Every photographer who aspires to the title of professional photographer has asked this question: How to start a photography website?. Photographers must make their work known to the world. A great portfolio should be shared so that clients have undeniable proof of the quality of your work. Let’s admit it, when it comes to attracting clients, word of mouth can only go so far.
We concocted a short guide on the Dos and Don’ts of starting a professional photography website. Firstly, a mention: a photography website requires a number of unique features supporting the fact that this category is a league of its own. However, you shouldn’t fall prey to the pretentiousness of most photography websites out there. Keep it simple, telling and easy to navigate.
How to start a photography website?
In the age of digital photography, there are plenty of people who would call themselves photographers. A good camera and the ability to press the shutter release aren’t sufficient to create value and valuable work. This is why professional photographers must work particularly hard to differentiate their work and truly make a statement.
This is also why the answers to the question How to start a photography business? are particularly relevant in this time and age. We often stumble upon flashy photography websites which through flashy backgrounds or videos try to make up for the lack of decent photography skills and knowledge. Here are our starting a photography website tips to avoid following this harmful trend.
1. Choose custom web design
It all starts with a good template. For an artist, originality should be the prime consideration. Therefore, avoid using free photography website templates. Chances are that plenty of other people are using them for their websites too. Making a statement in an overcrowded business begins with custom web design.
2. Host your own photography website
Many photographers at the beginning of their journey opt for web design + hosting packages. We strongly advise you against doing so. Even if you are a rookie who doesn’t have much knowledge on how to start a photography website, hosting your own website is the best way to go.
Thus, you will have full control over hosting options and you will be able to modify or recreate everything as you develop your business. Having a third party involved makes this process far more difficult than it should be.
3. Participate in the web design process
Choosing custom web design is a great step to start a professional photography website. Nonetheless, don’t leave all the work to the web design team. Participate actively and provide creative input. Keep in mind that flash websites aren’t the best idea for photography businesses.
While flash slideshows are a good idea to display a highlighted portfolio, flash animations draw negative reactions. This is mainly due to the fact that the photography content is what clients and other peers evaluate. Flash animations will only draw attention from the quality of your work and make the website load in a considerably higher amount of time.
As for the design of your photography website, these are a few ideas to keep it smooth and clean:
- Flat design. This is an interface design that builds on minimal elements and simplicity. It’s one of the most popular techniques as far as web design for professional photography websites is concerned.
- Minimal server load. When design themes display high res images in prominent flashy manners, the responsiveness and load time of the website become difficult. Thankfully, new trends in custom theme designs have taken a lesson-learned approach. Thus, designers came up with more effective techniques to optimize the images without compromising the high res quality of your photographs. Ask your team to pay attention to this aspect.
- Bold typography. A blend of bold typography and simple menu bars, linear shapes and ghost buttons is quite attractive. These elements are read as professional while adhering to the principle that ‘less is more’. The center stage is occupied by your photography and photography skills, while the marketing elements are kept minimal yet bold.
4. Create your photography blog
How to start a photography blog? That’s simple. First of all, don’t use Blogger, WordPress or other free blogging services. Follow the same principle as with the photography website template. Your professional work deserves better than free services. Thus, include your photography blog in the web hosting package.
Whatever you do, keep your photography website and photography blog together. Do not register two domains. Doing so is distracting and splits your professional work. You risk losing points for search engine ranking, and we all know how important this element is in this age.
5. Create a domain including the word ‘photography’
Building on the point we made before, search engine ranking is a goal to aspire to. Creating a domain name which includes the word ‘photography’ makes it easier for whatever search engine to rank your professional photography website.
6. Curate content
By content, we mean photographs. It is necessary that you optimize your photographs and therefore portfolios to have a responsive and easy loading website. Optimizing the content isn’t synonymous with having low-resolution photos.
Photographs can be compressed through various professional programs without comprising their quality in any way. Find the best solution for you and don’t skimp on the money. On the long term, you will lose clients, views and ranking if you photography website takes an eternity to load.
7. Create a compelling photography portfolio
The photography portfolio you choose to create is the measure of your talent and the quality of your work. You are already aware of the fact this business is overcrowded. Therefore, setting yourself apart is your main target. Clients focus on photographic style and composition. Let’s face it, they do have the upper hand here.
Cherry picking a photographer for any special occasion or project is quite easy. Your goal as a professional photographer is to display your skills and style in a coherent and simple manner. Make the clients’ choice easy.
8. Create a price category
Last but not least on our how to start a photography website tips list: list the price of your work. There is nothing more annoying for clients than finding a message line such as ‘contact me for the price listing’ or any other that spins the same theme.
Clients seldom use the contact form to do so. They prefer opting for another photographer who has listed the price for different packages. Don’t undervalue your work. You know how many financial resources you invested in your photography business. The prices for different packages should reflect that.
We hope that these essentials tips answer the basics of how to start a photography website. For a professional photographer, a website is a must. Don’t rely solely on social media to get your work known. Use social media in addition to your website. A last word: take your professional photography website seriously. It is your visit card for the world.