As a photographer, having a stunning portfolio website that serves as your business card online is crucial.
It’s something that can greatly impact your ability to make money online.
However, designing a great photographer portfolio website can quickly turn into an overwhelming experience.
There’s just too much to work with – too many design options, and a ton of ways you can structure your content for your portfolio website.
To help you avoid falling into such a situation, here are 9 inspiring photography website design tips and ideas for inspiration.
1. Keep It Simple
Trends come and go, but simplicity is always in style.
A simple web design will allow your work to truly stand out. It will also make it easier for your visitors to move through your website and find exactly what they’re looking for.
Although there are a lot of features you could include on your portfolio website, ultimately, a simple, intuitive design will work better in helping you showcase your work and provide a positive customer experience for your visitors.
It’s also a lot easier to optimize your website for better engagement and conversions when there aren’t too many elements competing on your pages.
This means that you will find it easier to achieve your objectives if you “trim the fat” – so to speak.
Here’s an example of a photography website that does this well:
Pro Tip: In addition to having lots of white space on your site, you should also consider choosing website color schemes that compliment your photos.
For instance, a green background may not be the best choice if you want your landscape photos to stand out on your website.
2. Use “Themed” Galleries
The second tip for designing a stunning photography website is to break up your galleries by theme.
A lot of photographers make the mistake of having just one “gallery” section to showcase all of their work.
However, since the photos are your website’s main content, it seems a bit counterintuitive to put them all in one place.
This would be like eBay organizing all their items in one single “products” category. Can you imagine how chaotic that would be?
So take the time to break up your galleries into different themes according to the type of website you have.
If you specialize in different types of photography (e.g. still life), or even if you favor specific subjects (e.g dogs), that is a great place to start.
You can also break up your galleries by industry (e.g. eCommerce).
Here is an example from a popular photography website:
As you can see, the photographer does still life, landscape, and even food photography.
Each is neatly categorized. So if someone from a meal planning service wanted to hire him to take photos of their meals, they would find the information just as easily as someone who wants a still life photograph.
Another great example of this concept is this website from portrait photographer, Willis Bretz, who created the series: Sleep in Transit.
As you can see from the highlighted section, he has broken his galleries into different types of portraits, as well as corporate and tearsheets.
Doing this on your site will serve a dual purpose.
First of all, it will make it easier for your visitors to digest your content.
Secondly, it makes it simpler for them to navigate your website to find exactly what they’re looking for. They will be able to go directly to the content they want without any confusion.
3. Match Your Design to Your Objectives
There are many reasons why someone might want to create a photography website.
But, creating the best design comes down to being able to match your design to your objectives.
Different types of photographers will have different goals, ranging from highlighting a passion for photography, to the products and services they offer as a photographer – and everything in between.
The design you choose plays a major role in how your website functions. That’s why it’s crucial to choose one that is aligned with your main goals.
Matching your website’s objectives to your overall design will help you maximize the potential of your site.
After all, what good is your photo website if it can’t get you the results you want?
So keep this in mind whether you want to create a website as a way to showcase your portfolio of work, or if you simply want a photo blog where you can share your favorite photos from different sources.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:
Say you want to create a course to teach other aspiring photographers and help them hone their skills.
It may be necessary for your website design to include a lot of text if it’s going to help you engage and convert visitors so you can achieve your marketing and sales objectives.
However, if you are a professional wedding photographer who wants to use their site as a way to highlight your portfolio, then the best way may be to opt for a design with less text so that your photographs can speak for themselves.
4. Prominently Display Your Contact Info
Although this may seem like an obvious piece of advice, you’ll be surprised just how many photography websites have their contact information tucked away in some obscure corner of the page.
Even worse, some websites don’t display all the relevant information, which means that if you want to work with the photographer you have to begin searching all over their website and online to find the rest of their contact information.
Anyone in marketing will tell you what a huge mistake that is.
If a prospect has to hunt for your contact information, they are likely to end up going with one of your competitors who is a lot easier to find.
It’s up to you to avoid this on your own site by making sure that you include as much information as you can in order to accommodate all your visitors.
- Your email
- Telephone number
- Your location (City, Town, etc.)
- Links to Social Profiles
- Links to other platforms like Shopify or Amazon
You can also include a social media feed somewhere on the page as a way to show that you are a professional who is active online.
You can display this information anywhere visitors will find it easily.
This can be right on your homepage, “About” page, or on a dedicated “Contact” page.
Ideally, you can make your information accessible from any page on your website so people don’t have to search far in order to get in touch with you.
The photographer’s blog pictured below is a great example of how to make your contact information easy for visitors to find.
Making sure you prominently display all your contact information serves two purposes.
First, it lets visitors reach out to you in a way that is most convenient to them.
Secondly, it allays their fears and proves that you are human.
For most people, hiring a photographer from the internet can be a scary process.
So, when they can see your contact details, including a populated social media feed showing that you are still active, this can help to ease those worries and concerns.
Pro Tip: You might consider including a WordPress chat plugin on your site to help answer your visitors’ most pressing questions.
5. Avoid Using Watermarks
Viewers don’t like to see watermarks on photographs. They distract from the visual flow and make for a poor experience for your visitors.
So, when building your photography website, forget watermarks as they will only work to undermine your skills and abilities.
Of course, some might argue that there are benefits to using watermarks.
That may be true, but, for the most part, the drawbacks outweigh the benefits.
If you’re worried that people might steal your photographs, the truth is, if someone is really determined to steal your work, a watermark won’t stop them.
Anyone can hire freelancers who know how to easily remove watermarks from photos.
You would have to plaster the watermark all over the center of the image to keep someone from manipulating the photo.
However, in such a case, the watermark ends up being more of a problem than a solution.
Besides, there are other methods you can use to protect your work.
For instance, you might display the copyright information to anyone who tries to copy your image off your website.
Alternatively, you might use subtle text on each of your website pages to discourage people from stealing your images.
This is how Nukem does it on their site:
6. Don’t forget SEO
You don’t need sales expert advice to know that search engine optimization (SEO) is important for the success of your photography website.
Unfortunately, this is one of the areas that is often neglected by photographers, particularly those who don’t work with websites often.
However, it does play a huge role in the ultimate success (or lack thereof) of your photography website, and by implementing at least the basic SEO practices, you will be better able to get the most from your website.
If you are a wedding photographer, you need to use wedding-related words as much as you can on your homepage, “About” page, “Contact” page, and blog.
Also, mention your specialization, use location-related keywords, and mention your favorite venues.
The same goes for your posts on Youtube and other social media which you can then link back to your website.
You might include a variety of other ways to help take this strategy even further, such as using a WordPress guest blogging plugin to find popular blogs in your niche to submit your content.
Although this isn’t specifically related to website design, all the elements work together to strengthen your overall strategy.
That’s because publishing content in other places exposes you to brand new audiences.
Some of the most popular content for guest posting include lists of photography tips, as well as quizzes.
You can use a quiz maker to create quizzes that generate tons of leads for your photography business, as in this example:
7. Write a Well-Thought-Out About Page
The “About” page is one of the most important pages on your website.
It’s certainly one of the most trafficked, especially for photography websites.
Take the time to craft a well-thought-out page that will give your visitors all the information they need to know about you and the work you do.
And, don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.
Show your human side so you can better connect with the audience.
This is particularly important for personal events, such as weddings, birthdays, etc. People don’t like to hire “strangers”. If they can get to know you a bit more on your About page, they will be more comfortable using you for such personal events.
So what should you include on your About page?
Use this space to introduce yourself. Tell your audience your name, age, interests, and hobbies. Give them a bit of history about yourself.
It’s always great if you can share a few personal details. But, keep in mind that your visitors don’t want to read your entire autobiography.
So keep it short and sweet, like the example below:
However, this page is still prime real estate, so make the most of it by including a call to action for visitors.
This can be anything, such as:
- Ask visitors to connect with you on social media
- Ask them to subscribe to your newsletter
- Ask them to book a consultation
- Ask them to check out your prints/portfolio, etc.
8. Feature Only Your Best Work
As a photographer, your aim is to make a good impression with your website. A great way to do this is by keeping things short and sweet instead of drawn-out an average.
That means you should showcase only your most outstanding work.
Remember, photography websites, like physical, brick-and-mortar galleries, should always feature your best. If you show too much to visitors, it may overwhelm them.
What’s more, it can distill your best work, and you risk running out of room before you have shown your real masterpieces.
You can include a section on your website for “selected works”, or “personal collections”.
This is a great strategy that will allow you to exhibit only your best work.
You can also consider this from a “practical” perspective.
Fewer pictures mean you have the ability to enlarge the thumbnails of existing ones. This is a great way for you to get more from the visuals on your site.
And remember, the images you choose should be aligned with your target client.
For instance, a fashion photographer whose target client is an eCommerce store like 3Wishes has to choose the types of images that would appeal to his ideal client.
Your images can be as sexy as these, or they could be product images on the opposite end of the spectrum, such as a piece of machinery for making different types of empty capsules.
Either way, make sure you choose ones that will appeal to the people who are looking to hire you.
9. Use Photography Website Designs
Many people in sales will tell you how hard it is to cold-call long lists of prospects or use a predictive dialer to generate leads.
But, as a photographer, a well-designed website can bring leads to you.
One of the main benefits of choosing a photography website design theme is that you can take advantage of an entire website structure that is built specifically to meet your needs.
The layout of most premium themes is tested and optimized to provide the best experience for visitors to your site.
All the elements of the websites will be set up in a way that speaks their language and you can simply start uploading your photographs for your visitors to enjoy.
So, instead of opting for a general design, or even a theme that is designed for another type of website, it’s always best to choose one that is built for this particular purpose.
Without a design that is proven to work brilliantly for displaying photographs, you risk ending up with a cluttered site where photographs are displayed awkwardly together leading to issues with both the appearance and performance of the website.
So, why make things difficult for yourself when it’s so easy to take advantage of proven designs?
You can also use dedicated landing page builders to create unique pages for your site.
Some of these themes can even allow you to create a B2B portal on your website so you can handle all your marketing tasks from your website.
Whether you want to build a photography portfolio, share some of your favorite photographs, or sell your services as a photographer, use the photography website design ideas above to provide you with inspiration for a unique photography website.
Over to you. Which of the ideas above do you find most appealing? Share your thoughts in the comments below!