A portfolio website is one of the most important promotional tools a photographer can use. Having a website that showcases your exceptional work can give you an advantage over your competition.
It provides a permanent platform that potential clients and viewers can use to see your photographic skills. Furthermore, it can also be used as a place of eCommerce from which you can sell your work too.
Without a portfolio, you are limiting your own exposure – the web is a vast place and you must seize the opportunities it provides.
To create a portfolio, you must either have web development skills or use a suitable platform that makes the process easy. WordPress is one such platform. WordPress is one of the most popular CMS systems in the world – millions of people use this platform to develop websites, blogs, and portfolio sites.
WordPress is easy to use and has a host of awesome plugins. If you want to create a portfolio website, WordPress is an excellent choice. In this guide, we look at 5 steps you can take to create your own photography portfolio using this platform.
Step 1 – Purpose & considerations
First, you must do a little planning and considering. Don’t jump into the creation of your portfolio without researching it first.
Defining a purpose
The purpose of your portfolio will dictate much of the creation process. Is your portfolio simply to document your work? Do you simply want to share it with friends and family? Or do you intend to use it to promote your photography business and skills? Think about the purpose, and how serious your portfolio will be.
Step 2 – Design and layout
Secondly, you must consider the basic design, style, layout, and contents of your portfolio. The design is important to make a WordPress portfolio that is intuitive, user-friendly, and stylish.
The layout is important so that users can easily view your photos. Contents are also important so that your portfolio is actually useful and usable.
Design & Layout
When using WordPress you can utilize a myriad of custom layout styles. This can speed up the process and allow you to create your pages in an instant.
The WYSIWYG interface is easy to use – you can drag and move different page elements and content boxes using your mouse. Furthermore, you can use a range of pre-created themes and simply change the color scheme and add your own media.
Using themes can greatly speed up the creation process but still give you a unique portfolio with your own style. In the below screenshot we can see the customization screen – from here you can edit the colors, background images and other parameters of your WordPress pages.
Once you have a basic website layout and template, you should consider what pages you should include. As a photographer, the main page should obviously be your image gallery. You could also consider the following pages:
- About page (information about your skills and personal life)
- Gallery (this is where your work will be displayed)
- Store (this could be an online store where users can purchase your photos)
- Contact (this will provide important contact info such as email and telephone)
You can easily create these different pages in WordPress using your default theme.
Step 3 – Populating your portfolio
Now that you have designed your portfolio and created the individual pages, you must populate them with content.
Choosing which photos to display must be a careful and considered process. You should not simply upload every single photo you have ever taken – be selective and only show your best work.
The following are some considerations to make concerning photo selection:
- What different categories can you split your photos into?
- What image format and resolution will you use?
- How will you copyright protect your images?
- How many images will you display?
Ideally, you want to choose a wide selection that showcases your range of photographic techniques. Don’t show any photos that are poorly composed or bad quality – this will reflect on the quality of your work and service. You may need help on how to smooth edges in Photoshop or how to remove background noise.
Image format and resolution are also hugely important. You need to strike a balance between loading times and quality. Don’t forget that you can use the mac photo editor and other programs to change image size and resolution.
WordPress has many plugins that you can use to create automatic photo galleries. Some of these galleries have cool automation features or snazzy transitions and effects.
Don’t overdo the effects and styling however as the gallery has to be functional above all else. In the screenshot below you can see some of the available photo gallery plugins for WordPress. At the time of writing this article, there are over 2900 results based on my search, so plenty of plugins to choose from.
Step 4 – SEO & optimization
Once you have created your portfolio you must optimize it and incorporate SEO techniques. SEO = Search Engine Optimization. This is the process by which you can improve your site so that it shows up in search strings on Google and Bing.
Optimization is the process by which you make your site accessible and quick to load.
Basic SEO tips
You don’t need to be an SEO wizard, but you can do some simple tasks to improve the SEO of your portfolio. By improving your SEO you should gain more exposure and hopefully appear in more searches.
- Create Alt tags for all of your photos that include keywords
- Use keywords in your portfolio headers, page title, and body text
- Ensure your images are optimized and page loading times are quick
- Ensure your code is compliant with W3C standards
- Check regularly for broken URL’s (website link)
There are plenty of guides on how to do the above. These simple steps take minimal effort and will go a long way to make your site optimized.
You must also ensure that your site loading times are quick and that your portfolio is mobile responsive. This means that there should be a dedicated mobile version of your platform that people can view on their smartphones or tablets.
Step 5 – Promotion
The hard work doesn’t stop there! If you want to showcase your work to the world, you must be versed in the art of self-promotion.
Ensure that any printed media you have such as business cards, letterheads or even clothing has your website on. Furthermore, social media now plays a big role in site promotion:
As a photographer, you must utilize a myriad of channels to promote your work. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are vital aspects of your marketing.
You should create profiles on each of these platforms and upload regular content. Furthermore, when creating content, always try and include links to your portfolio.
In addition to this, add social media sharing buttons on your WordPress portfolio – there are many plugins available that allow you to do this easily. There are also many guides available on social media tips for photographers.
We hope you have found this guide useful. You should now have a clear understanding of why a WordPress portfolio is beneficial. Furthermore, you should have insight into how to create your own profile using this fantastic platform.