Yesterday I wrote about the 5 things every photography website MUST have. In the spirit of fairness, here's my list of 5 things your website should NEVER have.
1. MORE THAN 20 PHOTOS PER GALLERY
Any more than that and you're probably creeping in to A, or A- work. Each gallery should tell some kind of story, and the more you curate, the better.
I've gone back and forth on this one, and it killed me to finally take the music off my site, but it's true - when people click on your site and music starts playing, they're more likely to simply close the window. Since 80% of internet use happens while people are at work, brides are not going to sit and listen to your favorite music play while they're searching your site for a photographer. Make it easy for them to hang out on your site at work, and kill the music.
3. ANYTHING YOU DIDN'T SHOOT IN A PROFESSIONAL SETTING
This includes anything you shot at a workshop, anything you shoot for someone else, and definitely anything you DIDN'T shoot! I understand that if you're just starting out, and building a portfolio, this is tough. I can go with work you shot as a second, as long as the agreement you have with the primary shooter allows it. I still don't think workshop photos count, and definitely other people's work is a big no-no.
4. THE PHRASE "I GUESS IT ALL STARTED WHEN I WAS 7 AND GOT MY FIRST CAMERA..."
Blah. Sure it did. That's how it started for pretty much every photographer I've met in the last 5 years. There's apparently some kind of coming-of-age thing that happens for people where they get their first camera and suddenly start dreaming of photographing other people's weddings. It might very well be true for you - but it's also apparently true for thousands of other photographers. What do you think a bride thinks when every bio she reads basically starts the same. It's one thing to have a template website - but don't have a template bio.
5. MORE THAN 7 PAGES
My website has 3 pages. That's it. I've actually been talking about this for about a year when I speak. I believe that your website is designed to do exactly ONE thing - get people to contact you. It's not to show off your work - facebook does that just fine. The reason for your website is to walk people through a process where they end up contacting you for a consultation. My website has a gallery, an about page, and a contact page. It still has all the information a potential client needs to make a decision - a bio, pricing info, pictures of other people's weddings, and contact info - but it's very clear what they purpose of my website is: View My Work. Learn About Me. Contact Me.
I know it might be a little extreme for some people, so I'm willing to allow a few other pages if you really have to have those 4 different types of galleries. But any photography page with more pages than that is just confused about why it exists.
Your turn - what do you think? Leave a comment below and let me know what every website MUST have (and what to avoid).