If you're a photographer who is looking to get their work out into the world and noticed by others, then you are going to need a website. There's no question about it. Having a website is the easiest way for photographers to showcase their shots, as well as an opportunity to potentially attract new clients — because who doesn't want more work?
Creating a website based on your photography portfolio is actually one of the easier website builds you will take on. This is good news for you, especially if you're not looking to put too much time into it. After all, not everyone has to be obsessed with building websites like I am. What can I say? It's simply something I enjoy doing.
So, where to begin?
Choose a content management system
A content management system, often referred to as a CMS, is web-based software that is used to build websites of all kinds. In this case, we're focusing on putting together a photography portfolio, so I'm going to recommend going with either Squarespace or WordPress. Both platforms offer solid tools for presenting photos in an organized manner.
However, if you're looking to save on costs, then definitely go the WordPress route. I recommend using Bluehost as your web host, as hosting starts at just $3.95/month — but only when you sign up for one of their annual plans.
Important: Please note that there are major differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. Each platform is solid, but I highly recommend choosing WordPress.org over the latter. Learn why here.
Find an appropriate theme/template
Depending on which CMS you decide to go with, you'll eventually be presented with the task of finding a theme or template that you feel best represents your work. Personally, I've always been a fan of simplicity, so I typically choose something that is easy on the eyes. But of course, this is your website we're talking about, so feel free to go crazy.
No matter which theme you decide on, you'll want to go with something that clearly depicts your photography. Your website visitors should immediately know what they're looking at, thus resulting in a frustration-free experience. The longer you can keep visitors on your website, the better.
For my personal website, I'm using Squarespace's Wells template. As you can see here, my photography is clearly presented in a grid-like fashion. I also have my work broken down into specific categories, which helps keep things organized and easy to navigate.
Import and present your photos
If you're using either WordPress or Squarespace to build your website, importing your photos is very easy and to the point. WordPress users, click here for a how-to guide — Squarespace users, click here.
Once your photos are imported, you'll want to present them in a gallery or two. This will vary depending on the type of portfolio you're putting together. I enjoy keeping things simple, so the less my website visitors have to click, the better experience they're going to have.
WordPress has a wide variety of gallery plugins to use, ten of which can be seen here. These are all free to use, so don't hesitate to try a few and find one that works best for you.
As for Squarespace, there is no support for plugins. But honestly? There's no need for them. Squarespace provides its users with plenty of functionality and control — aside from the ability to comment on photos. That's one area where WordPress has the upper hand.
Your photos are just the beginning
Photography may be the main focus on your website, but there's no reason to stop there. To make your visitors feel even more welcome, your website should have both an about page and a contact page.
Having an about page is an excellent way of providing an overview of who you are as a photographer, including the types of photos you shoot. It's also a good idea to display a photo of yourself. Doing so can help others connect with you on a personal level.
The same goes for creating a contact page. It's crucial if you want to stay in touch with anyone who is taking time out of their day to check out your work. Open communication is one of the most important aspects to keep in mind when building any form of website.
Looking for more tips?
Believe me, I am very well aware of how much work goes into website creation. It can seem like a tedious process that never ends, but with helpful guides, it doesn't have to be difficult. That is why I encourage you to check out my free course: Website Building 101: From Build to Launch
Do you have an existing portfolio website that you would like feedback on? Just post it in the comments below and I'll be sure to promote it on social media!