The easy-to-follow guide to creating that picture-perfect site
If you’re a photographer looking to succeed in today’s digital age, you’re going to need a website. For those in a creative profession, having a website is no longer a competitive advantage – now, it’s more a case of not having one being a serious disadvantage. Whether you’re looking for new clients, a new job, or just to raise your profile, a portfolio website is the number one tool at your disposal.
But hey, you already know that, which is why you’re here. And the good news is, it’s literally never been easier to create a photography website you can be proud of – and you don’t need any technical skills to nail it, either.
- The easy-to-follow guide to creating that picture-perfect site
- A domain name
- Web hosting.
- Install WordPress
- Install a Theme for Your Website
- Customize the Theme
- Present your images
- About page
- Contact page
- Online store
- Add Features With Plugins
- Optimize your Website for Search Engines & Track Performance
Set a clear goal for your photography website
Before diving into building your photography website, it’s important to take a step back and consider your goals, and the main purpose of your site. This will influence which platform you pick to build your site, and how you go about designing it. For example:
- Are you an events photographer looking for new, local businesses? Pick a website builder with strong SEO (Search Engine Optimization) capabilities to help you get found in the Google search results.
- Are you looking to make money by selling your images online? Pick a website builder with good eCommerce functionality. If you want to sell the images as downloads, make sure the builder supports selling digital products (not all builders do).
- Are you on the hunt for a new job in the industry, and using this site as your portfolio? Make sure your written content – like an About Us page – can take center stage alongside your images. You might also want to add a CV section, and a photography-based blog to show off your expertise.
- Do you just need a simple website to get you started and raise your profile? Pick a well-rounded builder (I’ll let you know my favorite in the next section), and start out on the cheapest plan.
Choose a website builder Platform
Website builders are online tools that anyone can use to get online. You select a template as the basis of your site, then drag and drop elements to where you want them to sit. You can create additional pages, as well as edit the ones that come with your chosen template. In short, if you’re comfortable using PowerPoint, you’ll be comfortable using a website builder.
Some builders actually offer plans that are completely free, but they aren’t always the best idea.
Many people make the mistake of assuming website builders will be too limiting for their website. While it’s true that they’re not the best route for every type of site, for photography websites, they really are ideal. Here are just some of the things you can do with a website builder:
- Upload new content quickly, without needing to know how to code
- Connect an existing domain name, or pick a new one
- Integrate your social media
- Add a contact form
- Create a login area for clients
- Switch up how you display your images with ease
- Sell digital and physical products
Picking the right website builder is important – you need a platform that won’t cost the earth and can scale with your ambitions. It all links back to the goal-setting
In my experience, WordPress is the best to all website builders out there.
Things You Need to Start a Photography Website
Launching a self-hosted blog or website with WordPress requires only three things:
A domain name
To build a photography website with WordPress, you’ll need a domain name. Use a domain name registrar or your web host to find out if your chosen name is available. If so, you can purchase it for terms of one year or multiple years, either through a registrar or through your web hosting provider. Blogs have transformed from simple online diaries to websites rich in content. In many ways, they have become the backbone of the internet.
Regardless if you create video blogs, text blogs, or picture blogs, it’s important that you own what you create. And nothing makes that easier than putting your creation on your own domain. A Website allows you to be seen and heard without compromise. A unique domain is often all that separates you from the noise of the internet.
Buy a web hosting plan from a reputable WordPress hosting provider. You can download WordPress free from WordPress.org and install it yourself, but most web hosting providers include a fast WordPress installation feature with your hosting plan. This “one-click,” installer sets up WordPress for you so that all you need to do is select a theme and start adding content to your new site.
Once WordPress is installed, you’re ready to start uploading your site contents. But, it’s helpful to plan the basic content of your website, so that you can customize it to reflect your brand and purpose. You can customize your website’s appearance with themes and plugins and create virtually unlimited posts and pages, so it can help to make a list of the basic features you want on your website before you begin.
Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Create a Photography Website
After you have installed WordPress, it’s time to start customizing your photography website.
Install a Theme for Your Website
A new WordPress install comes with an admin dashboard with all the tools you need to set up your site. From the dashboard, you can choose a theme for your site from among the hundreds of free themes available from the WordPress theme directory or purchase a custom theme from a wide range of independent designers. Many WordPress themes are designed for general use, but some are optimized for specific purposes like writing or blogging. Search for themes with the features you want by selecting the “filter’ option on the WordPress directory page. Make sure that the theme you chose is responsive. When you find a theme you like, you can preview it live on your site and install it with the click of a mouse.
Customize the Theme
Free and Premium WordPress themes can be customized by anyone using the tools in the WordPress admin dashboard. From here, users of all experience levels can easily customize features such as changing the header, fonts, and page layout. Users with more design and development experience can work directly with WordPress source files and style sheets, accessible from the files section of the hosting dashboard.
Add your photos and content
Now you’ve picked and customized a theme, it’s time for the important stuff – adding your photos and content! You need to plan what you want, and where you want it. I’ll explain how to add content to each section of your website below.
Home is where the art is. Aside from your actual portfolio, the homepage is the most important page on your website. You need to capture the imagination of visitors with just one page, so make it count!
Here are some considerations:
- Grid or hero image – do you want to display lots of images in a grid, or make a statement with just one?
- Color and font – what colors and style will work well with your imagery?
- Navigation – this is essentially your website’s menu, and how users will find the different sections of your site. Think about where on the page do you want this to sit. Across the top and down the left-hand side are both pretty standard options, so doing something different will make a statement
- Social media integration – do you want to add buttons, an Instagram feed, or both?
Present your images
Your website should be a curated selection of the work you’re most proud of – often, that will be your most current stuff. Don’t give in to the temptation to upload everything you’ve ever worked on – it will make your site messy and hard to navigate.
When it comes to presenting your images, you’ve got a couple of different options:
- Use a gallery
Displaying images in a gallery format is a pretty standard approach. With an app like the Wix Pro Gallery, you can arrange your images as a grid or a slideshow, and visitors can ‘like’ photos directly on your site.
- Divide images by theme, project, or date
A slightly more understated presentation method is to divide your images up by project or theme (e.g ‘Portraits’ or ‘Movement’) and give each set its own page. This page is then linked to from your site’s homepage navigation.
Prospective clients want to know the eye behind the lens. The ‘About Me’ section allows you to add a splash of personality, and talk about your inspiration and experience. You should talk in the first person, and I’d strongly recommend adding a photo of yourself to give your portfolio a more personable feel.
Make sure you create a dedicated ‘Contact’ page (included in your homepage navigation) so potential clients can get in touch with you. You can either add your contact details to this page or add a contact form to allow people to submit their inquiries to one place, around the clock. The best plugin to use it WPForm
If you want to make a few cents from your snaps, then you need an online store. This can be done by using an eCommerce plugin called Woocommerce which unlocks eCommerce functionality.
This is definitely optional, but something well worth considering. A blog can be a great accompaniment to a photography website – whether you use it as a way to share your photography tips and insights, or use it to tell the story behind your most recent projects.
But writing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s fine – if it’s not something you feel comfortable doing, or you know you’ll struggle to keep it up-to-date, then it’s best left off. Before you move on to the next stage:
- Decide on a format for your homepage
- Settle on a color and font that matches your content and personal brand
- Create an About Us page and a Contact page
- Add an online store to your site (if you plan to sell your images, either as downloadable or as prints)
- Consider creating a blog, and upload a couple of starter posts if this is something you’d like to try
Add Features With Plugins
Although the WordPress platform comes with all the essential elements for setting up a basic site, users can add special features that are unique to a particular site’s needs with plugins—small bits of code that add specific functions to any compatible site. Choose from hundreds of free plugins in the WordPress plugin directory that comes with your WordPress install or buy and install custom plugins designed by third-party WordPress developers. Blog-related plugins can include tools for social sharing, cross-posting to other sites, managing email lists, tracking analytics, contact form and more. And don’t forget about driving traffic to your website. The most popular theme to help you easily boost traffic is the Yoast SEO plugin which helps ensure you’re maximizing the visibility in top search engines such as Google.
Here is the list of plugins you should install. 7 Best WordPress Plugins for Photographers
Optimize your Website for Search Engines & Track Performance
Google Analytics allows you to track the performance of your users. It is always best practice to set up analytics when setting up in order to get a benchmark on performance.
- make sure you have a Google account
- create a GA (Google Analytics) Account
- generate a tracking code
- add the code to WordPress via a plugin
WordPress is a versatile, flexible content management system used by nearly a third of the world’s websites. With a suite of tools and features for building blogs and websites of all kinds, WordPress makes it easy for anyone to publish and share content across the globe. And if you’re ever feeling lost or stuck, the great news is the WordPress community is large, offering a myriad of forums, support resources, and step-by-step guides for common tasks.
You can hire me to help build it for you at a very affordable price. Click here to start Business Website for Photography