I’ve just made a new photography website for my fashion, portrait, and event photography. This meant researching the different options currently available (as of December 2015) for creating photography websites. So whether you’ve just gotten your first camera, or are a seasoned pro looking to update your photography website, here are some options to consider.
I’ll make some recommendations about specific companies that I’ve used. Most articles would make money on these through affiliate links; but there are no affiliate links here (I get no benefit recommending them), these are just companies that I’ve been happy with.
Editor’s note: none these companies have not been researched or checked by dPS, and are solely the recommendations of the author. As with any purchase please do your own due diligence, read online reviews, and do trial periods where possible, before choosing your web suppliers. dPS is not responsible for any issues that may arise if you follow these suggestions.
Why make a photography website?
Now that the majority of photos aren’t printed, sometimes they can get lost in your hard drives and forgotten. Sharing the pictures you make with family and friends is much easier when your photos are online. Depending on the photography website you use, you can also get useful feedback on your pictures, or even sell them to buyers around the world. Now is also the best time to start getting followers, if you haven’t already done so.
As well as sharing, developing, and selling your photography online, having a photography website helps encourage you, and gives you a sense of accountability so you keep practicing. Old photos are also one of the most valuable things we own, professional or amateur, and photo albums are often what most people would choose to save in a fire. Keeping your memories online not only shows you how your photography has improved, but also keeps them safe in the cloud. When my Western Digital hard drive arbitrarily malfunctioned and lost all of my photos, I was thankful to have uploaded my favourite ones online.
Make a photography website for free
There are several excellent free options to get your photography online.
- Flickr – Like a resurrected giant, Flickr offers a huge 1 TB of complimentary storage and has a thriving community.
- Facebook – A humble Facebook page (not your personal profile but a business page) for your pictures is an ideal way to start to gain a following.
- Google Plus – Less popular lately, but better quality, and good if you want to be found online by the Google search engine.
- Instagram– Even if this isn’t your main site, it’s very useful to have as a photographer.
- Tumblr – A clean, free way to create a blog and feature your most recent photography.
- 500px – A relative newcomer, the 500px design is clean and contemporary; their free option is fine.
- Behance – A professional space for your best photos that looks more prestigious.
Make a photography website
As well as the free options, you might like to make a photography website that you have more control over. Personally after much research I opted for a self-hosted WordPress site using a pre-designed theme that I customized. To do so you will need;
A Domain name
The domain name is your address on the internet. For example: http://digital-photography-school.com is the domain name, or URL for dPS. I get my domain names from www.Internet.bs or www.NameCheap.com.
This is your real estate on the internet. You need a place to park your site, that is called hosting. Your host online is where all the files for your site will be stored (hosted).
I use www.LiquiLayer.com (really excellent, personal support) and www.HostDeal.com. I’ve heard good things about www.HostGator.com, www.DreamHost.com and www.HostWinds.com, but haven’t used any of those personally.
Content Management System
This simplifies building your website tremendously. I use WordPress and highly recommend it. Most web hosts will give you options to install it very easily.
This provides a structure for your website. There are both free and paid options available, which allow you to make a great looking site faster. Here are my favourites:
SLR Lounge’s WordPress Theme – I recently discovered this free WordPress photography theme and used it to build my latest website. It has a clean, simple style and creating the site took a few days.
Home page of my new site
MySiteMyWay’s InFocus Theme – (Paid theme) I’ve used MySiteMyWay’s themes for several websites. As well as the design, I’ve been incredibly happy with the ongoing support, which has saved me a huge amount of time, and allowed me to do things I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do.
The X Theme – (Paid option) It’s a silly name, but this Premium WordPress theme looks good, and they have done very well with updating it. There is a lot of features available here for more advanced internet users and web designers.
Themeforest – (Free and paid options) Themeforest is the marketplace for WordPress themes online. Because they are constantly being released and updated, and because creating a website can be quite a personal choice, it is worth having a look here to see which themes are currently rated highly.
It can be helpful to hire a designer/ coder to help you with creating your photography website.
- Fiverr – This is my go-to site for getting help with websites and so on. It’s cheap, fast, and so far I’ve been very happy with the results.
- Elance – More professional than Fiverr; expect to pay more as well.
Pay monthly for a photography website
If designing a site isn’t for you, there are quite a few companies that can help. I don’t use these options personally because I like being able to move my website to another hosting provider if I want, or archive a site and bring it back later.
- Smugmug – An established player that will allow you to show, share and sell your photos.
- SquareSpace – The choice of many top professionals, although caveat emptor, several are sponsored. It’s quite pricey, but the designs it offers for photographers really look incredible, and it’s the easiest way to get a good looking photography website online quickly and easily.
Some bonus photography related companies
While we’re on the subject, here are a few companies that are very useful for photographers.
- WeTransfer – Ideal for sending large files or even whole photoshoots. Their free option is excellent, and the paid version is great for photographers who want more options.
- Dropbox – Very well integrated, and a great way to back up your photos online.
- Google Drive – Again, an excellent option to save and send photos.
- PicSurge.com – I use this a lot. It’s a well-designed site that allows you to show photos in good looking galleries that remain live for years. It lets you password-protect your images, and allows clients/family/friends to download files individually or collectively – and it’s free!
So those are some of the main options to consider if you want to make a photography website in 2016, and some reasons why you might want to consider doing so if you haven’t already. Hopefully this has been useful – please feel free to share your own websites in the comments below!
Editor’s note:please see this page for website resources, personally recommended by dPS founder and chief, Darren Rowse, over on his other site dedicated to blogging – ProBlogger. If you’re really interested in blogging you may wish to sign up there to get free weekly blogging tips.