Portfolio websites have become the most significant business tool for creative pros like photographers, artists, designers, and others. A great portfolio website can impact your creative business and career in more ways than you can imagine. With most clients now looking at online portfolios as the first step in choosing the right photographer or designer for their project, your portfolio website is becoming the crucial deciding factor that determines your success.
Whatever the stage of your career, your portfolio website will always be the center of all your marketing strategies to grow your creative business. It is a great way to build your presence in the market. With clients continually looking for creatives who provide specific services, having a presence online will bring you to the forefront and help more customers discover you. Even while engaging and interacting on social media sites, having a dedicated professional portfolio website has more chances and benefits of visibility and growing your business' online.
Whether you are marketing yourself online, through social media or investing time in participating in contests and exhibitions, your portfolio website should be the end-point towards which you should drive all the traffic you can generate.
Your portfolio website is your gateway to the world - so its time to think hard on how you showcase your work, the communication tone you use and the information you provide and several other factors that go into building a great portfolio website.
Choose the right platform to create your portfolio website.
Make sure that the portfolio website builder you choose offers the flexibility, features, and ease-of-use you need to put together a professional portfolio website without requiring any coding knowledge.
Pixpa is a portfolio website builder platform that is trusted by creative pros around the world. Have a look at some stunning portfolio website examples.
Pixpa offers an easy yet powerful drag-and-drop website builder and includes Client galleries, eCommerce, and blogging tools to enable you to manage your complete online presence through one seamless platform. Explore all features that make Pixpa the perfect choice for creative professional such as photographers, artists, designers, and others.
Create your professional portfolio website easily on Pixpa in minutes without any coding knowledge. Start your free trial now.
Here are 15 tips for creating a successful portfolio website:
1. Showcase only your best work
First things first - the central purpose of your portfolio website is to showcase your work beautifully. However, you need to understand that your portfolio website is not the place to show ALL of your work. This one is a no-brainer, yet it deserves repetition. Pick only your best work to represent you. Evaluate your selection so that you showcase the range of your work but make sure that weak examples do not creep into your portfolio.
Tip: If you are creating a portfolio website, showcase no more than 6-8 projects with 15-20 images in each gallery. Clients want to see your best work ONLY. Give them that.
As a creative professional, you need to present a well-oriented, adequately structured portfolio, to impress your audience with your repertoire. Showcase your images in beautiful layout for a quick overview but also enable viewers to enlarge pictures to have a closer look. Your portfolio website will tell clients who you are and the work you create.
Remember to keep a varied style in your images, so that the pictures don't look similar.
Keep your portfolio fresh with new and diverse content.
Curating your content will allow you to present your portfolio in a structured way so that users can easily navigate. Create easily-accessible galleries according to the kind of images in your portfolio, client work or current projects that you are working on. Organize your work by category, type of media, industry or chronologically. Use tags to filter projects and make it easy for clients to find the relevant work examples that they are looking for.
Whatever way you choose, make sure that the end result is approachable and memorable and not confusing.
2. Choose a minimal, clean portfolio website template
Your portfolio website should showcase your work with high-quality images in an uncluttered, clean format. The best portfolios focus on presenting stunning photos in an easily accessible manner, making it enjoyable for the site visitors to explore your photography portfolio. The website design should just serve as a backdrop to your work - don’t let the site design to over-power your work or distract visitors. The days of tacky animations, loud music, background images or colors are long gone. The best professional portfolios typically follow a predominantly white/light color scheme (based on your work, you can also choose a black/dark background) that lets the large, high-quality photographs stand out with stunning results.
Pixpa offers several themes for creatives, focused on presenting their work beautifully in their online portfolio. On offer are several layouts, display and advanced styling options for galleries that are packed with powerful features. Add images, videos/ HTML slides in your gallery. You can also add photo captions or enable IPTC data import. You can choose from over 20 gallery layouts (grids, full images, vertical or horizontal scrolls) and apply any layout to any gallery depending on the style of work. Categorization of your portfolio in menus or pages can also be conveniently done. You can change your website theme anytime with a single click. Your site content gets automatically adapted to the new theme.
Here are a few examples of impressive Photographer portfolio websites on Pixpa that you must see.
3. Follow a Consistent Visual Language
As a creative pro, you would be working on creating and enhancing the brand equity of your clients through various creative mediums and projects. What better way to prove it than to build your brand to present your photography portfolio. Creating your logo is the first step to establishing your brand. Follow this through with a consistent visual language for your portfolio website, resume, and even your business card.
4. Make sure your portfolio website is mobile-friendly
According to similarweb.com, mobile traffic now drives 56% of all internet usage. With more and more people switching to their mobile devices to access the internet, this lead is destined to grow over time continuously.
So what does it mean for your website? Chances are the 2 out of 3 users accessing your site are doing so on their mobile devices. Hence, it's essential for your website to work well on mobile devices. And by working well, we don’t mean it should just open up as it does on desktops. Mobile screens are much smaller and touch-based, so your portfolio website needs to follow the best practices of responsive web design wherein your website content adapts to any device screen by getting automatically resized, hidden, shrunk or enlarged.
5. Secure your website with an SSL Certificate
Google, the world’s predominant search engine and its browser - Chrome are getting serious about all websites using SSL certificates. With Chrome browser's latest updates, websites without SSL certificates are increasingly being flagged as “Not Secure” by Google.
With Google moving towards blocking all unencrypted websites as unsafe, its important for your portfolio website to have an SSL certificate installed.
What is SSL Certificate?
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology used for establishing an encrypted link between the web server hosting your website and the browser the visitor is using. The SSL certificate ensures that all data passed (form inputs, login data, etc.) between the web server and browsers remain private and integral and cannot be hijacked by anyone else. Learn more about SSL certificates.
All Pixpa websites come with SSL certificates installed on them. That means that your website will not only get a green light from Google, it will also fare better in search engine rankings, and inspire confidence amongst your site visitors.
6. Include an About Me page
Prospective clients or employers would want to know more about you beyond your work. Giving details about yourself helps build trust and form a bond with your site visitor. Make sure you present clear information about yourself on your website - your education, work experience, recognition, clients you have worked with and other relevant details. An About page is a way to add personality to your website so that people are more likely to feel connected to you and your work.
7. Add a downloadable resume
Create a proper resume page that details your education, experience, projects, and collaborations. Make it chronological with the latest events listed on top. Your resume is all about your work and qualifications - be truthful but pick the right details, do not cram it with irrelevant or avoidable information. Add a link to your downloadable resume as well if you are seeking a new job.
8. Present Contact information clearly
Think about a potential client who is impressed with your photography portfolio, but is not able to contact you swiftly and moves on to search for other photographers. To avoid such a situation, your photography portfolio website must have your contact information in a clearly accessible format and place. Don’t hide it in small font size in your footer. Your contact information should ideally be available right on your website header or the main navigation. Make sure that the contact information on your site is current and you actively use the methods that you have mentioned on your contact page, so that you can respond quickly to any inquiries you receive from your website.
Pixpa offers a contact form through which prospective clients can send you a comment or specific requirement. You must respond to all business queries or comments on your website, within one business day. Below is a great example of a Contact page to inspire yours.
Tip: Using a contact form is always a good idea as it lets you collect information in a structured format - Name, Phone, Email, Location, Purpose of Inquiry, etc.
9. Add a blog to your portfolio website
Go beyond just showcasing work on your portfolio website. Clients, employers and the rest of the world want to know more about you - how you are as a person, your passion, your hobbies and life beyond work. Having a blog on your website is a sure-fire way of standing out and telling your story. Keep an informal tone when you write. Focus on things that appeal to you and don’t hesitate to showcase your experiments and side projects as well. You can discuss your views and opinions on photography techniques, what works best for you, the equipment you use, how you overcame obstacles, your journey till now and how you’ve grown as a photographer.
Don’t forget to update your blog regularly - at least once a week ideally. Blogging or sharing photo stories regularly shows that you are active in the professional realm. Tutorials are an excellent way to showcase some of your distinctive works. This timeless content will attract more readers. You can also go one level higher and consider adding videos to tutorials. An inactive blog is definitely not a good sight and creates a wrong impression.
And last but not least, an active blog also is helpful when it comes to search engine optimization and slowly would help you build up organic traffic for your website and bring more exposure.
Tip: Have an RSS feed for your blog so that people can follow you by subscribing to it. Enabling visitors to comment on each post is also a great way to increase engagement
10. Sell your work through your website
Selling your work by having an online store on your portfolio website is a great idea and can help you increase your revenue. As a photographer you can sell limited edition art prints, graphic designers can sell posters and artists can sell their art online directly to clients. Either way, having an e-commerce store opens up new avenues of business for you which you never know existed. You can slowly build the product range that you offer on your website. Selling online makes your creative works accessible to the entire world.
Start selling in minutes by adding an eCommerce store to your portfolio website.
You can easily add an online store to your Pixpa website and sell physical products, digital products, and services. Managing inventory, order fulfillment, discounts, shipping rates, and taxes can efficiently be executed on your store. You can also add e-Commerce enabled galleries on your website to sell your images as prints and downloads directly to your clients.
Read more on Marketing and Selling your Photographic Prints online.
11. Use Client Galleries to share your work with clients
Client Galleries adds collaboration functionality to your portfolio website. It allows you to share your work with clients and seek their feedback, let them mark their favorites, download images and even buy prints or other products based on the photos. With a Client gallery, you get to share your work and get instant feedback from your clients, and it saves the hassles of sending emails back and forth or delivering a DVD/Disk of all the images to your clients for their review.
Client galleries also make your clients happy and make their life easier. Your clients can share their images with their friends or family, and they can collectively collaborate on picking their favorite photos. You can also increase your revenue by offering the photos as prints, canvases, digital downloads or other products.
Pixpa portfolio websites come with in-built private client galleries that let you share, proof, deliver and sell your work to your clients.
12. Share your availability with a Calendar
Having a calendar on your website can be especially helpful if you take bookings, perform or organize events. For example, wedding photographers who take on client bookings can use the calendar to enable your clients to see your availability and book you for events quickly in a structured, planned way.
For bands, standup comics, and performing artists, having a calendar is a must as it lets your fans and followers keep track of when and where you are playing. Linking your calendar to a place where they can purchase tickets online is a great addon for your website
See how you can add an availability calendar to your portfolio website on Pixpa.
13. Work on your website's SEO
It is essential to rank highly in search engine results and be discovered by people searching for relevant keywords. Since photography websites are image-heavy, your work might get buried under the weight of thousands of other freelancers vying for market share. Targeted local SEO techniques can help gain new clients and grow your business.
Read The Complete Guide on SEO for Photographers to help build your brand and reach new clients.
14. Integrate social media with your website
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus have changed the way we interact and consume information and content online. There are also online platforms such as Dribble, Behance, 500px and more which are designed as creative communities to get recognition from peers. Having your profile and actively posting your work and participating on these platforms can increase your exposure and website traffic.
In 2017, daily social media usage of global internet users amounted to 135 minutes per day,
up from 126 daily minutes in the previous year.
You must leverage the power of these social platforms and communities. Make sure your portfolio website and social media accounts are interlinked so that people can find them easily. Your website should have links to your Facebook page, Instagram account, blog (in case you are blogging using a different platform) and your YouTube channel. Share content on various platforms, so that people know you are active in all of them. Use social media sharing widgets and tools on your website (through icons/links in the site header and footer) to enable site visitors to easily share your work and site content on social media with their network, leading to increased exposure.
To increase the credibility of your website, add testimonials from your clients. It makes a good impact on the viewers when they see that other people have written something positive about you.
15. Win Your First Few Clients
Once you start turning a few heads, it is important to step forward smartly and carefully. Let your portfolio do the talking. Your pitch should be crisp and to the point. Stay honest and do not over commit. Ask your leads the relevant questions and keep them engaged and interested. You need to start acting like a salesperson. If everything goes according to plan, you will close your first deal very soon.
Make sure your portfolio is updated, manage your website and your social media, meet potential clients.
Do your work honestly and make sure your quality is steady. Stick to deadlines. These first few clients will define your future. Serve them well.
Read a few tips to build Client Relationship for a Successful Photography Business.
While you are in the process of creating your photography portfolio website, it is important to focus on the end result that you are striving to achieve. Your portfolio goes beyond showcasing images. It is a careful constructed engine to drive your career growth and bring you more business opportunities.
With the above 14 tips and a little bit of ingenuity, you are well on your way to creating a portfolio that would be able to attract and impress potential employers, clients or collaborators.
Read testimonials and recommendations by Creative Professionals using Pixpa from around the world.
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