A common difficulty for photographers is writing about themselves on their About/Bio page, especially if they’re just starting out in the industry or in a particular niche and have no accolades/awards (yet).
As an example, here’s an email I recently got from a subscriber on this topic. By the way, I hope you know you can always send an email to ask me anything, I reply to each and every one!
Here’s one of my challenges. I’m building my website now. […] I’m new to professional portrait photography. I have a lot of personal experience and roughly a year of stock photo experience. Both taught me a lot. I’ve also been quite successful in two other fields, not related to photography […]
I’ve read your advice and many others on how to create a knock-their-socks-off About page. What content do I include if I’m new to the business, have only had two clients and have no accolades/awards?
My first thought, and the one I’m going with now, is to share my philosophy that the focus (no pun intended) should be on the client/subject and the level of service I intend to provide.
Is that enough when all my competition have either photography degrees, years of experience, magazine covers and awards (sometimes all four)?
Her questions are great, and I’m sure many other photographers are going through the same thing. I’ve covered the topic of About pages in this free guide (which you might have already read), but it’s true that most recommendations there are for experienced photographers with relevant things in their past that they can share with their audience.
But if we take a closer look, there are always small things that anyone can include, even if just starting out.
You don’t have to include all of them, just see which ones resonate with you the most. I’ll try to provide examples along the way.
1. A little about your background (family, history, personal traits).
Here’s an interesting example:
I’ve always been a follow-your-heart-kind-of-gal. When I decided to pursue photography, I didn’t exactly know where the journey would take me. A few years later, I still can’t believe that I’m living out this dream. My happiness comes from slow mornings, new stamps on my passport, and foggy days by the ocean. I am inspired by light, music, travel, and vulnerability. (source)
2. Your location
Where you come from & where you live/work now, because many people go to the About page to look for the photographer’s location.
If you speak any other languages, those are relevant too.
3. What services can you offer to solve your clients’ problems
Besides glimpses into your life, you should also write about your audience, about the benefits they get when working with you.
Even if you’re just starting out, explain what services you plan to offer or what type of imagery people can find on your site.
If this is also the page where you list your services (instead of on a separate page), be sure to cover all the important stuff:
- consider addressing costs and/or how payment is handled
- explain how & where photo sessions take place
- how they can book your time or order something from you etc.
4. What’s your motivation?
Why are you a photographer in the first place and what drives you to keep going?
Bonus points if you can explain why you chose your photography niche.
5. Anything that makes you unique as a human
Any character traits and personal skills that you think would be appealing to your audience: communication skills, temperament, sense of humor, decisiveness etc.
“I am a feeler. I love creating images that tell stories. Because my photography is personal, the best photos are created when the connection between us goes beyond just needing a photographer for your wedding day.” (source)
“uhh, so i like to have a good time. i’m quirky. i’m loud. i’m not a basic bitch. i’m Andria. i’m a photographer. a fiance. a workshop leader. a speaker. a vegan. I am not obsessed with photography. it is a part of who i am, just as much as my right arm or my leg is.” (source)
“My greatest talents are the ability to mix with any class of people and to get nervous subjects to relax in front of my camera.” (source)
Hold on here, this last example is from Zack Arias!
Sure, Zack is a famous photographer and he goes on to list hundreds of clients, interviews & features he did, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get inspired by small bits of generic text like that.
6. What makes you unique as a photographer
Not that photographers aren’t human :-)
There are probably many other photographers in your particular niche, so you need to try to stand out in some way. That’s why it could be useful to write about any specific gear you use, preferred image look and editing style (colorful, vintage, dark etc.)
If you really have little to no experience taking pictures, what sort of style of photography are you most attracted to?
7. What you’re actively learning
This is important. Showing people what you’re still struggling can convey honesty & authenticity.
But don’t just like out what you’re not good at. Frame it in a way where you’re showing progress and enthusiasm. Let people know that you’re still actively learning, that you’re confidently investing time & effort into your work.
8. What your clients must absolutely know
- Where and how they can reach you
- Office hours
- What they need to bring to a photo session
- What services you don’t offer
9. List out your personal favorite things
Here’s a lovely example for your inspiration.
10. A self-portrait
Let people relate to you. And what better way than actually seeing who they’re actually reading about. Jasmine Star wrote an awesome post about this.
Tone of voice?
Since you’re trying to showcase your personality, writing in the first person always sounds more honest and humble. It’s more difficult to build trust if the About page is written about you in the third person.
To end with, I recommend looking at the About page examples at the end of my free guide to gather ideas for your site. I’m referring to small pieces of text that would work well for you too, and that fit your tone of voice. For example, all of these sites contain small bits of personality that build trust, and that have nothing to do with actual work experience:
So if we step back and look at the “big picture”, the most important thing is to properly transmit your passion and your personality. Visitors (readers, clients, photo buyers etc.) need to really see what you’re focused on, what drives your creativity.
But that doesn’t mean you should use the “passionate about photography” cliché:
Even if you don’t have accolades/awards to list out, crafting a really interesting bio (that’s honest and true to yourself) can be a lot more powerful than a “sterile” list of achievements. So focus on that.
Show people what makes you unique, what you can do well, and they’ll trust you. And that’s the purpose of the About page after all.