How much work goes into a single page of my photography website?
More than you might think. Now this is not a complaint. No one has asked me to do this – this is all my own fault for wanting my web pages to work the best they possibly can for me. I am just saying……….
I have finally updated another page on my website. Check out the new set of 12 pictures of Poole on my brand new for September 2017 Poole Photographer page.
Honestly you’d be surprised how much work goes into a single page of my website. I was just thinking it is no wonder it takes me long to produce a new web page.
I thought I would share with you all exactly what I have to do to completely update a page on my photography website.
Firstly, I have to select 12 images (from several thousand in my Lightroom Catalogue), which is a nightmare. I take too long about this, overthinking things, and struggle to get down to 12 images.
No I am not saying that I have hundreds of fantastic photographs of Poole. Not at all. I am saying that I struggle to produce a coherent set of 12 images that represent Poole to me.
In this post I will describe the proceeds and tools I use to come up with a selection 12 images from several thousand.
I should have called this post "How to select 12 images in Lightroom from thousands".
I select my set of 12 images using the excellent Collections in Lightroom.
I create a new collection called, erm, Poole in this case, and add all the pictures I have taken in Poole into this collection. When I say all the pictures in Poole this is non-commercial work, or more precisely not pictures of buildings, construction sites, architecture etc in Poole.
I figure that people searching for Poole Photographer might actually want to look at photographs of Poole rather than commercial work taken in Poole. There is a big difference.
I have other pages for my commercial photography work which are
Construction product photographer
So back to my Poole collection in Lightroom. I make sure that none of the images have a pick against them, for reasons which will become obvious, by using the keyboard shortcut Control A, then hit the U key (U for unpick – surprisingly logical). Then I go though the images one by one, and press P when I like something. P for pick – equally logical. Don’t worry – there are keyboard shortcuts that do not make sense – after all there are much more than 26 keyword shortcuts.
Once I have done this I filter out only the picks, and hope to have a perfect set of 12 images, which of course I don’t. So then I go through what is a much reduced set of images and keep removing the flags until I get down to the 12 images I want for each web page.
I filter the Lightroom Collection to only show images which are picks, and as soon as I unpick an image it disappears from view. This is so simple but so effective.
So that is the culling process – as I said this can be a long and painful process and one which I need to get more efficient at.
I use the same process for every commercial shoot, with a few tweaks which are caused by the way I take photographs these days.
This process can take a number of days to complete, depending on time availability, and happens over my iPhone, iPad and PC with big monitor, all through the miracle that is Lightroom Mobile.
Once I have 12 images then I have to edit some, if not all of them.
The time this takes varies enormously from one photo to the next. Some are edits I am happy with, and some are completely unedited, which is always a good thing as this means a brand new image on my website, which is always an exciting thing. Most of the editing work is done in Lightroom, with additional work carried out in Photoshop as and when required.
Once I have edited the 12 images there is more work to do in Lightroom.
This is boring but important.
I add text to the metadata, namely the image title and caption fields, as well as adding up to 30 keywords, and then rename the file. This is also all done inside of Lightroom. Interestingly enough I can change the titles and captions in Lightroom Mobile, but not the file name or keywords?
No I can’t work that one out either.
Why do I do this?
Simple – Google might be clever but it can’t read pictures (yet), so the text makes the pictures visible to Google, and gives them SEO value, which is very important to me.
It also needs to accurately describe each photograph, so is quite an involved task. The good news is that once it is done the keywords are with the image for good. (I don’t do Facebook with it’s metadata stripping).
Next I have to write text all about me and why you should commission me to take your photographs in/ of Poole, and some words about the images. I like to describe the images within each web page.
All these different fields of text need to have slightly different words, as Google also does not like duplicate text, which means I can’t just copy and paste everything everywhere. This is why every blog post is written individually too.
The text needs to be significant (in terms of quantity of content), and relevant to the subject, which in this case is me as Poole photographer to provide value to my website in terms of search results, SEO etc etc. There is after all no point having a website if no one is looking at it, if no one can find it.
It is like having a shop that no one can find.
After all that I have to do the inevitable bad spelling/ bad grammar check (which sometimes reveals some dreadful gaffes) and then it all needs uploading onto the particular web page using my website provider, Squarespace. I also need to add text to the title and description fields on my Squarespace website editor for each image – the Lightroom Metadata does not get there for some reason. This I do by copying and pasting from the Lightroom fields to be honest.
And then I have to add the external and internal links within the page – very important in SEO terms again.
So why am I going though all this pain?
On some of my web pages the images are quite frankly rubbish. They are years out of date and do not reflect the standard of work I am offering right now.
And this makes me sad.
I would hate for someone to visit my website and look at one of my awful old galleries and come to the conclusion that I am not what I say I am, and that the standard of my current work is what it was 3 – 5 years ago. Which is certainly not the case.
No that will not do.
Which is why I am just getting on with this long process – the sooner it is done the sooner I can get back to those pictures of Santorini.
I also need to keep track of all this work. I have come up with a simple way of doing this, keeping track of the changes to my website. I have a single spread sheet which I update every time there is a change. I do this on my iPad, which is much quicker than using Excel on my PC for some reason.
Next page for the updating treatment is my construction photographer page – I will moan about this In another post shortly I have no doubt.
There is a positive side to this – I don’t do this often, every couple of years I guess, and I have got rid of some old irrelevant pages which has reduced the amount of work.
And another positive – my pages look a lot better, and all that time and effort only happens once on a page, and should provide benefits for years to come.
So as painful as this work is, it is important and is going to continue around the mass of other things I have to do.
I have decided that the sooner I get them all done the better so I can get back to the things I want to do, in addition to earning money that is.
Rick McEvoy - Poole Photographer