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Websites for photographers

WebSite X5 Blog
Published by Incomedia in Guides and Tips · 26 January 2023
As I see it, there are two possibilities: the first is that photography is your big passion; the second is that photography is not only your passion, but also your main source of income. In both cases, you still need a website: if you are a professional photographer, in fact, this website will be one of your working tools; if, on the other hand, you are a hobby photographer, it will instead be the right way to get your photos out there, letting everyone see them, as they deserve.

But what are the characteristics of a good website for photographers? What are its special features and what precautions must be taken when creating one? We'll find the answers together in this article.

The characteristics of a well-designed photography website

When we browse online we come across a multitude of websites: some we like, some we don't. We will tend to spend more time browsing those we like, and we will abandon the latter immediately without any major regrets.

It's not just a question of aesthetics: what determines the opinion that we will form in just a few seconds on the website in front of us is a mix of different factors. For a photography website, 3 of the most important factors that determine its success in the eyes of visitors are the following:

A beautiful and captivating template

The first thing that strikes us when we land on a webpage is, of course, its graphic aspect. We look at the elements present and how they are arranged, we allow ourselves to be influenced by the colors and spaces and, in the end, we feel welcomed or underwhelmed by the environment we find.

This should be enough to give you an idea just how important the role played by the template  your choose for your website is.  

In the specific case of a website for photographers, the template adopted should be quite  minimal and clean, so as to allow the photographs – the real protagonists of the pages – to focus all the visitors' attention on the pages themselves. Typically, the best choice is to adopt a basic palette in which a few colors are carefully combined, taking advantage of a dark background or, conversly, completely white, without being afraid to leave empty space.

If you have decided not to use a predefined template for your website, but to create your own original one, keep these tips in mind and look for ideas by also checking what other photographers have already done. We have selected a few websites to use as inspiration: you can find them at the end of this article.

A clear and functional structure

Having decided that we like a website, we begin to explore the first content to understand if we are really interested in it. Here, another fundamental aspect comes into play: the structure of the website, in other words its articulation in pages linked by a navigation menu.

Typically, a website for photographers does not require too many pages and, consequently, offers a rather simple navigation structure that leads visitors to reach the content they are looking for in just a few clicks.

The essential pages for a photography website are:

  • The Home page
    As we often hear, the home page is the gateway to a website and it is here that the possibility of making a good first impression comes into play. You have to be able to present yourself and your work, immediately clarifying who you are, what you do and where you are located.

    Many photographers make the mistake of not including textual content on their home page: it is true that the photos must be the protagonists of the website, but the narration must also not be neglected. A short text accompanying the photos will be sufficient to clarify, for example, that yours is a photography site and not a travel agency.

  • Portfolio galleries
    In this case, galleries represent the very heart of the website: they are the pages where visitors discover your photos. First of all, you must come to terms with the fact that it is not necessary to include every single one of your photos: better to choose only the best, the most representative ones, and organize them by theme so that it is easy to understand what they are dealing with and what the underlying style is.

    Take advantage of galleries that best showcase your shots and remember tooptimize each image to maintain good quality but, at the same time, making sure they do not weigh too much and, therefore, are not too slow to load.

  • Who am I
    This is an often unjustly underrated page: this is the page where visitors have the chance to discover and learn more about the person behind the camera. Try to go for a more personal approach: include a photo of yourself, perhaps offer the possibility to download your CV, and write some engaging content in which you tell visitors and potential clients something about yourself in a friendly way. You can start with your professional history, but you could also talk about your approach to photography, your interests or your sources of inspiration.

    Remember that you are creating this page to define and amplify your personal branding.

  • Contacts
    The goal of a website is to get your name out there, to find new customers, to establish new relationships: it is therefore essential that it includes all your contact information. Name, address, phone, email: you should put all your contact info directly in the footer of the template so that they are always available and easy to find. In addition, you should also neatly collect them on a special contacts page, perhaps including an email contact form for requesting more information and a map with directions for potential customers to reach you.

Full compatibility with mobile devices

Anyone browsing the internet these days no longer does it just sitting at their desk on their desktop computer or on their laptop: on the contrary, in most cases, they surf using their smartphone and still expect to be able to enjoy all the content in an equally satisfactory way.

It is very important, therefore, that a website is responsive – and a photography website is no exception to this rule.

Your goal must be to make the pages of your website perfect even on smaller screens, while maintaining the quality of the photos, the general usability of the content and the simplicity of navigation.

Extra features, but not too many

We talked about design, content and optimization in order to make webpages responsive. Addressing these aspects in the best possible way already guarantees that you have a good quality website. Obviously more can be done, aiming for the top. There are a number of optional – but highly recommended – sections you can include in your website and good practices that can be implemented.

The extra sections that can give an edge to a photography website are:    

  1. The Blog: While it's true that a picture is worth a thousand words, it's also true that people love stories. In a blog you can tell the story of what's behind a shot, explain the techniques you used, describe the emotions you experienced. If you really think about it, you have a lot to tell and to share with your readers. It will help you connect with people and it will also help you with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

  2. The online store: Your website can be much more than a showcase. In fact, it can become a store where your can directly sell your photos online. You probably already know that you can offer them on microstock sites, but why stay in someone else's home when you can have a home of your own? We talked about this extensively in the "How to sell photos online and become a champion" article, in which you will find many useful tips.

The actions that can help you position and "push" your photography website are:

  1. Search Engine Optimization: It's not enough to create a website and publish it online. You have to do the right work to position yourself well on search engines. This is the only way that your website will be proposed as a search result and will attract good traffic. There are many strategies that can be implemented to optimize web pages: in a photography website, you need to start from the images themselves, reducing their weight (as we already mentioned) and adding meaningful descriptions and ALT Text.

  2. Active promotion: In addition to the focus on organic positioning, you can implement various activities to bring traffic to your website. You can start with simple things, such as mentioning your website as much as possible (using business cards, flyers, word of mouth in local shops, etc.). You can, of course, take advantage of the social media channels on which you are active. And, if you have a budget to invest, you can also consider launching an advertising campaign. The idea is that your website will "transform" part of this traffic into customers, definitively convincing them of the quality of your services.

A special case: wedding photography

So far we have treated websites for photographers as if they were all the same – but, of course, they are not. Certainly the basic characteristics and needs are the same, but things can change a bit if you deal with nature photography, still life, reportage or fashion.

Take, for example, the case of websites for photographers whose focus is primarily on weddings. The competition is quite strong in this sector and to stand out, you should focus on 3 key levers:

  • Emotions: Couples will often choose their wedding photographer for the emotions he or she is able to capture in their shots, but also for those that they are able to arouse through their words. This is where a blog can really make a difference: narrating the backstage and the story behind the photo shoots you've already done is a perfect way to engage and make potential customers dream.

  • Social media feedback: nothing convinces more than the positive comments left by satisfied customers. Add a page or a section with customer feedback: talking about yourself is a perfect way to increase your reputation and convince new potential customers.

  • Professionalism: In the end, it's all a matter of trust: to earn the trust of future spouses, you must demonstrate all your professionalism. You do this through every detail (from the logo to the privacy policy) and every piece of content (from photographs to texts) included on your website: explaining everything you offer in a services page and providing a way to be contacted through a contact form will give you that extra edge.

Wordpress alternatives: try WebSite X5

At this point, the theory should be pretty clear, so let's move on to the practical side: how do you actually go about creating your own website?

There are different roads  you can take: you can decide to delegate the task to an agency or a web designer rather than choosing to do everything yourself, relying on WordPress or on an online service. If the idea of being autonomous and free to create your website as you see fit entices you, the most advantageous and economic solution, however, is to use software such as WebSite X5.

WebSite X5 is simple and intuitive, as well as also being perfect for those without any prior programming knowledge. It offers a selection of templates designed especially for photographers: you can start from one of these or choose to create your own template from scratch.

Everything is highly customizable and you have all the options you need to activate each function we have talked about: from galleries to blogs, from contact forms to e-commerce, from user feedback to social media buttons.

Your website will be online in no time, perfect on mobile devices and optimized for search engines. You can update it with new shots and new content as often as you want, without depending on anyone and without having to wait.

You can test WebSite X5 by downloading the trial version valid for 15 days. You will be able to try all the available tools and functionalities, save up to 15 pages and publish your project on a reserved space. And in the end, if you decide that WebSite X5 is right for you, you can upgrade to the full version of the program without losing your project.

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