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Design Inspiration \ NOV 5th 2013

10 Photography Portfolios You’d Want to Learn From

Here at Wix, we often receive questions from freelance photographers looking for advice on building their portfolio websites. While we do have plenty of resources to share that explain the ins and outs of the website building process and how to go about tackling the Wix Editor tools, in our experience, photographers find it most helpful when we show them examples of what others have done.

That’s why we’ve gone through hundreds of recently published Wix sites to pick out ten especially amazing ones to share with you here. There’s nothing quite like looking at beautiful and compelling photo portfolio sites to get the creative juices flowing with ideas for your own photo portfolio site. This can give you a feel for what your peers think is important to convey to their sites’ visitors, and you can also gain a sense of the latest design and interface trends.

But before we get started, here are some helpful questions you may want to ask yourself while viewing others’ portfolios:

  • Where does this site excel, and how can this be built upon?
  • What does this site’s design do that isn’t great, and how can I do it better?
  • How does this site approach organizing the photo portfolio into sections and slideshows?
  • What non-portfolio content does the site have, and how does this content help prospects to decide whether to hire this photographer?
  • What links are there to content outside the site?
  • What social media integrations, lead capture forms and other App Market apps is this site using?

Avila Photography >>

Born in Cuba and based in Miami, this photographer specializes in shoots for real estate, menus, weddings and products. His site is sharp and clean, using large slideshows in the background to showcase his talents. He offers four Services sub-pages that include typical project scope of work descriptions and even pay rates.

10 inspiring photography portfolios

Avila’s photography and digital touch-up skills are extremely impressive, and the full-width image sliders showcase this effectively. Who knew that parked vintage automobiles could be so attractive? The customized design, with its vertical menu overlay, is refreshing, and he promotes presences on three social channels, plus a contact form and his phone number as ways to follow up with him.

The site has a few downsides, though. We don’t know Avila’s full name, which would be good to know if we’re going to hire him; the flags in the footer imply that there are multilingual versions of the site, which there aren’t; and background music auto-plays as soon as the site loads, which feels a bit intrusive from a user experience perspective.

David Bohmann >>

Austrian shutterbug David Bohmann has been active as a professional for nearly four years. His portfolio site is not too demanding on the eye, avoiding clutter and favoring a plain white background. The photo showcases, which are divided into 14 handy sections and subsections, can be browsed extremely comfortably, and each one displays as a grid of small thumbnails. His portraits have a great deal of character (even some of the business ones!), his architecture shots feature some unconventional compositions and the use of special lenses, and his wedding “photobooth” series captures appropriately festive party vibes.

10 inspiring photography portfolios

His “About” page lists some of his educational accomplishments as well as his philosophy on photography, which he sums up with these words (as translated from Bohmann’s original German by Google):

Every single moment comes, goes and never comes back. There may come moments similar, better or worse, funnier or sadder, but this one, this very special has just passed will never come back. Even if a scene or a moment is recreated – it will no longer be the same.

Statements like these can be highly effective, helping prospective clients to feel connected to a photographer by stirring their emotions.

Joern Pollex >>

A 20-year veteran of sports, travel, portrait and commercial photography, German talent Joern Pollex’s site is an exercise in minimalism. His use of “masonry” image thumbnail layouts enables us to view many photos with differing heights and aspect ratios on one screen.

10 inspiring photography portfolios

The header on Pollex’s site features icons meant to link to his Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr profiles, but frustratingly, the icons aren’t clickable. The footer features a link to an internal page with a sample client contract, which may be helpful for prospects to get a sense of what they’re getting into, but the expanse of legalese may rub some the wrong way, implying that Pollex is a hardball kind of guy rather than the inspired and helpful solution to prospects’ needs.

Carlo Heathcote >>

Singapore’s Carlo Heathcote brands his portfolio site as an activism project, lending exposure to humanitarian issues by showcasing his shots of mass hunger in Niger, Kashmiri earthquake survivors and Afghanistan’s escalated militarism. “The exhibition is designed to try and give a voice, through the power of their own image, to people whose lives’ have been caught up in a humanitarian crisis,” writes Heathcote on his “About” page.

10 inspiring photography portfolios

The large image sliders in each of the three sections let the photos speak for themselves, making a case for us to pay attention to these causes – and to potentially hire Heathcote for our journalism and documentary photography needs, should any arise.

Kita Koji >>

Japan’s Kita Koji specializes in studio production shoots of products and fashion models, but he is also accomplished as a travelogue and wedding photographer. The relaxing neutral of the solid gray background on his web pages allows the photos themselves to pop out, which is what a portfolio ought to accomplish.

10 photography portfolios6

Each section of the site features a dedicated short blurb about the photographer’s approach for this type of shoot, and while the English here isn’t spectacular, the talent’s personality does shine through nicely, and publishing unique content on every page is likely to give the site an SEO boost.

Laura Gariglio >>

Laura Gariglio’s bold use of color for her site design distinguishes her from the pack, with multiple shades of green dominating and swaths of charcoal tones contrasting spots of bright pink. It’s a lot to take in, but it works.

She has wisely decided to publish a “My Style” page, where she discusses her love for capturing everyday spontaneity, in addition to her “About” page, where she explains that she’s a former painter living in the Canary Islands. There’s also a “Your Session” page, where she explains her basic packages for private shoots. This relatively high amount of content for a portfolio site is great – both for giving the visitor a sense of what the photographer has to offer and for SEO value.

10 inspiring photography portfolios

The photo sections themselves are likewise engaging. They portray people who are relaxed and enjoying themselves, perhaps heightened because they’re in the paradise of the Canary Islands. Especially compelling are Gariglio’s “Future Dads” photosets, with their emotional shots of expecting parents.

Michelle Monique Photo >>

A Californian video game enthusiast with a flair for artistic vision and heavy-handed yet skilled digital post-production touchups, Michelle Monique is a rising talent. She’s still in college, having shot many of the images seen on her portfolio site as a teen.

10 inspiring photography portfolios

These shots, which are drenched in fantasy aesthetics and digital art techniques, are jaw-droppers. Especially interesting is the “Videos” section, where she posts “making of” clips explaining her creative and production processes.

Paul Sun Photography >>

Los Angelean Paul Sun’s website is an exercise in stark minimalism. His homepage is blank with the exception of the navigation bar, a bold design decision that may confuse some users but effectively begs all to start clicking around as soon as we land.

10 inspiring photography portfolios

The portfolio itself shouts “this guy is the real deal.” Fashion models on boats and getting into limos are interspersed with smiling prizefighters and famous actors walking along the beach. Of course there are also highlights from shoots for known brands like Toms, REI, Stussy, PacSun and Mek Denim. The work speaks for itself.

Yann Photographe >>

Hailing from France, Yann Pendaries is an independent commercial photographer in his late 30s. His shoots for Evian mineral water, the Elissance cosmetics brand and several wineries features prominently on his site.

10 inspiring photography portfolios

However, the portfolio’s “Art Photography” section is what catches the eye most for its distinctive quality. Here, Pendaries lets the creativity rip, creating textured, tinted images that are fun and dreamy. The overall design may favor object shadows a bit too much, but the gray background is effective, and the eye is drawn sufficiently to the photographer’s excellent imagery.

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