Open letter to wedding photographers about their websites

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Dear wedding photographers,

I think you're swell but, as a whole, your websites suck.

First of all, turn the freaking music off.

Seriously.

I'm probably looking at your site at work and it's hard to find the off button and I probably don't like the music you picked nor do I care since I didn't come to you for music.

Don't do it — you're going to get a potential client in trouble!

Secondly, it should not take 100 years for your site or gallery to load. The best way to ensure this is to NOT USE FLASH! And while we're on the subject of the gallery, how to move from one picture to another should be obvious to my grandmother and I should be able to peruse the thumbnails.

I should also be able to use the keyboard or the scroller on my mouse to move through the pictures (which is another reason NOT TO USE FLASH!)

Also, I'm pretty sure 75% of you all have the exact same Flash site re-branded. Stop it. Want something inexpensive? Try WordPress with a custom template design. [Editor's note: or even just a good pre-made theme.] And do NOT have your gallery or site pop-up! EVER!

Thirdly, don't have your blog header take up the entire screen. I get confused and think there are no posts or something. And if you don't have a blog with most of your current wedding previews, make one.

Fourthly, tell me how much you cost. I don't care if you do “custom” packages, tell me how much your typical package is and what it includes.

Fifth, I'm probably going to post the photos on facebook. If you have a problem with this, the best way to handle it is to give me lo-res versions of all pictures with your watermark. Then everyone is happy.

Lastly, tell me WHERE YOU LIVE. I totally get that you want to travel and stuff but I'm not looking to pay for that so make it really obvious where you live and shoot weddings generally. Don't make me look up your area code on google. Instead how about say “Chicago Wedding Photographer” instead of just “Wedding Photographer.”

Seriously I love you guys, but weddings are stressful and photography is expensive, so make it a bit easier on us! True I'm already married and had an awesome photographer (with a great website!) but since I have three good friends getting married next year, I now have to look at all the sites again… and it's annoying. It is also true that I develop web sites for a living and am probably more critical than most… but really, I'm trying to help!

Sincerely,
Becca

Comments on Open letter to wedding photographers about their websites

  1. THANK YOU!!!

    Nothing was worse than trying to find a photographer; I ended up throwing up my hands in frustration at the websites and facebooked an old friend from high school who has a facebook page for her photography business. Guess what– no sappy/crappy music, no flash, and price range listed! I hired her as fast as I could, and I am so pleased with her work!

  2. THANK YOU.

    Wedding photographers-
    Do you know how often your GINOMORMOUS PICTURES and endless pages have crashed my internet? So often that when the internet goes down my husband says, “Are you on a wedding photographers website again?” without looking up.

    And if I have to look up you location by googling your area code one more time, I might poke out my eyes. And the times when you move, haven’t changed your area code but still don’t list your location? Awesome.

    I’m not your potential client. But I think you might be pissing your potental clients off. Just sayin’

    Best,
    Meg

    • Uggg. Yes!

      The thing is that a lot of people say they use flash so people don’t steal their photos … but if they would just resize their photos and make them lo-res, it would be less of an issue AND make their site less annoying. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Good call.

  3. This is my photographer’s website, and I think it’s definitely one of the good ones:
    http://www.anneherman.com/

    She’s also incredible, amazing, and extremely talented! Once I get my photos back (it’s only been 2 weeks since the wedding), I’ll be posting a full review of her on the forums. She’s that good. Seriously.

    • when i clicked “next photo” on anne herman’s site, it didn’t go to the next photo. it goes to an incomplete “other resources” page.

      having a site that’s easy to navigate is nice unless it’s otherwise half-baked.

  4. This. Flash is also tripledy bad because it’s not accessibility-friendly. Please do not ever use it!

    I’d also put in a note to be netbook or small-screen friendly. I was doing a lot of looking at websites on the go with my netbook and did run into problems there. ๐Ÿ™

  5. being a bride trying to organise a wedding from over 6,000 miles away is frustrating enough as literally EVERY descision is based on a vendor’s website and reviews of their services… but one of my biggest gripes with photographer websites is the music… thankfully i was able to find a tog who’s website was easy to navigate, and had prices readily displayed. i understand that to some togs with varying packages asking how much they charge is like asking how long a piece of string is, but any togs who didn’t display prices i just ignored…. their loss, unfortunately…

  6. I find this whole discussion quite interesting not only because I’m soon to be engaged, but also because I am a photography student. Starting next week I’ll be building a website for my photos and these tips have been great for me! I can understand what the photographers that replied are saying, but really when you’re in an industry completely support by clients, you’d better listen to what they say!

    • “but really when you’re in an industry completely support by clients, you’d better listen to what they say!”

      I could not agree more. It’s like they wont even consider the advice, more like pleading actually, that we all agree with. I’ve contacted only ONE photographer for prices and it’s because I really love her photos and need to know how much I need to save up. If I get a quote under $2k that would make my year. If it’s over $3k it’s probably time to move on. And if I move on, if no prices are listed, I’ll be moving on from them.

  7. Thank you so much for posting this! I needed to be sneaky about a lot of my planning — my wedding was a surprise — and I dismissed immediately any photographers with music on their sites.
    I also needed different photographers for my engagement photos, my wedding, and my church service. I appreciated knowing where the were up front. I would have loved to use my e-pic photographer for everything but it was simply not cost-effective to pay for her to travel everywhere.
    I also appreciated price ranges and package information on the website. It made comparing them so much easier for someone planning long-distance. I felt that if the photographers could not give me even general information, they did not want my business enough for me to bother contacting them.

  8. Wow, quite the eye opener! As a wedding photographer with a flash site and music I was glad to catch this post. I didn’t realize I was ticking anybody off, I thought I was enhancing the experience. I will kill the music ASAP!

  9. Excellent advice, particularly about the locations. I’ve recently stumbled across a great photographer (who, I must admit, did each and every one of these no-no’s) and I lucked out that he was indeed from my area. I would have been heartbroken to find out otherwise.

  10. OOH! This is super awesome and interesting, mostly because we’re fine-tuning our new, built-in-Wordpress, non-flash based, music-less site. ๐Ÿ™‚ Excellent timing, OBB.

    Honestly, the biggest thing that gets me is photographers not allowing people to put the photos on Facebook. Facebook is like..where half of our traffic even comes from.

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