Jan 29, 20189 min

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Create a Complete Photography Website

Updated: Jan 13

Instagram is very nice. So are 500px and Flickr. Although useful, these platforms are not enough to launch your success on the internet. As a photographer, you need a tool that perfectly fits your art, that you can control entirely, and that enables you to showcase your pictures the exact way you want – with no limits of size, quality or design. This tool has a name: your photography website. It will showcase your best shots and help you establish yourself as an expert in your field. But a website doesn’t do only that: it’s also meant to grab people’s – and Google’s – attention, and get you more clients.

Don’t know where or how to start? No worries! As a photographer, you are gifted with a natural sense of aesthetics, which you can easily utilize in the design of your website. And you have another decisive advantage: thanks to the amazing tools provided by today’s website builders, it has become easier than ever to create a portfolio that’s both complete and visually stunning.

Here are the steps you need to take in order to create a photography website that represents your own unique style – and fascinates your visitors.

01. Set your focus

Before turning your computer on and opening your favorite website builder, sit down a minute and ask yourself what your exact aim is. Is it to attract more clients? To display your latest photography project? Or a bit of both? Your mind must be set before you start, since it’ll help you choose the right images and organize them better.

Typically, most photographers will use the same website to display different genres. It’s perfectly fine, as long as you draw a clear line of separation in between. Simply create multiple galleries, one for each category displayed: weddings, portraits, street captures, etc. If you have a particularly large set of projects, or if certain artistic works are hard to reconcile with your more commercial work (you document cemeteries around the world and make a living by photographing newborns), you might consider going for separate websites. The good news is that, with Wix, you can create as many as you wish – all of them for free.

02. Give it your best shots

Now that you’ve decided which collections of works you want to display on your online portfolio, it’s time to choose the shots. It’s important to keep in mind that your website doesn’t have the same function as your Instagram account. Here, you don’t want to publish every single picture that you took, in order to raise engagement. On the contrary: your website is meant to display only your best, most representative pieces in each category.

In a nutshell, always pick quality over quantity. Our recommendation: you can go for 20 to 30 pictures per gallery maximum. It’s preferable to leave your visitors with a desire for more, rather than “overfeeding” them. Plus, overloading your website with images might make it slower – and you know that Internet users are not the most patient, especially on mobile.

03. Imagine your layout

The layout is the visual structure of your portfolio. For a photographer, the driving idea is to make sure that your images remain at the very center – and thus get the attention they deserve. The first way to do this is by going for a refined design, with a minimum of items. A black (“dark”, in the web design slang) or white (“clean”) background is also recommended, since it makes your photos naturally stand out. Second, consider the type of display you want to use. It should fit the dominant format of your pictures: long scrolling if you take a lot of verticals images (like portraits), thumbnails for horizontal ones, etc. To help you out, here is a very clear guide on choosing the right layout for your online portfolio.

Need inspiration? Have a look at the websites of photographers you admire and how they organized their work. You can begin by using one of the many Wix templates for photographers created specifically by our designers with artists and professionals in mind. Of course, they’re entirely customizable – from the header to the footer – so your website will undoubtedly be unique and tell the only story worth mentioning: yours.

04. Add the right pages

It’s time to do something you may not have done since the 12th grade: take a pencil to paper. You’ll use them to create the architecture of your site, that is to say the way your pages are connected to one another. Of course, you can adjust your plan at any moment with the Wix Editor, but try to be as detailed as possible: it will considerably ease your workload in the coming stages.

Now write out which pages (or sections) you want on your website and where they will be placed, in order of importance. As a photographer, you don’t need too many. Here are the absolute must-haves:

The homepage

This is where you present yourself and what you do. The most common mistake photographers make here: weak text. We see too many talented artists who put only a picture, thinking that the pixels will do all the talking. For example, if only a beautiful landscape is displayed, how can a user tell a photographer’s website from a travel agency’s one? Plus, Google, Bing and other search engines desperately need some textual indications to know who you are. Thus make sure that your logo, name and the term “photographer” appear legibly and large on your homepage.

To know more: Here is how to nail the home page of your photography website.

The gallery

This is the center of your website, where visitors will be able to discover your images. Since it’s the place where the magic happens, you need to choose which online tool to build it with wisely. Look no further: it has a name, and it’s called the Wix Pro Gallery. This remarkable tool gives you full control over your pictures and the way you want to showcase them. Basically, you’re able to set the quality and sharpness for every image – this way your visitors will see them exactly as you planned. Plus, you can enjoy a wide selection of stunning layouts (Instagram-like grid, panorama, etc.), which are fully customizable.

Want some more? The Pro Gallery also comes with numerous options to enhance and promote your photos. You can protect them from being downloaded (right-click protection) or add a sharing button to spread your talent on social channels. The Gallery also gives you the possibility to upload videos and texts, to add a greater variety to your final result.

The “About me”

This is where people can discover who you are. Granted, it doesn’t mean that you need to write about the day your great-uncle from Alabama offered you your first disposable camera. Your visitors will be much more interested in your philosophy of art and life, your techniques and where you draw inspiration from. Favor the first-person to the third – it makes things more intimate, and readers will be more inclined to empathize and contact you. Of course, don’t forget to include a picture of yourself. A lot of photographers understand “selfish” when they hear “selfie”, but showing who you are is an absolute must on your website.

To know more: Here are our 10 favorite tips to write a killer photographer “About” page.

The clients’ showcases

Like most photographers, you do a lot of commission works. Since people tend to feel more confident when they see this, don’t forget to add some of the stuff you’ve done for your previous clients. Wix Photo Albums is the best, easiest tool for that. This free App enables you to create stand-alone album sites for each of your customers. There they’ll find the photos you captured from their event or shooting, displayed in a stunning layout and branded with your information. It would be a real shame not to add them to your photography website (with your clients authorization, of course). Just sayin’…

The “Contact”

To make sure visitors can easily reach you, there is a maximum amount of information that can go on a clean website. Simply include your email address, your phone number and your social accounts.

Don’t forget to add Wix Bookings. This genius App has already made the life of thousands of small business owners much easier. How? It enables you to display your updated calendar, so that your potential clients know when you’re available for a shooting. As a bonus, you can also let them book and pay online. No more phone calls or emails to answer – your hands are free for what you do best: taking beautiful pictures.

Extras (but highly recommended)

Although optional, these pages can serve your photography website well:

A blog: Tell more about your projects, techniques and news. It’ll help you build a loyal community and give a nice boost to your SEO. We can read from here the panic on your face. Relax! You don’t need to be called Saul Bellow to write a photography blog. Simply put an image at the center, and write a few lines about what we are looking at. Which gear did you use? What were your feelings when you took the shot? Where was the picture taken? It’s that easy.

An online store: It’s time to make some money! Sell digital copies of your work straight from your photography website with Wix Art Store, a brand-new and 100% commission-free solution.

Testimonials: Display the (happy) comments left by your (happy) clients. Let them do the selling for you.

05. Show how social you can be

Enabling your visitors to share your content on Facebook and other social media channels is an absolute must in 2018. It’s the easiest and cheapest way to get your name to spread and attract new clients. First, make sure a social bar is clearly visible on your site, with a link to all of your profiles. It shouldn’t take more than 5 seconds for your visitors to locate it, on any page. We recommend displaying the bar either in the menu, the footer or as an anchor on the side. Next, enable the sharing option in the Pro Gallery, at least for the photos that carry the greatest viral potential.
There is nothing like a powerful image shared and enjoyed on social networks to build up one’s reputation. Last but not least, don’t forget to put your website’s URL at the top of each of your social profiles to bring your social fans back to your professional site.

06. Do your SEO

It’s a fact: photographers are much more visual than textual. That’s great when it comes to seizing the momentum for a photo, but can be problematic when you have to fill out your tax return or create your entire website. Whether we like it or not, search engines cannot “see” images, they can only read words. So if you want your website to be visible on the Internet and thus, bring more traffic, you’ll have to make an effort and use the keyboard.

Start optimizing by describing each image in the “Title” and the “Description” fields of your Wix Pro Gallery. Known as the “Alt text”, this description tells what’s appearing on the picture with basic, simple wording. Be as sincere as you can, and avoid artificial information and keywords – Google’s robots will likely penalize you if they realize you tried to cheat. On top of SEO optimization, Alt text descriptions will help your pictures to be found more easily in Google Images, where the competition is less harsh than “all web”.

Your images descriptions are set? Find out the other steps you need to take with our complete SEO guide for photographers.

07. Optimize for small screens

Smartphones and tablets are taking over! As a matter of fact, 75% of users will access the Internet from mobile devices in 2017. Thus, one of the major challenges photographers have to face when it comes to their online portfolio is ensuring that it will be easily seen on mobile. Don’t forget to optimize your design accordingly. Good news: the Wix Pro Gallery is fully responsive. Which means that it instantly adapts to any screen – without need to further customize. As for the other elements of your website, the Wix Editor lets you optimize your design in a few minutes, by simply dragging and dropping your elements. Just don’t forget to do so before you hit publish. Want to know more? Check now if your photo website is really mobile-friendly.

08. Call your best friend

Not to debate your feelings on the last season of Games of Throne, but to ask for an outside opinion on your freshly designed photography website! It’s very hard to be impartial when it comes to anything you created yourself – especially when it’s for the first time. Relying on someone else’s feedback will help you optimize the navigation, fix the design clumsinesses and exterminate the wandering typos.

09. Keep it fresh

Update your website regularly. Those paying a visit after a few months should always see new images on your site to excite them. First because they care about you, and want to know that you’re still alive. But also because in today’s world, updated has become a synonym for reliable.
Luckily, Wix makes it super intuitive for you to upload your pictures from your desktop. You can also use the Instagram Feed application, that’ll automatically update your Insta pictures straight on your website. So, you have no excuses.

Conclusion: Update your site whenever you can – and share the address with us.
We can’t wait to have a look!

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Ready to show your creations to the world? Create your unique photography website with Wix!

By Jonathan Sitbon

Editor-In-Chief of the Wix Blogs

#onlineportfolio #photographywebsite #webdesign