How to Set Up a Photographer's Website

This step by step tutorial is designed for technical savvy photographers to help guide them through easy steps towards building their photography website. This tutorial assumes that you already know your way around WordPress, one of the leading platforms for creating multi-purpose websites.


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    Decide on the kind of photography you want to focus on. Know your photography genre well and be good at it because it will dictate the style your site will have.
    • Wedding photographers tend to focus their entire graphics, copy text, logo design etc towards this niche market. You should dedicate yourself to familiarizing yourself with the genre you wish to work with.
    • If you are a general photographer, choose your overall style that best resonates with you and represents your identity. Do you want a minimal approach, or want to go big and bold? Your website is your online business card so spend enough time exploring online inspirations and coming up with your own identity.
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    Choose your brand name. Your brand is your key identifier and will help your customers find you on the web.
    • Note that choosing your brand name will dictate your domain name so choose it wisely. For instance do you want to brand yourself with your full name? Your first name with photography at the end? Or use keywords? This choice is totally up to you.
    • Do a quick search on Google to find some inspiration.
    • Consider using your own name for your brand. However the drawback to using your own name is that could take time for your name to come up on the first page of Google simply because people don't know you yet and more likely to search for keywords like "Houston photographer" and domains which includes these keywords will most likely show up first. But once you build a network of clients and backlinks Google will soon start placing you higher in search results. Whether you use your business name, full personal name or targeted keywords, make sure you stick with it because it will be much harder in the future to change it.
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    Design your logo. If you're not into Photoshop, the best thing to do is go on eLance or and choose a designer to do your logo. This should save you lots of time allowing you to concentrate on other areas of creating your website.
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    Organise your portfolio. Once you've chosen your logo, spend the rest of the week preparing your media. These are your banners, headings and any kind of graphics you'll need on your site. Also make sure you organise your portfolio on your computer per sub-genre for example: Portraits, Landscapes, Wildlife etc. This could save you time when searching for that great picture you took to showcase on your front page slider. A well organised website starts with a well organised desktop.
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    Prepare your media. If you want to promote an offer, design its banner now. If you want to include a Newsletter on your website, consider creating the header graphics. Once you're ready to create your content, these will come in handy to fill in the gaps and give your site that extra visual oomph.
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    Buy your domain name and hosting account. Your domain name is the address people will click on to get to your site. Your hosting server is where all the folders and files of your website will live. There are a huge amount of domain registrars out there, but choose a cheap but reputable company with great support.
    • If you register your domain with a different site than your hosting account make sure your Nameservers point to your account. If you don't want to worry about this just choose one company for both your domain and hosting accounts.
    • On the welcome email, click on the cpanel link and install Wordpress. Before installing Wordpress make sure you choose the www option and leave the install root folder field empty (delete wp). That's it! You're ready to roll and the fun now begins.
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    Choose a Wordpress theme. As your logo design, the theme is the first thing people see when they visit your site. Wordpress is the platform, sort of like the basis of your home. The wordpress theme is the design layer that dresses your site, like the walls and decorations in your home. There are lots of choices here, from free to premium, each with its own pros and cons. There are plenty of free wordpress themes that are suitable for photographers. You can either install a theme from within wordpress themes page, or download one from any website and upload it to wordpress. Free designs are usually not so great if you're a perfectionist or want a very specific look, you might need to look at paid options. These usually come packed with features and options and look usually much better, hence make you look more professional. You can find some really great themes at Themeforest or Elegant Themes. Just Google "wordpress themes" and get ready to get inspired. Add the word "free" to look at free wordpress designs. Whatever you pick make sure it matches your photography genre, your logo and the colour palette you prefer.
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    Once you choose your theme and have installed it, t's time to get your website published. You can either click on Posts, Pages and delete the built in content that comes with the theme and create your own content, or use the template pages to create your own.
    • Go to Settings > General enter your site title, email address and pick your other options.
    • Go to Settings > Reading and choose whether your front page will display your latest posts or a specific page. Choose your pages here. If you haven't created any page yet, go create one now and choose it here later. Experiment with the other options here as well.
    • The Settings > Discussion regulates what happens when people comment on your posts. Read each option carefully and choose whatever suits you.
    • Go to Settings > Permalinks. This is an important step because it tells wordpress how you want your links formatted.
    • Go to Users > Your profile and fill in your details. Some themes allow author boxes which will be pulled from these entries.
    • Go to your Theme options and customise your appearance. These usually include uploading your logo and favicon, posting your Analytics code, choose blog style options and sidebar placements and other html/css options. Each theme offers different options so make sure you navigate all your themes options to customise the appearance of your site.
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    Install plugins. A plugin is a piece of software code that complements your theme and offers extra features that will help boost your site's performance, content and appearance. There are literally hundreds of thousands of plugins to choose from so it is first better to experiment with your theme's options first then decide what you still need.
    • You can either look for options on the site, download and install the plugin manually, or install your plugins from within your wordpress admin. Just click on Plugins > Add new and search for whatever you need. You can choose to install social plugins to boost your social media features of your site to make it more shareable, or choose new sliders, cool photo galleries or even expand the potential of your site by installing ecommerce plugins to turn your site into an online shop.For instance some themes come with Instagram widgets some don't, some come with Contact Form 7 some don't. So go to your Plugins when you first install your theme and see what you still need and build as you go.
    • Advanced Lazy Load. This plugin loads the images in your post based on user scrolling, which helps speed your page's load time.
    • Bookly. If you need an online photography booking system.
    • Broken Link Checker. As the name says, it regularly checks your site for broken links. Useful when you start making changes to internal links within your posts.
    • Bulk resize media. Resize images to help speed up your site.
    • Google XML sitemaps. Use this to create a sitemap for your site, a file that google bots love to find when they crawl your site. Then use it to submit your sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools.
    • Gzip Ninja Speed Compression. Compresses your page and unzips it automatically when user visits your site to speed up your site even more.
    • Incoming Links. Great to find out who's linking to your site.
    • iThemes Security. This is a must have plugin. It will lock down your site to potential hackers, spammers and attackers. Gigantic amount of options so i won't post them here.
    • Any newsletter plugin like MailChimp, Aweber, Constant Contact etc.
    • No Right Click Images. Very cool plugin to forbid users to right click on your images when they navigate your site. When users do it will show them a custom image to let them know your image is protected.
    • SEO friendly images. Automatically adds Alt and title attributes to your images.
    • Share aholic. Or any other social sharing/following plugin. Essential plugins to add sharing capabilities to your pages and posts. Very customizable and free.
    • W3 Total Cache. One of the best website performance plugins out there.
    • Wordpress SEO by Yoast. One of the must have plugins as well. This is an all in one solution for wordpress. It even includes on page analytics and gives you a score and suggestions to improve your score.
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    Add your Menu. Define what is important for your customers and build your menu. Assign your menu to your theme's allowed locations. These will probably be: About, Bookings, External links, Portfolio, Contact etc.
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    Your photography site is now armed with the industries top tools and all you need to get your site off the ground. Build pages to add more info about who you are, create a blog page and choose Blog from the template option on the right of the Blog editing page and make sure this page is assigned to be your Blog in Settings > Reading. Write a few (3 to 4) blog posts so your blog don't show empty. These could be anything from How you started your photographer career, a post about your gear, a few tips for mothers looking for a newborn photographer etc. Adding a blog to your site is great as it will show you're an authority in your field and increases the chance of being hired. A blog also increases your search engine score as it shows Google your site is an active and dynamic website that offers targeted content to readers looking for that specific information. Don't forget to update your blog regularly with 1 to 2 posts per week.
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    Create your portfolio. This is the single most important element of any photography website. Choose your best of the best images and organise them in categories. Don't post each and every picture you took at that event. This is your 10 sec selling line. This is what sets you ahead of the competition. Your portfolio will tell your potential customers why you're better than the rest. Your portfolio will get you hired.
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    Decide on whether to watermark your pictures or not. This is totally up to you but most experienced photographers do not include watermarks, simply because your image is protected by default by law at time of creation. So whether your picture is watermarked or not it won't really matter, especially if you have installed the No right click plugin. Watermarks are essential in the open realm of the internet, outside of your website. Watermark all your pictures that go on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, simply because their privacy policy usually includes clauses (that we normally don't read) that allows them to use your photograph in any way they wish. So always watermark your images that you post on social media. If you do not wish to watermark the images, upload images with a very small resolution which will make it difficult for people to use the images for printing.
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    Get feedback on your site. Once you're happy with the look and feel of your site you can submit it to Concept Feedback. Many people will be happy to have a look and provide you with an objective review of your photography site.
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    Pat yourself on the shoulder, you just created the single most important element of your business, your website. In today's world your business simply does not exist if you don't have a website, or even worse, have a bad one. So here's to all your hard work and countless hours of creativity, sweat and dedication.


  • Always back up your images on an external hard drive.


  • This tutorial is designed for experienced tech savvy people. If you don't know how to install wordpress on your site, this tutorial is not for you.
  • This tutorial explains the process of creating a photography website on a self hosted account, NOT on

Article Info

Categories: Website and Blog Creation | Blog Photography Tips