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The Do’s and Don’ts of Building an Online Photography Portfolio

The demand for photography services is growing rapidly across Uganda. More start-ups and new businesses are entering the market, and they all need photography as a way to convey their key messages (and their products) visually. At the same time, more people and home businesses are marketing their products online, creating more demand for photography services in the process.

Let’s not forget that other fields of photography remain in high demand. Wedding photography is hotter than ever, and there is now higher focus on corporate photography, travel photography, and more. Even foreign clients are actively searching for photos of Uganda to promote its tourism. It is a great time to be in the photography business right now.

Of course, having a complete set of photography skills and owning the right equipment isn’t enough. To be discovered by potential clients, you also need to develop a strong online presence and an attractive portfolio. We can help you with the latter. In this article, we are going to discuss the do’s and don’ts of building and online photography portfolio for your business.

Do: Develop a Strong Brand

A strong personal brand in photography is important. The way you distinguish yourself from the competitors is by creating a brand that everyone can recognize. In this business, your brand needs to be holistic; it is certainly more than just a business name and a logo.

The way you take pictures, the angles you choose, how you edit them, and even the colour grading of the photos are all parts of your brand. The way you display your best work as part of an online portfolio matters too.

What you want to do is be as recognizable as possible. Do you notice how certain photographers, especially international ones, are recognized immediately when their works are shown? That’s the level of branding you want to achieve, and your portfolio needs to show that same branding approach.

Don’t: Start from Scratch

You don’t need to develop a completely new website from scratch. This will only get you bogged down with details such as coding the site to work properly and adding the necessary features. Rather than spending a lot of time and money developing a custom site, you can get the online portfolio up faster with the help of reliable platforms already on the market.

Setting up an online photography portfolio is not difficult at all. Choosing a platform is the beginning. Once you have a platform to use, you can start customizing your page, adding unique visual elements to it, and upload your work within minutes. Don’t forget to organize your work so that people can view them easily, and to add features such as a contact form to the online portfolio.

Do: Keep It Simple

Your online portfolio needs to be as functional as it is beautiful. The tempting thing to do is to add too many visual elements to create a striking portfolio. There is nothing wrong with this approach either. That said, the extra visual elements you add may slow the online portfolio down or make it less practical to browse through; you want to avoid these possible issues.

Think about user experience and site performance as you create your online photography portfolio further. Take the time to optimize your photo files so that they can be loaded quickly online. You also want to remove things such as unnecessary animations and design elements that don’t really go well with your brand for a more consistent UX.

Don’t: Upload Everything!

You want to show your best work and have a sizeable online portfolio for the potential clients to see, but uploading every photo you took isn’t how you can achieve these goals. In fact, it will only make your portfolio appear cluttered and uninteresting.

Apply a degree of curation to the photos you want to add. Only pick the best photos that you know will get clients excited. Ideally, you want 3 to 4 photos from each project to feature in your portfolio, and you want to limit the number of projects displayed to a reasonable amount.

Don’t forget that you have to update the online portfolio in the future. Starting with a gigantic portfolio that contains hundreds of pictures will only make gradually updating the site in the future more difficult.

Do: Tell a Story

Storytelling is how you connect with potential clients, and an online photography portfolio is the perfect instrument for the job. Don’t just share details such as the name of the project or client that requested it as a list. Go the extra mile and tell a compelling story.

You can, for instance, add a short story about how you capture the photo. Talk about the challenges you faced, how you got around those challenges, and what you feel about the project in general. Share the excitements and let your work be a part of a compelling, genuine story about your life as a photographer.

Don’t: Drag On

When potential clients visit your online portfolio, they already know the kind of information or details they are searching for. The last thing you want to do is to add too many steps before visitors can get to the information they want.

An interstitial page, a modal popup, or an actual popup window asking visitors to sign up for a newsletter is no longer an effective way to market your mailing list. What you are doing is adding more steps – more hassles – than necessary, and this could potentially scare visitors away before they get to your portfolio.

Do: Optimize for Search Engine

Despite being one of the most-used digital marketing tools, search engine optimization or SEO is still an effective way of connecting with customers. You can gain thousands in search engine traffic just by appearing on the first page of search results. Optimizing your online portfolio for SEO is a must.

Once again, using the correct platform helps. Rather than configuring everything manually, your online photography portfolio may already be optimized for SEO automatically. All you need to do is make small adjustments to improve the site’s SEO performance substantially.

Don’t: Overdo Marketing

Optimizing your online portfolio for digital marketing is something that needs to be done with moderation. When you start adding too many things or changing the site too much, the changes you make become less effective.

Customers and potential clients don’t like it when websites and online portfolios are trying too hard to sell them products and services. The modal popup we talked about earlier is a good example. Adding calls to action to several parts of the page or an additional popup that persuades visitors not to leave the site is too much.

Be subtle. Let the portfolio and your best work do the talking. Potential clients who are happy with what they see will always contact you for your services. Those who aren’t will remain a visitor no matter how hard you try to market your services. As you can see, the key is moderation.

One last thing to keep in mind: always make contacting you easy. Combined with the other do’s and don’ts we discussed in this article, creating a strong online portfolio that converts visitors into customers will be as easy as 1-2-3. All you need to do now is get started with developing your own portfolio and start marketing your services to more potential clients.


Staff Writer

All articles published by Staff Writer have been contributed by all our reporters and edited and proofread by our editorial team.
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