11 Characteristics of Successful Photography Portfolio Websites

Rohan Arora on May 02, 2018

Photography portfolio websites have become the most significant business tool for photographers. A great portfolio website can impact your photography 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 for their project, your portfolio website is becoming the crucial deciding factor that determines your success. 

Whatever the stage of your career, your photography portfolio website will always be the center of all your marketing strategies to grow your business. 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 photography 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.

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Here are the 11 factors that most successful photography portfolio websites have:

1. Showcase only your best work

First things first - the central purpose of your portfolio website is to showcase your photography 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 photography portfolio website, showcase no more than 6-8 galleries projects with 15-20 images in each gallery. Clients want to see your best work ONLY. Give them that.

2. Choose a minimal, clean photography website template

Your photography website should showcase high-quality images in an uncluttered, clean format. The best photography websites 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 photography portfolio websites 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.

Here are some examples of well-designed photography portfolio websites.

3. Make sure your photography 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.

All Pixpa websites are responsive and mobile-friendly making all your website pages and galleries look great on all devices (desktops, tablets, and phones).

4. 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.

5. Include an About Me page

Prospective clients or employers would want to know more about you beyond your work. Giving details about yourself helps you build trust and form a bond with your site visitor. Make sure you present information about yourself clearly on your website - your education, work experience, recognition, clients you have worked with and other relevant details. Create an About page that gives all this information. If you are looking for a job, have a downloadable resume available on your website.

6. 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 searching 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.

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.

7. Add a blog to your photography 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. Blogging should be all about making your personality shine through so 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 - atleast once a week ideally. An inactive blog is definitely not a good sight and creates a wrong impression. And last but not the least, an active blog also is helpful when it comes to search engine optimisation and slowly would help you build up organic traffic for your website and bring more exposure to you.

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

8. Sell your work through your website

Selling your work by having an online store in 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 e-commerce store to your photography portfolio website.

9. Use Client Proofing tools to share your work with clients

Proofing adds collaboration functionality to your photography 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 an online proofing 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 proofing 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 and proofing tools that let you share, proof, deliver and sell your work to your clients.

10. 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.

11. 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.

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Your portfolio website should also leverage the power of these social platforms and communities. Having social media sharing widgets on your website enables your site visitors to easily share your work and site content on social media with their network, leading to increased exposure. Also, make sure you add links to your own social media profiles prominently on your website (through icons/links in the site header and footer) so that your site visitors can go to your social profiles and follow them on social media.


A successful photography portfolio website goes beyond just showcasing images. It shows off the photographer’s personality, builds trust and creates bond, answers questions and most importantly creates business opportunities. 

Create your photography portfolio website on Pixpa.
Start 15 days free trial. No credit card or coding required.


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