Hi all. Building a website of any sort used to be quite an undertaking and somewhat daunting to say the least to the uninitiated. However, in today’s market there are numerous options and services available to both professional and ameuter photographers to easily build a photography or portfolio website hassle free. I am going to run through a handful of these services and give you my opinion on each.
Photocrati is a Wordpress template for photographers. It comes with a great collection of layouts to choose from and relatively easy to use for those with some experience of Wordpress. There are numerous tutorial videos on both the Photocrati website and Youtube to help users if they get stuck with anything to do with the template. This is a great solution for those that want the maximum control over the look of their website without having to do any serious coding. It may not be the right choice for those who want a genuinely straightforward drag and drop solution. The user will also be required to obtain their own hosting service and domain name. These will need to be paid for on a yearly basis. The Photocrati template is a one off fee.
SmugMug provides an all-in-one service for a monthly fee including a range of templates, hosting and a default domain name (although this can be replaced with your own domain name if required). This is a truly straightforward service and has proved popular with professional and amateurs alike. The professional level service provides an ecommerce option, allowing you to sell your images online. This service is perfect for those who want a one-stop-shop product with no hassle and no requirement for coding. However, your control over the look and layout of your website will be limited and there will be ongoing monthly fees for the service. You can check out this service by clicking here: https://www.smugmug.com/
Similar to SmugMug, Squarespace offers an all-in-one service with the added benefits of logo design, discounted getty stock images and private email addresses through Google apps. It is as good a choice as SmugMug and should be considered if you are looking for a website service of this calibre.
500px is essentially a photo sharing website rather than website/portfolio service. As such, it does not allow you to use your own domain name. However, it can be used effectively to showcase your work. Users can sign up for a free account that allows them to upload a limited amount of images on a daily basis. There is the option to upgrade to unlock extra services or limitations if required. Your portfolio and images will viewable by the general public and other 500px members will be able to rate and comment on your images. This is a great option for those on a tight budget or for those looking for feedback from other photographers on their work. Beware of 500px policies that do include options allow third parties to use your images for promotional purposes. This option can be opted out of if required.
Flickr is owned by and part of the Yahoo service and brand. It is the original and largest photo sharing website. A Yahoo account is required to open a Flickr account but this can be obtained for free. As with 500px, you can use Flickr to host your image portfolio and even set it to private so that only the people you choose can view it. Flickr is a free service monetized through adverts displayed within your portfolio. This maybe off putting to some users or viewers and should be taken into account before choosing this option. They do not support a private domain name option.
Buy A Website
There is also the option to buy somebody else's existing bespoke website. There are many photography business websites available for sale online. These can be found by searching auction websites and the online classified ads. Here is a good source for comparing what is on the market: http://www.for-sale.co.uk/website-business Once you have obtained a website it is just a matter of replacing the existing images and copy with your own. However, ongoing hosting will have to be taken into account and you may need to transfer the website to your own hosting provider. Also ensure to change all the passwords to the backend of the website for security purposes.
I hope you have found this to be a comprehensive overview and useful in your quest to create an online portfolio. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at the usual address if you have any questions. Bye for now!