A thoughtfully curated Instagram feed is a great start but nowadays, having a website is essential for all artists, including and especially photographers. While that might seem obvious, what might not be obvious is how to get started with the process — not everyone knows how to create a photography website. While building any website from scratch used to be burdensome, and artists’ websites require the utmost attention to detail, a website builder geared towards photography makes it much easier to get started.
Anyone with the skills and eye to master photography can learn how to make a photography website in no time!
This blog will guide you through that process, breaking down all the things you’ll need to do in order to start:
- Establish your purpose
- Secure your domain and hosting
- Configure your features
- Deliver amazing content through your photo gallery
Step 1: Establish your purpose
When you create a photography website, it’s important to be intentional about it. Think deeply about what you want your website to be and how you want it to operate.
Before you begin making your website, ask yourself:
- Why do I want to have a website?
- What do I want my website to be or do?
- Who is my website for?
- What is the main purpose of my website?
Answering these questions is the key to envisioning your website. Knowing exactly what you want out of it, and why, is a way of imagining it more vividly. Doing so will lead to making your dream website a reality.
If you can’t picture exactly what you want, consider thinking about what you like.
Look for inspiration
One great way to answer the important questions above is to think of the websites you most appreciate. Specifically, single out what about them you appreciate, and why.
(Conversely, think about what you don’t like online, and why. This is just as important to keep in mind when creating your own website)
Take a moment to think about websites you visit regularly, for business, pleasure, education, or any purpose. Think of websites you’ve stumbled upon randomly, even just once. For all of these websites, ask yourself:
- What stood out to me?
- What did I like?
- What did I not like?
- Most importantly: why did I like or dislike these things?
- What do I hope to replicate or change?
That’s one way to start imagining not just what your website will be, but how it will stand out. After all, your website needs to be an extension of, and consistent with, your brand.
Your website, your brand
Branding is essential, not just for companies, but to every professional’s work and life. That’s because branding is about how you present yourself to the world.
There’s no shortage of information online about strengthening your brand. The most important dynamics, though, are:
- Clarity: Establishing what your brand is (who you are).
- Authenticity: Making sure that messaging comes from a place of straightforward, earnest honesty. (This can be harder than it sounds!)
- Consistency: Keeping your messaging parallel across various works and platforms.
Your website is your brand, online: the center of your online presence, the one you control. Make sure it puts forth a version of you that you want out there on the web.
But to do so, you need to get the logistics underway…
Step 2: Secure your domain and hosting
Here comes the technical stuff! The nuts and bolts of the process.
This step is where things get real and you start actually getting your website live. To do so, you don’t need to know all that much about how websites work just yet. The first step is to purchase a domain name and set up web hosting.
If you don’t know what any of these things are, don’t worry!
Your home on the web
In short: your domain is your home. It’s both the name of your website and its address.
Your domain is the anchor of the URLs associated with your website and its various pages. Your website, whatever its domain name, is hosted by a provider from whom you purchase basic infrastructure, like bandwidth, that allows users to access and consume your website. It’s like when a friend visits and spends time at your home.
And it all starts with a name.
The domain name
To give your website a name, buy a domain name. In practice, that means:
- Coming up with a name
- Making sure it’s available
- Purchasing it
Purchase a domain name from a variety of sources, including from a registrar of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a dedicated marketplace or auction, or from a host platform like Constant Contact.
While you search the web to figure out whether the photographer domain name you’d like is available, then separately look for where to buy it, most marketplaces and website builders streamline that process by letting you see, at a glance, what your preferred domain would look like and cost.
- If you’d like to jump-start your search engine optimization, we recommend choosing a domain name that includes the keyword you want to be known for (Ex. Wedding Photographer, San Diego Photographer.)
- Actively contributing to a blog that leverages website SEO best practices is another great way to jumpstart your photography site.
If you’d like to know more about purchasing a domain name, check out our article on How to Buy a Domain Name.
Picking a domain
What’s in a domain name? Everything.
The domain of this website —constantcontact.com — is identical to the name of the company: Constant Contact. That 1-to-1 relationship provides instant name recognition. While it’s not the only way to go about picking a domain name, it’s certainly a great way to do it!
Likewise, many artists who create a photography website feature their name in its title. Many also feature the word “photography,” or something related to the craft, as well.
Here are some suggestions in picking your own domain:
- Aim for something accurate and memorable: Aim for a domain that accurately represents what you’re about and is easy to remember. To that effect, consider:
- Avoid anything off-putting or tricky: You want to avoid anything that can get in the way of people wanting to visit or just remembering your domain, such as:
- Offensive or insensitive language
- Numbers, punctuation
- Difficult or confusing spelling
If you have an idea for a domain name already, why not try it out now?
Hosting is what gets and keeps a website live. It’s the ongoing provision of bandwidth and other elements that allow your website to function and be accessible to users all over the world.
After you lock down a domain name, subscribe to hosting. Consider how much bandwidth you’ll require. Things that consume your bandwidth, necessitating higher amounts for optimal usage, include:
- Size and number of files
- Complexity of files or programs
- Volume of visiting users
At first, your website may not require much bandwidth. But as your platform grows and you drive traffic to your photography website, you’ll likely need to increase your bandwidth. Plan accordingly. It’s important to not just be aware of this phenomenon up-front, but also to assess and adjust over time.
Optimize your settings
Beyond the basics of your domain and hosting, there are many other settings to look into, such as:
- Private email
- Marketplace options
- Mobile responsiveness
Luckily, the process of configuring these and many more settings is simplified with all-in-one platforms, like Constant Contact’s.
While it’s certainly possible to shop for a domain and hosting separately, there’s a good reason that most website builders offer combination packages: people value simplicity. All-in-one solutions enable you to do things like:
- Search for and purchase a domain
- Select hosting to match your needs
- Configure any settings you like — Private email, store options, etc. (see below)
- Analyze and maximize your reach
Furthermore, all-in-one solutions make these processes not just possible, but seamless and accessible for anyone. Perhaps the biggest benefit of an all-in-one solution is that it facilitates customization — which is the next step!
Step 3: Configure your features
This part is all about figuring out what kinds of pages your website will contain and how they are organized. There are certain kinds of pages and features that every website needs to have.
Essentials for any website
While you’re thinking about how to make a photography website, specifically, it’s important to note that every website likely needs these basic essentials:
- Home page: This is the landing page. Home pages have evolved over the years, moving from simple hubs to front pages, but the most important thing is to make sure your viewer has easy access to the rest of your pages via intuitive navigation (see below).
- About page: This page details who you are and, importantly, what your art is about. Think artist statements or other profile-type media. Set links to your various other web presences, or some connection with the Contact page.
- Contact Page: Whether as a standalone page or an offshoot of the About page, include a way for your audience to get in touch with you. That could either be a contact form directly on the page or listing your contact info:
- Email address(es)
- Physical address(es)
- Phone number(s)
- Social media profiles
- Clear, easy-to-use navigation: Create a menu that’s easy to find and that, in turn, makes it intuitive for users to get to any part of your website. It needs to be featured prominently on every page.
Photography essential: the gallery
In addition to those listed above, every photography website needs to feature the photographs in some way. This means, in practice, that it needs to have at least one gallery, if not multiple.
Like a physical gallery space, a gallery on a website is a curation of your work. Consider having multiple galleries, categorized by things like:
- Subject matter
In any case, it’s important to treat this platform the way you’d treat any other exhibition: be intentional about placement, order, and captions (or lack thereof!), as well as more logistical concerns such as links to reviews, literature, or an ecommerce platform.
Consider selling your art or reviewing the latest photography buzzworthy news. For this, you’ll need:
- A shop: If your goal is to sell your art online, you should strongly consider building a store directly into your own website. Doing so is a great way to empower your audience to both access and support your work all in one place.
- A blog: Keeping a blog, or a platform for regular, primarily text-based posts is a great way to produce a steady flow of content that keeps people coming back for more.
Step 4: Deliver amazing content
You’ve built the house and the rooms; now it’s time to fill them up.
Your website is made up of the content that populates the various pages you set up. For that reason, if you’re being intentional as you create a photography website, be extremely attentive to the content you populate it with, both at start-up and over time.
Your website, your art
Chances are, this is where you need the least help. You’re an artist, after all! You’re someone who’s worked hard to hone a craft and create beautiful, thought-provoking images.
Your website’s gallery is the best place to showcase these images, as discussed above. Also consider using your finished images in a variety of other ways, such as backgrounds, headers, or within other kinds of media such as blog posts.
In addition, your website is the perfect place to showcase not just your finished art, but also:
- Drafts or works in progress
- Process-oriented content
- Photos and videos of your materials and studio
- Reviews of art or products
- Your reflections or overall thoughts on photography and related topics
A platform for your thoughts
Even though you’re thinking about how to make a photography website, you should also consider your website as a platform for your thoughts. Specifically, think of it as a platform for text-based content, such as essays or blogs.
These kinds of posts can be a great way to update your content regularly, which is a key factor in growing your website in the long run.
Get started with Constant Contact
Now that you know all you need to know, you’re ready to create a photography website that’s set up for long-term success. You have a good sense of what you want; you understand the technical aspects, and you’re already planning out your future pages and content in your head.
Now, all you need to do is get started.
- Access Constant Contact’s photography website builder
- Build out the pages you want
- Start uploading your photography portfolio
- Purchase a website plan to publish your site and sell your art online
Put what you’ve learned to use in a completely new way, by building your photography website with no web design experience needed! This site will serve as the home of your photography business, can be crawled by search engines, and will link to your Facebook or Instagram profile. With so many photography website templates serving as inspiration, there has never been a better time to turn your dreams into a reality.