There are always two people in every photography website: the photographer and the viewer. This slight adaptation of one of Ansel Adams’ most famous quotes perfectly sums up the importance of good web design. When creating your online portfolio, you should always keep in mind how the person on the other side of the screen might feel about every little detail on your site.
But what exactly makes web design “good”? And, most importantly, why should you spend time learning about a new discipline instead of focusing on photography? Luckily for you, there are many simple photography website design tips you can follow to make sure your visitors get the best possible experience. Here’s a selection of some of the most important ones:
Plan for navigation
Making your site easy to browse is probably the most important of all photography website design tips on this list. If visitors feel lost even for just a second they’ll probably close the tab and never come back. To avoid this, make sure there’s always a clear way to move to another page or return to the homepage. A fixed menu that appears across your whole site is the best way to do so.
Find the right tone
Visitors will likely reach your website with a predefined idea of what to expect. Generally, photographers working within the same genre or style follow similar guidelines on their portfolios. Do some research before settling on a layout or color scheme. This will help you understand your visitors better and see how to make the most out of every element.
Regardless of the amount of genres you work with, you should set a homogenic style across all the pages of your site. The easiest way to ensure you reach this harmony is basing your portfolio on a ready-made photography website template. Since they’re fully personalizable, you’ll be able to edit anything you need to match your work and goals.
Mind the fold
This concept dates back to the early days of publishing, when newspapers included their most relevant content on the top half of the front page. When folded and displayed at kiosks, this was the only visible part and therefore the one that had to catch people’s attention. Nowadays, this term is used to refer to the part of a site that is visible on the screen immediately after loading, before scrolling down the page. While the endless amount of devices makes it impossible to determine where “the fold” is, the most common placement is at approximately 1,000 pixels wide and 600 pixels tall.
Minimize the content
Having an endless number of pages is the online version of spray and pray, one of the most popular photography myths. By limiting them, you’ll be forced to select only your best work. This is crucial in order to reach a good user experience, as visitors would rather see a high-quality selection of works, than hundreds of average shots. Maintaining a top-notch level across your whole portfolio will also make it more likely for people to share your work with others.
Add some movement
Motion has been selected as one of the biggest photography website design trends of the year. Adding short video clips to your main gallery or using a video on your homepage can significantly improve your site’s engagement. If videography is not your thing, you can add some movement to your site by incorporating interactive hover effects and subtle animations on your site’s images and text.
Let it breathe
As much as we love full-screen gallery layouts, it’s important to give your content enough space. Also known as white space, this element allows you to lead your visitors’ eyes towards a specific spot on the page. On top of that, it can also be used to create visual hierarchy and present related elements as a single unit.
Make it social
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past two decades, you know how important social media has become. Not only does it offer a great platform to share all your work without cluttering your main online portfolio, but it also gives you the chance to build a community around your images. You should see each of your social media accounts as a natural extension of your website. Include links to them on your site to ensure visitors can easily start following you and become part of the community.
There are few things worse for your portfolio’s UX than broken links. In most cases, people will leave your site as soon as they reach a 404. Check all your links regularly to ensure they are active and functioning properly. Additionally, make sure all links to external pages are opened on new tabs. This way, visitors will stay on your website for as long as possible.
This one should come as no surprise – it’s 2018 after all. Over half of all internet traffic comes from mobile users, and you need to make sure these people see your online portfolio in all its glory. Don’t worry, you won’t need to redo your photography website all over again. Wix automatically creates a mobile-friendly version of your site. All you need to do is dedicate a bit of time to make little adjustments that will improve the end result.
Set a call-to-action
Which actions do you want visitors to perform? Whether you’re looking for subscribers for your next email marketing campaign or are aiming to get booked, there should be a clear CTA leading them to the right place. CTAs have to be clearly visible and describe the action in a straightforward manner. To avoid confusion, display one single CTA at a time.
Keep information visible
The header and footer sections allow you to display specific content across all pages of your site. This is especially valuable for contact information, social media links, and your navigation menu. Ideally, viewers should be able to access these three pieces of information at any moment during their visit.
Include a client area
On your photo gigs, you might have to choose between the convenience of sharing photos with clients online using your website, and the will to maintain your portfolio’s simplicity. The best way to solve this dilemma is using Wix Photo Albums. This feature allows you to create stand-alone sites for your clients, offering the perfect middle ground between online sharing and portfolio aesthetics.
You never know where the next business opportunity may come from. This is why visitors should be able to reach out to you with minimal effort. Create a contact page with your email, phone number, and a simple contact form. For higher chances of being contacted, add at least one of these elements on every page of your site.
Thinking that photos can do all the talking on your website is one of the most common portfolio mistakes. Not paying attention to how your text is displayed, is an even bigger oversight. It doesn’t matter how great and insightful your website’s text is if visitors are unable to read it properly. Pay attention to the fonts you use, their sizes, and colors. To keep people engaged, try writing short and sweet sentences that get straight to the point.