Honor Your Work: 15 Tips to Create the Most Professional Photographer Website
As a photographer, you have spent countless hours developing your style and improving your images. You have probably also invested a lot of money in gear, courses, and traveling. The best way to honor all this effort is to create a stunning photography website to showcase your work to the world.
Anyone who reaches your website should be able to understand all the hard work behind each image. However, understanding how best to present the essence of your photos isn’t always easy. Many get frustrated when trying to build a site that reflects all of this, and end up unhappy with their online presence. To make sure this does not happen to you, we have put together the ultimate tips to create the most professional photography website.
01. Plan ahead
Jumping head-first into the design of your portfolio can lead to a huge migraine. First off, you should dedicate some time to research. Look at what other photographers are doing and how they present their work, even if you already have a general idea of how you want it to look. This will save you a lot of editing time, as you will have a clear guideline to follow. On top of that, it might help you identify some must-have features for your photography website that had not crossed your mind beforehand.
02. Find your focus
Find the one thing you want users to take away from your site. Having a clear focus is not only key for your website creation but also for your overall chances to become a professional photographer. This focus is the essence of who you are and how you want to present your work. Are you a landscape photographer with a passion for minimalist compositions? A wedding photographer who loves vibrant colors? Or maybe a multifaceted artist with a widely diverse portfolio? Whoever you are needs to be instantly understood just by taking a look at your website.
03. Start with a template
Ready-made templates are the ultimate best friends of people with little to no web design experience. They offer a very advanced starting point for your creation process, as all you need to do is add your content. Choosing the right photography website template will reduce the time you need to dedicate to this process to an absolute minimum. Having been carefully created by design professionals, they allow you to easily reach highly professional results. On top of that, they are completely free and fully personalizable.
04. Personalize it
Whether you choose to create your professional photographer website from scratch or using a template, you must make it your own. The style, color scheme, and overall feeling of the site should perfectly match that of your work. One of the best ways to fully personalize your website is to create a photography logo. Needless to say, all these elements should be in sync with the guidelines you set for yourself at the beginning.
05. Select your best work
One of the most widely believed photography myths claims that you should include as many pictures as possible on your portfolio. While offering a look into a diverse range of projects is a great idea, the total number of images should be significantly lower than you might think (usually no more than 20 to 30). You should limit the images you showcase to your absolute best pieces, as they will be the first impression people get of your work. Of course, they should also present the type of work you want to be hired to do. Social media channels are a great platform to share the rest of your work and offer your audience a more general look at your capabilities.
06. Let your work shine
You’re a photographer, so this one is quite self-explanatory. No matter which direction you choose on the design or the style of your work, photos are your site’s main attraction. That’s why your main goal should be to showcase them in the highest possible quality. With Wix Pro Gallery, you get full control over how each of your images is displayed. From layout to rendering quality, everything is fully personalizable. This tool also allows you to include videos and text, which can help give your portfolio a more unique touch.
07. Offer a good experience
No matter how good your work is, not paying attention to user experience will have a drastic impact on the success of your site. Details such as having clear section titles and offering some background information about your photos can make a huge difference. Additionally, staying on top of photography web design trends will allow you to understand the portfolio style people are currently most attracted to. Taking the main characteristics of these trends and merging them with your own style will lead to stunning results that no one will be able to look away from.
Another great way to keep visitors happy is using your site for sharing photos with clients online, which simplifies the delivery process and encourages them to see the rest of your work.
08. Talk about yourself
Human beings are curious by nature. This is why including an “About Me” page on your portfolio is so important. Visitors are likely to want to learn more about the work that captivated their attention. You don’t need to write a full biography, but sharing part of your story can be the first step to a loyal customer relationship. You can talk about why or how you got into the photography world, or share the brands you have worked with. Whichever you choose, make sure it matches your tone and brings added value to your portfolio.
09. Encourage conversations
Nowadays, nearly all research is done online. This includes looking for scientific papers, new restaurants, and even photographers. Because of that, most of your potential clients’ first impressions of your work will be through the website. If they like what they see, part of them will probably want to talk to you before they actually hire you. This is particularly true for photographers working for special occasions, such as big events or weddings. In any case, having a contact page for your photography website will allow visitors to easily reach out to you and will likely result in more bookings.
10. Get hired
Ideally, every person who visits your gallery will become a customer. While this is quite a utopian idea, you should keep it in mind when creating your portfolio. This is where a good photography services page comes into play. By actively answering the questions your visitors may have about your offering, you will simplify the conversion process. This will likely result in an increase of visitors who become customers, even more so if you allow them to directly schedule a session from within your site. If you don’t provide photo sessions, you can still make the most of your portfolio by starting to sell your photos online.
11. Pay attention to SEO
You may know SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as the little fairy who makes sure your professional photographer website shows among the top results on search engines such as Google and Bing. And you really want to pay attention to this, because no one ever looks farther than the first results page. Essentially, your ranking will depend on the quality of your content, links, and on-page SEO elements. Check out our complete guide about SEO for photographers to learn more about this topic.
12. Link your social accounts
Your portfolio should include links to all your social media profiles. And, of course, all these profiles should include a link to your website. This reciprocal relationship is the core of social media for photographers. It drives traffic to your main portfolio and in return helps you grow an online community. On top of that, these platforms allow you to create a dialogue with your audience and curate your customer loyalty.
13. Write a blog
Before you run away while screaming “I’m not a writer” at the top of your lungs, let us clarify that you don’t need to be one to benefit from creating a blog for your photography website. Simply focus on what you are passionate about. You can share behind the scenes anecdotes, technical tips, creative and inspirational projects – and literally anything else related to your work. Not only will your portfolio become much more engaging for visitors, your SEO will improve significantly. On top of that, it will offer you great content to share on your next email marketing campaign.
14. Curate your aesthetics
Before you hit the publish button, take a look back at the beginning of the process and see if the final result matches your plan and vision. Does this website truly reflect the essence of your photos? Will visitors be able to understand who you are and what you do? And, most importantly, are you absolutely in love with it? Unless you answered yes to all these questions, take a step back and see what’s missing. You might even want to get a second opinion before the big reveal to make sure it lives up to your work.
15. Update regularly
Once your website is ready and out there for the world to see, it’s easy to put it at the back of your mind. This is actually one of the most common portfolio mistakes. You may think that all the hard work you put into creating your site now allows you to take a break and let the Internet do its magic. However, you should know that making the most out of your site will require some of your time every now and then. Making sure your website is always showcasing the best you’ve got to offer means you will need to keep uploading new content as your images and projects improve.
By Judit Ruiz Ricart
Photography Expert for the Wix Blog & Social Media Team