As a photographer, you know you need a professional photography website. Sure, as a place to showcase your photos online, but also a place where you can market yourself as a photographer. Without a website, people won’t take you seriously—and the client’s experience begins when they first see your work.
The good news is that these days, there are many easy-to-use options out there—so if you’re not a developer, no need to worry. But there’s still a lot to keep in mind. To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of 10 tips for putting together a professional photo website.
1. Keep your images front and center when picking a site. As a photographer, you should pick a provider that puts images first. Look for themes that highlight images, options to create galleries, and sites that don’t have tons of restrictions on where you can put photos.
2. Quality over quantity. When choosing which photos to include in your portfolio, err on the side of less. When potential clients are looking at your site, you don’t want them to have to dig around or scroll forever to find what they want. Choose the photos that you feel truly represent your best work. Not sure which photos to include? Run your portfolio by a few other people—an outside perspective can be super helpful. As our content editor Alejandro Santiago says, “As photographers, we often fall in love with our photos. Ask a trusted peer who can offer a more subjective opinion to help you edit the photos in your portfolio.”
3. Focus on your strengths. Don’t feel compelled to include everything you’ve ever taken a photo of. Unless you’re truly a master of every style of photography, post images that show off your specialties. If your focus is on wedding photography and portraits, then your landscape images might not be the best thing to include.
4. Make sure your website reflects your aesthetic and style. Do you take minimalist photos with lots of clean lines? A sleek theme may be a good fit for your website. Are your photos dynamic and full of color? Pick a layout that gives you the option to show tons of photos at the same time, or highlight each one to show off all the detail. Or don’t follow these rules at all—the main thing is that you take the time to make sure the website reflects your own style. Think about the websites you visit, and how their look informs your opinion of them. Your website is an opportunity to build your personal brand, so be sure your logo and look is consistent with everything else you put out in the world, from your social media pages to your business cards.
5. Include an online store. If there’s an online store right on your website, it’s possible for you to make back the costs of your website through the items you sell alone. Many photographers use online stores to sell presets and prints. You can also give clients the option to pay for photo shoots online or sell tickets to your upcoming workshops—they can easily add these items to their online shopping cart and check out with a credit card. People are used to ecommerce, so including this option is a great call.
6. Register a custom domain. This is a must. Many sites now even offer options to help you set this up, so don’t worry if you’re not super tech-savvy. A custom domain may not be free, but it’s worth the extra dollars to look put together and professional. Bonus points for something that’s not too long and is easy to remember.
7. Make your contact info easy to find. Don’t make potential clients dig around for your contact info; make it prominent. And don’t forget to include all your social links. If your audience can click through to follow you on Instagram or get your latest tweets, you’re more likely to stay on their radar.
8. Write a blog. This isn’t a must—but it’s a great way to let your personality shine through or to provide extra details about what you do. People like stories! Not sure what to write about? Give a photography tour of a neighborhood or city, show the behind-the-scenes of a shoot, or write about what inspires you. It’s also a good place to share new skills you’re learning or images from a new photography style you’re trying out (which you may not want to include in your portfolio).
9. If you do custom shoots, think about getting a website with a client proofing feature. There’s nothing more frustrating than messy communication—or dealing with unnecessary extra messages just to figure out which images, exactly, your client liked from all the photos you painstakingly uploaded to a file sharing service. If your clients can review and download your work directly from your site, it’s easier for everyone to keep track of everything. Make it a seamless process.
10. Keep it updated. You don’t have to revamp your website all the time, but make sure your information is accurate. Be sure to add new projects or clients regularly.