If you’re looking to keep up in modern world of photography, you’re going to need a dedicated photography website–whether you work online through Adobe Lightroom or develop film the traditional way.
While reaching out directly to clients can still be an effective method of gaining customers, more and more people are shopping online for their professional photographer.
It’s just so quick and easy for potential customers to pop “wedding photographer near me” into their favorite search engines and find dozens of online portfolios.
So, if you don’t have your own professional photography website, you’re at a clear disadvantage to your competitors. But it’s not enough to just have your own photography website, it needs to be attractive to clients, easy-to-navigate, and display your best shots in a well-constructed manner.
And let’s face it–not all photography websites are built the same. There are some out there that are drop dead gorgeous that can convert new clients with just a few clicks. And then there are those that are absolutely dreadful.
Don’t turn your photography website into one of the latter!
And while we can’t give you all the creative insight you’ll need to craft a beautiful website, we can help you from making some of the flubs when it comes to actual photography website builder choice and development.
That being said, let’s jump into 10 of the biggest mistakes you can make when building a photography site.
Table Of Contents
1. Choosing the wrong hosting provider and domain name
Things can go south quickly for your photography website if you choose the wrong hosting provider. Most site creators will provide hosting for you, but this can actually complicate things.
For example, are you building a website on a free plan? Sounds great, but chances are you’ll be sacrificing security, reliability and even the ability to create a custom domain.
Many companies will sucker you in with the hopes of a quality, professional free website builder only to disappoint when you actually make a photography website.
2. Failing to take advantage of basic search engine optimization tactics
Search engine optimization–better known as SEO–is a process that helps you to rank better in the eyes of search engine algorithms.
This is vitally important because failing to follow SEO best practices can land your website deep within the search results and leave your photography portfolio unseen.
But what are SEO best practices? Fortunately, there are a ton of excellent resources out there to help you break these down. And likewise, there are some pretty shady tactics and practices to avoid.
3. Using a terrible website builder template
Not all website templates are built alike. There are templates that are best suited for NGOs and churches, and those that work well for authority and affiliate sites.
But that does not mean that they will jive with your photography portfolio.
If you do plan to create a photography website using a template, be sure to choose one that works. Most website creators will have specialized photography website templates designated on their platform.
4. Overloading your photography business homepage
Creating a photography website for your art and business is exciting. However, don’t let the thrill get the best of you!
It’s a slippery slope when you start building out your homepage, and it’s dreadfully easy to start overcrowding it with pictures, text copy, call-to-action buttons, and more.
Keep things simple. Remember, this should not be a one page website. Better photography sites have multiple pages to best convey their craft.
Speaking of which…
5. Making your photography website difficult to navigate
Your site shouldn’t draw inspiration from the great Labyrinth of Crete.
A difficult-to-navigate interface does nothing to help you promote your photos or gain new clients.
Instead, try to keep your navigational hierarchy structured and elegant. Your visitors should be able to easily get from your photography portfolio to your online store (if you have one) in as few clicks as possible.
6. Lack of social media promotion efforts
Having your photography portfolio on your website alone can only go so far. It’s best if you incorporate your marketing efforts into a single strategy–and one that includes your social media.
Chances are your professional social media accounts are the most up to date resources when it comes to your art and photos. So, it only makes sense to combine them with your website.
Normally, this is easily done by adding social share buttons to your site and linking the respective accounts.
7. Not having an About page to tell your story
An about page is much more than just giving a quick overview of your photography background. It’s a place for you to tell your story and humanize the person behind the camera.
Good photos can detail every semblance of a moment. Viewers and admirers can almost put themselves at the time and place as your products create a true snapshot of a previous reality.
However, more often than not, there’s one thing that gets overlooked. The incredible person who captured it all on film. Use your About Page to tell your story and inspire your site visitors with more than just your photography portfolio.
8. Failing to put a dedicated Contact page
Even the greatest photography website can be rendered semi-useless by committing this offense. If your website visitors have to actively search for your contact information, there’s a chance they’ll just move on to the next photographer.
Make life simple for them and reap the rewards.
9. Creating a professional photography website without a photo gallery
This should be a no-brainer. A successful photography website should have a photo gallery.
Unfortunately, there are sites that exist that are full of wonderful written content and up to date happenings in the photography world without any real photos posted.
And if you’re using your website as a shop page, there’s no way you’re going to pick up new clients without any actual photos you’ve snapped.
10. Not taking advantage of email list building
With a contact page, you’re putting yourself out there for clients to reach out to you. But what about the other way around?
If at all possible, it’s best to take control of your own destiny and perform customer outreach. And that can be very difficult to without building out an email list.
By utilizing a contact form on your website, you can gather customer information to insert into your email list–and subsequently, your conversion funnel.
Choosing the best website builder for your own photography website
Now that you know some of the major pitfalls to avoid, the next step is choosing the right website builder. But which website builder is best for photographers?
Things to consider when selecting a photography website builder
There are so many different factors you need to look at when choosing the best for you. However, it can be a bit easier if you know what to look for.
1. Reliable hosting
First things first, when it comes to choosing the best website creation platform for your photography website, you need to think about hosting.
Whether it’s shared hosting (multiple websites on a single server) or dedicated hosting (single user per server), one thing needs to happen regardless–you must have a reliable provider.
Ideally, you’ll want hosting that’s taken precautionary measures to ensure minimal downtime, allows you to choose your own domain name, and provides excellent customer support in case things go awry.
Also, it helps to take a look at their web security concerns as well. Your website host/builder should be able to provide an SSL certification and password protection at a bare minimum.
Tips for choosing the right domain name for your photography website
- Use your professional photographer name.
- Add the word “photo” or something photography related into the title
- Use a short, easy-to-remember URL name
- Avoid using too many non-alphabetical character types
2. Mobile friendly
One of the biggest pieces of advice I give to those developing new websites is to make their website mobile friendly. And there’s two major reasons why: SEO and UX.
SEO is extremely important in how your website will rank when compared to other photography websites.
There are a great many number of factors to consider, but one of the top ranking factors is how well your site works on mobile devices such as a tablet or mobile phone. In fact, search engines look at this version of your website more so than your desktop version.
That’s why it’s super important that you choose a responsive website builder that will ensure everything looks great on both desktop and mobile.
Another thing to consider is UX or user experience. You don’t want prospective clients to visit your page on their phones and not be able to navigate your photo website properly.
3. Photography templates
As a shutterbug, you’re probably completely in-tune with what it takes to capture beautiful photos. From lighting to angles to resolutions, you’re an expert.
But what about web design? Do you know what online users like displayed on-page and how to apply this to your own photography website?
Chances are probably slim–unless you’re a web expert as well. Online browsers can be very finicky about how much they like a webpage’s layout. Whereas a photo is all about art and expression, websites should strike a balance between function and utility with an attractive template.
Any site creator worth its salt should have at least a few dedicated photography templates to help you out. If they don’t, consider a different one.
4. Photography portfolio and gallery format options
As we mentioned above, what’s a photography website without a beautiful portfolio of your best images?
Fortunately, just about every single website builder will provide some avenue for you to add images to your photography website. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be easy or convenient to do so.
Ensure that you’ve found a website creator that has a gallery or portfolio option. That way, you’ll spend less time and effort trying to piece together ramshackle photo galleries and have more time actually doing what you love.
5. Social share options
Although your photography website can serve as your online base of operations, forgetting about your social media accounts is an absolute travesty. Whether it be on your Instagram feed or Facebook page, your social media is a great place to showcase your online portfolio.
So, if the website builder you’re using doesn’t offer an easy way to link your social channels–such as social share buttons–look elsewhere.
6. Basic SEO considerations
A photography website can definitely help you garner new clients, but that’s only if they can find it. Most of the time when a prospective client goes searching for photography services, they head over to Google and type in a search parameter such as:
“photographers near me” or “wedding photographer in Toronto”
After hitting that search button, they’ll be presented with all sorts of information often including:
- Map locations and contact details of local photography businesses
- Different online store pages
- Paid ads to obtain more clients
- Photos and images captured by professionals around them
And with that information overload available, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll even leave the first page search results. But if you’re able to create wonderful, relevant content and get featured there…how are you going to compete for attention?
Your site creator of choice should allow for the most basic of SEO tools–meta title and description editing. By designating a meta title or description, you’ll be able to have more control over what your potential clients see in the search engine result pages.
Tips for optimizing your website SEO
- Choose appropriate titles and meta descriptions for relevant keywords and search phrases
- Focus on creating unique, engaging copy and keeping content fresh
- Make sure that your site is mobile-friendly and responsive
- Minimize your image file sizes uploaded via image compression software
- Utilize tools such as Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs
7. Ease of use
When it comes to creating your photography website, you don’t want to dive head first into a sea of confusion and discord. And that can definitely happen if you’re uncomfortable or inexperienced with building a site or navigating computer software.
But you don’t have to be a full-fledged web designer to create a photography site. You just need to choose the proper tool for you. Most site creators fall under the category of WYSWYG (What You See Is What You Get), but how they accomplish this varies.
Some website development tools are actually just glorified plug-ins for WordPress and tend to make your site slow and bulky. Others simply utilize drag and drop technology. The latter tends to be much more easy-to-use for most photographers.
However, there’s an even easier approach than that: AI website builders. AI-driven platforms can help professional photographers build their websites in just minutes given chosen parameters. Once the AI has set up your template in accordance with what you desire, then you can simply employ drag and drop to populate the blank spaces.
8. Ability to integrate your personal brand
Every good photographer knows the importance of developing their own brand. It’s what helps to set them apart from other shutterbugs and establish a style truly unique to them. But is it possible to do so on your own website? I’ve already mentioned choosing a photography website template that best suits your needs.
However, depending on your style and reputation, you may want to opt for a blank template to create a photography website all of your own. Fortunately, most site builders will offer this service.
But again…not all website builders are built the same. For example, with many website builders, you’ll have to manually enter in HTML/CSS color codes to get the best choice for you. And this can be a challenge for those who are unfamiliar with web development and computing languages.
With GetResponse, though, you can easily choose a color palette that best fits you or even snag the color way of your favorite website. Simply, take the URL and input it into our Color Magic tool and let us do the hard work.
9. Extra marketing features
The best website builders are much more than simple site builders. Top notch photography website builders offer additional resources that you can use to acquire new customers and retain current paying clients.
There’s so much more to online marketing than just having your own website. Take email list building as an example. It’s wonderful that you have potential clients visit your site, but it’s even better if you can capture their information and continue to nurture that relationship to completion (or conversion).
Some website builders will only provide base SEO features and others might include a simple pop-up form. However, with GetResponse website builder you’ll gain much more. And this leads us to my next point…
There are a ton of website builders out there, and most of them sit at a similar price point. In fact, it may only be a few dollars difference between them. However, that doesn’t mean that all of them are as affordable you think.
For instance, there’s nothing better for a site builder than to have a free plan. Right?
Not really. In all reality, these plans generally offer the absolute bare minimum to get some kind of page online. Many will only give you just a text editor and call it a day. And if you’re looking to truly create a photography website and display your online portfolio, you’ll have to purchase services that quickly add up to prices you won’t be happy looking at.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t snag a great deal. For example, at GetResponse, we offer a website builder alongside our all in one marketing platform. This means you can get a website builder–complete with AI website creation technology and beautiful templates–and a full marketing suite including email marketing, marketing automation, and much more for as little as $15 a month.
And while you may want to choose the “other guy”, you’ll still have to piecemeal different services together just to develop your marketing strategy which will cost a bunch more both short and long term.
Benefits to having a well-crafted photography website
Provided you avoid the above pitfalls and find the right website creator, there are some real solid benefits to having a site dedicated to your craft.
Your site can serve as your home base of operations on the internet. It’ll allow you to have a place where netizens can go to locate your services and increase your clientele. Your website will also serve as an excellent place to receive exposure for your photography portfolio and reach those never thought possible.
Just remember when you sit down to create a photography website to find a website builder that works for you.
With GetResponse, you’ll have access to an easy to use AI-driven website builder along with a full marketing suite in a single bundle. At GetResponse, we can do more than help you make a photography website.
We can help you create your entire marketing strategy to create leads, nurture relationships, and get more sales.
For more tips, check out our dedicated guide on how to create a website from scratch.