Brought to you by the photographers at SmugMug

How Can Search Help My Sales?

An image may be worth a thousand words, but only if it can be found.

There’s an old sales adage that anything can be sold, if the right buyer is found. When you’re a portrait photographer, you need to have your portfolio seen by the right clientele, and you'll need a good marketing plan to do so.

An internet search is the modern equivalent of the Yellow Pages, so you need to be able to use it the right way. Here's where your SmugMug homepage meta description and keywords and social media marketing steps in.

Strategize Like the Best

This strategy isn’t limited to portrait photographers looking for customers in their local market. After all the first ‘w’ in www is ‘world’. Here's how pros in other fields recommend that you do this:

Guest blogger and SmugMug friend, Varina Patel shared What Sells: Taking Photos with the Customer in Mind

But you may be left wondering who that customer is, or how to get your image in front of them. What role does SmugMug have in helping you find your customers? Can the strategy of proper use of keywords, captions, and gallery descriptions help you too? You bet!

In our podcast, "What the Agency Wants from You", Alan Shaprio (Chief Creative Officer) discusses how the "source book" full of photography and design samples of yore has been replaced by the on line portfolio. He states that he uses internet searches, including the SmugMug homepage search, to seek out specific location photographers or particular subjects. Once he sees images that stand out from the crowd, he follows them back to the on line portfolio of the photographer to get to know them better.

We've got the nitty gritty on all of SmugMug's great SEO tools along with some tips and tricks for making them work for you, as well as how our search engine handles your terms covered. Make sure you're using these so that when opportunity knocks, they'll find you.

You'll also want to be sure that your portfolio and website reflect your style and personality, that you stand out from the crowd not just as a talented photographer, but as someone that can get the job done.

How to Leverage SmugMug's Search

Now let's see just how someone looking for a specific image might find yours using SmugMug search! Using the search field in the SmugMug header, visitors can search for specific locations, or specific people, or specific subject matter.

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Initially we will display all public photos tagged with the search term in the keywords or captions, but using filters allows visitors to narrow the search results by:


Shows all public videos tagged with the search term in the caption or keywords


Shows SmugMug users, and uses the account holders' bio image as thumbnail


Shows all public galleries that contain the search term within the gallery title, description or gallery keywords fields

Do you specialize in a particular location or genre of photography? Make sure that your

Homepage Meta Keywords reflect the type of imagery that you have for sale - and where you're located - so that your site will show in the People filter.

Have a gallery dedicated to the fine art of dancing bears? Be sure to include those terms in your gallery titles, descriptions and keywords so dancing bear aficionados will find you.

Your Mission: 

Help that future customer find the perfect print by making sure your photos are available and searchable.


Have you ever wondered what gear was used to get a shot? Thinking about buying a new fast piece of glass, but want to see what it's capable of ahead of time? You can use the 'Refine Results' box on the search page to look for images taken with a particular camera body or at a particular aperture! 

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