How to Create a Photography Website


How to Create a Photography Website
How to Create a Photography Website

If you are a professional photographer looking to succeed, having an online website will be essential, and for those in creative work, having a self-built site is no longer a competitive advantage -- now, more often than not, not having a website is a serious disadvantage. Whether you are looking for new clients, new work, or to enhance your personal image, a portfolio website is a useful tool you can use.

Image source Depositphotos

The good news is that creating a professional looking photography website has never been easier, and, you don't need any programming skills to do it easily, we will guide you in detail every step of the way.

Tip: A website builder is an easy-to-use, feature-rich online program that can help anyone launch a website with ease. In this article, we will focus on how to build a photography website using a website builder.

WordPress, on the other hand, is a powerful but more technically demanding third-party platform, so if you're confident in your skills, check out our guide to creating a photography website with WordPress.

1. set clear goals

Before embarking on launching your photography website, don't rush forward just yet. Consider the main purpose of your website, which will influence which platform is ultimately chosen and how it will look. For example.

  1. Are you an event photographer looking for a new local business?
    Choose a website builder with strong SEO (Search Engine Optimization) features to make it easier to find yourself in Google search results.
  2. Do you want to make money by selling images online?
    E-commerce features should be your first choice, and if downloading images is allowed, make sure the site builder supports selling digital products.
  3. Are you looking for new work and showcasing a portfolio of work on your website?
    Make sure your text content (such as an about us page) is central to the site along with the image material, and you may also want to add illustrated blogs to showcase your expertise.
  4. Do you just need a simple website to increase your visibility?
    Choose a comprehensive website builder (we'll cover that in the next section) and get started with the cheapest plan available.

2. Choose a website builder

Choose a template as the base of your website, then drag and drop page elements to the right place, you can create other pages or edit the pages that come with the chosen template. In short, if you are used to using PowerPoint, you will get used to the site builder quickly.

To use the site builder, you will need to pay the full subscription fee, which usually ranges from $5 to $25/month. In fact, some brands offer completely free plans, but they are not always the best option. Many people mistakenly believe that website builders are too restrictive for websites, and while this is true for some website types, they are actually very ideal for photography websites. Here are some of the actions you can perform with a site builder.

  1. Quickly upload new content without any knowledge of coding
  2. Connect an existing domain name, or select a new one
  3. Integrate your social media
  4. Add contact form
  5. Create a login area for customers
  6. Easily switch the way images are displayed
  7. Selling digital and physical products

Choosing the right website builder is crucial, you need a platform that is low cost and can be scaled as you wish. We've done extensive research on the best website builders on the market to test each platform for functionality, ease of use, flexibility, cost effectiveness, etc. Out of all 50+ options, here are the top three that we believe are best for building photography websites.

1. Squarespace - the best photography site builder

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Not surprisingly, true leader Squarespace offers the industry's most stylish templates, as well as photography-focused specific options that can help you easily launch a professional-looking photography site. Our only complaint is that the editing interface is in keeping with its minimalist look -- in other words, it's not always obvious how to do things. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you get used to it, you'll find Squarespace to be a stylish site building platform with unique features that will allow you to reach more admirers with your work.

2. Wix - the most easy to use photography site builder

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If ease of use is your top priority, Wix will be one of the best choices, in fact, it's the site builder you're most likely to use long term after testing. The preset templates may not be as colorful as Squarespace, but they offer a much greater range of customization and there are plenty of them (over 500 in total). If you're willing to spend some time experimenting, it's possible to make something impressive.

3. SmugMug - making your photos more secure

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It's a website builder designed specifically for photographers, which means it has a ton of relevant features. SmugMug will do a lot of the heavy lifting for you when launching a photography site, but the end result is not as clean and sleek as Squarespace or Wix. Security is crucial if you have different clients connecting to the site to display images -- SmugMug has features to match, and some plans include the option to add custom watermarks to images to prevent unauthorized misuse.

3. Choose a plan

When you sign up for an account, the system asks for a name and email address and selects a starting plan (although the order of execution varies slightly from site builder to site builder). In addition, this is the stage where you are asked to choose a domain name, i.e. a unique address for the site -- for example, our domain name is thatmy.com.

Many site building platforms (including Wix) offer free hosting plans, which are useful for testing whether the builder is right for you, but we recommend not sticking with the free plans for long, as you will get caught up in the large number of ads on the site building platform with its brand name included in your domain name. For example, the domain name of the Wix free plan is particularly compelling, with the format username.wixsite.com/siteaddress.

If you need to sell products through your website, pay close attention to the plans that include e-commerce features. If you're not sure, start with a cheaper plan and then upgrade. Even if you are just starting your online business, you will look experienced if your website looks professional and makes a good first impression on visitors.

4. Choose the right template

According to one study, 75% of a website's credibility comes from its design. As a photographer, you want your creativity to shine in your photos and your website should stand out, which is why it's so important to choose a website builder that offers a lot of customization features.

Squarespace Template Library

Both Wix and Squarespace offer a wide range of beautiful templates, categorized according to different industries. Simply click on the photography/portfolio category and select the best template for your photography needs.

Wix Template Library

Wix currently has 40 templates categorized as photography websites.

SmugMug Template Library

Since SmugMug is centered on photography websites, every template they offer will fit your website well.

Tip: Squarespace and SmugMug both allow you to change the template after publishing, but Wix does not provide support for this, so if you choose Wix, make sure you are happy with your chosen template before going live. After selecting a template, you can adjust elements such as text, colors, menus, navigation bars, background images, etc. Customization works differently, depending on the site builder you choose.

  1. Squarespace: Unless you're good at programming skills, there's not much freedom in changing the look of your template. But that's not necessarily a bad thing; instead, it helps ensure that your site follows best design practices.
  2. Wix: You have complete freedom to drag and drop content anywhere and quickly get something different from the original template. Therefore, Wix does not allow you to switch between templates after the site is published.
  3. SmugMug: All content is built using block elements, SmugMug is not as easy to use as Wix, but a bit more flexible than Squarespace.

5. Add photos and content

Now that you've chosen your template, it's time to add photos and content!

Home

Aside from your actual portfolio, the home page is the most important page on your website. You only need one page to capture the imagination of your visitors, so make the most of it! Here are some considerations.

  1. Grid or selected images: Do you want to show many photos in the grid or highlight only one of them?
  2. Colors and fonts: Which colors and styles best suit your photos?
  3. Navigation: essentially the menu in the site and how users find the different parts of the site. Consider where on the page you would like it to be placed, with both the top left and bottom left corners being standard options.
  4. Social media integration: do you want to add buttons, Instagram summaries, or both?

If you don't update your website often, add an Instagram gallery to display some new content on your website without any additional work. When you upload images to your Instagram account, they will also be automatically displayed on your website to keep it fresh and unique.

Show Photos

The site should showcase your proudest work, which is usually your most recent work. Do not upload all the photos you have ever taken, as this will make your site confusing and difficult to navigate. When displaying photos, you have two options.

  1. Using Galleries
    Displaying images in a gallery format is a pretty standard method. Using an application like Wix Pro Gallery, you can arrange images in a grid or slideshow, for example, and visitors can like the photos directly on your site.
  2. Sorting by topic, project or date
    A slightly more conservative presentation is to divide by project or theme (e.g., portraits or sports) and assign different pages to each portfolio.

About page

Potential clients want to get to know the person behind the camera, and the About Us page allows you to add a profile and talk about your inspirations and experiences. You should talk in the first person, preferably with a photo of yourself, in order to make your portfolio more personal.

Contact page

Many people believe that complete contact information is an important element missing from a business website. Make sure you create a dedicated contact page so that potential customers can get in touch with you. You can add an email, phone number, address, and a contact form to this page.

Online Shop

If you wish to make money from photography, then an online store is required. For Squarespace, Wix and SmugMug, you can upgrade to a plan that's good enough to unlock e-commerce capabilities to do so.

Blog

This is an optional module, but well worth considering. Whether it's sharing photography tips and insights or telling the story behind a project, a blog can pair well with a photography website. However, not everyone is good at writing, so if you have a hard time doing it, or can't do it well even if you try very hard, you can choose to give up.

6. Installation of applications (plug-ins)

Apps (plugins) can enhance your business in areas such as finance, logistics, e-commerce, blogging, marketing, social media, etc. For photography websites, we recommend integrating social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) apps, which will make your website relevant to social channels with just a few clicks of a button to displayed to a huge social media following.

Email marketing is another useful feature that you can access through the plugin. By setting up effective online marketing campaigns, you can easily connect with existing and potential customers and share information about the latest gallery releases.

It's worth noting that while some apps are free, you have to pay for certain premium apps. both Wix and SmugMug have their own app marketplaces where you can browse and buy just like in your smartphone's app store.

Wix Application Marketplace

Here are some of our favorite free Wix photography plugins.

  1. Wix Forms: Create and customize forms for your website
  2. Wix Art Store: Selling digital art and prints
  3. Instagram Feed: Present your Instagram feed on the website

Tip: Squarespace works slightly differently in that they don't have an externally integrated application marketplace, preferring instead to build additional functionality in-house. This means you can be sure that Squarespace is of high quality, but does not have the same diversity as Wix.

7. Show photography works

Now, your website is built! But that's only half the battle, the next step is to get people to find it. You can get noticed in a number of ways, and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) plays an important role in attracting traffic, which involves tweaking (or optimizing) your website to help search engines read it and thus improve the chances of ranking well on search results pages.

Never been into SEO before? Don't worry, we'll show how to use the best SEO tips to get your photography website more exposure on search engines.

  1. Add alternative text
    Search engines can only read text, not see images! This means you need to add a short description for each photo and use keywords whenever possible.
  2. Responsive Design
    Make sure your site is suitable for mobile access so that it is reformatted to look just as good on a smartphone (the site building tools we mentioned above all have this feature built in) and search engines will prioritize mobile responsive sites on their results pages.
  3. Using keywords
    Use a tool like Google Keyword Planner to search for keywords related to your type of photography and then add them naturally to your website. For example, if you are a wedding photographer, check to see if people are searching for the phrase wedding photographer and then merge that into your website content.
  4. Optimize image file size
    Use a tool like Kraken.io to compress images without compromising quality. This will reduce your site's loading time and keep your customers and search engines happy.

Most site building tools also offer a great deal of SEO advice, with Squarespace and Wix being particularly prominent in this area. Wix, for example, has Wix SEO Wiz, which gives you instant tips as well as longer reading times for.

Wix SEO Wiz

Squarespace uses a different approach, but with the same impressive functionality, allowing you to do the following.

  1. Edit site title and meta description
  2. Create custom 404 pages
  3. Modify the automatically generated URL

8. check and publish the photography website

Before publishing the site, you need to check that everything is in order, leaving no stone unturned to proofread the text, test the links, and adjust the galleries if needed. Then you should ask some friends and family to browse through it. Having a second opinion really helps improve the user experience of the site, so get some feedback before you publish!

When you're completely satisfied with the site, it's time to click the button to go live and feel good, right? But that's not the end of the story, even if it's already published, you need to update the most recent photos regularly to keep it fresh. Also, the more times you refresh alternative text and keywords, the better your chances of your site being found by more customers.

Summary

This is a guide to creating a photography website. As you can see, you don't need to be a web designer to implement beautiful and useful features, just determine the main purpose of the website and then choose the right tools. Website building tools are more advanced than ever, so now is the best time to launch a website.

Finally, let's review the 8 steps to launching a photography website.

  1. Set clear goals
  2. Select a website builder
  3. Select a plan
  4. Choose the right template
  5. Add photos and content
  6. Installing applications (plug-ins)
  7. Display of photographic works
  8. Review and Release

In the meantime, happy creating!

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Conclusion

The only question is, which side are you going to pick?

Let me know in the comments.

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