10 top tips to help you get the very best out of an online portfolio of your photography
Giving your photography an online presence in the form of a dedicated website or store can be hugely beneficial to growing your craft as a business. But to really get the most out of it, and most importantly, give it the best chance of commercial success, there are a few best practices you should follow.
1 Be selective on what you include
Your photography website is going to be the place where the world sees your images–make a great impression by showing off only your very best work that you want people to see.
It pays to be selective too, less is so much more when it comes to your photography. Showcasing an unedited selection of images that aren’t your best, or including images that are too similar (i.e. numerous images of the same subject from the same shoot) can water down your offering can make it overwhelming for buyers to choose from your shots. Having a tightly edited portfolio of work also reflects well on your offering. It shows you've got confidence in your photography, which will reflect well on visitors and potential buyers too.
Post-production image workflow suites like Adobe Lightroom (as seen below) and Capture One can help you edit down your images to the very best before posting them online. You can view our video tutorial on how to use Adobe Lightroom's catalog system especially for this purpose here.
2 Don’t have too small an image selection on your site
While it pays to be selective with what you include in your portfolio, you also need to ensure that your image offering isn’t tiny.
"...it’s unrealistic to expect that having a portfolio with just a few images will reap huge rewards for you."
What we mean by this, is that it’s unrealistic to expect that having a portfolio with just a few images will reap huge rewards for you. The more photos on your site, the bigger the chance that you’ll have an image that connects with a buyer.
If you’re just starting out and only have a small number of images that you feel are your best, that’s fine–but if that’s the case, get out there and start shooting more so you can build up your portfolio.
Picfair Plus offers both unlimited uploads and the option to upload images via FTP for the easier management of your collection.
3 Always be adding new content
Give visitors something new to look at each time they visit your site by adding new images regularly.
A constantly growing portfolio of images will make your overall offering stronger and gives visitors and buyers a positive impression that you’re always busy taking new photos.
An up-to-date site will also help with SEO (search engine optimisation). When it comes to how your site ranks in search results, search engines prefer sites with regularly updated content, and will make it likely appear higher in searches.
Take advantage of the album feature to showcase collections of your images on your Picfair Plus store. Finely-curated albums give visitors the opportunity to browse your photos in a much more refined way, and you could even create an album specifically for new images.
4 Have a goal in mind
You’ll have a greater chance of success selling your photos if you have a clear goal in mind.
"Ask yourself, what is it you want to achieve from having a photography website?"
Ask yourself, what is it you want to achieve from having a photography website? Do you want to mainly sell your pictures as printed products, get exposure for commissions or gallery representation, have a place for friends and family to admire your work, or a combination of all these things?
Also think about targeted goals, is there a specific amount of revenue you want to reach, or a particular number of images you want to sell?
Use your goals as a source of encouragement for where you want to be, and what you want to achieve.
5 Keep your photo edits minimal
As much as it’s tempting to apply filters to your images that change the overall look of your photo, or make dramatic adjustments in post-production–keeping your edits as minimal as possible will make your photos appeal much more to buyers.
"...keeping your edits as minimal as possible will make your photos appeal much more to buyers."
While you may have a preferred look for your photos, not everyone will share your artistic vision.
Buyers often need to apply their own adjustments to photos they purchase to fit their requirements and creative briefs. And having heavily filtered or edited images inhibits the amount of use a buyer can get from them.
On Focus, we have an entire section on how to effectively edit your images in post-production, with easy-to-follow step-by-step guides and video tutorials which you can find here.
6 Link your portfolio to your other sites and profiles
It’s all well and good having a stunning online portfolio, but if you haven’t got anywhere else to direct your visitors, it can only do so much for you.
"You should also make it easy for buyers to contact you should they have any questions... you could even set up an email address just for any photography enquiries."
Suppose a visitor likes the look of your work - in that case, they’ll likely want to know more about you, too, so make sure you link up to any relevant social media profiles you have, that you're happy for your visitors to access. You could also link up your blog if you have one, or any other website that features your photography.
You should also make it easy for buyers to contact you should they have any questions. But this doesn’t mean you have to give out your personal information - you could even set up an email address solely for any photography enquiries.
Picfair Plus makes it easy to share social profiles and also external links with the custom menu option; see how here.
7 Give your visitors and buyers a quality offering
With the specific goals you have in mind for your photography portfolio site or store, make sure you’re giving your visitors (and potential buyers) as broad an offering as possible in order to achieve these goals.
For example, if you’re looking at mainly selling prints, make sure there’s plenty of options when it comes to the type of product available to buy (i.e. in a range of sizes, framed and unframed prints, canvases etc). Also make sure the product is of decent quality and reliable when it comes to production and delivery too–it pays to do some research beforehand. You could even order some test prints to give them your personal seal of approval.
And if you’re looking at offering images mainly as downloads, make sure to lay out the terms in the form of an image licence - an agreement that states how an image can (or cannot) be used. Not only will image licences offer you some protection when it comes to copyright, but they will also make you look much more professional and trustworthy to buyers. See our explainer on image licensing here.
From framed prints and canvases to commercial and editorial downloads, find out about how prints and licences work for Picfair Stores below:
8 Make your website your own and instantly recognisable
A staple of an excellent online portfolio is uniqueness, and it pays to make your site as memorable as possible with a stylish look and design. Not only will it help visitors keep you in mind, but you’re also helping yourself stand out from the crowd.
The same goes for the images themselves, photographers who have a unique style, aesthetic, or focus on a specific subject tend to have greater success in the long run. You can learn more about developing a unique style for your work here.
Make sure to take advantage of all of the store/site customisations on offer with Picfair Plus. Unleash your creativity behind the lens and create a home for your images that stands out from the rest. Find all of your custom store settings here.
9 Provide visitors with interesting information about your work
As we mentioned in one of our tips above, visitors who land on your site and like your photos will likely want to know more about you and your work.
If your images are linked to a specific story or moment, tell your visitors about it - it could be in the form of image captions or a more extended photo essay on a particular subject.
Include a short bio with some information about you, your background, and what inspires you to take photos - visitors love to hear about this, and your passion will help you sell.
10 Always be learning
Photography is an art that constantly evolves, and this should be the case with your images too. Constantly strive to improve your work by learning new techniques, experimenting, and getting practice by shooting regularly.
The more you learn about photography, the more you will develop. This in turn will also help you increase your chances of commercial success. There are heaps of external resources out there to help you (including the many articles and videos here on Focus). You should also find and follow other photographers that inspire you, and that you can aspire to. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes–that’s often the best way to get better when it comes to photography.
If you keep pushing yourself, over time, you’ll see a chronicle of your work getting better, which will be a delight not just to you, but to your visitors too.
Make sure to take full advantage of Focus–all articles are specifically produced for Picfair photographers.