Creating An Effective Online Photography Portfolio

Photography | November 1st 2011

A captivating online portfolio is a key to a photographer’s success on the web. It is a sign of professionalism and quality, and can play a huge role when dealing with potential clients, employers, curators or partners.

Here are some essential tips that will walk you through the process of creating an amazing photography portfolio.

Save your Best Photos… for your First Page

The first thing that makes a portfolio strong are excellent photos. That’s why your homepage should have a large changing gallery displaying between 5-10 images.

Don’t use your entire portfolio on the homepage, though. Tease your visitors with some of your best work and give them a reason to browse deeper into your site.
Oh, and make sure the images don’t change too fast (3-5 seconds is considered a good tempo).

 Visible Navigation Guide

Place the navigation bar in a clear and central spot so your visitors can easily browse your photos and content. Make sure you place your navigation bar above the fold so that your visitors don’t have to scroll down to find it.

Choosing the Right Galleries

That’s the one most important thing about the portfolio and should be handled as such.  The best galleries for photography portfolios are those which display thumbnails of the images, which then open to a larger display when clicked on. Once enlarged, it’s critical to have a quick and simple back-and-forth navigation between the images.

Since photographers usually have a decent amount of images to upload, it’s best to avoid any motion and animation in the galleries, so as to not to slow down navigation. This is also a good opportunity for you to seriously sift through your photos and choose only the best ones.

If you have more than one niche and feel you should divide your photos into several galleries, you should divide them by themes (food, portraits, weddings, etc.) and not simply into “gallery 1, gallery 2” and so forth.

Fitting Colors

The most important thing about the portfolio’s design is that it must compliment the photos, not distract from or compete with them. Therefore, the colors chosen for the page’s design should be consistent and not too flashy.

Black or white usually work very well with almost any kind of photography work, but of course, a more passionate color can also look good if it fits the type of work you wish to display.

For black & white photography, monochromatic shades work best.

Less Textual Content

Describing your experience, expertise or inspiration is good, but make sure you keep this info on separate pages like your ‘Bio’ or ‘About’ page.

On this page you can include all relevant information like awards, technical abilities, favorite equipment, etc.  You can add another textual page to display testimonials from clients or partners. As your photos, again, are always at the core of your portfolio, adding one or two images to your ‘About’ page can be nice.

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