Time to Sharpen Your Photography Website: Design Trends for 2019
Trends are such a complicated concept. One day they’re the coolest thing, and next thing you know everyone has moved on and forgot about it. Take the 80s fashion style for example. As nostalgic as some people get thinking about it, no one would ever consider dressing like that again. Unless it’s deemed trendy again, of course. The same thing happens with website design trends and the feelings your photography website evokes.
Every year we see new trends rise and old ones disappear. Some last only a few months and others stay relevant for several years. And while you don’t necessarily need to jump on every single one of them, being aware of what the latest photography website design trends will allow you to make sure your portfolio doesn’t look like it belongs to another decade. (Unless, of course, that is what you are looking for.) Ready to see what’s going on in the web design world? These are some of the most relevant photography website design trends we will see in 2019.
Video is literally everywhere
Who run 2019? Video! You probably have already noticed how video is becoming the online content king. Every other post on social media is a video, and everyone is creating their own. In fact, video is also expected to be one of the hottest photography trends in 2019.
But how exactly does video fit into photography website design trends? Truth is, even photographers who are not looking to become videographers are starting to use video clips on their sites. Even short ones disguised as GIFs. Videos have the ability to easily stand out against an otherwise static environment, rapidly catching the viewer’s attention. This is a great asset to take into account when building a website, as it allows you to guide visitors across the site and have them stay for longer. On a related note, videography websites will be one of the biggest video trends in 2019.
One gallery to rule them all
It’s all about maximizing the little time you’ve got. This statement applies to the two sides of a website: the time you dedicate to it and the time visitors spend on it. A single, main gallery is emerging as the best solution to time constrictions in both sides. It allows you to have a photography website that is easy to update and requires less time from visitors to grasp the essence of your work.
In most cases, photographers use additional galleries to show a wider selection of images of each of the topics they work on. These pages, just like those with additional information about themselves, are seen as a plus to the main display. While a significant number of visitors won’t probably reach them, those who do will likely end up reaching out in one way or another.
Go big (with pictures) or go home
Don’t expect visitors to open your photos. The majority of people who reach your site will limit their visit to a few seconds scrolling your gallery. Based on this, they’ll decide whether it is worth their time to see more of your work. In order to make the best first impression, you’ll need to display your images at their best. That is, uncropped and in large sizes.
Gone are the days where online portfolios were comprised of galleries with lots of little squares that visitors would click to see the full picture. Nowadays, photographers are using big, full-sized previews of their work to put it front and center. Don't forget to check they're in the best resolution for website photos and are showcased in the highest quality possible.
Slow websites are left behind
Three seconds. That’s how much time you have to make a good first impression. If your website takes longer than that to load, your visitors won’t hesitate to close the tab and probably never come back. This is one of the main ways in which images impact your site’s SEO.
In order to ensure your online portfolio loads fast, your photos will need to be optimized for online use. Meaning you’ll need to reduce their size as much as possible while maintaining a high image quality. But don’t worry too much, the Wix Pro Gallery will automatically optimize your images for best performance.
Mobile first becomes the norm
Think about thumbs, not mouses. It seems like it was yesterday when we argued about the advantages of having a mobile-friendly photography website, and now it’s considered an absolute necessity. Statistically speaking, most of the people who reach your online portfolio will likely do so using mobile devices. These devices already account for more than half of the global traffic.
You should start thinking about mobile performance as soon as you start planning your site. Doing so will save you a long of headaches along the way, as you won’t need to figure out how to adapt everything to a smaller, more limited screen.
Social media integration is a must
There are almost three billion social media users in the world. Sure, a lot of people have multiple accounts, but that is still a lot of people. Even if only a tiny fraction of them get to see your work, it will still be a lot of people. For photographers, social media channels offer an incredible opportunity to share their work with millions of people with a simple swipe. Paired with a professional photography website, the possibilities are nearly endless.
This is why it’s so important to make sure you use them to drive traffic to each other. Your followers should become website visitors, and vice versa. As each platform serves a different purpose, this cross-linking will ensure viewers get a full perspective of your work. Social media will allow them to see your most recent endeavours, while your website will show them your very best images and offer information about you and your services.
Everyone is managing their own store
And by everyone we mean photographers of all levels. For a long time, most photographers interested in building a photography website were either freelancers or business owners. Having their own little space in the Internet allowed them to promote their services and even get booked. Amateur photographers, regardless of their talent, simply did not consider websites necessary. After all, they can showcase their work on social media.
Now websites have a clear edge over these platforms: the possibility to sell photos online. Any photographer can easily create a site and start selling their work. As it doesn’t require any initial investment, this option offers them a major opportunity to start making money from their photographic skills.
Achieving dynamism though asymmetry
It all comes and goes. A few years ago, photography website design trends were all about symmetry. Centered compositions in search of the perfect balance. Traditional grid-based structures were all the rage. In recent times, however, it’s all about breaking this grid in search of vitality.
Moving away from symmetry and gridlines gives photographers more freedom over their portfolio layout. As a result, it is easier for them to differentiate themselves from the hundreds of other photography websites out there. On top of that, asymmetry can also help catch visitors’ attention as the images are presented in a non-monotonous way.
White space is a portfolio’s best friend
But I've got a blank space, baby, and I'll... put my portfolio on it. Photographers are moving away from full-screen galleries and displays. Displaying smaller images grants visitors the chance see a few of them at the time, while surrounding them with enough white space allows them to be perceived as a stand-alone unity.
This white space can also be beneficial for your portfolio’s UX, as it will allow you to lead visitors’ eyes towards specific places on the page. Paired with subtle colors or pure black, it will ensure that your photos get full attention, away from potential distractions.
The golden age of blogs
It’s not like we don’t read anymore, we just read differently. The number of photographers who realize the importance of words is growing every day. Many of them have chosen to write a photography blog to share their expertise and behind-the-scenes experiences. This allows them to create a deeper connection with their audience, building a dedicated community around their work.
While a picture might be worth a thousand words, actual words can do a lot of good for your photos and website. Blog articles are a great opportunity to rank for a wide range of online searches, maximizing the amount of people who might reach your site and see your work.
By Judit Ruiz Ricart
Photography Expert for the Wix Blog & Social Media Team