Writing about their artwork is something every artist struggles with, so if you’re a photographer trying to do the content writing for your photography website (not your blog, that's totally different) and you’re feeling like a deer in headlights, you’re not alone! It takes a lot of thought, reviews and drafts to come up with the perfect statement about your photography to convey to potential clients and collectors, but there are some simple steps to help get you moving in the right direction and writing great content for your site that will connect with an audience who values your work.
Why is it important to have a statement; doesn’t my work speak for itself?
Short answer: no, it doesn’t. Especially if you’re an art photographer, you need to draft an artist's statement to go with your work for viewers to read. Secondly, potential clients and collectors want to read what you have to say about your work to know that you are on the same wavelength. Most importantly, written content is important for SEO reasons. If you have a bunch of web pages full of gorgeous images but no content, it’s hurting your site authority, increasing your bounce rate, and a lack of written content is making it harder for search engines to understand your page to help return it in search results. So you need to be writing about your work no matter how hard it is.
On to the good stuff. When writing about your photography, there are some key things that can help jumpstart you and getting good, meaningful content on your site.
Materials & Method – What are you using to create the work and what kinds of methods do you employ to create the work? Are you a studio photographer with a full client closet and props? Do you shoot only digital or with film? Are you strictly a natural light photographer, or do you come equipped with a full OCF setup? If you’re an art photographer what kinds of preparations do you take to find or stage your photos? These are just a few examples of the kinds of questions that Materials & Methods addresses.
Motivation – Why do you do what you do? Here, I don’t mean why you became a photographer; I mean why do you do the specific photography you do. This will take some soul searching and is the part of the statement that most artists struggle with the hardest. My best advice here is to keep asking yourself “why?” because the first answer is usually too easy and almost never worded in the best way. Write multiple drafts and highlight phrases that you really love and then make brainstorming webs based on those phrases to launch you into the next draft. Keep writing about this until you find yourself writing the same things over again; that generally means you've arrived.
Be Descriptive & Emotive – The whole point of writing this content is to captivate and connect with the clients and collectors you are trying to sell to. You need to use words that accurately describe your work and make the client really feel your work. Don’t be too esoteric with the words that you choose, but don’t be afraid to be bold in your word choice to grab attention. Get a thesaurus and a dictionary because you will be surprised how much you really did NOT understand the English language before writing website content and word choice matters. There is an emotive difference between the words "connection" and "bond."
Get it Peer Reviewed – This is the biggest hurdle for a lot of people, and where I’ve seen a lot of artists throw their hands up in frustration. It’s used to be hard to find people to review your writing with your work, but with websites and the dawn of internet groups, it’s really easy now! The next thing that you need to realize as an artist is that just because you write it, doesn’t make it so. You need to make sure that the content you wrote matches what your work says to viewers. So if the feedback you get indicates that your images and content don’t align, you need to revisit if you should adjust the content you wrote or evolve your work to reflect your content if you’re really dedicated to the ideas you wrote.
Well, there you have it, my big tips to get you launched into writing website content / your photographer's artist statement. Drop some comments below with questions about this or other topic ideas you want to see me write about for photographers. And be sure to check out how I put this topic into practice on my Weddings and Client Experience pages. ❤
Emma Thurgood is a Connecticut wedding photographer with BFA in painting, an MFA in studio art and a passion for helping emerging artists. Before starting her own business she worked for several years as a non-profit arts gallery curator and an independent artists' agent. During that time she helped numerous artists refine their portfolios and secure exhibit, sales and teaching opportunities. When she's not mentoring emerging artists and photographers or serving her clients, she's spending time in her yard with her four-year-old daughter in a never-ending quest to make it an Eden or she's exploring parts of New England previously unknown to her.