A pro guide to creating a successful portfolio for your work.

How to create a successful online portfolio website? Coaching pro tips for a successful website.
June 6, 2022
A pro guide to creating a successful portfolio for your work.

Your website, your portfolio, your success!

By Silke Gueldner, Photogrphy Coach and Constultant

Personal acquisition contacts and portfolio appointments with clients have become rarer, and not just since the pandemic. The search for a photographer for a new project and creative ideas has been going on online for a long time. In this process, the photographer's website plays an important role alongside Instagram, because after this initial screening, clients decide which photographer to invite for a personal interview or pitch. This makes your website the most important digital portfolio and acquisition tool, because it should attract new clients, inform them and invite them to contact you. This can be achieved with a modern design, smart and fast functionality (mobile only) and, last but not least, with your images and stories.

The first eight seconds count! What are customers looking for on the website?

The attention span of art producers or picture editors is often quite short in their everyday business and their time is short. Therefore, they have little patience for complicated website structures and endless navigating back and forth. Even if photographers find it nice to have images presented in a lightbox or slideshow, clients often don't like it. Too many click requests, numerous drop-down menus or a nested navigation, and the customer leaves the website without discovering your portfolio. Missed the target.

Customers want to find what they are looking for quickly for their next project, a presentation or a mood board. Within the first five seconds, i.e. already on the landing page, it should be clear who the photographer is, what service portfolio is offered and what the positioning is. The remaining three seconds are enough to click into the portfolio or into a project container of your choice.

How to inspire customers with your website

Creativity and professionalism, ideas and expertise, freelance projects and references - customers want to discover all this on the photographer's website. On the one hand, they need to feel that you are creative and working on freelance projects. At the same time, they want to see well-known references and need to be sure that you are the right person for a complex production. Therefore, show jobs and freelance work. Don't just choose pictures and series for your website, but also publications. For example, as a mock-up in a smart device. It's best to show an overview of the relevant projects on the landing page. If you make films, combine your photo projects or animations with the films. This way you can show the whole creative range of your work at a glance.

Give your website an information structure by placing texts about the projects, for example, client or team credits and information about the publication of the images. In the best case, your website gives a 360 degree insight into your work, your themes and your attitude to your job.

What are the dont's?

Not only your customers are annoyed by long loading times of your images or an unclear structure of the website. The search engine doesn't like it either and may not show your website in the search results. If you use an imaginary name or brand name instead of your own name, remember that your customers may not find you in the search results because they are looking for your name and have not remembered the imaginary name. Missing or poorly placed contact information is also annoying when customers look up where you can be booked from or want to give you a quick call.

And who are you?

Incredibly, many photographers don't like to be photographed. There's no other way to explain why they don't show who they are on their website. Customers often want to know first of all who they are dealing with when a joint production is scheduled and click first on the "About" section of your website. Therefore, don't forget to show yourself on the website next to attractive references and your portfolio. It's a personal business. Besides your profile picture, a look behind the scenes of a production is exciting and gives a picture of you and your team.

Recap: the five best tips for your website

Of course the first step is to create a website if you don't have one yet. You can start for example with with a free lifetime account on Vsble.

1. landing page with overview
2. project container with series
3. filter or selection categories
4. combine photo and film
5. show yourself and what it's like to work with you

©Photo: Stefanie Link

Silke Güldner coaches photographers to develop, present and sell their potential and competence in the photo business. Her book "Erfolg im Foto-Business", was published in 2021 in the 2nd, expanded edition.