Creating a website is a little like re-designing your home — you want to do it right because you’re going to have to live with the results. So whether you’re looking to update your gallery, add video to your website, or just find a design that lets your images shine, we’ve got some easy-to-follow tips that’ll work for any photographer looking to improve their home on the web. Take a look at our simple rules for creating a successful photography website:
- The Basics. Make sure to clearly state what genres you photograph, and even more importantly, where you are or what areas you’re willing to travel to, on your webpage. On her website for Little Pieces Photography, Kelly Brown gets right to the point, stating that she specializes in baby and newborn photography in the vicinity of Brisbane, Australia.
Kelly even includes her location and genre as part of her website title to make sure potential clients can find her, so if you search for her or her business, you’ll immediately know where she is and what she photographs.
- Show your personality. When clients are looking to choose a photographer, they often look for one whose personality and style match their own. So, in addition to sharing the right images (more on that below), you should consider sharing a bit of yourself through the tone of your website. You can do it with text, either in your info for clients, your About Me page, or on your blog. You can also use video to give visitors a glimpse into who you are. For example, Nick Onken embedded an autobiographical video in the gallery on his main page to connect with his audience.
- Keep it simple. Though there’s lots of room for creativity when designing your website, you should still make it easy to navigate. That means having an easy-to-find menu that offers just a few clear choices — like travel photographer David Lazar’s elegant site, shown below. Try for an organization that lets potential clients find what they want in just a few clicks, with nothing more than three clicks away.
Another tip for simple design? Create separate galleries for the different genres you photograph to make it easier for your audience to find exactly what they want. But even if you only work within one genre, you can still break up your galleries into themes. For example, wedding photographer Susan Stripling divides her galleries into engagements and weddings, and boudoir photographer Jen Rozenbaum splits her galleries into studio and location shoots.
- Curate content. One other way to help your visitors is by limiting the number of images you show at a time. Choose only your best images for your online gallery — no more than 30 per genre. Fashion and portrait photographer Lindsay Adler doesn’t need many images to show how talented she is — her galleries never include more than 25 images each. Or ditch the gallery altogether and create a video slideshow of your work, like the one Mike Allebach of Allebach Photography made below.
- Keep it current. Try to create galleries that are easy to update. If customers visit your site over time, and they don’t see changes, they might wonder if you’re working. Senior photographer Teri Fode always has updated images, including a lookbook section with photos featuring this year’s latest styles (a must when working with image-conscious teens).
- About Me Page. We’ve talked about About Me pages before, but since your About Me page is the closest thing you have to a sales pitch on your website, it’s worth going over again. A few must-haves: Bring your own personality into the page, and don’t be afraid to share what makes you different or special. For example, fashion photographer Lara Jade’s About Me page lets readers know her influences and approach to shooting — showing potential clients what kind of photographer she is and if she’s right for their project. But say writing’s not your thing — you can still share your individual style with viewers by creating an About Me video, as children’s photographer Tamara Lackey does in the video below.
- Contact Info. When you’re giving clients a way to contact you, clarity trumps everything else. Contact forms should have simple labels that anyone can understand, and even if you have a contact form, be sure to include a phone number or email where potential clients can reach you, too. Take Peter Hurley’s impeccable contact page:he includes a contact form with uncomplicated labels, his phone numbers, his availability, his location, and even a map showing exactly how to find him. Then, he adds social media links at the top right to give visitors additional resources and ways to connect.
When you’re creating your photography website, remember the goal: letting visitors see what you can do, what you’re like, and how they can get in touch. At the end of the day, those three principles will give you a successful website — one that invites visitors in and asks them to stay.