How to Write an Awesome Bio Page for Your Photography Website

Time Out With Tanya August 29th 2014 12:10 PM 21 Comments

Welcome to Time Out with Tanya, where I’ve put my fast paced graphic design career on hold in favor of adventures in motherhood. I’m capturing every moment on camera and you can come along, if you’d like. Sign up for my weekly email here so you’ll never miss a Time Out.

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Earlier this month, I gave you my TOP 10 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY WEBSITE and promised an additional post on how to write an awesome bio page for your website. Here are some tips for writing your bio I’ve garnered over the years from my good friend and communications guru Lucinda Kay of Let It Shine Media (if you feel you need some communications coaching, you should call her. She helps clients from all over the world).

Your about page or bio is your digital elevator speech. Lucinda likes to call it your “I Am” statement. This should communicate, in a couple sentences, what you and your business is all about. I’ve seen bio pages that were paragraphs long and had absolutely nothing to do with the service the person was offering or why I should hire them. Frankly, I don’t care if you like long walks on the beach, unless I want you to photograph me on the beach. So, how do you develop your “I Am” statement?

Sticking with the classic Who, What, Where, When, Why and How go a long way when developing your communications. Keep it simple! Let’s break it down. Grab a pen and paper and let’s get to work.

Who:

Your name, maybe your credentials or experience you have in your industry. You could also include a little info here that might endear you to your target audience. Do you photograph kids? Mention you have kids yourself. Photograph bands? Mention your weekend rock band. Only photograph weddings? Tell a little big about why you love photographing the big day. Keep it short though. One or two sentences.

What:

What makes you stand out from the competition? What do you offer that is unique? Pick your best attribute or strength (or what your demographic will appreciate most about you) and list it here. When developing a true elevator speech, this would be one or two words. I’ll give you one or two sentences for a bio page. An example might be that you only shoot with film or you specialize in Indian Weddings or you are an award winning, exclusive newborn photographer, etc.

Where:

Seems like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many photographer websites I’ve visited and had to search for 10 minutes to find out what city they live and work in. Wow! The average potential client wouldn’t stick around on a site that long. Your about page should include the area where you work. This is also good for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If you are available to travel the world, say so. If you only work in your city or county, make that clear here.

When:

You could include specific business hours here, or this could refer to the type of subject matter you cater to. If you only shoot babies younger than three weeks old, say so here. Only shoot weddings? Make sure that’s clear. If you shoot a little bit of everything, you could mention that, too. Specializing is part of focusing your message, which so many photographers (myself included) struggle with. If you’re one of those photographers floundering around trying to find your niche, this exercise could be a great way to narrow it down.

Why:

Why in the world are you a photographer? It’s not easy. What keeps you coming back? What drives you to keep going? Why did you choose the newborns or street photography or fashion? If you’re not sure, do a little soul searching. Take a look at your collection of images. Do you see a common theme? Figure out what you love and tell your future clients here. This will help you build a connection with them. Again, don’t make this a novel telling your life history. Just one or two sentences.

How:

Including a little information about unique techniques you use could help set you apart from your competition. This doesn’t even have to be technical differences in your gear or working style. There are a million “natural light photographers” out there, so mentioning that you’re a natural light photographer isn’t going to make you stand out. Are you patient with kids? Do you have the stamina of a marathon runner on wedding day? Do you use an antique camera and develop the film in your make-shift Volkswagen Bus dark room? Would you bungie jump off a cliff to get the perfect shot?

Call to Action:

Lucinda says your elevator speech should have a soft call to action at the end. I think it’s a good idea to include one on your bio page, too. Examples could include a link to your contact page, an invitation to meet for lunch, etc.

A few other things to consider when writing for your website:

Spelling & Grammar:

It’s easy to run a spelling and grammar check. Just do it! If you can’t afford to hire a copy writer or editor, at least have your significant other and a few other adults read over it and check for errors.

Punctuation:

Somehow blogging and texting have completely erased all rules about punctuation (at least from the English language). Exclamation points used on every single sentence are a trend I’m seeing all over the place (I’m so excited to take your family photos! I love photography so much! I hope you’ll call me and we can meet up for coffee and talk about your session! Click here to see my pricing info!!!!!!) In case you missed the lesson on punctuation in kindergarten, exclamation points basically communicate shouting. Shouting! Would you shout at your clients? Would you want the feel of your communications to be yelling, shouting, exclaiming? I’m allowing you one. ONE exclamation point to be used on your site. Choose how you use it carefully and wisely. Writing in ALL CAPS also communicates shouting. It’s a subtle thing, but something I find incredibly offensive. Maybe I’m too sensitive?

Tone of Voice:

I often see lists of things photographers forbid during a session or rants on their blogs or other negative communications all over the place on their website. Whoa! It’s possible to make your policies and boundaries known without giving the impression that your clients will have a negative experience with you. Keep the tone of voice positive, unless of course your target audience is angsty teens. This is something I’ve also been trying to keep in mind on my social media, even my personal page. It’s easy to get sucked into the trap of whining or complaining, but what kind of community do you want to create with your social media? Decide what kind of vibe you want to have and then consciously create the voice and communications to support it.

Ok, homework time. What did you come up with? Post it in the comments and I’ll let you know what I think ;) To make it fair, I’ll re-write mine and post it in the comments, too.

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About

Tanya is a freelance photographer and graphic designer creating contemporary brand imagery for stylish businesses and individuals in Spokane, WA and nationwide. She received her degree from FIDM Los Angeles and has produced work for international fashion and technology brands. Visit her website at tanyasmith.net.

21 Comments

  1. Jim Johnson

    Oh man, the negative rules thing.

    I have seen so many people ruin their business by telling everyone within earshot what they aren’t or won’t do. It’s such a big turn off.

  2. James Matthews

    Great article Tanya! Timing couldn’t be better, I’ve almost finished writing my new WordPress theme and now I’m about to tackle the dreaded bio! Thanks :)

  3. Michael Alfaro

    THANK YOU THIS HELPS OUT ALOT!!! (: haha No but really this is a good article defiantly going to do this for my bio on my site.

  4. David Hill

    Excellent common sense approach! Just at the right time as I am writing my Bio now! Thanks Tanya! x

  5. Jeff Morrison

    Great info, I will be using the info..

  6. Austin Swenson

    I love reading stuff like this, because it reminds me of all the house cleaning I have to do with my website and other stuff.

  7. John Sheehan

    I’ve always found it hard to write about myself. I’m going to have to put to use what you taught here. Thank you.

    • Jim Johnson

      That’s not uncommon. I’ve worked with design and marketing firms for quite a few years now, and one of the constants seems to be that these incredibly talented people can market, promote, and brand you like it is nothing— they really know their business— but when it comes to themselves, they … well, struggle. I have often seen design firms hire outside friends to re-brand them for this very reason.

  8. mugur ic

    Very useful informations for us. Thank you Tanya for your time and this good article

  9. Amy Corrigan

    This is great and perfect timing for me, as well @James Matthews. I also am working on my WordPress site and get stumped by all the copy that needs to be put together – well -

    Took notes and will start to work on “who I am” :-) …I won’t put that smiley symbol in my bio, promise.

  10. Chad Adams

    Hi Tanya!

    Thanks so much for this article. I’m soon to be updating my website and I never for a second thought that I should redo my three-year-old bio. Ugh… I’ve got my work cut out for me!

    What’s a good maximum I should aim for, in your opinion?

    -Chad

  11. Irene Hall

    Having recently revised my cover letter recently, writing a bio should be so much easier. Great artical

  12. Bonnie Alford

    Hi! I am a photographer based in North Central Florida. I have and will travel for sessions, weddings and events. I am a mother to 4 awesome children and a wife to a wonderful man who gives me the space and time needed for my creative endeavors. I am fortunate enough to have a job that I absolutely love! When it comes to photography I look at your needs as if they were my own. All the parts of your personality that you want to stand out in a photo, the love you have for your family or significant other that you want captured forever in a timeless picture and the little details that have been swimming around in your head about your wedding day; even before you met the person to fill the only empty spot in those thoughts and dreams. There is a heart warming, smile inducing and just all around incredible feeling that comes with this job. I am thankful for all of the amazing clients/friends that I have met thus far and I look forward to meeting you.
    This is what I wrote when I first put up my site. Of course I have no idea what I’m doing.
    http://www.b-ephoto.com/

  13. Caroline Hampton

    Great article. Here’s mine, pulled straight off my website. Reading it through I still like it but I am thinking I need to remove a few exclamation points!!
    Other than that what do you think?

    “Hi! I’m Caroline ~ Lifestyle family photographer and Storyteller

    I am based in a countryside setting near Nantwich, and love to hold photo-sessions in the fields and footpaths around my home ~ hence the name! But, if you have in mind somewhere special to you, don’t be afraid to suggest alternative locations for your photo-shoot – even your own home!

    My vision for your photography session is to portray you, and your family, just as you are – to tell your story and encapsulate a living memory!

    I strive to offer a personal and friendly service and, being a mother to 8 children myself, I am unafraid of children’s antics or mischief ~ they only make our time together all the more fun, and your photographs all the more about your story!!

    Please take some time to peruse around my website, and if you like what you see, do get in touch ~ I look forward to hearing from you!

    Details of fixed session options and packages are available on THIS DOWNLOADABLE PDF.

    If you don’t see a package that specifically meets your requirements, please do contact me anyway. We will chat together and I will be more than happy to prepare you a personal quote.”

  14. Andrea Janes

    Thanks Tanya for the article! Awesome!
    As English is not my first language I think that writing about me and my work is even more complicated!

    My text:

    Hi, there! I’m Andrea Janes, a mother of a cheeky little boy, a smily baby girl and married to a wonderful and supportive man.
    .
    I’m a designer by training who discovered that photography is simply the most beautiful way to see the world.
    .
    Ever since I was a child, I knew I wanted to do something related to art and creativity. As a little girl, I used to draw cartoons I was watching on T.V. and My sister and I used to make our own paper dolls and their stylish dresses.
    .
    Later on, I ended up studying industrial design in São Paulo-Brazil and after a while I had my own company. I went through a nerdy phase designing a whole lot of comic book covers, CD covers and lots of other things related to design in general, from web to graphic. After seven years, I got an invitation to work for my biggest client as an art director and there, I had fun. A crazy world of promotional agencies with endless projects for big companies, competitive work that kept me in the office night and day, weekdays and weekends. Then came another invitation, this one from my then-boyfriend. “Let’s move abroad!”, he said. Well, we ended up in England where I worked for a design company based in Birmingham. We then moved to Frankfurt after two years (ja, ich spreche ein bisschen Deutsch) and I worked freelance, opening another company. It was a wonderful period of my life – I was able to get great clients and I got also pregnant!
    .
    My son was born in Vienna (such a great city for small families). I carried on working with some of my German clients but I had to slow down my workload.
    .
    It was when an old hobby became a profession. Photography! It was only in Paris that I took the plunge and decided to plunge into this wonderful new world – doing workshops, studying photo processing, technics and investing in equipments that showcase the my style. The acceptance and encouragement from people around me and from other professionals make me feel that I am on the right path. I am also happy to share with you that I am a Getty Images contributor, the largest and most prestigious stock photos of the world.
    .
    My inspiration began with my son! He is my guide and my teacher and I am his student. I keep learning with my adorable kiddos.
    .
    I am now based in Paris. Oh la la, what a wonderful city to inspire me…
    .
    Talking about style, I love natural light photography! I need to thank many photographers who gave me the inspiration to this delightful new (or old) way of photography. Natural light photography is so interesting. No fan blowing hair but wind, no flashes but flare, no pose but authenticity.

    To end this short introduction, thanks for visiting my work, dear world! Please, feel yourself at home!

  15. Shannon Brooks

    This is my “About Page” – Should this also be on my main page? Here is my website – I’m still fairly new and trying to tweak it and get it how I want it. http://www.photosbyshannonbrooks.com

    Owner & Photographer: Shannon Brooks
    I am a natural light photographer with a unique artistic style and a love for candid captures! I specialize in portraits for families, couples, maternity sessions, pets, and styled model and senior photos. I dabble in wedding, boudoir, and studio work, as well, so don’t be afraid to ask for something outside of the box!

    Located in Fort Hood, Texas and serving surrounding areas. I am also willing to travel!

    My personal goal is to preserve time.. make memories stay put.. to gaze upon a moment and feel the raw emotions rising from within that image… and I want to do that for you.

    Contact me now at [email protected] Or via the contact page.

    Thanks for stopping by! xx

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