In this industry, having a photography website is one of the most important assets you can have to display your work or services.
The same can be said for any industry. For example, when you want to find a dentist, many search google and find dentist offices close to home or work.
Table of Contents Hide
- Do photographers need websites
- Why you shouldn’t rely on social media profiles
- Benefits of a photography website
- How to get started with an online portfolio website
- What if I don’t know how to code
- Online Website and Portfolio Builders
- A small price to pay for independence
- Websites provide flexibility that social media doesn’t
Do photographers need websites
Yes, photographers need personal websites or online portfolios. These websites are a way for potential clients and customers to see your best work and the pricing and other services offered. Social media profiles are free, but they can be removed without notice. Websites are completely controlled by the photographer and should be used for business purposes.
We search social media to learn about companies all the time, and we ask friends and family for recommendations. Ultimately, we visit business websites to learn more and to contact potential resources for more information.
This is why it’s so important to have a website. You need to establish yourself off social media and have a single place to drive your clients or potential customers.
Why you shouldn’t rely on social media profiles
Social media profiles do not belong to you and can be deleted or taken down for any reason that the company deems necessary. You are at the mercy of social media companies when you start a new business profile, and you must abide by rules and regulations. If your content falls outside of these rules, you can be subject to take down, without warning.
Don’t believe me, google “my profile was deleted by (insert name of the platform).” You will find that social media companies are great for building communities and followers. Still, these followers belong to the platform, and they will protect their interests by any means necessary.
Benefits of a photography website
Sure, you can use social media accounts like Facebook or Instagram to display your work. You will also want to consider creating a photography website if you want to take your photography business to the next level.
- Have your website show up in organic Google searches
- Have an easy shareable website URL for people to remember
- Expand organic searches and reach with an SEO-optimized website
- Educate customers with your new services or business news
- Build a target email list and grow your reach with email marketing
- Save money on printing brochures and print materials by displaying them on your website
- Advertise online and gain more traction with customers using your website
- A website is up 24 hours a day, 365 days a year that is constantly working for you
- They are owned by you and are not subject to the same rules as social media profiles
Among the many reasons you need a website or personal online portfolio, here are a few things you should consider when building your own website.
1. Discovery and build your own style
Your website should be your public portfolio, filled with the best work you have. This will give potential clients an idea of your style of work.
This is a great opportunity to show what you can do and the different areas of photography that you specialize in.
The more targeted the portfolio, the better chances you will find and attract potential clients that are looking for your specific style and skillset.
Your style will change over time, but you can change your design or website with your new looks at any time.
2. Build multiple organized galleries
Business websites allow for multiple galleries of work to showcase each area of photography you specialize in.
For example, you can have galleries for family photos, newborn photography, and senior portraits all on the same website.
You can keep them organized and updated with your best work to showcase to potential clients.
Showing your best work will keep you ahead of the competition and give others ideas to work with.
3. Display all your services
Websites can help your services become discoverable in your city or local areas.
This can take some time to accomplish, but consider it free advertising once you start to rank higher in search results for your area.
Imagine if someone did a search on google for “Dallas Texas Photographer,” and you ranked first on google. That is a lot of potential business discovering your work.
You won’t rank for this on social media accounts, so it’s important to have a personal or business website for organic google traffic.
4. Showcase pricing and investments
Placing your pricing online can help weed out clients that may not have a budget for your type of services.
This is an opportunity to show some of your packages or photography services.
Just don’t forget to help people understand the value of your work and encourage those potential customers to reach out for more information.
Make it easy by creating a simple form on your website or having your contact information clearly visible on the website.
5. Let others learn more about you
The general about us page is crucial for setting up your story and giving people ideas about the person behind the work.
Let potential clients know about you and “why” you’re in this business. Don’t just explain you want to make money. Explain why you love shooting and how you connect with people on a more personal level.
You are in business to provide a product, but you’re providing an experience that is just as important. Don’t forget to stress this fact on your website.
6. Make it easy to contact you
The contact page is a basic page that is commonly overlooked by many beginners building a website.
Make sure to set up a simple contact form for your website so people can reach you and ask questions. Many potential clients will have questions about your services, so make it easy to contact you.
Make sure also to have your social media accounts listed so they can connect with you online. This is one good thing about having a social media profile as a backup.
7. Create a custom business email
If you’re still using that old Gmail or yahoo email, then it’s time for an upgrade. A benefit of having a personal website is you can also start your own custom email.
firstname.lastname@example.org. This will give you a professional touch and helps others know you are serious about building your brand.
It’s ok to start with a free email from Gmail or Yahoo, but I highly recommend moving past these as your business grows.
How to get started with an online portfolio website
Invest in your business by starting a website for your photography. Do your research and look up some of your favorite photographer websites to get some ideas to get you moving in the right direction.
Pages you will want on your website
There are a few pages that will be very important to start with on your website. You don’t need hundreds of pages, but you will need a few more common pages to get started. I recommend starting with these before jumping into more complicated pages.
- Home page – Your actual home page of the website
- About page – Talk about yourself and your experiences
- Portfolio page – Showcase your best images
- Service page – Let people know what service you provide
- Pricing or Investment – You don’t have to list all pricing, but start with some basics
- Contact – Crucial to have a way for people to contact you
Pages that can come after
After you finish writing content and building your initial pages, you can consider a few other website pages for your website.
- Blog posts – Write about your shoots and services. Great for content marketing
What if I don’t know how to code
There’s a solution for that. Either you start learning, or you can use the websites listed below in the next section.
All of these platforms have online builders that don’t require knowledge of ANY coding.
You can build an entire website without having to know HTML or CSS, and you can change your template design with the click of a button.
Don’t let website development scare you. We have anxiety when it comes to technical projects, but these options below are great for beginners who are looking to get started.
Online Website and Portfolio Builders
How do I start a photography website? I have been asked this question many times over my career by friends, colleagues, and random people reaching out to my social media.
For a photography website, the companies below are the best recommendation that I can give you.
Squarespace is one of the most popular and easy-to-use website builders on the web. Hands-down.
It was created with simplicity in mind. It allows non-technical users to build great websites really fast.
The interface is easy to use, and most importantly, they provide awesome resources to help you along the way.
Pricing starts around $12.00/month billed annually or $16.00/monthly. Squarespace is a great way to start a photography website without having to know how to code.
Learn more about the benefits of Squarespace here.
Wix is very similar to Squarespace in many ways. The Wix.com interface is straightforward to use for beginners.
The online website builder has many professional templates for all business types, including photography and mobile-optimized features built into all designs.
The Wix system uses drag-n-drop editing, so you don’t have to know any code.
Some basic plans start at $10.00/month and go up from there. You can learn more about wix.com today.
Format is a little different because it really specializes in creative templates and online portfolios.
The website templates showcase galleries and work with beautiful layouts. The website templates are mobile-optimized for easy viewing on smaller screens.
Pricing starts around $12.99/month with discounts for annual purchasing. You can learn more about format here.
A small price to pay for independence
I’m sure there are more companies that provide online website tools. These are just a small sample that I always recommend to anyone asking about simple websites.
In the end, you have to take the time and invest in your photography business and showcase your best foot forward.
Yes, they require a small fee for hosting or domains but consider in the end that these websites belong to you.
They are platforms that provide tools, but unlike social media, they can’t just remove your content (unless you are falling outside their guidelines or don’t pay your bills)
Websites provide flexibility that social media doesn’t
Social media can be a finicky thing. If someone doesn’t like or approve of your content, then it can be taken down. If they don’t like your website content, then they leave the website. No harm is done.
This is why it’s important to have your own portfolio. For example, I know many boudoir and glamour photographers who specialize in more sexualized content. Not nudity, but more suggestive.
These photographers have many problems on social media as their work is constantly being flagged or taken down.
With personal websites, this can’t happen as easily, so keep that in mind when considering the type of work you publish online.
I believe every photographer should have a website. My personal portfolio is at www.dallasportraits.com, and I update it regularly with new shoots. I wouldn’t tell you to start a website without having one myself.
Social media profiles are great for building awareness, but you will want a special place to send all that traffic. This place should be your own website.
Don’t worry about coding skills, and worry about building content for your next website!
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