One of the first steps to starting a photo business is to learn how to build a photography website. This website is your ultimate business card that serves as your portfolio when you want to apply for a press pass or pitch your services to prospective clients. As a result, you could argue that having a solid photography portfolio website is as important as having professional camera gear. If the idea of creating a website sounds intimidating, never fear! Thanks to easy-to-use website templates and WordPress, it’s entirely possible to build a photography website without coding or complexity.
How to Build a Photography Website in 5 Steps
- Choose a domain name
- Set up web hosting
- How to install WordPress
- Design your website with templates or themes
- Fill in your website with copy and content
Let’s Get Started!
1) Choose a domain name
The very first step is the most fun, yet possibly the most daunting: choose a domain name. This is the unique name that identifies your photography website. Many photographers like to use their names with or without the word “photography” appended. Feel free to be creative and therefore more memorable, but do be concise. In my case, my photography business name is Altimate Images by Suzi Pratt, and my website domain is suzi-pratt.com
Brainstorm some names and then head over to Bluehost and check to see if your domain name is available.
2) Set up Web Hosting
After you select a domain name, it’s time to sign up for web hosting. What is web hosting? It is a service that will host or store your website on computer servers. Hosting ends up being either a monthly or annual fee. But don’t worry! Web hosting is quite cheap and can run you as little as $4 per month. BlueHost also runs great web hosting packages that bundle web hosting with the cost of a domain. This is one of many reasons why they’re the best company to buy hosting through.
For most photographers, the Starter plan is sufficient. You can always upgrade to another plan at any time if needed.
You may also want to add on optional Domain Privacy Protection to prevent your personal address and phone number from being publicly displayed.
3) Install WordPress
After you sign up for web hosting and secure your domain name through BlueHost, you’ll need to install WordPress. This is the content management system (CMS) that makes website design and blogging incredibly easy and intuitive. Best of all, WordPress is free to install and free to use. There will be many prompts within BlueHost to pay for installation service, which you can do if you choose. But installation is quite easy to do-it-yourself at no extra cost.
Start the installation by logging into BlueHost and navigating to the Website Builders area. Click on WordPress.
On the next page, click on the Install button.
Make sure the correct domain name is displayed for the installation, and click on Check Domain.
Check the terms and conditions box and then click the Install Now button.
Wait a minute or two for the installation to take place. You’ll then get an alert stating, “Your install is complete!” Click on the View Credentials button to find your login information. Copy down the Admin URL, Username, and Password. You can change these settings can be changed later, but use them for your initial login.
Tip: Bookmark your Admin URL, which is where you go to enter your Username and Password to access your new photography website. If you forget it, the Admin URL will always be your domain name followed by /wp-admin. Example: suzi-pratt.com/wp-admin
Go to your Admin URL and enter your Username and Password. Click on the Log in button, and you will arrive at your website’s dashboard. Congrats!
4) Design your website with WordPress Themes
If you’ve made it this far, you’re almost done learning how to build a photography website! You’ve already successfully secured a domain name with web hosting and installed WordPress. You’re almost done with the backend stuff and ready to upload beautiful photos. The next step is to design your website. Skip the headaches by using a WordPress Theme, or template. WordPress offers many free themes, but they often come with design limitations. To make website design experience as hassle-free as possible, choose a paid, premium theme.
If you prefer having a built-in support network throughout your website design and theme installation process, invest in StudioPress. These WordPress masters will help you every step of the way, and their Elegance Theme (pictured below) is among many fantastic photography website templates to choose from.
If you’re a bit more comfortable with design and WordPress, the Themeforest marketplace offers a huge selection of website themes and templates to choose from.They’re cheap with a single one-time fee ranging between $40-80.
Tips for Selecting the Best WordPress Themes on Themeforest
Keep in mind that not all WordPress themes are created equal. Many brand new themes aren’t fully built out and have terrible documentation and support. This can leave you frustrated. Avoid complications by choosing WordPress themes that are Best Sellers with at least 1,000 ratings. Also, make sure you are purchasing a WordPress theme.
With that said, I highly recommend the Best Selling theme noted below: Avada. This is the best photography template I use for my own portfolio website.
5) Fill in your website with copy and content
The last step is to fill in your website with solid words and images that illustrate your vision as a photographer. Follow the tips below for more reading.
- How to Write a Compelling Mission Statement
- How to Build a Services and Portfolio Page on Your Website
- Assemble Marketing Materials for Your Brand
- Marketing for Photographers: SEO Keyword Research 101
Learning how to build a photography website isn’t as difficult as it may sound thanks to the intuitive use of WordPress. These steps will help you launch your website so you can show off the very best of your photography work.
Full disclosure: This page does include a few affiliate links. That means if you click and proceed to buy something, I may get a small commission. I promise to only recommend things that I have used myself to successfully grow my photography business.