Your photography website is essential to winning clients. It is typically the very first place your clients will look to familiarize themselves with your work and determine whether or not you are worth hiring. For these reasons and more, it is essential that your site make a strong first impression.
Finding The Right Website Format For Your Photography Portfolio
Before you can begin designing your website, you have to first select a website builder. There are many options available that will enable you to set up a well-designed portfolio without either having to learn how to code, or spend money hiring a professional. Format is a great website platform option for professional photographers who want to create simple, beautiful websites. The website designs contain a variety of useful technical and design options that include client proofing, blogging, and an online store. The intuitive interface also makes it quick and easy for anyone to build an online portfolio to show off their work. With a website platform such as Format, you can design a simple, clean website that will present your photography beautifully, and pull attention to your work.
Create A Photography Highlight Reel
Shooting great photography is the first step to creating a strong photography website and portfolio; curating your work is the second half of the battle. Especially if you shoot digital photos, you can easily have hundreds (or even thousands) of favorite images to choose from. When selecting the essential photos for your website, it’s far too easy to go overboard. This begs the question,
“How do you cull all your best photos down into a well-edited selection that shows off your photography skills? “
A portfolio that is crammed full of images can quickly feel overwhelming to visitors, whereas a portfolio that’s pared down to just a few engaging shots will leave the viewer curious to learn more about your work.
A great culling exercise is to start by selecting just twenty images for your online portfolio. This may seem like a tiny number but creating a highlight reel is just the beginning; you can always add more photos later. Paring your work down to just twenty standout photos is a great way to better understand your strengths, and this small collection will work perfectly as your first gallery and even the introductory gallery on your homepage.
Create A Portfolio MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
Trying to offer a complete representation of your photographic career in one gallery can feel overwhelming and easily slow you down as you start designing your website, so don’t worry about that right away; start small. You can launch a full website with just one culled gallery (your highlight reel, for example), your biography, and your contact information; these are the vital elements of a professional website. Once you’ve launched your website, you can always build upon it with more images and additional information to make your site more robust. Creating a foundation first is a method that allows you to publish your website quickly and provides you with a solid foundation as you establish your online presence.
Tips For Culling Your Photography Portfolio
Selecting your website portfolio images can be a daunting task. Here are a few important questions to consider; keep these in mind as you sift through your favorite images and make your selections. These questions should make it easier for you to decide which of your photos deserve a place in your website portfolio.
- Who is the intended audience of your website?
Are your trying to attract new clients with your portfolio? Will you be using it to apply for jobs (i.e. pitching editors, etc.)? Think about your intended audience and what you want them to notice when they look at your portfolio.
For example, if you hope to attract new portrait photography clients with your website, the focus of your curation should be on displaying compelling portrait images. Instead of including six different complete galleries of vacations you’ve photographed, choose only the best portraits from all those collections and create one portrait-focused gallery instead.
- What are your strengths as a photographer?
Think about more than just your genre of photography (“I’m a wedding photographer”) and really think about the specific skills you have that make your photography stand out (“I’m skilled at photographing the energy and mood of crowded events”). Your photography portfolio is your chance to highlight your very best work.
Focus on just a few skills and select images that demonstrate those strengths.
- Do you have one project or photoshoot that stands out as your best work?
As you go through your photo archives, think about a specific project, series, or even a single image that you believe demonstrates your best work; consider highlighting this work on your website. Remember, your best work isn’t necessarily the shots that were most fun or interesting to create. Try to evaluate your work as objectively as possible; ask your friends for input and think back to the work that was exceptionally well-received by your clients or audiences.
- What is the next step for you as a photographer?
Curating your website is a great time to think about the big-picture goals you have for your photography. Do you want to get published in National Geographic? Are there any awards or grants you hope to receive? Beyond recognition and career goals, what are your creative goals as a photographer? Are you, for example, planning to learn a new type of photography that you haven’t done before? Would you like to expand your portfolio with more editorial shoots? Think carefully about what your goals are as a photographer and keep them in mind as you select images for your website. Every photo you include in your online portfolio should be a reflection of your goals.
“One way to audit your website for good photo curation is to look at every photo and ask yourself, “Does this image represent who I am as a photographer?” - Aaron Paul, Format
Less Is Always More
Carefully consider every single image that you include in your portfolio and audit your selections. One way to audit your website for good photo curation is to look at every photo and ask yourself, “Does this image represent who I am as a photographer?” It can be tough to evaluate your own work, as emotions and memories can easily lead you to place importance on a photo that an uninformed viewer may not find as noteworthy. For example, a photo of your beloved family dog may be deeply meaningful to you, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually a strong representation of your photographic work.
As you build your website and establish your online presence, always remember that less is more. If you are as objective as possible while curating your photography and feature only your best work in your portfolio, you’ll be sure to create a perfectly-edited website that represents who you are as a photographer and pushes you toward your goals.