Wedding Photographers. To find out more, read this interview on the amazing Rock n Roll Bride or watch these ace films by my mate Rich.
Finally if you get really stuck, then revert to what you are strongest at… photos! Some of the best photographer’s About Me pages that I have seen use images to express what they are about. I’d love to see some of your About Me sections, if you think you nailed it or think you need a fresh pair of eyes on it then add your links below. [/private]