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5 Tips for Setting Up (or Improving) Your Photography Website

By Jamie Davis Smith on March 2nd 2016

Beth Wade Website Homepage
For a photographer, setting up a website comes with a lot of pressure. As artists, our websites need to reflect our style and showcase our work, but they also need to be easy to navigate, fully functional on all types of devices, and make it easy for clients to book a session or purchase prints. All of this can be overwhelming, but since there is no better forum for displaying photos and having a wide reach, every photographer should consider having a website.

If you are not sure where to start, Beth Wade, a Charlotte, South Carolina newborn, baby and family photographer applies her background in sales and internet marketing to teaching photographers how to set-up impactful and effective websites in her Clickin Moms‘ class Basic WordPress Creation and Website Creation.  Beth’s top-five tips for photographers who want to establish a website are:

Beth Wade Website Image

Choose your best images to display on your homepage. Photo by Beth Wade

1.  Be Easy to Find

Choose a business URL that is short, easy to spell, relevant and ends with .com. Avoid unusual spellings and confusing names. For some photographers, using their name makes a lot of sense. For others who may have names that are hard to spell or that have multiple common spellings, going in a different direction is probably wise.

2. Maximize SEO

Choose a platform/vendor that offers complete Search Engine Optimization (SEO) customization options, including custom URLs and unique page titles/descriptions. For example, you should be able to have a page that is named rather than one that generates a random string of letters and numbers.  Check out the SLR Lounge’s SEO and Web Marketing Book for more information on the importance of SEO and how to optimize your site from naming your images for the greatest reach to defining the keywords for your market that will help you show up on the first page when a potential client searches on Google for a photographer in your area.


Beth Wade Image

If you shoot different genres, display them in a slideshow rather than a grid.

3. Be Responsive

The days of everyone web-browsing on only big computer screens are long gone. Your website needs to look good on everything from a huge desktop monitor, to an iPad, to a small mobile phone screen. To make sure your website looks the way you want at all times, be sure to choose a responsive theme design so that your content will display well with any screen resolution.

4. Showcase Your Photos

Photography websites should be about your photos. To help keep the focus where it should be, keep the primary navigation menu at the header or footer of your web page rather than on the side. This keeps your photos in the center and maximizes display space.

5. Keep Your Layout Simple

Although it is an often-used layout in photography websites, it is best to avoid grids on the home page because they do not provide visitors with any direction or sense of where to click first.  If you want to showcase various images or genres, choose a few of your best to put in a slideshow and create separate galleries that you can include in your navigation menu.

Once you take the plunge into setting up a website, you will likely find that the learning curve is not as steep at you thought it would be and walk away wishing you had started a one much sooner.

CREDITS: Photographs by Beth Wade are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

Jamie Davis Smith is a contributor for the Huffington Post , Shutterfly, and The Washington Post, among other publications. She lives in Washington D.C. and loves to explore the greater D.C. area with her four young children and documents everything with her ever-present camera.


Q&A Discussions

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  1. Andre Thomas

    I’m a wedding photographer and am trying to optimize my website–pictures in particular. Can someone school me on how to export pictures in LR and still maintain a good quality? I’m trying to get them below 400kb but it always gets distorted. I’m using

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  2. Geert Peeters

    Great tips!

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  3. Ralph Hightower

    Those are some great tips! But I noticed a problem in the introduction. As a life long resident of South Carolina for 50+ years, except for 8 months in Iowa, I know there’s a Charlotte, North Carolina; but I’ve never heard of a Charlotte, South Carolina.

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  4. William Irwin

    I would love to see follow up to this article with suggestions on where to head for setting up website. Many photographers use ProPhoto for their website. ProPhoto is great stepping in for first time with a word press site. It has SEO customizations already built in and speed is optimized right out of the box. However its downside is the initial cost which is steep for most starting out.

    ProPhoto is not the only option as there are others such as square space, format and many more. I would love to see a breakdown on the pro’s / cons on those as well

    Another area that could be touched on are suggested plugins that would benefit a photographer or benefit the site SEO.

    Great article Jamie!

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    • Julien Massie

      Its a really complicated question to awnser, first question is do you want to get involved in the set-up and maintenance of your website of you want to focus on photo and are ready to pay more for something that works perfectly and do all the right thing out of the box.

      The best cheap way that involve personnal work is a wordpress installation that you get from a domain name providers, you then buy and set a theme yourself and need some web knowlegde …. or just a basic google how to do this will do the job.

      My best paid suggestion would be , its used by well know photographer and offer a stability over long time photo storage. Its important to invest in a website that has the chance to last over time, since you dont want in two years that you website and its data disapear because the 2 guys running the host didnt want to take care of it or because the company closed for a lack of money …

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    • Hannes Nitzsche

      valid points Julien!

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  5. Julien Massie

    Great article

    Im proud that my websitsite features all these tips !

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  6. Scott Wyden Kivowitz

    Awesome article, Jamie!

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