HOW TO START A PHOTOGRAPHY WEBSITE

So you’ve started a photography business? Or maybe you just want to show off your portfolio?

Well, you’re going to need to start a photography website right!

You may be thinking where do I start? Or you always thought it was too hard? and that you would need to learn web design?

Wrong!

With this step-by-step guide to creating a photography website, things could not be easier.

start photography website

HOW TO START A PHOTOGRAPHY WEBSITE

So you’ve started a photography business? Or maybe you just want to show off your portfolio?

Well, you’re going to need to start a photography website right!

You may be thinking where do I start? Or you always thought it was too hard? and that you would need to learn web design?

Wrong!

With this step-by-step guide to creating a photography website, things could not be easier.

start photography website

Contents

I’m going to show you fast and simple ways to create an online portfolio without having to learn website code.

I will show you how web developers build their sites and how you can avoid website builders that are often limited and cost a fortune.

Ready to create your photography website today? Let’s dive in…

photography web hosting
CHAPTER 1

Get Web Hosting and Register a Domain Name

start a photography website
CHAPTER 2

Choosing the best photography website builder

website layout
CHAPTER 3

Planning your website layout & features

wordpress plugins for photographers
CHAPTER 4

Tools, Plugins and Themes you’ll need

photography lead capture
CHAPTER 5

How to Get Started
With CRO

create a portfolio website
BONUS CHAPTER

Quick Fire Set up and Conclusion

Contents

I’m going to show you fast and simple ways to create an online portfolio without having to learn website code.

I will show you how web developers build their sites and how you can avoid website builders that are often limited and cost a fortune.

Ready to create your photography website today? Let’s dive in…

photography web hosting
CHAPTER 1

Get Web Hosting and Register a Domain Name

start a photography website
CHAPTER 2

Choosing the best photography website builder

website layout
CHAPTER 3

Planning your website layout & features

wordpress plugins for photographers
CHAPTER 4

Tools, Plugins and Themes you’ll need

photography lead capture
CHAPTER 5

How to Get Started
With CRO

create a portfolio website
BONUS CHAPTER

Quick Fire Set up and Conclusion

CHAPTER 1:
Get Web Hosting and Register a Domain Name

In order to set up your website, you’re going to need two things:

Domain Name (a web address like joebloggs.com)
Web Hosting (a service that put your website on the internet)

Putting it simply, without web hosting and a domain name, your portfolio website will NOT show on the internet.

photo hosting

CHAPTER 1:
Get Web Hosting and Register a Domain Name

In order to set up your website, you’re going to need two things:

Domain Name (a web address like joebloggs.com)
Web Hosting (a service that put your website on the internet)

Putting it simply, without web hosting and a domain name, your portfolio website will NOT show on the internet.

photo hosting

Where do I register a domain name and get web hosting?

Without web hosting, your photography website will not be visible online. Web Hosts store your images, content and website files.

Having a  domain name looks professional.  You can have free subdomains such as joebloggsimages.free-website.com. However, this looks terrible and looks unprofessional for potential clients.

Moreover, most hosting providers offer domains FREE for the first year.

There are hundreds of website hosting companies. But choosing the right one is key for a successful website.

I’ve tried several web hosts over the past 15 years or so. However, most have let me down at some point.

siteground wordpress hosting

These days, I use Siteground as a web hosting and domain registrar. At this point, I’d like to point out I do not have any affiliation with Siteground. I genuinely just find them the best for photography websites.

Their introductory price starts at £2.95/mo. A domain name will cost you just £14.95.

They are also one of the most popular hosting providers out there. Well-established and secure enough to host your new photography portfolio.

Packages come with some amazing tools for storing large photo files. The SG Supercacher tool will ensure your website is super fast at loading, especially when used with a FREE CDN account from Cloudflare. You also get a FREE SSL with Siteground through the popular Let’s Encrypt.

So… Now you’re all set with the ‘essentials’ for creating a photography website.

It’s time to look at the website builder options available.

Where do I register a domain name and get web hosting?

Without web hosting, your photography website will not be visible online. Web Hosts store your images, content and website files.

Having a  domain name looks professional.  You can have free subdomains such as joebloggsimages.free-website.com. However, this looks terrible and looks unprofessional for potential clients.

Moreover, most hosting providers offer domains FREE for the first year.

There are hundreds of website hosting companies. But choosing the right one is key for a successful website.

I’ve tried several web hosts over the past 15 years or so. However, most have let me down at some point.

siteground wordpress hosting

These days, I use Siteground as a web hosting and domain registrar. At this point, I’d like to point out I do not have any affiliation with Siteground. I genuinely just find them the best for photography websites.

Their introductory price starts at £2.95/mo. A domain name will cost you just £14.95.

They are also one of the most popular hosting providers out there. Well-established and secure enough to host your new photography portfolio.

Packages come with some amazing tools for storing large photo files. The SG Supercacher tool will ensure your website is super fast at loading, especially when used with a FREE CDN account from Cloudflare. You also get a FREE SSL with Siteground through the popular Let’s Encrypt.

So… Now you’re all set with the ‘essentials’ for creating a photography website.

It’s time to look at the website builder options available.

CHAPTER 2:
Choosing the best photography website builder

During this chapter, I’ll help you pick the best photography website software by going over the pros and cons of the most popular.

There are so many photography website builders available, so how do you know which one is the right one for your portfolio?

Website builders are a great solution to easily start a portfolio website. However, finding the best can be tricky for photographers.

We will look at the following to help you start a photography website – WordPress.org, Weebly, Squarespace and Wix.

wordpress photography

CHAPTER 2:
Choosing the best photography website builder

During this chapter, I’ll help you pick the best photography website software by going over the pros and cons of the most popular.

There are so many photography website builders available, so how do you know which one is the right one for your portfolio?

Website builders are a great solution to easily start a portfolio website. However, finding the best can be tricky for photographers.

We will look at the following to help you start a photography website – WordPress.org, Weebly, Squarespace and Wix.

wordpress photography

What to look for from a Photography Website Builder

Before looking at the top photography website builders, we need to think about what features you want. For example, you may need or want to have several photo gallery, to sell prints, take bookings or have a photography blog.

Have a look at your competitors or other websites for inspiration. See how they lay things out and what sections work well.

As with all businesses, you’ll need to think about your growth. You may not sell prints or workshops at the moment, however, you may wish to include these in the future.

By thinking about these things now you’ll be able to choose the right platform which is capable of handling your needs in the future.

So let’s take a look at the most popular photography website platforms to make your online portfolio.

WordPress.org
Build a website with wordpress

Approximately 75 million sites are powered by WordPress.org. That’s 35% of all websites on the internet!

Also known as self-hosted WordPress, it is the most popular website builder ever on planet earth.

A free and open source website builder, WordPress is free to install, update and expand. Thousands of free and premium plugins and themes offer superb flexibility.

Finished off with a simple and easy to use admin area, meaning, there is rarely a need to hire a web designer.

But why should you use WordPress?

Its the most popular CMS ever!

WordPress is by far the largest content management system (CMS) available. It powers over a quarter of all websites online.

Since it is open source, will it be any good for my website?

Simply put – YES! It’ll be more than good enough.

In fact, WordPress powers some of the largest brands online. Sony, Disney, BBC, and Tech Crunch to name a few.

Even FaceBook uses WordPress! – Yes, that’s correct the world’s most used Social Media platform uses WordPress to power its Newsroom.

Photography WordPress Plugins

Open Sourced design offering customisability and expansion

The WordPress platform is supported by a catalogue of over 50,000 plugins including slideshows, contact forms, Search Engine Optimisation, traffic analytics, and more. This gives users the opportunity to customise the front and back ends of their websites with stunning results.

Best of all, many of those plugins are free!

With so many plugins to choose from, there may be a little trial and error involved. However, the filters and search elements allow you to discover the perfect options.

Some of my favourites include Yoast SEO, MailChimp, WooCommerce, Nivo Slider, and Social Icons.

The popularity of WordPress isn’t rooted by the concept of following the crowd, but rather due to the flexible frameworks that enable designers and developers to build and adapt their layouts and applications to reflect their business in style.

Thanks to the use of user-generated extensions too, the freedom to expand and personalise a site is incredible.

Designed with UI in mind

When WordPress first launched way back in 2003, the platform was designed primarily with bloggers in mind rather than web developers themselves.

As such, the user interface is particularly easy to use even for someone without an in-depth understanding of coding.

Most of the CMS elements are supported by manuals or easy learning too.

Great affordability: today and always

Value for money is a priority shared by all website owners.

Stats show that WordPress is significantly less expensive than other popular Open Source CMS options such as Joomla. The reduced costs relate to both setup and maintenance.

Given how many websites are powered by WordPress, it’s unsurprising to learn that most good web developers are proficient in using the platform – not least because it has existed for so long.

Thanks to the customisability, there’s no need to be held back of restricted by static sites after the initial development.

Web users are familiar with the platform too, ensuring that WordPress is a great option for enhancing the customer experience.

Weebly

photography website builder

Weebly is a user-friendly website builder package that does not require any coding skills and is powered by an aesthetically pleasing page builder, along with a catalogue of great designs.

Pros

Weebly is a fully hosted platform, meaning that all hosting and software management elements are automatically handled under one roof.

A plethora of web design layouts offers the perfect platform for building a great website, especially as they are fully customisable via the Weebly live page editor function.

The built-in features and on-page elements include contact forms, galleries, text boxes, and more. Building and updating a great looking site for years to come is possible.

Weebly offers an in-built eCommerce support system for entrepreneurs and businesses looking to capitalise on the opportunities presented by online selling.

Cons

Weebly’s fully hosted solution means that you are restricted to the features they offer and cannot expand beyond the functionality of the platform – even if you have a world-class developer behind the project.

Weebly also charges a 3% commission on eCommerce sales. This can be avoided by upgrading to a business plan, but this naturally comes at a monthly surcharge.

Pricing

Weebly is free to use on the basic plan, but this does limit your creative and commercial opportunities. The annually-billed plans start from $8 per month while the Pro plan is $12 per month and the business plan is $25 per month.

While it can be a great website builder in some circumstances, comparing it to WordPress shows that the latter is better for those that have a clear vision in mind.

Squarespace

photo hosting

Launched in 2004, Squarespace is a very popular fully hosted website builder that offers a positive UI and is blessed with a plethora of great designs.

Pros

The Squarespace platform is a longstanding and reputable platform with enterprise-level infrastructure. The highly secure platform can be used to host your site with stunning results while also promoting growth and expansion.

Squarespace boasts an extensive range of website template designs that can be fully customised and edited to incorporate all types of content. It’s even possible to use several templates simultaneously.

Squarespace is a very user-friendly site, not least because it launched at a time when very few people had coding skills. The drag and drop interface, combined with the click and type function, allows pages to be designed in minutes.

An eCommerce plan enables websites to incorporate an online store, boasting the perfect interface to manage products, inventory, orders, and discount codes all in one place.

Cons

As a fully hosted platform, the limitations regarding third-party software integrations can feel a little restrictive when attempting to grow and expand the business.

The eCommerce payment processing gateways are restricted to Stripe, PayPal and Apple Pay. This can potentially cost the company a number of conversions.

Pricing

The Squarespace pricing strategy sees standard websites start at $12 per month and $18 per month respectively. Any eCommerce sites start from $26 and $40 per month.

Squarespace isn’t as flexible as WordPress but it isn’t too far behind. It has a number of beautifully designed templates that can be edited while the construction phase of the site is easy too. Nonetheless, it doesn’t quite match the power of WP.

Wix

photography websites

Wix is a cloud-based website builder that has a great UX and a powerful array of features that encourage an easy site building process all from inside your internet browser. The flash website editor was launched in 2006 and has been used by millions of sites.

Pros

The fully hosted Wix platform ensures that design and hosting are bundled together.

Wix is an easy to use drag and drop site builder that boasts hundreds of templates, all of which can be edited and customised to look great across browser and mobile.

A large range of Apps can be installed to the website for added functionality. The range includes dozens of items created by Wix, as well as many others from third-party developers. While some are paid, many of the software additions are free to use too.

Wix has a free basic plan that is particularly useful when constructing the website, especially as you can upgrade to a paid plan at a later date with ease. The premium plans offer extra bandwidth and storage, along with other features.

Wix websites come with SSL certification, meaning the site will be protected from online threats. This feature needs to be manually switched on.

Cons

Websites using the Free and Connect plans are branded with Wix ads, meaning users will know where the site was created, which can remove some of the professionalism. Combo and Unlimited plans avoid this issue.

Migrating the website away from Wix to another host is possible but incredibly complex and frustrating.

Pricing

The Wix free plan is entirely free but has very low storage and bandwidth for growing businesses. Connecting a domain is $9.16 per month. The Combo plan, which includes a domain is $14.95 per month while the eCommerce plan is $26.25 per month.

Wix is a popular platform for good reason but does have some limitations compared to the WordPress platform.

What to look for from a Photography Website Builder

Before looking at the top photography website builders, we need to think about what features you want. For example, you may need or want to have several photo gallery, to sell prints, take bookings or have a photography blog.

Have a look at your competitors or other websites for inspiration. See how they lay things out and what sections work well.

As with all businesses, you’ll need to think about your growth. You may not sell prints or workshops at the moment, however, you may wish to include these in the future.

By thinking about these things now you’ll be able to choose the right platform which is capable of handling your needs in the future.

So let’s take a look at the most popular photography website platforms to make your online portfolio.

WordPress.org
Build a website with wordpress

Approximately 75 million sites are powered by WordPress.org. That’s 35% of all websites on the internet!

Also known as self-hosted WordPress, it is the most popular website builder ever on planet earth.

A free and open source website builder, WordPress is free to install, update and expand. Thousands of free and premium plugins and themes offer superb flexibility.

Finished off with a simple and easy to use admin area, meaning, there is rarely a need to hire a web designer.

But why should you use WordPress?

Its the most popular CMS ever!

WordPress is by far the largest content management system (CMS) available. It powers over a quarter of all websites online.

Since it is open source, will it be any good for my website?

Simply put – YES! It’ll be more than good enough.

In fact, WordPress powers some of the largest brands online. Sony, Disney, BBC, and Tech Crunch to name a few.

Even FaceBook uses WordPress! – Yes, that’s correct the world’s most used Social Media platform uses WordPress to power its Newsroom.

Photography WordPress Plugins

Open Sourced design offering customisability and expansion

The WordPress platform is supported by a catalogue of over 50,000 plugins including slideshows, contact forms, Search Engine Optimization, traffic analytics, and more. This gives users the opportunity to customise the front and back ends of their websites with stunning results.

Best of all, many of those plugins are free!

With so many plugins to choose from, there may be a little trial and error involved. However, the filters and search elements allow you to discover the perfect options.

Some of my favourites include Yoast SEO, MailChimp, WooCommerce, Nivo Slider, and Social Icons.

The popularity of WordPress isn’t rooted by the concept of following the crowd, but rather due to the flexible frameworks that enable designers and developers to build and adapt their layouts and applications to reflect their business in style.

Thanks to the use of user-generated extensions too, the freedom to expand and personalise a site is incredible.

Designed with UI in mind

When WordPress first launched way back in 2003, the platform was designed primarily with bloggers in mind rather than web developers themselves.

As such, the user interface is particularly easy to use even for someone without an in-depth understanding of coding.

Most of the CMS elements are supported by manuals or easy learning too.

Great affordability: today and always

Value for money is a priority shared by all website owners.

Stats show that WordPress is significantly less expensive than other popular Open Source CMS options such as Joomla. The reduced costs relate to both setup and maintenance.

Given how many websites are powered by WordPress, it’s unsurprising to learn that most good web developers are proficient in using the platform – not least because it has existed for so long.

Thanks to the customisability, there’s no need to be held back of restricted by static sites after the initial development.

Web users are familiar with the platform too, ensuring that WordPress is a great option for enhancing the customer experience.

Weebly

photography website builder

Weebly is a user-friendly website builder package that does not require any coding skills and is powered by an aesthetically pleasing page builder, along with a catalogue of great designs.

Pros

Weebly is a fully hosted platform, meaning that all hosting and software management elements are automatically handled under one roof.

A plethora of web designs offer the perfect platform for building a great website, especially as they are fully customisable via the Weebly live page editor function.

The built-in features and on-page elements include contact forms, galleries, text boxes, and more. Building and updating a great looking site for years to come is possible.

Weebly offers an in-built eCommerce support system for entrepreneurs and businesses looking to capitalise on the opportunities presented by online selling.

Cons

Weebly’s fully hosted solution means that you are restricted to the features they offer and cannot expand beyond the functionality of the platform – even if you have a world-class developer behind the project.

Weebly also charges a 3% commission on eCommerce sales. This can be avoided by upgrading to a business plan, but this naturally comes at a monthly surcharge.

Pricing

Weebly is free to use on the basic plan, but this does limit your creative and commercial opportunities. The annually-billed plans start from $8 per month while the Pro plan is $12 per month and the business plan is $25 per month.

While it can be a great website builder in some circumstances, comparing it to WordPress shows that the latter is better for those that have a clear vision in mind.

Squarespace

photo hosting

Launched in 2004, Squarespace is a very popular fully hosted website builder that offers a positive UI and is blessed with a plethora of great designs.

Pros

The Squarespace platform is a longstanding and reputable platform with enterprise-level infrastructure. The highly secure platform can be used to host your site with stunning results while also promoting growth and expansion.

Squarespace boasts an extensive range of website template designs that can be fully customised and edited to incorporate all types of content. It’s even possible to use several templates simultaneously.

Squarespace is a very user-friendly site, not least because it launched at a time when very few people had coding skills. The drag and drop interface, combined with the click and type function, allows pages to be designed in minutes.

An eCommerce plan enables websites to incorporate an online store, boasting the perfect interface to manage products, inventory, orders, and discount codes all in one place.

Cons

As a fully hosted platform, the limitations regarding third-party software integrations can feel a little restrictive when attempting to grow and expand the business.

The eCommerce payment processing gateways are restricted to Stripe, PayPal and Apple Pay. This can potentially cost the company a number of conversions.

Pricing

The Squarespace pricing strategy sees standard websites start at $12 per month and $18 per month respectively. Any eCommerce sites start from $26 and $40 per month.

Squarespace isn’t as flexible as WordPress but it isn’t too far behind. It has a number of beautifully designed templates that can be edited while the construction phase of the site is easy too. Nonetheless, it doesn’t quite match the power of WP.

Wix

photography websites

Wix is a cloud-based website builder that has a great UX and a powerful array of features that encourage an easy site building process all from inside your internet browser. The flash website editor was launched in 2006 and has been used by millions of sites.

Pros

The fully hosted Wix platform ensures that design and hosting are bundled together.

Wix is an easy to use drag and drop site builder that boasts hundreds of templates, all of which can be edited and customised to look great across browser and mobile.

A large range of Apps can be installed to the website for added functionality. The range includes dozens of items created by Wix, as well as many others from third-party developers. While some are paid, many of the software additions are free to use too.

Wix has a free basic plan that is particularly useful when constructing the website, especially as you can upgrade to a paid plan at a later date with ease. The premium plans offer extra bandwidth and storage, along with other features.

Wix websites come with SSL certification, meaning the site will be protected from online threats. This feature needs to be manually switched on.

Cons

Websites using the Free and Connect plans are branded with Wix ads, meaning users will know where the site was created, which can remove some of the professionalism. Combo and Unlimited plans avoid this issue.

Migrating the website away from Wix to another host is possible but incredibly complex and frustrating.

Pricing

The Wix free plan is entirely free but has very low storage and bandwidth for growing businesses. Connecting a domain is $9.16 per month. The Combo plan, which includes a domain is $14.95 per month while the eCommerce plan is $26.25 per month.

Wix is a popular platform for good reason but does have some limitations compared to the WordPress platform.

CHAPTER 3:
Planning your website layout & features

Failure to plan is planning to fail right?

Just as you planned your business goals or a photo shoot, you need to plan the layout of your website.

Think about what features you need.

During this chapter, I’ll help you plan the best photography website layout for your portfolio or business website.

photography portfolio layout

CHAPTER 3:
Planning your website layout & features

Failure to plan is planning to fail right?

Just as you planned your business goals or a photo shoot, you need to plan the layout of your website.

Think about what features you need.

During this chapter, I’ll help you plan the best photography website layout for your portfolio or business website.

photography portfolio layout

How to create a photography website

Planning and preparation are the foundations of success in all aspects of business, and your website is no different. In the same way that you plan a shoot or a commercial strategy, the design of your business site deserves your full attention.

Here’s all you need to know.

Planning a photography website

The need for a well-designed photography website cannot be emphasised enough, especially when working in an industry that is all about image. Planning your website layout and features is an essential step en route to success.

Do not forget to P.L.A.N.

Use the acronym for guidance and you won’t go far wrong.

Prepare – Know your demographic to set the right goals and tone of the website.
Landscape – Consider the necessary features and general functionality of the website.
Aesthetics – Imagine how your photography website should look in relation to images, colour schemes, and positioning of on-page content.
Navigation – Think about the journey that visitors follow to ensure positive user experiences as well as increased conversions.

planning a photography website

Prepare

The first step to consider, even before you have bought the domain name, is to make a solid website plan that works in conjunction with the business plan as a whole. Be sure to ask the following questions for inspiration:

  • Who is the target market and what ideas will be best suited to generating positive reactions from them?
  • What is the goal of the website – should it aim to sell products, generate leads for offline sales, or provide another purpose?
  • What information and content should be displayed on the site to help achieve those goals?
  • How should this information be presented – formal, informal, whimsical?

Landscape

Planning the landscape of the site is all about the features needed to meet the goals of your website (and photography business) in the most effective manner. An eCommerce photography site will have different requirements compared to one that is purely a portfolio or promotional tool.

The website needs to consider both front end and backend features, including but not limited to:

  • Email list lead magnets.
  • Photo and/or video galleries.
  • Blogs.
  • Map and directions to your studio.
  • Contact details.
  • Social media integration.
  • FAQs.
  • Shopping cart and payment processing.
  • Testimonial page.
  • Search Engine Optimisation.
  • SSL certificates and other security features.
  • Caching.

While you might not need all of those elements, it’s important to consider all aspects throughout the crucial planning phase.

Aesthetics

The appearance of your photography website is hugely important because a poorly designed site will suffer high bounce rates and low conversions. Design templates and CMS systems make the process far easier than in previous generations, but the process still requires careful consideration.

Key questions include:

  • Who is the ideal consumer and what are the colour schemes, layouts, and features that will gain the greatest levels of engagement?
  • What text elements (text colours and background colours, sizes, and font choices) will be easiest for users to read across all devices?
  • What photographs and graphics will attract users to learn more about your business?
  • What content should be presented at the front and centre (otherwise known as above the fold) of the screen?
  • How responsive are the designs across desktop browsers and mobile devices?

Taking inspiration from other photography websites that you like can prove to be an integral part of your research, but you still want to avoid copying them. Putting your unique twist on things is how you’ll stand out from the crowd.

Navigation

The navigational elements of the site are central to the user experience, which can influence their consumer habits. Plotting the structure of your website is, therefore, a key responsibility as you want to ensure that the site covers all necessary factors.

To do this in style, follow these points:

  • Create a site map on a piece of paper. This will start with your homepage and branch off to the other pages on your site.
  • List the key information-based pages such as About and Contact sections.
  • List the main categories that brand off of your site. A good example would be the types of photography you cover such as Portraits, Landscapes, Sport, etc.
  • List the subcategories underneath. For Portraits, you may break off into Family or Couple. Alternatively, you may break off into pages like Galleries and Post-Production Services.

Once you’ve listed all pages from the site map, you need to think about the layout of these. This could include a top menu or a side menu. You may also want to consider the addition of a search box that may make life a little easier for users.

Building a photography website

Considered and comprehensive planning will prepare you for building the site in the quickest possible time. The next step is to buy a domain name and web hosting package before finding a suitable theme to represent the brand.

Following this, you’ll want to build the website with usability and appearances in mind. Every decision should be made to boost website visits, retention rates, and conversions. To do this, be sure to consider the following:

  • Use the right navigation so that users understand how to move between different pages. A vertical and centred web menu or a left-hand navigation menu are two of the popular options.
  • Use the right font, size, and colour for blocks of text. Choose a background that makes it easy for users to read on all devices. If it’s stressful, they will click the red cross at the top of their browser.
  • Use responsive design to ensure that your website adapts to the size of the screen that any individual user may use to access data.
  • Use compression and other tools to ensure quick loading tools.
  • Use clear and concise copy supported by CTAs in prominent positions.
  • Use a style and colour scheme that can stay consistent as you add more content over the coming weeks and months.

Following the development of the design, it’s important to test it out across various browsers and devices to ensure that all elements look and function as intended.

How to create a photography website

Planning and preparation are the foundations of success in all aspects of business, and your website is no different. In the same way that you plan a shoot or a commercial strategy, the design of your business site deserves your full attention.

Here’s all you need to know.

Planning a photography website

The need for a well-designed photography website cannot be emphasised enough, especially when working in an industry that is all about image. Planning your website layout and features is an essential step en route to success.

Do not forget to P.L.A.N.

Use the acronym for guidance and you won’t go far wrong.

Prepare – Know your demographic to set the right goals and tone of the website.
Landscape – Consider the necessary features and general functionality of the website.
Aesthetics – Imagine how your photography website should look in relation to images, colour schemes, and positioning of on-page content.
Navigation – Think about the journey that visitors follow to ensure positive user experiences as well as increased conversions.

planning a photography website

Prepare

The first step to consider, even before you have bought the domain name, is to make a solid website plan that works in conjunction with the business plan as a whole. Be sure to ask the following questions for inspiration:

  • Who is the target market and what ideas will be best suited to generating positive reactions from them?
  • What is the goal of the website – should it aim to sell products, generate leads for offline sales, or provide another purpose?
  • What information and content should be displayed on the site to help achieve those goals?
  • How should this information be presented – formal, informal, whimsical?

Landscape

Planning the landscape of the site is all about the features needed to meet the goals of your website (and photography business) in the most effective manner. An eCommerce photography site will have different requirements compared to one that is purely a portfolio or promotional tool.

The website needs to consider both front end and backend features, including but not limited to:

  • Email list lead magnets.
  • Photo and/or video galleries.
  • Blogs.
  • Map and directions to your studio.
  • Contact details.
  • Social media integration.
  • FAQs.
  • Shopping cart and payment processing.
  • Testimonial page.
  • Search Engine Optimisation.
  • SSL certificates and other security features.
  • Caching.

While you might not need all of those elements, it’s important to consider all aspects throughout the crucial planning phase.

Aesthetics

The appearance of your photography website is hugely important because a poorly designed site will suffer high bounce rates and low conversions. Design templates and CMS systems make the process far easier than in previous generations, but the process still requires careful consideration.

Key questions include:

  • Who is the ideal consumer and what are the colour schemes, layouts, and features that will gain the greatest levels of engagement?
  • What text elements (text colours and background colours, sizes, and font choices) will be easiest for users to read across all devices?
  • What photographs and graphics will attract users to learn more about your business?
  • What content should be presented at the front and centre (otherwise known as above the fold) of the screen?
  • How responsive are the designs across desktop browsers and mobile devices?

Taking inspiration from other photography websites that you like can prove to be an integral part of your research, but you still want to avoid copying them. Putting your unique twist on things is how you’ll stand out from the crowd.

Navigation

The navigational elements of the site are central to the user experience, which can influence their consumer habits. Plotting the structure of your website is, therefore, a key responsibility as you want to ensure that the site covers all necessary factors.

To do this in style, follow these points:

  • Create a site map on a piece of paper. This will start with your homepage and branch off to the other pages on your site.
  • List the key information-based pages such as About and Contact sections.
  • List the main categories that brand off of your site. A good example would be the types of photography you cover such as Portraits, Landscapes, Sport, etc.
  • List the subcategories underneath. For Portraits, you may break off into Family or Couple. Alternatively, you may break off into pages like Galleries and Post-Production Services.

Once you’ve listed all pages from the site map, you need to think about the layout of these. This could include a top menu or a side menu. You may also want to consider the addition of a search box that may make life a little easier for users.

Building a photography website

Considered and comprehensive planning will prepare you for building the site in the quickest possible time. The next step is to buy a domain name and web hosting package before finding a suitable theme to represent the brand.

Following this, you’ll want to build the website with usability and appearances in mind. Every decision should be made to boost website visits, retention rates, and conversions. To do this, be sure to consider the following:

  • Use the right navigation so that users understand how to move between different pages. A vertical and centred web menu or a left-hand navigation menu are two of the popular options.
  • Use the right font, size, and colour for blocks of text. Choose a background that makes it easy for users to read on all devices. If it’s stressful, they will click the red cross at the top of their browser.
  • Use responsive design to ensure that your website adapts to the size of the screen that any individual user may use to access data.
  • Use compression and other tools to ensure quick loading tools.
  • Use clear and concise copy supported by CTAs in prominent positions.
  • Use a style and colour scheme that can stay consistent as you add more content over the coming weeks and months.

Following the development of the design, it’s important to test it out across various browsers and devices to ensure that all elements look and function as intended.

CHAPTER 4:
Best Plugins and Themes for a photography website

So… assuming you’ve decided on WordPress. 

Well, it is supported by a catalogue of over 50,000 plugins including slideshows, contact forms, Search Engine Optimisation, traffic analytics, and more.

During this chapter, I will highlight some of the awesome plugins & themes available for your new photography website.

wordpress plugins for photographers

CHAPTER 4:
Best Plugins and Themes for a photography website

So… assuming you’ve decided on WordPress. 

Well, it is supported by a catalogue of over 50,000 plugins including slideshows, contact forms, Search Engine Optimisation, traffic analytics, and more.

During this chapter, I will highlight some of the awesome plugins & themes available for your new photography website.

wordpress plugins for photographers

Best Plugins and Themes for a photography website

Having already set out the goals of your photography website and planned a detailed sitemap that covers all the essential features, the next phase is to turn those visions into a reality.

When starting a photography website on WordPress, the right selection of themes and plugins will be central to success.

Here’s all you need to know about the best options on the market.

The best themes for your photography website

The flexibility of WordPress means that you could potentially choose any theme on the marketplace and make the necessary adjustments to create a suitable website for our photography business.

However, some themes provide a stronger starting point than others.

Themes specifically designed with photography in mind are the most effective by far.

Here are three that can work wonders:

Avada

Avada for photographers

Avada is the #1 selling WordPress theme on the market.

It even drives this website.

Its multi-purpose theme has some of the most advanced capabilities on the platform and is particularly suited to photographers thanks to the use of the integrated Lightbox, Portfolio, and Slideshow features while Social Media and Blog elements can be hugely beneficial too.

Fusion Theme Options, Fusion Page Options, and the Fusion Builder all allow for incredible flexibility throughout the design process. The highly customisable theme offers quick loading times, crisp design features, and great navigation.

Meanwhile, the addition of six premium plugins and a choice of over 300 pre-made web design pages are ideal too.

Novo Photography

photography wordpress theme

The Novo Photography theme is built exclusively with photographers and other visual creatives in mind.

It focuses on simplicity and letting images speak for themselves while navigation menus are clean and clear too.

Photos can also be protected with passwords, right-click protection, and watermarks, which is hugely important for any serious photographer.

A powerful eCommerce platform lets you sell photos (digital copies and as products).

When supported by the range of pre-templated pages, all of which are optimised for speed and expressing your message in style, the Novo Photography theme is a great addition.

The fact that users are familiar with the navigation is perfect too.

Photography Wiso

wiso photography

The Photography Wiso theme has dozens of live demos and nearly 100 albums and galleries that can be imported to your WordPress page at the click of a button. Simply add your content to replace the stock photos and you’ll be set to go.

Watermarking and other protective measures can be incorporated with relative ease too.

While the theme is fully customisable, the standard configuration is very appealing. The dropdown menu is conveniently placed at the top of the page while the search bar is well located.

This is all supported by a clear and fresh design that offers simplicity and does not take the attention away from the content of the site itself.

Imagely

Imagely themes

The Imagely themes are based around the Genesis framework and take the minimalistic approach. Keep things simple with only a few customisation options.

Most importantly, what Imagely has discovered in its ongoing conversations with photographers is there is a high demand for more online tools. Business tools such as invoicing and booking systems and CRMs etc.

Imagely’s solutions are workings towards offering these complete solutions. SEO, simple page builders, and an array of plugins developed with photographers in mind.

The best plug-ins for your photography website

While finding the right theme is the perfect starting point for designing an aesthetically pleasing site, you can take things to a whole new level by embracing a range of brilliant plug-ins.

They can enhance the front end user experience as well as the back end performance of the site.

Here are five you need to add.

Yoast SEO

Building a great website is pointless if nobody knows of its existence.

The SEO tool by Yoast provides a walkthrough to ensure that all aspects of your content are built to gain maximum visibility on search engines.

In turn, this will generate more traffic from the people who are actively looking for photography services.

NextGEN Gallery

NextGEN Gallery has been the industry’s standard WordPress gallery plugin for over a decade and continues to grow by 1.5 million new users per year.

It’s an easy and simple photo gallery, but powerful enough for the most demanding photographers too.

NextGEN offers a complete WordPress gallery management system with the ability to batch upload photos, import metadata, add/delete/rearrange/sort photos, edit thumbnails, group galleries into albums, and a lot more.

The free version of NextGEN provides three main gallery styles, slideshow, thumbnail, and image browser galleries and two album styles, compact and extended.

All of which come with a wide array of options for controlling the size, style, timing, transitions, lightbox effects etc.

You can extend NextGEN in several ways too, with some great Paid for add ons.

Regenerate Thumbnails

When saving an image on WordPress, it will create images in various sizes.

However, when new sizes become available, any old images that have been uploaded will not offer those options.

Using the Regenerate Thumbnails tool soon overcomes this problem and keeps you protected for years to come.

Pinterest Pin It

All social media platforms have an important role, but Pinterest is very significant for photographers as people can pin your posts to their boards.

As the visual content is shared to their friends and followers, this can result in increased traffic and conversions.

Add the tool to your photos for greater success.

WP Forms

Whether you run a family photography studio or you’re a sports photographer, a good contact form is essential.

After all, this is a point of contact that can generate new leads and conversions. Missing out on business due to basic errors like this is not an option.

With the highly customisable but easy to use WP Forms, you won’t need to.

Post-Thumbnail Editor

The thumbnails of blog posts and other pages are crucial for your photography website.

Sadly, most themes crop images for thumbnails in a pre-defined manner.

The Post Thumbnail Editor tool overrides this, allowing you to crop them in any way you deem fit. Ensuring that the crucial aspects of the image get seen has never been simpler.

Best Plugins and Themes for a photography website

Having already set out the goals of your photography website and planned a detailed sitemap that covers all the essential features, the next phase is to turn those visions into a reality.

When starting a photography website on WordPress, the right selection of themes and plugins will be central to success.

Here’s all you need to know about the best options on the market.

The best themes for your photography website

The flexibility of WordPress means that you could potentially choose any theme on the marketplace and make the necessary adjustments to create a suitable website for our photography business.

However, some themes provide a stronger starting point than others.

Themes specifically designed with photography in mind are the most effective by far.

Here are three that can work wonders:

Avada

Avada for photographers

Avada is the #1 selling WordPress theme on the market.

It even drives this website.

Its multi-purpose theme has some of the most advanced capabilities on the platform and is particularly suited to photographers thanks to the use of the integrated Lightbox, Portfolio, and Slideshow features while Social Media and Blog elements can be hugely beneficial too.

Fusion Theme Options, Fusion Page Options, and the Fusion Builder all allow for incredible flexibility throughout the design process. The highly customisable theme offers quick loading times, crisp design features, and great navigation.

Meanwhile, the addition of six premium plugins and a choice of over 300 pre-made web design pages are ideal too.

Novo Photography

photography wordpress theme

The Novo Photography theme is built exclusively with photographers and other visual creatives in mind.

It focuses on simplicity and letting images speak for themselves while navigation menus are clean and clear too.

Photos can also be protected with passwords, right-click protection, and watermarks, which is hugely important for any serious photographer.

A powerful eCommerce platform lets you sell photos (digital copies and as products).

When supported by the range of pre-templated pages, all of which are optimised for speed and expressing your message in style, the Novo Photography theme is a great addition.

The fact that users are familiar with the navigation is perfect too.

Photography Wiso

wiso photography

The Photography Wiso theme has dozens of live demos and nearly 100 albums and galleries that can be imported to your WordPress page at the click of a button. Simply add your content to replace the stock photos and you’ll be set to go.

Watermarking and other protective measures can be incorporated with relative ease too.

While the theme is fully customisable, the standard configuration is very appealing. The dropdown menu is conveniently placed at the top of the page while the search bar is well located.

This is all supported by a clear and fresh design that offers simplicity and does not take the attention away from the content of the site itself.

Imagely

Imagely themes

The Imagely themes are based around the Genesis framework and take the minimalistic approach. Keep things simple with only a few customisation options.

Most importantly, what Imagely has discovered in its ongoing conversations with photographers is there is a high demand for more online tools. Business tools such as invoicing and booking systems and CRMs etc.

Imagely’s solutions are workings towards offering these complete solutions. SEO, simple page builders, and an array of plugins developed with photographers in mind.

The best plug-ins for your photography website

While finding the right theme is the perfect starting point for designing an aesthetically pleasing site, you can take things to a whole new level by embracing a range of brilliant plug-ins.

They can enhance the front end user experience as well as the back end performance of the site.

Here are five you need to add.

Yoast SEO

Building a great website is pointless if nobody knows of its existence.

The SEO tool by Yoast provides a walkthrough to ensure that all aspects of your content are built to gain maximum visibility on search engines.

In turn, this will generate more traffic from the people who are actively looking for photography services.

NextGEN Gallery

NextGEN Gallery has been the industry’s standard WordPress gallery plugin for over a decade and continues to grow by 1.5 million new users per year.

It’s an easy and simple photo gallery, but powerful enough for the most demanding photographers too.

NextGEN offers a complete WordPress gallery management system with the ability to batch upload photos, import metadata, add/delete/rearrange/sort photos, edit thumbnails, group galleries into albums, and a lot more.

The free version of NextGEN provides three main gallery styles, slideshow, thumbnail, and image browser galleries and two album styles, compact and extended.

All of which come with a wide array of options for controlling the size, style, timing, transitions, lightbox effects etc.

You can extend NextGEN in several ways too, with some great Paid for add ons.

Regenerate Thumbnails

When saving an image on WordPress, it will create images in various sizes.

However, when new sizes become available, any old images that have been uploaded will not offer those options.

Using the Regenerate Thumbnails tool soon overcomes this problem and keeps you protected for years to come.

Pinterest Pin It

All social media platforms have an important role, but Pinterest is very significant for photographers as people can pin your posts to their boards.

As the visual content is shared to their friends and followers, this can result in increased traffic and conversions.

Add the tool to your photos for greater success.

WP Forms

Whether you run a family photography studio or you’re a sports photographer, a good contact form is essential.

After all, this is a point of contact that can generate new leads and conversions. Missing out on business due to basic errors like this is not an option.

With the highly customisable but easy to use WP Forms, you won’t need to.

Post-Thumbnail Editor

The thumbnails of blog posts and other pages are crucial for your photography website.

Sadly, most themes crop images for thumbnails in a pre-defined manner.

The Post Thumbnail Editor tool overrides this, allowing you to crop them in any way you deem fit. Ensuring that the crucial aspects of the image get seen has never been simpler.

CHAPTER 5:
How to capture leads and subscribers

The success of your site is ultimately decided by how many conversions (online and offline) it can generate.

Capturing leads and subscribers is, therefore, an essential ingredient in the recipe for success.

During this chapter, I’ll show you the best tools to make it happen for your photography website.

photography website lead capture

CHAPTER 5:
How to capture leads and subscribers

The success of your site is ultimately decided by how many conversions (online and offline) it can generate.

Capturing leads and subscribers is, therefore, an essential ingredient in the recipe for success.

During this chapter, I’ll show you the best tools to make it happen for your photography website.

photography website lead capture

Marketing you Photography Website

When designing a website for your photography business, it’s easy to get caught up by the idea of creating pretty visuals and producing a portfolio that makes you smile.

Spoiler alert…

This won’t pay the bills.

Capturing leads and subscribers are an essential part of the success of your business.

Let’s take a look at the best marketing tools to generate more sales.

Hustle for Photographers

marketing for photographers

What’s better than converting a web visitor into a client?

Turning someone that was about to leave your site into a client! Once the person leaves your site, they may never return.

So, capturing their subscription can truly make a difference to your bottom line.

When a person tries to leave the site, this is called ‘exit intent’. Lead capture via exit intent is truly incredible.

The Hustle for photographers tool essentially uses a pop-up that asks users to reconsider leaving, or at least signing up for your emails before they do.

This can extend to social media follows and opt-ins for special deals.

The attention-grabbing infographics and clear CTAs can save a sale that looked lost.

The tool is very easy to use while the design features are very pleasing too.

It is possible to change the message and pop-up depending on the page that the user is on. So, if they are leaving a booking page, it may, for example, offer them a 25% discount in a bid to gain a conversion.

Moreover, the sign-up used can be linked to a different email strategy, allowing you to use even greater targeted marketing.

And Finally, Hustle allows you to place slide-ins, and floating social bars to drive followings. With a huge variety of ready build templates its the perfect tool.

You can find out more about my Hustle for Photographers Tool – here.

Mobile Monkey

facebook chat marketing

Interaction and engagement are crucial elements of any successful marketing strategy.

Utilising the power of Facebook (or, more specifically, the Messenger App) can truly take your conversions to the next level.

Mobile Monkey is the perfect plugin for your WordPress site. Once installed, the Mobile Monkey widget places a chatbot onto every page of your website.

It automates on-site chat without needing a human to send the messages while the bot can also handle FAQs to provide transparency for your visitors.

The lack of delay can reduce bounce rates and lead to greater conversions.

Moreover, the tool can be used for Messenger Chat Blasts and Drip Campaigns, which send automated messages to followers and subscribers.

This works in a very similar fashion to email drip campaigns, but with far greater open rates.

Aside from capturing leads, the Mobile Monkey plugin will save you a lot of money.

MailChimp

email marketing for photographers

MailChimp is another very powerful tool that can be downloaded and added to your WordPress website.

It even links straight into my Hustle for photographers tool.

It offers multi-channel ad campaigns that are statistically shown to boost leads and conversions while also ensuring that all content is presented in a way that brings the brand to life and engages with your audience.

The WordPress plugin itself integrates with your MailChimp account with the ultimate goal of encouraging more sign-ups through customized and user-friendly forms.

You can even use one-click sign-up forms following a sale or a comment, ensuring that one-time visitors become loyal followers of the brand.

This will lead to long-term business.

Given that MailChimp is the very best email campaign manager on the market, integrating it with WordPress is ideal.

Once you learn to create stunning campaigns with high open rates and clear messages leading customers to a purchase, it can be one of your greatest marketing strategies.

Marketing you Photography Website

When designing a website for your photography business, it’s easy to get caught up by the idea of creating pretty visuals and producing a portfolio that makes you smile.

Spoiler alert…

This won’t pay the bills.

Capturing leads and subscribers are an essential part of the success of your business.

Let’s take a look at the best marketing tools to generate more sales.

Hustle for Photographers

marketing for photographers

What’s better than converting a web visitor into a client?

Turning someone that was about to leave your site into a client! Once the person leaves your site, they may never return.

So, capturing their subscription can truly make a difference to your bottom line.

When a person tries to leave the site, this is called ‘exit intent’. Lead capture via exit intent is truly incredible.

The Hustle for photographers tool essentially uses a pop-up that asks users to reconsider leaving, or at least signing up for your emails before they do.

This can extend to social media follows and opt-ins for special deals.

The attention-grabbing infographics and clear CTAs can save a sale that looked lost.

The tool is very easy to use while the design features are very pleasing too.

It is possible to change the message and pop-up depending on the page that the user is on. So, if they are leaving a booking page, it may, for example, offer them a 25% discount in a bid to gain a conversion.

Moreover, the sign-up used can be linked to a different email strategy, allowing you to use even greater targeted marketing.

And Finally, Hustle allows you to place slide-ins, and floating social bars to drive followings. With a huge variety of ready build templates its the perfect tool.

You can find out more about my Hustle for Photographers Tool – here.

Mobile Monkey

facebook chat marketing

Interaction and engagement are crucial elements of any successful marketing strategy.

Utilising the power of Facebook (or, more specifically, the Messenger App) can truly take your conversions to the next level.

Mobile Monkey is the perfect plugin for your WordPress site. Once installed, the Mobile Monkey widget places a chatbot onto every page of your website.

It automates on-site chat without needing a human to send the messages while the bot can also handle FAQs to provide transparency for your visitors.

The lack of delay can reduce bounce rates and lead to greater conversions.

Moreover, the tool can be used for Messenger Chat Blasts and Drip Campaigns, which send automated messages to followers and subscribers.

This works in a very similar fashion to email drip campaigns, but with far greater open rates.

Aside from capturing leads, the Mobile Monkey plugin will save you a lot of money.

MailChimp

email marketing for photographers

MailChimp is another very powerful tool that can be downloaded and added to your WordPress website.

It even links straight into my Hustle for photographers tool.

It offers multi-channel ad campaigns that are statistically shown to boost leads and conversions while also ensuring that all content is presented in a way that brings the brand to life and engages with your audience.

The WordPress plugin itself integrates with your MailChimp account with the ultimate goal of encouraging more sign-ups through customized and user-friendly forms.

You can even use one-click sign-up forms following a sale or a comment, ensuring that one-time visitors become loyal followers of the brand.

This will lead to long-term business.

Given that MailChimp is the very best email campaign manager on the market, integrating it with WordPress is ideal.

Once you learn to create stunning campaigns with high open rates and clear messages leading customers to a purchase, it can be one of your greatest marketing strategies.

BONUS CHAPTER:
Quick Fire Set up and Conclusion

So there we have it!

The in-depth knowledge on how to start a photography website.

We’ve covered all the essentials throughout the guide from website builders to hosting.

Let’s take a quick recap or quick fire setup workflow.

start photography website

BONUS CHAPTER:
Quick Fire Set up and Conclusion

So there we have it!

The in-depth knowledge on how to start a photography website.

We’ve covered all the essentials throughout the guide from website builders to hosting.

Let’s take a quick recap or quick fire setup workflow.

start photography website

Start a Photography Website Today!

Throughout this definitive guide, I’ve covered everything you’ll ever need to know about starting your photography website.

Remember, take a look at your competitors or other websites for inspiration. Think about your growth. You may wish to sell prints or workshops in the future.

Follow P.L.A.N. to create a stunning looking online portfolio.

Let’s take a look at the quickfire set up which will have you on your way to starting a photography website today!

  1. Sign up to Siteground and register your hosting and domain name
  2. Install WordPress via the cPanel
  3. Choose a theme from ThemeForest or elsewhere.
  4. Install the listed plugins and tools.
  5. Capture leads and subscribers via Hustle.
  6. Launch your new photography website.

If you need help or want to work with me to build you a stunning portfolio website –  Check out my consultancy.

Start a Photography Website Today!

Throughout this definitive guide, I’ve covered everything you’ll ever need to know about starting your photography website.

Remember, take a look at your competitors or other websites for inspiration. Think about your growth. You may wish to sell prints or workshops in the future.

Follow P.L.A.N. to create a stunning looking online portfolio.

Let’s take a look at the quickfire set up which will have you on your way to starting a photography website today!

  1. Sign up to Siteground and register your hosting and domain name
  2. Install WordPress via the cPanel
  3. Choose a theme from ThemeForest or elsewhere.
  4. Install the listed plugins and tools.
  5. Capture leads and subscribers via Hustle.
  6. Launch your new photography website.

If you need help or want to work with me to build you a stunning portfolio website –  Check out my consultancy.