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ASMP’s Find A Photographer is one of our most significant member benefits, and many Professional Members find it a valuable piece of their broader marketing strategy.
Improvements to the search functionality of FAP were made in June 2009, increasing the value of the resource to potential clients. In line with those changes, there are several things you can do to ensure you’re getting the most from FAP.
First, it’s important to log into the member area of ASMP and update your Member Profile. Make certain that all of your contact information is up to date, including physical address, phone, email, and website. It’s particularly important to confirm that your correct Zip Code is included; if the Zip Code is missing or incorrect, you will not be found in location-based searches. These are all viewable in the “Overview” tab of profile area.
Under the “Distinctions” tab, complete your “Member Description” with a brief statement about your work, and add appropriate “SEO Link” information in the fields provided. An example of recommended SEO information is provided on the site by SEO expert and ASMP board member Blake Discher.
The “Distinctions” tab is also where you select which Specialties you will advertise to your clients. Your choices are the same categories that clients see, from Aerial/Aviation to Video. However, the specialties you identify here will have no bearing on FAP searches. For searches, what matters is your portfolios.
Many members currently have duplicate Specialties selected in their profiles. Duplications offer no benefits in the search rankings and may confuse potential clients if they view your profile in a direct name search where all of your chosen Specialties are displayed. We recommend selecting Specialties only once in your list.
FAP is most useful to clients when they can quickly view work samples of the photographers returned in the search results. While your FAP profile includes a link to your personal website, you dramatically increase the likelihood of a potential client clicking through when you include a sample portfolio on FAP.
You can upload images to your FAP portfolio by visiting the “Portfolio” tab of your member profile. Images should be sRGB tagged JPEG files, sized a maximum of 1024 pixels wide by 768 pixels tall, with critical metadata embedded, including contact and copyright information. More details about images and uploading.
All Professional Members receive three free FAP portfolios, and can purchase additional ones. You can choose to leave your first portfolio as a “primary” (that is, general-purpose) portfolio, or you can elect to assign the portfolio with your primary Specialty so that it displays higher in the results for those searches.
While general portfolios increase the value of FAP to potential clients, FAP becomes even more useful when those work samples actually represent the Specialty targeted in the search.
With that in mind, the search system in FAP gives the greatest weight to returns for those photographers with Specialty Portfolios. When a client searches for a specific specialty, only the members who have a portfolio for that specialty will appear in the result list.
While FAP does not require that you build a Specialty Portfolio for every Specialty that you select in your member profile, the new search system rewards photographers who do so. With the recent reduction in the price of additional portfolios to only $20 each, the option has never been more affordable.
While the new FAP search criteria is a tremendous improvement over the previous design, the success of FAP — for clients and photographers alike — still relies most greatly on smart use of the system by our member photographers. The system is only valuable to photographers when the system is valuable to our client users, and that’s only true when the search results are useful to those same clients.
Clients primarily use FAP to quickly find talented, qualified photographers who 1) reside close to the location specified in the search and 2) truly specialize in the listed Specialty. To insure the quality of those results, we photographers must be realistic in listing our location as well as our Specialties: You’re unlikely to win a last minute job in San Diego if you really live in Detroit, and chances are dubious that you’ll be called upon for a Celebrity shoot if your portfolio contains only Architecture. It dilutes the search results and lessen the likelihood that potential clients will return again for future searches when we overreach in our location and Specialty selection. Truth in advertising: It’s a responsibility we all share.
When a client specifies a country using the Country selector all other location settings are superseded, and FAP will display all members in that country.
We are working to support Canadian post codes in a future update. Meanwhile, Canadian members are encouraged to contact the National Office webmaster at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional assistance.
The ASMP is committed to continually improving FAP so that it best serves the users and our members. As always, we welcome all input and ideas. Please feel free to contact our National Board members with your suggestions and opinions.