Create Your Own Photography Portfolio Online From Scratch
Guest blog post by Kayleigh Alexandra
Maybe you’re an aspiring professional who wants to break into the photography industry, or simply a hobbyist who likes to head out to the wild for a weekend with a camera. Whatever your background, an online portfolio can serve you well as you pursue your passion for photography.
While they’re great for showcasing your work to friends and family, online portfolios also serve as a hub around which you build your burgeoning photography business.
Read on to find out how you can start your own portfolio today.
Choose The Platform That’s Right For You
The proliferation of photo-sharing apps and sites such as Instagram, Flickr, and 500px host huge communities of amateur and professional photographers. They’re free, easy to use, and are great for connecting and sharing your snaps with others.
But while they’re ideal for community hubs, there are far better options out there for creating a portfolio. You want something that looks smart and professional, so find a dedicated web builder that specialises in photography curation. Some examples include:
Squarespace - A powerful website builder with loads of tools and integrations, slick templates, drag & drop functionality, and world-class customer service.
Wix - Increasingly popular among the photography community, Wix is particularly favoured by recent photography graduates looking to break into the industry. Wix has also improved a lot over the years, and they’re looking better than ever.
Fabrik - Relatively young compared to other platforms, but Fabrik is a versatile portfolio builder that is great for a range of creative mediums.
Cargo - Perhaps the best known of the platforms, Cargo is simple, intuitive, and offers plenty of slick templates.
Most portfolio builders offer free versions (or free trials in some cases), so don’t be afraid to experiment with different options to find the platform that feels right for you. Consider how many photos they let you upload, as well as how easy it is to manage your collection.
It doesn’t just need to look good, but it needs to feel good too. You’re going to be sharing your best work on here for the world to see (or at least your grandma), so take the time to find the right one for you.
Choose Only The Very Best of Your Work
Self-criticising is often the most excruciating part of the creative process. Looking at your work and giving it a frank appraisal isn’t fun — but it’s necessary to become a better photographer.
This is especially true when it comes to choosing photos for your portfolio. Putting every single snap you take online is fine for Instagram or Flickr, but your portfolio should only contain the very best of your work.
The tried-and-tested rule of quality over quantity is worth sticking to here. Don’t include more than 30 photos per collection, and make sure each one is absolutely the best of your work. If you’re having a hard time choosing, get a trusted friend or fellow photographer to provide a second pair of eyes.
Find a Template That Works With Your Photography
As a photographer, you know the importance of strong aesthetics, so lend that visual eye to your portfolio’s design too. Your website’s layout should place your photography front-and-centre, rather than distracting from them.
To that end, choose a minimalist template with no more than two or three colours. Many photographers find black or white work well for displaying photography online as it provides a solid background against which images stand out. Avoid loud patterns as a rule of thumb.
Consider how your photos will be viewed too: would they suit a top-down grid view, or a scrolling carousel? Portrait photography might be best suited to vertical scrolling, and smaller sample images for large photos. Experiment to find what works best for you.
Start Marketing Your Portfolio
So you’ve created a beautiful online portfolio that’s full of exquisite photography — now you need to get it seen. In a saturated market, this can be tough, but it’s not impossible.
First and foremost, get on social media. Instagram and Pinterest are obviously great for sharing your work and directing people towards your portfolio. But Facebook and Twitter are also great for connecting and engaging with potential clients, as well as getting the word out about your business.
Starting a blog is especially useful for driving traffic to your site. Photo essays, how-to guides, and tips for beginners are just some examples of useful or interesting blog ideas that can be used to help lead people to your work.
Another great way to get your portfolio of work seen is by contributing to stock image photo sites like Unsplash, and Burst. Photographer credits and site profiles are great for leading people to your portfolio. For example, Burst's range of free pictures are particularly popular among aspiring photographers looking to build links to their online portfolio with a range of stunning and distinctive collections. When you submit your snaps to Burst, they provide you with a beautiful profile and backlink to your portfolio for people to find you.
Alternatively, you could submit your work to a design portfolio site such as Coroflot. Coroflot hosts a range of images, projects, and portfolios from creatives all over the world. The work they have on offer is diverse and delightful, and is a great way for prospective clients to find your portfolio.
Finally, make sure it’s all connected. Include a contact form or email address clearly on your portfolio, as well as links to your various social media profiles. This will help visitors to your portfolio stay up-to-date with you and your work.
Friends, family, fellow photographers, and potential clients can use your portfolio to view your work and connect with you. Creating an online portfolio takes time and effort, but it’s hugely rewarding. The end result is a stunning collection of your best shots, something that will serve your passion for years to come.
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