by Devon Higgins
Your photography website is a powerful tool in advertising your photography business to prospective clients. However, you are not the only photography business using the internet. Countless other photographers who try to outdo each other with increasingly impressive websites are vying for the top place in search engines, viewership, and customer base. Human beings are visually oriented, so they are drawn to beautifully designed, vibrant, and easy-to-use sites.
So how do you make yours stand out from the rest? Check out these helpful tips.
1. Make sure your website has the Big 3.
Effective photography websites may differ in style and appearance. But they always feature three essential aspects—a comprehensive gallery, an about me/us page, and a contact me/us page. You may add other features, tabs, apps, and pages you deem necessary; but these three pages should be in your photography portfolio. They allow prospective clients to check out your work, find out more about you and get in touch with you.
2. Put your menu on the top or left side of the page.
In English and many other languages around the world, books, magazines and other forms of print are written with the words traveling from left to right across the page. When most of us read a book and reach the end of the line, our eyes go to the next line, starting at the left and going to the right again. The process is repeated until we reach the end of the page.
This is quite instinctive, and that instinct is something you can use to your advantage when designing your photography website. Place your menus and tabs at the left sidebar or the top of the page where people will instinctively look first and, therefore, where they will be most likely to click on them. Actually, menus aren’t the only items you can strategically place in these positions. Anything that you want your viewers to click and check out, from thumbnails to social media links, are best placed in these spots.
3. Make it easy for the viewer to navigate your site.
Website viewers love it when they can go around your website without any hassle or confusion. Thus, do a thorough check before publishing your website. Does the clickable tab, photo, or anchor text lead to the correct page? Is your text large enough to be read by everyone (old and young)? Does your text blend into the background? Can the viewer get to the information he wants in just one or two clicks? If you plan to upload a lot of photos, will you include thumbnails or a slideshow function to make it easier for the viewer to flip through the images?
4. Important content should be at the top.
What will be the first thing prospective clients see when they enter your website? We recommend highlighting your absolute best work! This way, your bestselling photos, articles, and important sections can be seen right away when viewers visit your website. In addition, when it comes to long text content, it would be best to break it into easy-to-read sub-sections. Anything to help your prospective clients navigate your site better and find your best work more easily will help you create the most effective website.
5. Include a blog.
A photography website with a lot of pages with little to no text is not enough to catapult you to success. You can write a caption on each of your photos or rely on your About Me page, but those are hard enough.
A better way to increase your search engine optimization (SEO) is to include a blog on your website. A blog provides variety and life to a photography website. Furthermore, both viewers and search engines view blog posts positively.
However, do not use your blog as an image portfolio; your gallery and About Me page will do that for you already. Rather, use it as a venue to tell stories, share new ideas and techniques, review new photographic technology, provide how-to tips, and more. The more you are able to provide high quality, high-value content, the more traffic you will begin to see coming to your site and, in time, more new business will begin knocking on your virtual door.
6. Increase contrast by using a dark background.
As a rule of thumb, many images look better when viewed on a dark background such as black or midnight blue. That’s because there is more contrast in the images when viewed against a dark background than in a white or light-colored background. Contrast brings out colors, tones, hues, and vibrancy, which makes the photos more stunning and vivid.
If you decide on a dark background, add a dash of color using your blog, navigation text, sidebar, or any other feature. Colors add a touch of personality to your website.
7. Choose only your best photos.
It is quite tempting to display all the photos you love on your website. But uploading a lot of photos can slow down loading times and provide the viewer with too many options. The solution to this is to choose only the very best high-resolution photos. We recommend limiting each gallery to between 10 and 25 images. If your best photos don’t impress the viewer, they are unlikely to be wowed by simply providing them with more photos.
In addition, having a limited selection of your best photos also helps make your site more organized, structured, and defined.
8. Make sure your website is responsive.
In photography websites, the bigger the showcased images are, the more impressive they become. Thus, make sure your photos have a display resolution of at least 800 X 600 for maximum effectiveness. Create your portfolio to fit into those dimensions.
In addition, since millions are now using mobile devices to browse the internet, you should make sure your website is responsive. Responsive web design is an approach to create websites that enable optimal viewing and interaction experience across a large array of devices including desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones and more. Responsive web design makes your site mobile friendly and allows pages and images to adapt to the device’s layout, reducing scrolling, panning, and resizing.
9. Organize your photos strategically.
Now that you have chosen your best photos, it is time to arrange them strategically. This works much like an essay or an advertisement; you place the strongest points first to attract attention.
Following the same principle, place your strongest and most promising photos on the first part of your slideshow or gallery. It is also a good idea to put excellent photos at the end as too to leave a lasting impression to the viewer.
10. Embed watermarks on your photos.
A watermark protects your work from those who want to copy them illegally. Embed them in a position that does not distract the viewer from looking at your image. Typically, watermarks are found in the corners of images (lower right, lower left, upper right and upper left).
As a general rule, the bigger the watermark, the more difficult it will be to steal your photo. But make sure that it is not big enough to be distracting.
Some photographers even use watermarks as a part of their advertising strategy. Along with their logos, they place contact details such as phone numbers or e-mail addresses so that viewers will know how to contact them at a glance.
So, there you have it. These practical techniques will help you create a simple yet impressive, well-defined, and easy-to-use website. If you get lost in the website design process, just remember to KISS it—Keep It Simple and Straightforward.