If you want to grow your career as a photographer, one of the best ways to brand yourself is by building a portfolio website. In this guide, we’ll show you how you can create your photography portfolio website in under an hour.
A portfolio website provides professional information about an individual and showcases the work they do through photos, text, and video. We’ll walk you through a few steps to consider before you start, as well as the three platforms we recommend you use; Adobe Portfolio, Squarespace, and Wix. Read on to learn more about each platform and how you can get your portfolio live with each.
Structure your Portfolio
Outline your pages
Before you start uploading photos and projects, it’s vital that you plan your portfolio site out. We suggest at the least, you have the following pages:
- a home or landing page,
- an about page,
- your projects page and
- a contact page.
Your next steps will include writing out your content and organising your media. There’s no set order to these next steps, so do whatever feels more natural to you.
Write out your content
Each page will need a few lines of text to guide the visitor through the site. To save time, create a Word file or Google Docs file where you’ll type out all the text content for your website. To keep things easy for the visitor, break up your content into short paragraphs with clearly marked sections using the appropriate section headings (H1, H2 etc.)
Your Home page might have an introduction to who you are and the type of photography you do; similar to a cover letter you would use to apply to a job.
Your about page should have a longer-format bio; keeping with the job application metaphor, this would similar to a long-format resume.
Your projects page will then include each project or collection you’ve worked on. In addition to the photos, each project will also include a detailed description of the project itself.
Finally, the contact page should include your contact information such as an email address or phone number, as well as a location if applicable.
Organise your media
Each project you upload will have a certain set of images you want to upload. It’s a great idea to organise these photos into separate project folders. As you organise your images, be sure to name each file accordingly (this helps with SEO and ease of use for your site visitors).
For online use, be sure to compress your photos to at least less than 400kb each. Large files will slow down your website and ruin your visitor’s experience on your site. For a no-fuss guide on how to compress batches of large images, watch our tutorial.
Once you’re done with the preparation steps, you’re ready to start building your online portfolio.
Adobe portfolio is most known by photographers and creatives who use Adobe Cloud tools for editing their photos and videos. The service has an easy to navigate builder and will allow you to get started for free, although you won’t be able to use your own domain for your site – we’ll discuss domains at the end of this article.
Step #1: Sign in and choose a template
Go to Adobe Portfolio in your browser and log in using your Adobe ID. If you don’t have one, you can sign up at the same link. Now, once you’re logged in, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the create portfolio option. You can then choose a template/layout of your choice.
Step #2: Add pages
To add pages, click the blue plus (+) icon. A pop-up menu will appear with the options to create pages, import lightroom albums or Behance projects, create submenus or just add a link to your header menu.
Once you have your pages created, select the page you want to add projects to and import or upload photos and videos to your project by clicking upload media in the floating menu. You can then group photos and videos you have worked on under each project. Add photos and videos to your projects by clicking upload media in the floating menu.
If you already have an Adobe ID and use Lightroom or Behance, you can collect and add your projects to your portfolio site directly from the page editor. If you have a project or collection that you don’t want on your portfolio site, simply deactivate it from the toggle switch on the right of the item. This is a great option if you’ve been using Adobe CC’s services for a long time already and would rather import your projects than create them again.
Step #3: Add description and reorder page
Add some text explaining a few details about your project. To add or reorder a page, click the pencil icon and select reorder. You should then drag and drop media or text to the order you want and hit ‘Update Live Site’.
Step #4: Save the project
To finalise your project, add a thumbnail image, a few tags and save it.
Step #5: Customize your portfolio further
If you want to add your own personal touch to the site, go back to the main menu and click background, colours & font. Here you can customize the style and layout of the text and media that you added to your projects.
Step #6: Publish your portfolio
After adding at least one project and customizing the portfolio, you can then go ahead and publish your portfolio to the web.
Squarespace is an award-winning website building platform made for small businesses and entrepreneurs. It’s easy to use, has a library of amazing templates for any industry and has some of the best support in the industry. You can start with a limited time free trial, and then upgrade to one of their paid options which start at $12 per month. All the paid plans will allow you to connect your own domain.
Step #1: Visit SquareSpace and choose a template
Once you are on the Squarespace website, go to the portfolio templates page and select a template that suits your brand. Most of the templates offered are well-built and don’t need any further customization in terms of the layout.
Step #2: Add your projects
After choosing a template, you can get started adding projects to it. Under projects, upload some of your best photos and videos that you have worked on and categorize them into projects. For each project, add a brief description explaining what it was about.
Step 3: Publish your site
Once you’re happy with your site layout, go ahead and publish your site!
Wix is another award-winning website building platform. It’s possibly one of the easiest to use as it offers templates as well as the freedom to completely customise layouts by dragging and scaling elements around without touching a line of code. Wix offers a couple of plans, starting at 4$ per month to connect your domain.
Step #1: Choose a template
Step #2: Create a projects page to showcase your work
Wix allows you to showcase your work in the form of projects. You can create a dedicated ‘projects’ page to add images and videos that you have worked on and group them into individual projects.
Step #6: Publish and promote the site
After adding projects and all the relevant pages, you should publish your portfolio site and also remember to promote it on your already established platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
Using your own domain
Using your own domain is a great way to formalise and promote yourself not just as a photographer, but as a brand. Each of the 3 page website platforms; Adobe Portfolio, Squarespace and Wix allow you to connect your own domain.
All of the methods above require the purchase of a domain name for your portfolio website. We recommend buying from one.com because they have some of the best rates for domain names, as well as excellent customer service and reliability. To get $5 off and show us some love, use this referral code when you purchase a domain and hosting package.
Get noticed with SEO
To ensure your projects and images appear in online searches, be sure to add a brief description with some keywords under the alt text options all the above-mentioned site builders offer an option for this). The text on your home, about and contact pages should also have some well-researched keywords which will make it easier for visitors to find your work. You should also verify your site with Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tools to ensure you show up in search results.