Advice on Building Your First Photo Website

Julius Motal the phoblographer establishing an online presence

So you’ve got a camera and you’ve been shooting for a while. When people ask, you tell them you don’t have a website, at least not yet. As with anything, it’s a work in progress, and when you finally do take your work online, you want it to be a finely crafted portfolio. What people see on your website or across any of your channels (be it Instagram, Flickr, 500px, etc.) will determine how they view you and whether or not they want to work with you. How you present yourself online matters.

The Phoblographer Project idea

Of course, you have to figure out the type of photographer you are, and the styles of photography you want to shoot. Are you the assignment type or long project type? Do you shoot concert, street, portrait, architecture, wildlife, conceptual or any other type of photography? Is there something you want to break into, but don’t have the experience with? Do you have the right gear for the job?

When you’ve shot enough, either in one genre or several, you need to edit it down. Oftentimes, it’s difficult to be your own editor, so if you can, ask for help. Talk to people who know you and your work, but also talk to people who don’t know your work. It’s integral to see how it works with someone who’s unfamiliar with you as a photographer, and try to not let sentiment get in the way of what works. If there’s an image that just doesn’t work no matter how hard you try, axe it. Hold yourself to the highest possible standard. Be brutal in your edit. Your work will be all the better for it. Don’t delete it forever, but leave it out of the portfolio.

Once you’ve got a gallery or several squared away, it’s time to take to the web. You can either build it from the ground up if you know how or know someone with the requisite skills, or you can use a service like Photoshelter or Squarespace. This isn’t a sponsored post. Those were just the first two that came to mind. I use the latter for my work largely because I wanted something simple and easy to navigate. WordPress was far too clunky.

Taking your work online is no small feat, and even after you’ve crafted your site, you might find that you keep moving things around because your attitude towards it changes the more you look at it. At least, that was the case for me, and it’s something you’ll return to from time to time as you keep shooting and producing more work. From there, just keep at it. Be consistent in what you produce, but also strive to consistently improve.