In this article, I’m going to explore the steps you need to take in order to create a photography portfolio that will help get you more clients. I’ll also offer some advice on how to make sure your portfolio stands out from your competitors. It should also be something that potential customers will find attractive and engaging.
More of a visual learner? Check out the video I made:
7 steps to build a photography portfolio that gets more clients
Figure out your channel
The first step in creating a photography portfolio that gets more clients is to figure out the best channel for showcasing your work. Do you want to use a website, blog, or social media? Consider the cost and features of each platform when making this decision. Some websites offer free galleries while others require paid subscriptions. Also, think about where your ideal clients are and which platform they use most.
Coming from a marketing background, I highly recommend that you have your own website. It’s find to also have your portfolio on social media, but a website is a must as well.
Now when it comes to actually building one, there are many options. You can choose to code your own site or use a CMS (Content Management System) such as Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress.
I highly recommend using WordPress because it is the most versatile platform in my opinion. Unlike the other CMS’s, WordPress allows you to be in “free roam” mode and does not inhibit you from certain SEO tasks that will allow your website and blog to scale.
WordPress does have a slightly higher learning curve, but if you take the time to learn it, you will be rewarded.
If you just care to use your website strictly for portfolio purposes and don’t plan on driving a lot of traffic to your blog, then going the Squarespace or Wix route is perfectly fine.
Determine photography style and ideal client
Once you have decided on your channel, it’s time to decide what kind of photography style suits you best and what type of client do you want to target.
Are you a wedding photographer or product photographer? Do you prefer fashion or nature?
No matter what type of photography style you choose, it should be something that will showcase your skills and reflect your personality.
Think about the type of client that you want to attract as well. Are they looking for a particular style or aesthetic? Once you have identified your ideal client, you can create a portfolio that speaks directly to them.
Choose images carefully
Now comes the fun part: Selecting what images to feature in your portfolio.
When selecting images, make sure that you only pick the ones that showcase your best work. Don’t be afraid to leave out photographs that don’t reflect your style or brand. Also, avoid including too many images – quality is always more important than quantity when it comes to a photography portfolio.
Also, make sure to include a variety of different types of images. This will show potential clients that you have the versatility to do different kinds of photography and that you can adapt to whatever their needs may be.
But make sure the types of images are style within a cohesive style, ex. bright and airy, moody, cinematic, grainy, etc.
Be consistent with style
When creating a portfolio, it’s important to create a consistent style throughout. This is because it will help potential clients easily identify your work and make them more likely to hire you.
Consistency doesn’t just apply to the images you choose – think about how they are presented as well. For example, if you opt for a more minimalistic approach, make sure that all of your images follow this style.
Also, be sure to include contact information and a short bio in each page of your portfolio. This will help potential clients get in touch with you quickly and easily.
If you’ve ever created an infographic for school or work, it’s kind of like that in terms of image selection and consistency in style. You want it to be cohesive and tell a story.
Get feedback on your portfolio
Now that you have created your portfolio, it’s time to get feedback. Ask your friends and family for their honest opinion about what works and what can be improved. They may be able to pick up on things that you didn’t think of.
You can also ask potential clients for feedback. They will be able to provide insight on what they would like to see in your portfolio and how you can make it more appealing.
With this feedback, you can iterate on your portfolio until you are completely happy with the end result.
Pay attention to UX and pagespeed
You should pay attention to the user experience (UX) and page speed of your portfolio. Make sure that it is easy for potential clients to navigate and view your images quickly.
Coming from a marketing background, I’ve seen the major difference a fast loading page has over a slow loading page in terms of conversion rate.
As a photographer, the conversion rate for us would be the number of people who visit our portfolio divided by the people who reach out and contact us regarding a session:
If they can’t load your page fast enough or find what they are looking for, then they will likely leave. In addition, optimize your images for the web to ensure that they load quickly and look great on any device.
To test the speed of your portfolio, enter your page URL into Google Pagespeed Insights.
Being photographers, the biggest culprit that slows down our website is our images and their large file size.
In order to remedy this, then it’s important you compress your images and make them into a smaller file size while retaining quality (lossless compression).
Compression tools I recommend online include Optimizilla or Compressor.io.
To use these tools, simply upload your image into them, select Lossless Compression, convert the image file and then re-download the newly compressed image and upload that to your site.
I did that to all my images and now I have good pagespeed score on my own portfolio:
Look at analytics and monitor
Not many other photographers mention this last part when it comes to portfolios and I believe this is one of the most important steps.
Once your portfolio is set up, you need to monitor its success and look at the analytics. This will help you figure out what works and what doesn’t work in terms of getting more clients.
You can use tools like Google Analytics to track how often people visit your site and how long they stay on each page. You can also track the source of the visits, such as if they came from a blog post or an ad.
This information will be invaluable when it comes to improving your portfolio and making it more successful in terms of attracting clients.
By keeping track of all this data you can see what pages are working well and which ones need improvement.
I won’t be diving into the weeds of Google Analytics or how to set it up because there are many tutorials out there but once you set it up, the easiest metric you can take a look at is the average session duration for both desktop and mobile.
The longer duration the better because that will mean users are taking the time to look at your photos.
For example, my portfolio of only ~10 photos has an average session duration of 1 minute which is an improvement for my own portfolio which lets me know people aren’t leaving the portfolio quickly because the images aren’t loading or because they aren’t resonating with my portfolio.
Although we are photographers, it’s important to look at the business and marketing side of UX, pagespeed, and session duration to make sure our portfolios are successful.
By paying attention to these details, you can be sure that your portfolio will be well received by potential clients and you’ll have an easier time getting more business in the future. Good luck!