You’re thrilled – the perfect photo shoot! The prettiest accessories! The jaw-dropping actions that make the colors leap off the page!
You’ve spent hours prepping, shooting, culling, editing, re-editing, tweaking, smoothing, and perfecting a set of gleaming images.
They’re resized and just as you upload them to the blog, you realize:
Shoot. What do I say about them?
You could just publish them without words. But since it’s a blog post you feel the need to – you know – blog.
So you start typing:
Little M is adorable. We had a ton of fun together.
You wrinkle your nose and shake your mouse a little.
This doesn’t do these images justice! It doesn’t get across how wonderful she is, and how perfectly this whole session came together.
You try again, pumping up the enthusiasm:
Little M is soooooo adorable! Look how cute she is! I had an absolute blast photographing her, this was the best session ever.
Okay, you sigh, now I just sound like a caffeinated cheerleader.
Plus, this sounds exactly like what I wrote last week. Not every session can be the ‘best session ever.’
After mulling for five minutes or so, you move a few words around, take out some o’s in “soooooo” and hit “publish.” Oh well, you think, this is about the photos anyway. People don’t read, they just want to look.
Let’s pause right there.
Yes, sometimes people want to just look at photos. But they do like reading gorgeous words, too.
Mostly, they’re tired of reading things they’ve already read.
That’s not to say your excitement about the photos isn’t worth consideration.
But when our blogs become an endless parade of “look how cute this girl is” and “she’s so pretty” and “wow I loved this session,” your reader can guess what you’re about to say in a new post before they even glance at your words.
If your words offer no new information, then yes, they probably just want to get on with the images.
When you share the shoot, don’t just tell us how great you thought the whole thing was.
To put it in the most unsugared lemon terms, we your readers don’t care what you think. We want you to present a case and let us decide for ourselves.
Author Elizabeth Berg explains why:
“There is a certain kind of resistance a reader feels when he or she is being told to feel a certain way. [It] says to the reader, “Look at this! Do you see how sad this is? (Or funny, or grim, or scary?). A reader likes to do a little work, to make his or her own discoveries.
Give readers the ability to make their own discovery.
Don’t just tell them your client is so cute and adorable. Show them how you arrived at that conclusion.
Simple. You can make over that post in five minutes flat:
Let’s practice. Go find a past blog post of yours – one where you just wrote a few lines exclaiming how “cute” or “sweet” a client was. One that you’re not quite happy with, or feel that you didn’t get across who the person was.
(If you don’t have a blog, pull up a photo on Facebook that you captioned.)
Okay. Circle any place where you used words like “awesome” or “adorable” or “sweet.”
Let’s say you circled “sweet.”
Now, how do you know she’s ‘sweet’?
What about her, exactly, makes her sweet? What did you see her say or do that was sweet?
Write a few things down. For example, maybe:
She texted back immediately whenever I needed to get in touch.
She smiles warmly any time you greet her.
She was patient and kind to her kids, even when little Andrew pitched a fit at the end of the shoot and spit Kool-Aid everywhere.
She wrote me a nice thank-you note telling me how much these photos remind her of how great it is to be a mom.
Here’s the thing:
These are the things that we, your readers, want to hear you tell us.
Consider the line:
“Addie is the sweetest thing! I loved photographing her!”
Watch how this changes when you replace “sweetest” with an example of how she’s sweet:
“Toward the end of our shoot, little Andrew decided it was naptime. Then, like many cuties his age, he began wailing and flailing as he fought off sleep. But without missing a beat, Addie bent down and started singing softly into his ear. I watched in awe as his little body relaxed and his tears quieted to hiccups, then stillness, then sleep. So impressed by this toddler-whisperer of a mama. I loved photographing her.”
Did you feel a difference in how you thought of Addie?
Here’s why this matters:
Sharing a short illustration of your subject’s best traits pulls us more deeply into your images.
When we look at her closing her eyes in delight as she nuzzles Andrew’s hair, or grins over the top of his head, we don’t just smile at cute poses.
We feel her love for her son along with her. In a few simple lines, you added context, background, richness. You’ve shown us a window into what kind of a mother she is, and this connects us to your images. Up-close, truthful glimpses into Addie’s toddler-whispering ways trump simple adjectives like “sweet” any day.
Give this five minute trick a try. See if you don’t love the result.
Did you find this post helpful?
If so, you’d probably love even more simple ways to pull in your readers, persuade more clients, and gain more traffic for your photography.
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