Does Your Photography Website Work for You, or Against You? 6 Ways to Make Your Website More Successful

Making your website work for you is not as easy as the website builders tell you. In this guide i'll help you understand what you might be doing wrong.

Matt By Matt
19 Min Read

As a professional photographer I recognise that making my photography website work for me is crucial, otherwise it’s no more than a vanity project. It’s not just about showcasing my work, it also needs to deliver bookings, sales and growth.

In this article, I’ll explore some techniques and approaches for getting the most out of your photography portfolio website.

Key Takeaways

  • Integrating e-commerce and selling products on your photography site is key for maximising earnings potential.
  • Using analytics will help you understand what is and isn’t working.
  • Implementing some form of SEO strategy is crucial for getting your website found by more people.
  • Promoting your website via social media is vital for driving more traffic to your site.

1. What should a photography website include?

A photographer’s website should include content that attracts and engages potential clients, showcases the photographer’s work, and provides options for booking or purchasing products or services.

Here’s a list of essential components:

Essential ComponentDescription
Professional PortfolioA clear list of services, such as wedding photography, portraits, commercial work, etc.
About Me/Us PageInformation about the photographer or studio, including background, experience, and style.
Contact InformationEasy-to-find contact details, including an email address, phone number, and possibly a contact form.
Services OfferedLinks to the photographer’s professional social media profiles to extend client relationships.
Pricing InformationAn overview of pricing models or specific packages, if not listed, a note indicating that prices are available upon request.
Testimonials and ReviewsPositive feedback from past clients to build trust and credibility.
Blog or ArticlesRegularly updated content that can showcase recent work, share insights, or improve SEO.
Online Booking or Inquiry FormA way for potential clients to easily book a session or request more information.
Social Media LinksUse keywords, meta tags, and descriptive image alt text to improve search engine visibility.
SEO Optimised ContentAt a minimum use keywords, meta tags, and descriptive image alt text to improve search engine visibility.
High-Quality ImagesProminent prompts guide visitors to book a session, purchase prints, or follow the photographer on social media.
Clear Call-to-ActionProminent prompts that guide visitors to book a session, purchase prints, or follow the photographer on social media.
Privacy Policy and Terms of UseLegal pages that outline the use of the site and the handling of any personal data collected.
Responsive DesignA mobile-friendly website design that ensures a good user experience across all devices.
Key things a photographer’s website should include

Including these elements can help photographers create a professional and functional website that effectively showcases their work and helps to grow their business.

2. Integrate E-commerce for Selling Prints and Services

My strategy for selling prints and services began with moving to a website builder platform that includes solid e-commerce functionality. I currently use Squarespace, but I have also tried using Shopify and WordPress.

I love both WordPress and Shopify, and I continue using them for other projects. But for my photography business, Squarespace won me over.

Both can be integrated into print-on-demand partners such as The Print Space, Inkthreadable, Printful and Prinfify so you’ll never need to carry any stock. This is essential for me as it keeps down overheads or startup costs.

By adopting such a system, I’m able to offer a variety of prints without the necessity of keeping any physical products.

  • I Sell my prints and digital products online: I integrate my online store within my photography website to sell prints directly to my customers.
  • Take online bookings: I use a wonderful new CRM (customer relationship management system) called Bloom CRM, a platform designed for creatives and visual learners. It’s the easiest CRM I’ve used.

3. Pricing Strategies and Analytics for Photographers

Pricing forms the backbone of any business’s financial success. It’s necessary to balance competitive pricing whilst maintaining a profitable margin.

Here’s a table outlining common pricing strategies for photographers:

Pricing StrategyDescription
Cost-Plus PricingDetermining the cost of the service, including time and expenses, then adding a markup for profit.
Package PricingOffering different tiers of service bundles, each including a set number of hours, photos, or additional services like albums.
A La Carte PricingPricing individual services or products separately, allowing clients to customise their experience.
Day Rate PricingCharging a flat fee for a full day of shooting, typically used for commercial or event photography.
Hourly Rate PricingCharging a rate per hour of work, which can be suitable for smaller or less predictable projects.
Project-Based PricingSetting a fee for the entire project, taking into account the complexity and the deliverables required.
Licensing FeesCharging for the usage rights of photos, often based on factors like distribution size, duration, and exclusivity.
Subscription ModelProviding photography services on a regular basis for a recurring fee, suitable for clients needing consistent content.
Common pricing strategies for photographers:

Each strategy can be adapted depending on the type of photography, market demand, and the photographer’s business goals. It’s common for photographers to use a combination of these strategies to cater to a diverse clientele with different budgets.

I use a combination of Google Analytics and SquareSpace’s built-in stats to monitor which pages, prints, and services are most popular. I adjust my pricing when necessary.

  • Pricing Tiers: Providing tiers of services to suit different budgets, while maintaining a professional standard is important.
    • Budget: Service options designed for clients with financial constraints.
    • Professional: Premium options that include full services at a higher price point.
  • Commission Fees: All platforms charge a fee for processing card payments, so make sure to factor in the commission fees into your pricing.

Through analytics, I also gain insights into my website’s traffic and customer behaviour patterns, helping me to tailor my offers and promotions to increase conversion rates. This strategic approach to analytics and pricing ensures that I manage my website’s business potential efficiently and effectively.

4. Get Your Website Found – Boost Site Visibility and Reach

 

Ensuring that your website stands out and reaches a broad audience is important.

I now have over 20 years of experience building websites with a particular focus on SEO. Search engine optimisation has been the single most rewarding type of marketing I’ve tried.

SEO Tools and Techniques for Photographers

To optimise my websites for search engines I use a number of SEO tools that are beneficial for photographers, such as SEMRUSH, Answer the Public, or the free (but difficult to use) Google Keyword Planner. These are central to my approach for identifying, shortlisting and selecting the right keywords that potential clients might use to find photography services.

This involves conducting thorough keyword research based on searcher intent, and applying them across my site’s titles, descriptions, and image alt-text to improve my search engine rankings.

  • Content optimisation: I make sure that every part of my website is optimised for SEO where appropriate, from meta descriptions to URL structures, to words on page and ALT text in images.
  • Image optimisation: As a photographer, my site is image-heavy, so If using WordPress I’d use tools to compress images without losing quality, ensuring fast loading times. Thankfully SquareSpace you don’t need to worry about this as much as they automatically optimise images as they’re uploaded.
  • Frequent content updates: Regularly updating my website with content and showcasing my latest work on my portfolio which encourages search engines to rank my site higher. Google loves fresh content and recency.
  • Link building: Google works on the concept of trust. The more high quality, relevant inbound links to your website the higher it will rank in search results.

Social Media and Online Marketing

As I think you’ll know already, social media platforms are a powerhouse for getting your work seen as a photographer. In particular Instagram, Behance and Vero are my personal favourites.

I do my best to keep up use these platforms to showcase my work, engage with my audience, and direct traffic back to my website for bookings. Here’s how I enhanced my strategy:

  • Marketing promotions: By running targeted advertising campaigns on social media, I can attract a specific demographic who are most likely to be interested in my photography services.
  • Outreach and building new connections: By carefully curating who I follow and engaging organically I have been able to create new relationships and collaborations with potential clients who may never have come across my website.
  • Building my email list: Central to all marketing activity, especially that on social media, should have the overall goal of growing your email list. Your email list is one of the few assets in any business that you have complete control of.

By applying these focused techniques, I’ve seen a notable increase in engagement and traffic to my website.

5. Don’t Make these Website Mistakes

Here are some common mistakes photographers make with their websites:

Common MistakeDescription
Poor NavigationHaving a confusing or complex navigation structure that makes it difficult for visitors to find what they’re looking for.
Slow Loading TimesFailing to ensure the website is responsive and functional on mobile devices, which many users may be accessing.
Not Mobile-FriendlyUsing generic stock photos can detract from the authenticity of the photographer’s work and brand.
Overusing Stock PhotosUsing generic stock photos can detract from the authenticity of the photographer’s own work and brand.
Lack of Clear Call-to-ActionNot having clear prompts for visitors to book services, purchase prints, or take other desired actions.
Outdated PortfolioNot regularly updating the portfolio to reflect the photographer’s current skills and style.
Too Many Similar GalleriesDisplaying multiple galleries with similar content can overwhelm visitors and dilute the impact of the photographer’s best work.
Inconsistent BrandingA lack of consistent branding across the website can make the business appear unprofessional.
No SEO StrategyIgnoring search engine optimization makes it harder for potential clients to find the website through search engines.
Poor Quality ImagesDisplaying low-resolution or poorly edited images can undermine a photographer’s professional image.
Common mistakes photographers make with their websites:

These mistakes can be addressed by regularly reviewing and updating your website, optimising content for web use and real humans, ensuring mobile compatibility, and clearly communicating with visitors.

In curating an online gallery of your work, focus on both the presentation of your images and the management of your content that will create the most professional and seamless user experience.

The Art of Displaying Your Images

Selecting the right template is crucial for effectively showcasing your photography portfolio. I prefer using layouts that complement my work’s style, ensuring each image stands out without looking cluttered.

For instance, a minimalistic template, perhaps with a BoHo or minimalist colour palette, allows photographs to be the centrepiece of the page, engaging the viewer’s full attention.

When uploading photos, consider the optimal display quality after exporting from Lightroom Classic or Photoshop with final touch-ups.

 

Watermarks are a big visual no-no. They distract the viewer away from the content in your photo. They won’t stop people from from downloading or using your photo if they really want to—watermarks are super easy to remove with the right AI tool.

Managing Your Photographic Content

A solid content management system (CMS) that is easy and fast to update is essential for organising photographic content. Easy uploading, categorising, and updating images with a good CMS will encourage you to update your site more often.

Using a custom domain (for example, ogston.photography) will contribute significantly to a professional appearance and reinforce brand identity. It’s more memorable and fosters trust with viewers and potential clients.

Understanding Web Hosting and Domain Choices

Choosing the right web hosting is pivotal for my photography website. I look for providers that offer ample storage to accommodate high-resolution image galleries.

If you’re using WordPress you’ll need a fast web host such as Siteground, Hostinger, Kinsta or WPMU DEV.

For platforms that include a dedicated website building service, such as Squarespace and Wix you won’t need to worry about servers, FTP or hosting companies as it will all be taken care for you.

Website Security and Maintenance Features

Security is non-negotiable. I always ensure that my chosen web hosting service includes an SSL certificate to establish secure connections for my visitors’ peace of mind. Clients will be less trusting of a website that does not show a padlock or “https://” in their browser. I certainly would never trust a site that is not secure.

Regular automatic backups are also essential, preventing data loss in a technical mishap. For instance, hosting services like Hostinger often offer automated backup solutions.

Summary

Selecting the best website builder for a photography portfolio involves a significant investment of time to ensure you make the right choice that is good for both you, and your future clients.

If you need more help choosing a web platform, head over to Our Top Picks for Stunning Online Portfolios

Frequently Asked Questions

How to make a photography website?

To make a photography website, choose a website builder or content management system that fits your needs, budget, and skill level. Design your site with a clean design and a simple-to-navigate menu. Include a portfolio of your best work to showcase your photography style. Contact information and services should be displayed, along with pricing details if applicable.

What is a photography website?

A photography website is an online platform where photographers display their work, attract potential clients, sell prints and provide information about their services. It serves as a digital portfolio highlighting the photographer’s style, skills, and creativity

What is the best website for photography?

The best website for photography largely depends on the individual needs and goals of the photographer. Platforms like Wix and Squarespace are popular choices. For photographers looking to sell their work, SmugMug offers robust e-commerce tools and secure photo storage.

Why create a photography website?

Creating a photography website allows you to showcase your portfolio professionally, helping you to stand out and attract clients. It provides a platform to control your brand image, present your services, and share your artistic vision. A photography website also offers the potential for direct sales through print orders or bookings.

What websites do photographers use?

Photographers use a variety of websites for different purposes, read our guide. Portfolio builders like Squarespace and Wix are popular choices for creating professional-looking websites. Photographers also use platforms like Adobe Portfolio to integrate with their creative workflow. For selling photos and prints, photographers often turn to sites like SmugMug and Zenfolio. But Squarespace and Wix also provide e-commerce functionality.

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By Matt
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I'm the Creative Director at Bona Parle. I'm also a freelance portrait and headshot photographer, award-winning filmmaker, film Colourist and a multi-award winning LGBTQ+ human rights campaigner. For part of my week I lead a successful UK-based charity that brings families closer to together.