As a photography business owner, it is crucial to represent yourself and your brand while attracting new clients. One of the best ways to do this is by showcasing your photography work through an online portfolio. While there are many options available for creating an online gallery, self-hosting your photography portfolio is the best option. In this article, we will discuss the main reasons why you should have a portfolio on your own website.
Creating a Unique Showcase of Work
Photography is a form of visual communication, and your online portfolio should reflect that. By creating an online portfolio, you can display the results of your work to potential clients and provide additional information about yourself as the author. While it may seem difficult at first, you can create an attractive portfolio using WordPress and adjust it to your needs. Many photographers have created awesome sites using WordPress themes, and well-designed portfolios in such a competitive industry put your work in the eyes of clients on a higher level.
Advantages of Self-Hosting
One of the most obvious advantages of self-hosting is that you will improve at least one more skill. As a photographer, you may not think about CMS systems and creating websites, but by trying it out, you can enrich your skills and gain more knowledge about how websites work. By studying a few easy WordPress tutorials, you can choose the best WordPress hosting, install WordPress, add a portfolio WordPress theme, and customize your website layout or appearance. WordPress is also a savvy solution as you don’t need to spend time searching for a reliable web designer or spend a ton of money outsourcing it.
Talking about personal branding, the unique benefit of having a self-hosted portfolio is the option to choose the name of your domain. This makes your website look trustworthy, reliable, and professional, not to mention the biggest advantage of personal marketing. This comes hand in hand with your very own email address that underlines the professional outlook. Good hosting companies also offer numerous features and applications within hosting itself, such as instant access to FTP, automatic backups, easy-to-install applications, malware scanning, built-in caching, staging sites, and more.
Many of the free online galleries provide only limited space. As a photographer, you know how important storage is, as it can be quite a big problem when you want to upload and share your high-quality images. Most hosting companies offer basic plans that are affordable but only offer a few gigabytes of storage, but this can be upgraded for a small fee. It’s entirely up to you how you manage the size of hosted files and how much space you will choose.
Benefits of a Self-Hosted Portfolio for Personal Branding
Through your career, you will most likely experience a lot of tricks that make your life easier. Why not share them on your blog? Blogging as a personal marketing tool comes with several advantages. If you write unique blog posts, it means a higher opportunity that people can approach you in organic search. Organic reach is free and it’s the traffic from a targeted group which might be interested in your services.
For search engines, it signals that your website is trustworthy. Regularly updated content and more indexed pages can mean that you have a better chance of ranking. Once you publish useful content, people link to it, share it, and new traffic from different sources can lead to your site. Your effort pays off in a really effective form as you don’t need to spend a lot of time and money promoting your work, as your readers will share it on social media instead.
If you’re not very into writing long “how-to” posts very often, you can mix it with a thematic selection of your photos, writing short descriptions using targeted keywords. The power of blogging for you means that the content you create helps your target audience; therefore, you will become a reliable source.
As we mentioned, blogging is good for ranking in search engines. Besides benefits from blogging, you can optimize your self-hosted website by using your own meta titles, changing permalinks, and so on. Google displays results that are more relevant, so make sure to really optimize your posts before publishing so you can increase your chances of ranking higher in results.
If you self-host your portfolio, you can also earn extra money with your WordPress blog by placing advertisements and controlling the revenue which would go to the pocket of somebody else. An easy contact form also allows you to provide answers to the demands from potential clients. If you are able to answer using Live Chat, you have a perfect position for negotiation and establishing collaboration.
Full Control Over Your Website with Photography Plugins
The ability to manage, change, and customize your website without any restrictions is the major benefit of self-hosting. WordPress also offers tons of plugins that you can use to add interesting or unique functionalities to your website. One such plugin is Picu WordPress Photo Proofing Gallery.
Picu is a plugin for WordPress photographers that makes the image selection process with clients a lot easier. After a photo shoot is done, instead of uploading the images to Dropbox or a similar service, the photographer uploads the images into a collection right inside WordPress on her own web server and sends it to the client from there. The client then receives a nice email on their end with a link to the collection. The gallery is very intuitive and lets the client very easily select which images they would like to have edited. After the client approves the selection, the photographer gets a notification via email. The list of file names can then be copied and pasted into Lightroom or any other image editor of choice to filter for the selected images and start post-processing them right away.
Additionally, the Picu collections can also be protected with a unique password, so clients need to enter a password to be able to see the images and start selecting. With the use of a custom shortcode, it is possible to display a list of collections anywhere on the site, for example, to build a “Client Area” page with all collections or individual pages for each client with the respective collections.
Building a portfolio online can be easy with WordPress. Stay ahead of the competition and create your own platform to showcase the best of your work and enhance your chances to be hired. By self-hosting your portfolio, you can improve your skills, have full control over your website, and optimize your personal branding. Do you have any other tips for building a portfolio online? Or maybe a question? Just leave a comment below- we’d love to hear from you!