It's no secret that if you want to succeed in the photography business these days, you need a killer website. You need an online presence that not only presents your work to the public brilliantly, but also reflects your personal style and immediately engages your visitors. It also needs to encourage them to buy your works or services, since that's the reason for having an online portfolio in the first place. Unfortunately, many of the photographer's sites we see fall short, due to some common mistakes. This article will point out some of those errors and show you how to correct them.
Designing it Yourself
Now, I know some readers are going to take offense to that right away. After all, you're a photographer and you know all about composition and layout and color and... Granted, but that doesn't make you a website designer. Stick to what you know and leave the highly technical work of website design the the experts.
Limiting Your Content
I'm not saying you should put everything you have out there. The concept of only showing your best work applies, always. But choosing a host that caps the number of galleries or videos or pages you can have on your site is a mistake that's going to cause you a lot of frustration as your portfolio grows – and it needs to grow.
Yes, you want your photos to look good on a laptop screen, but for those visitors that have the capability, your photos – and the portfolio pages, too - should resize automatically to fit, without loss of quality. It's possible now with updated web technologies and you need to be taking advantage of that to impress your viewers with big, bold, sharp photos and a site that fits the viewing screen.
Developers have been telling their customers since the early days of the Internet that navigation is everything. If visitors can't get to point B from anywhere within your site, they're going to leave. The browser's “Back” button isn't the answer. Make sure your site is easy to navigate from one end to the other and at every step along the way.
It doesn't matter how good your work or how dynamic your site, if it takes too long to load, online visitors won't wait for it. If your website isn't streaming to browsers smoothly and quickly, or your videos pause and reload constantly, you need to update the technology or find somewhere else to host the site.
Using the Same, Old Theme as the Other Guy/Gal
Again, your site needs to be as unique as your work. You don't copy someone else when you shoot, right? Don't just choose a template or theme and run with it. Change things up. Move things around, Choose your own colors and fonts. Create new landing pages. Get your logo out there. Remember, this portfolio is about YOU.
No Sales or Licensing Outlet
Sure, showing your work is important, but isn't selling it the real point? Visitors should be able to purchase or license your work without any interaction needed other than a few clicks. If they can't you're losing sales and wasting your efforts.
This is far from a complete list of mistakes we see on portfolio sites, but these are the most common. You may have gathered from the text above that where you decide to build your online portfolio can have a lot of impact on its success. Here at PhotographyTalk, we understand that there are a lot of websites and hosting services out there and we've done some serious legwork for you, with the help of our member photographers.
We highly recommend the portfolio sites and servers offered by PhotoFolio. Their hardware-accelerated, cloud-based, technology-rich servers, award-winning, fully customizable design templates, true WYSIWYG management interface give you everything you need to create a clean, fast, custom portfolio in no time. They provide sales and licensing services for your work, too. Their customer service is second to none and you can even customize your payment plan. Don't take our word for it, though – go visit their website right now to see for yourself.