Building your Photography website

Building your Photography website

I have been asked by a number of photographers how they can build and launch their own Photography website, so I have decided to list the most popular tools with information and pricing around each, first of all, you will need to contact a company like https://the-indexer.com/, to help you with the marketing.  What I found interesting,  is that when I started researching, it is actually quite difficult to differentiate between each provider! Therefore I have decided to group them into 2 areas:

 

Option 1: An all in one site. The company gives you a ‘space’ on the internet, designs to choose from and in most cases a store through which you can sell your images. With these suppliers you need only buy your domain name (for example www.ninamacephotography.com) and you then pay a yearly or monthly fee to run the site.

Option 2: You buy your domain name, you buy your own space on the internet (web hosting) and then buy a system which allows you to design your own site OR  to buy a design template which fits over the top. The difference here is that you have a one off cost up front, and then a much smaller monthly payment for just your web hosting. If you want add shop or gallery function in most cases this comes at an additional cost.

 

I know photographers who use both type of set up very successfully, but I made the decision to go with Option 2 so I could use WordPress. My reason for doing this is I can then change my design templates at any point, and easily transfer my content from one design to another. With the ‘all in one systems’, if you decided you wanted to move to a new system, moving all your blog content and imagery would take time. Of course you can export the information (it is your content) but its likely to require reformatting etc. The disadvantage of working with all these separate providers is if you website goes down, it can be like following Alice down the rabbit hole to work out whether the issue is with your WordPress account, host or theme provider!

* Please note all prices and offers are correct as of 7th May 2015 and of course are likely to change 🙂

 

Option 1: All in one site. Hosting, design and back end store. Rolling yearly or monthly cost.  Squarespace, Wix, Zenfolio & Smugmug.

 

Squarespace

 

A) Squarespace  http://www.squarespace.com/

  • Currently running an offer where you get your domain name free for the first year
  • Mobile friendly
  • Multiple modern designs
  • Includes a customised email
  • Some options on Logo design if you yet to develop your brand.
  • Scrolling site designs & mobile friendly
  • Has a gallery/store function
  • $16 a month approx. £120 a year

Example of photographers using Squarespace

Lightmonkey newborn & family Photography

Dina Goldstein

Squarespace photography website examples

 

 

 

wix

B) Wix http://www.wix.com/

  •  Most well known as a free site but does  has a business package to remove the advertising.
  • Also offering free Domain name for 1 year.
  • Includes a customised email.
  • Scrolling and mobile friendly.
  • Has a gallery & store function.
  • $10 a month approx £80 a year

Example Photography sites:

Ingorack Photography

Estudio Mendonza

 

smugweb website examples

 

 

 

 

Zenfolio

 

C) Zenfolio-www.zenfolio.com

  • Includes lots of design templates and customisable galleries.
  • Sophisticated back end system which also enbales you to sell images for high volume events or schools/nurseries
  • Scrolling sites available. Please note that as of mid May there is some concern about Zenfolio’s mobile friendliness in light of Google’s recent analysis that it takes this into account for SEO.  This should be investigated in advance.
  •  Store links to One Vision and Photobox so you can order product direct. Please note they do take a percentage of sales to send direct to your customers. Option to self fulfil has no commission
  • £140 a year and you can trial for free for 14 days.
  • Look out for special offers and discounts on their website (currently running 25% off)

Sainte Croix Photography

Amanda Powell Photography

Zenfolio web examples

 

 

D) Smugmug – www.smugmug.com

  • Includes lots of design templates and customisable galleries.
  • Scrolling and mobile friendly
  • Store links to Loxley so you can order product direct. Please note they do take a percentage of sales to send your orders straight to customers. Option to self fulfil has no charge.
  • Used by some very well know international photographers
  • Approx £260 a year making the comparable business package more than Zenfolio

Scott Kelby

Von Wong

smugmug

 

 

 

Option 2: Buy your own domain, web hosting, then build your own site using WordPress as a base.

 

One you have purchased your domain name (approx. £20 per year), found a web hosting company (For example Bluehost at $3.49 a month) you can install WordPress (for Free) and then pick and choose a design system for your site. The 2 most popular currently are Prophoto and Elegant Themes.

 

Prophoto

 

A) Prophoto – www.prophoto.com

  • 14 free starter designs
  • Option to add some very nice paid for designs.
  • Mobile friendly
  • Some template suppliers also offer you additional branding and marketing elements such as matching logos, packaging, business cards etc
  • Option to integrate Zenfolio/Smugmug/Pixie set as your gallery and shop.
  • One off payment of $199.
  • Options to add a design template from $50 to $300

Examples built using Prophoto:

Andrea Whelan Photography

Neil Bowler Photography

Stephanie Belton

Prophoto photographer examples

 

elegent themes

B) Elegant Themes – www.elegantthemes.com

  • A choice of 87 Themes plus access to all of the plug ins.
  • Drag and drop design system.
  • Scrolling & Mobile friendly
  • Option to integrate Zenfolio/Smugmug/Pixie set as your gallery and shop.
  • One off payment of $279. Option to also buy one theme for only $69 and if you like the system can then upgrade only paying the difference.

 

Elegant themes

Grace Studios

Nina Mace Photography

Feel free to add your comments below. I would love to know which system you use, and what you feel are the pro’s and con’s. Also if you have a great design you would like me to feature just drop an email to nina@ninamacephotography.com

Thanks for popping by!

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10 Comments

  1. Stephanie Belton

    Thank you so much for gathering all this information Nina, this is so useful and easy to understand! I am happy with the flexibility I get with my WordPress/Prophoto system at the moment but I am going to look into their new proofing module and see how well it would work for my clients to review their photographs, pick their favourites and place their order.

    Reply
    • Nina Mace

      That sounds great – let me know how you get on with it!

      Reply
  2. Amanda Powell

    This a fantastic blog, a really interesting read for people considering what to look out for. Overall I am very happy with Zenfolio, extremely easy to use and add new pages and content. Particularly like the client galleries too. Only negative, seems to be a lot of ghost traffic (ie spam) showing in google analytics. I am always adding filters and concerned that it affects SEO rankings. Haven’t heard a fix for that yet.

    Reply
    • Nina Mace

      I find the same amount of spam traffic on my site – I have blocked a few from the biggest culprits but have not yet found a solution to removing them all…if I hear of anything I will let you know

      Reply
  3. Moira Vence-Gunstane

    I’m currently using wordpress with a very basic template and about to jump to ProPhoto on the wordpress platform… I’m reviewing the templates on offer as with the new Google criteria it’s imperative the site is fully responsive (available on mobile). My current template is mobile responsive but leaves something to be desired – it’s a free template so I’m not surprised!… Thanks for the info – I wasn’t aware of Elegant themes so will review them before I make the commitment!

    Reply
    • Nina Mace

      Really pleased you have found this useful Moira. I do really like the scrolling Elegant Themes set up and how dynamic it is for different devices. It resizes for ipad, ipad mini, plus mobiles.

      Reply
  4. Laurence Jones

    Thanks for this Nina. I’m looking around for a new system & specifically wordpress themes. There’s a lot to choose from once you go beyond the drag-and-drop eg. studiofolio, photocrati & thoe ones you mentioned.
    Anyone know an in-depth review ?

    Reply
    • Nina Mace

      Hi Laurence – I have looked around and haven’t yet found any detailed reviews. I did notice though that most systems offer you a 30 day free trial so this could be a way to view the system without committing up front?

      Reply
  5. Giillian Lloyd

    Great post Nina – I’m still a bit confused but your post has helped me start to understand. For an IT idiot like me is it easiest to do option 1 or 2? You’ve already mentioned the difference between option 1 & 2 but what are the pros and cons to each?

    Reply
    • Nina Mace

      Hi Gillian – the easiest is option 1 if you are new to websites as they basically do it all for you. The only downside to option 1 is if in a years time you decided to move over to the other type of system your blog content, images etc would most likely have to be uploaded again. That said if this is your first website and you are just learning then I think option 1 would be perfect for you. Nina

      Reply

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