Photographer Online Portfolio

Every aspiring professional photographer needs a website to showcase their best work. Here is everything you need to know about building a portfolio website.

An online portfolio is one of the most important tools a professional photographer should have in their arsenal. But between scoring portfolio-worthy projects, choosing the right photos, and building a website that suits your brand, putting together a portfolio website can get overwhelming fast. To help you through this process, we've created a comprehensive guide for building the perfect photography website.

How to Make a Photography Portfolio

A photography portfolio is a collection of work that illustrates who you are as a photographer. A portfolio website takes this a step further and allows photographers to put their best work on full display for the world to see.

More than just a place to showcase your work, a photography website is also home for your brand and your business—a place to talk about your background as an artist, discuss the inspirations and process behind your work, and even sell prints of your favorite pieces. Essentially, photographer websites have become one-stop-shops for artists to build their brand and connect with collaborators and potential clients.

But what makes a good portfolio website? Here are three key things to remember:

Feature work that defines who you are as a photographer. While versatility is a plus in any creative profession, most photographers hone in on a specialization early in the game. This just makes it easier for you to establish your brand and make yourself more marketable to future clients.

As such, your photography website should comprise of pictures that speak to your brand. It isn't just about posting high-quality photos—your work online should tell your story, whether that means you're a fashion photographer with a flair for the dramatic or a food photographer who injects a lot of fun and quirkiness into your layouts. If you do see yourself as a jack of all trades, consider having separate pages or even websites for different styles.

Tell a story. Your work should be able to speak for itself, but that doesn't mean it should do all the talking. People connect with stories, and the more context you add to a photo or a set, the more compelling it becomes. Talk about the inception of each project, what you did to prepare, even what headspace you were in when you were conceptualizing for it. Of course, don't forget to introduce yourself and your background as an artist too.

Build a professional website. More and more photographers have turned to social media to display their work and connect with clients. While this is convenient, you need to remember that not everyone is on social media. Plus, a professional photography website can do so much more for you than an Instagram or Facebook page—think organized galleries, SEO, even an online store for prints and merch!

Tips for Building a Photography Portfolio

Before you can create your portfolio website, you need to amass a sizeable collection of portfolio-worthy work first. Here's how you can do that:

Offer to shoot friends and family. Birthdays weddings, anniversaries—anticipate upcoming events with friends and family and offer to cover these for free or at a discounted rate. If you're an aspiring portrait photographer, you can offer to shoot friends' pets and headshots. If you're looking to be a product or architectural photographer, hit up relatives and friends with small businesses and offer to work on their company profiles and marketing collaterals.

Join photo walks and photography events. These events are more than just opportunities to shoot in a new location, they're also a great way to meet fellow photographers, exchange ideas, and network.

Take a photography workshop. Whether you're a commercial, landscape, fine art, real estate or corporate photographer, a workshop is a good way to jog your memory of the technicalities of photography, as well as a great opportunity to work on assignments you likely wouldn't initiate yourself.

Stay organized. Don't let your photos gather virtual dust in your computer. After every shoot, organize all your files into separate folders, labeling by project and date. Pick out the portfolio-worthy ones and organize them into a separate folder for narrowing down later.

Shoot what you love. The best way to build a portfolio is to shoot what you know and love best. Not only will you enjoy the process of building your photography portfolio website, but you also give visitors a clear view of what you value as an artist.

Tips for Creating an Online Photography Portfolio

Now you have everything you need to put together a photography portfolio website. Where do you go from here?

Less is more. Take this piece of writing advice, learn how to "kill your darlings". This means cutting work that you might have worked hard on or have some kind of attachment to but are ultimately unnecessary for your website. Clients don't have a lot of time to sort through hundreds of photos, so narrow down your options to 10 to 20 photos that exemplify everything you're about as a photographer.

Diversify your pieces. With a lean profile, you have less room to show off your range, so it's vital to pick pieces that are as different in mood, lighting, angle, and subject matter as possible.

Organize your work. One of the most common mistakes artists make when building their photography portfolio websites is ignoring the sequence and order of their work. Photos should be lumped together by theme or story, with a coherent narrative tying everything together. Also, remember to put your best work forward!

Choose a no-frills website builder. Displaying work on social media is ok, but it's not the most professional. Plus, believe it or not, not everyone is on social media. However, for a busy photographer, website building can take up precious time that should be spent attending to clients and booking shoots. Find a website builder that makes it easy to put portfolio websites together and to edit and customize later on.

How You Can Start Building Your Photography Portfolio

So you're ready to build a photography portfolio website with Format. Here's everything you need to know about starting an online folio on the website builder:

  1. Sign up. To create an online folio on Format, you need to sign up for a 14-day free trial. Don't worry, you don't need a credit card just yet, and you can back out whenever you like!

  2. Choose a theme that makes your work pop. A theme can make or break a website. Of photographers' themes to choose from, you should select something that complements the type of work that you do.

  3. Upload your photos. To kick things off, choose up to 10 photos for your online folio. You can add or delete photos later on, as well as create custom pages and galleries to organize your work.

  4. Edit your site navigation. Make your site easily navigable by editing your menu and adding important sections such as an About page.

  5. Customize! With Format, you can mix and match colors, fonts, and different theme presets to make your website uniquely yours. This is the part where you change your header image, upload your logo, and add all those finishing touches that add a touch of personality to your site.

  6. Take it up a notch. With Format, you get a ton of exciting tools that'll help make client management easier and push your photography career further. You can add a shop for prints, integrate your social media links, optimize your site for search engine results, and make use of the client-proofing system.

Online Photography Portfolio FAQs

Here are five of the most frequently asked questions about creating an online photo folio:

create photography portfolio

Ready to Create Your Portfolio?

Create a professional website to show off your work and your artistic vision with a website builder like Format. Sign up for a free trial on Format and you can build an impressive photo portfolio within minutes, complete with a theme to complement your personal style, dedicated galleries for photo sets, and options to create a shop, integrate social media, and more!

The free trial lasts for 14 days, after which you can upgrade to a plan for as low as $7 a month.

Create My Photography Portfolio