It can be quite a tricky task to showcase a photography based portfolio on a website. Well, it greatly differs from a business website, indeed. When you have a normal website, there’s commonly a consistent structure including a header, sometimes a sidebar, a footer and a navigation menu. Nevertheless, when showcasing images, you don’t need anything you don’t want to have. In other words, there are no limits and you can and should be very creative! As a matter of fact, the more creative you are, the more attention you will gain. However, you still need to focus on the main goal of your website. Right now I’m going to take a peek at a very special field of webdesign: photography websites. Let’s learn something about creating an amazing photography portfolio!
First of all, you need to know the reasons for creating an online portfolio. Obviously, you want to show off your work and to attract potential clients. Many people focus on showcasing their photos and images, adding a lots of text to each posted image, thus creating a great photo blog. While photo blogs are a nice viewing galleries for online visitors who stumble across them, they won’t attract clients. If you’re a professional photographer, bringing home the cash is also something you’re looking forward to when making a photography website, right? Therefore, your online portfolio should have three main sections: a contact section, about section and, of course, the gallery. These sections will allow the clients to see your work, to find out more about who you are and, if satisfied with the previous, get in touch with you. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, this is actually the part where many concerns and questions may arise.
I’ve tried to realize what are the major details all fantastic photography websites have in common. A narrowed down selection of only the best images is the first thing every great portfolio has got. Everybody hates going to an online portfolio and waiting while 100 photos load. How to navigate through them? In addition to putting only your best images, make sure you use high-resolution images. Despite loading time, when it comes to a photography portfolio, showing off the best quality you can is a must. So, focus on quality, not quantity here! And, of course, every great portfolio has a method of contact for the clients. If the viewers cannot get in touch with you, you won’t gain any lead from your website. So, include not too many high-resolution images and a contact section and you’ll be on the right track to create a nice photography portfolio!
What is your target demographic? The same website will hardly attract both people looking for a wedding photography and a company considering a commercial shoot. So, take your target demographic into consideration and try not to give off the wrong image. For example, a wedding photography website is commonly clean, easy to use and, logically, white. Since future brides are in charge of many decisions regarding their wedding day, you should create a website that will actually attract a young woman, it should be full of white, beautiful flowers, veils etc. In other words, your website should resemble a wedding. On the other hand, if you are a fashion photographer, your portfolio should reflect that. In that case, your target demographic are hip and trendy people.
Depending on the photography field you’re into, photographs typically look a lot better when viewed on a black background. In general, that’s because there’s more contrast compared to viewing against white. Contrast should be as high as possible, because it helps bring out the colors of the photographs, making the images appear more stunning and vivid. However, try viewing your work on white and black and figure out which one works better for your photography. If you choose to design a dark website, it’s recommended to add some flare of color somewhere. Whether it’s a navigation or a logo, a touch of color will add a touch of personality.
I’ve already said before that you should by all means use high-resolution images, but I recommend using a large area as well. Your portfolio should be designed to fit into display resolutions of your potential clients. Responsive web design is something every website should have, especially when we’re talking about photography portfolio. It can help you achieve an overall better user satisfaction, because nothing is worse than viewing a website on your PC, but being unable to see it right on your iPhone.
Organizing your image gallery is similar to writing an essay. You should put the images in strategic order. Either you put the strongest photos at the beginning or the end of the gallery in order to hit the viewer the hardest. I’m trying to say that placing the best images at the beginning, you’ll grab your viewers’ attention and by placing the strongest images at the end, you’ll leave the viewer with some points they’ll hardly forget. But, I suggest doing both things, while leaving the weaker images in the middle.
When it comes to protecting your work, it’s really hard to succeed in that mission these days. I think that somebody, somewhere knows how to steal a copy, no matter how hard photographers try to protect their work. Embedding watermarks on them is probably the best way to protect your photographs, so you should definitely give it a try, although not too many people use them anymore. There are several downsides to using a watermark. First of all, the images won’t look as good as they could and should, plus it takes time to batch process the images to add a watermark. In my opinion, it’s better to focus on developing your own photography style – even if someone copies your images, they won’t be able to make the same images themselves!
Finally, keep your website updated! Users like to see new content each time they visit photography website. Although I’m not suggesting adding new images everyday, but whenever you have some new content you should update your portfolio. Try not to do this in batches, but maintain a consistent, yet spontaneous, schedule.