Creating a Photography Website | Things to Keep in Mind
Photography Portfolio Website | Your very own gateway to a lucrative photography business
As photographers, we all understand the importance of a strong portfolio. It’s our pride and joy. It validates our own sense of achievement and gives us confidence. And, let’s not mince words, it is also what gets us business. As wedding photographers, the main reasons we get hired are: (a) portfolio (b) portfolio (c) portfolio. And, yes, you can throw in some other add-ons like price, referral and, of course, our (winning) personalities!
Okay. I’m sold. I need a strong portfolio. But why do I need a great website?
Websites are the equivalent of a shop for your photography business. It’s a place to showcase your talent, your products, your awards+achievements and also testimonials from delighted clients. It’s the perfect platform to build your brand and share seasonal offers. The website is also a great place for clients to find your contact information. And, let’s face it — the first place that modern to-be-wed couples look is online. By not having an effective portfolio website, you stand the chance of losing out on a lot of assignments.
But I have fabulous following on my Facebook & Instagram page. And I’m listed on all the relevant portals. Do I still need a website?
Yes. You do. Trust us.
A website implies stability and dependability, giving prospective clients the reassurance that their desired photographer is not some fly-by-night operator. If social media marketing works well for you, then you should definitely continue to invest in promoting your social handles, but make sure they all link back to a fabulous website.
Okay. I’m sold. What should I keep in mind while creating / updating my website?
Now that you’ve decided to invest time and money in a good website, we have some great tips for you. And, believe us when we tell you, a website need not be a large investment. You can spend as little or as much as you like, the options are endless; Here’s how you can choose:
- If you have very little time and zero inclination towards tech, choose plug-and-play systems like Pixpa, Square Space, Photo Shelter etc; They are functional, have easy and simple templates wherein you just write your content and upload your photos. They take care of all the icky tech stuff like domains, hosts, servers etc;
- If you have a little more time, some inclination towards tech+DIY and would like to go beyond standard templates, browse through the hundreds of WordPress themes which are highly customisable;
- If you have very high standards, a very specific idea and the inclination to spend more money, then hire a web developer to build you a customised website, from scratch!
Whichever direction you choose, make sure you pick something that makes your life easier. Because, after all, you’re a photographer and not a web developer. Also, keep these tips in mind:
Portfolio is King
Whatever theme or design you choose, make sure that your portfolio is front and centre. Let your images do the talking to showcase your talent and skill. Be ruthless when it comes to curating your portfolio – leave out the safe shots and find a limited number of your very best shots to display on your website. A smaller number of extraordinary photos will trump a larger selection of good photos. Every single time. For all the other great, but not extraordinary shots, there’s Flickr, Facebook and Instagram! PS – don’t forget to frequently update your portfolio by bringing in newer, better images and purging an equal number out.
Pick a design or template that is clean and uncluttered. The patterns and graphic effects should not distract from the main hero, your images. Ensure that your design or template has a great mobile version too because many people browse on their phones and iPads as much as they use computers.
Enable Easy Browsing
Use simple and clear navigation or structure in your website so that visitors can easily follow the logical flow, i.e. go easily from your home page to portfolio to more information / about / press coverage and then finally to contact information or form. A reasonable number of navigation buttons is 5-6, in which you must remember to keep one for returning to the home page. It is considered good user-interface practice to have the navigation buttons in the same, consistent place throughout the website and to make them as obvious and clearly visible as possible.
Follow Good SEO Practices
The algorithms that determine good SEO performance are some of the best guarded secrets in the online world! But over the years, we’ve managed to put together some good practices that have worked for us — ensure that your website and images are optimised for fast loading of pages; have a good sitemap on the website; make good use of H Tags (in the body text of the website and on the blog); upload images with all the information filled in (like image names, captions, alt tags, meta tags etc); collaborate with other websites to get good quality incoming links into your website.
Easy Contact Options
One of the worst things that could happen to you is if a visitor to your website is incredibly impressed by your work but just cannot find a way to contact you. More people than you think make this elementary mistake. In addition to a comprehensive Contact Page (preferably with a form so visitors can submit their enquiries once and for all), it is considered good practice to have your contact information clearly mentioned on every page.
Bring it to Life
Remember the part where we mentioned your winning personality? Well, let it shine through on the website. Infuse your personality into the finer details of the website, like the language you use. Another way to do this is to have an active and vibrant blog, where you tell photo-stories from assignments, behind the scenes stories, personal projects and generally give your readers a glimpse into your life, your likes, your dislikes and more. It gives the readers an insight into how they would relate to you in real life. After all, a wedding photographer is the person that any couple sees the most at their wedding — more than their own parents and friends! So it’s kind of important that these couples relate to your personality.
So go on. Give it a nice long think and go make or upgrade your website today. If you have any questions or any tips to add on to our list, do leave us a comment below. We would love to hear from you!