8 Tips for Creating an Online Photography Portfolio

8 Tips for Creating an Online Photography Portfolio


Dreaming about a career as a professional photographer? With the right guidance, practice, skills, network, and portfolio, you can make your dream come true.

Developing the necessary skills required to be a professional photographer cannot easily be summed up in a single blog post, let alone many. And networking… well, if you are like most artists, that can be nightmarish, but nevertheless, is absolutely critical. As your referral network grows, so will your business. But that can take years.

So, you may ask yourself, how do I start?

BBB online portfolio

Step 1 – create your portfolio. This is a great starting point to help launch your career as a photographer.

Here are eight tips to get you on the right path to creating an online photography portfolio and securing those potential gigs.

1. Show off your work:

In other professions, people use their resumes to apply for potential jobs. However, as a photographer, your portfolio will act as the resume and will showcase the breadth of your work. It will give potential clients a deeper look into your particular forte and expertise.

2. Organize:

Site organization

Your breadth of work should be arranged according to theme or subject. If your work is presented in an organized and easy to navigate way, chances are, potential clients will appreciate the curation and level of professionalism that went into putting your portfolio site together. It also makes their lives a lot easier when looking through your work.

3. Show your best work:

Remember, this is your portfolio site, not your external hard drive. So, you want to make sure that only the best of the best goes up. No one needs to see every single thing you ever shot. Clients need to know what you are good at, so make sure to show only those images that truly count. You may also want to put your best work at the forefront of your site. Most clients are busy and don’t have the time to scan through every photo in all of your galleries, so make sure the work that you are most proud of is at the beginning of your photo galleries.


Often times photographers create beautiful sites and then wait around hoping that clients will see them. However, they forget that they need SEO (search engine optimization). How will anyone hire you, if they can’t find you in a search? Use a portfolio service that enables you to take control of your SEO, and includes search engine friendly URLs, crawl-able content, and unique meta tags. These features will drive traffic to specific places on your site and build links to more than just your homepage.

Seo friendly page names

5. Website Builder Versus Custom Website:

You may have good intentions to build your own custom portfolio site, wanting it to be a representation of your own unique brand. However, make your life easier and focus on your work, and leave the coding and technicalities to the professionals. Portfolio builder sites will take the guesswork out of the process and will allow you to quickly put together a working, professional site in a short amount of time, so that you can focus on creating and refining your photography.

6. Choose a platform that makes your life easier:

Nowadays, there are so many portfolio sites to choose from that it can be overwhelming. Some highlight cheap services, various levels of efficiency, and different features. For an aspiring photographer, you want a site that is easy to use, and has a large selection of customizable and flexible templates, so that the site you create truly reflects your personal branding and style. You may also want to use a site that includes unlimited photo proofing. As a professional photographer, you may find yourself uploading thousands of visuals, and you don’t want to be stuck paying for each upload. Stick to a platform that allows you to do this without charging exorbitant fees.

7. Choose a platform that makes your client’s life easier:

Look for a platform that makes it easy for potential clients to use. The platform you decide to go with, should make it easy for clients to navigate your portfolio using a desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone. Using a portfolio website service, with responsive design, will allow your clients to see your site perfectly formatted to their device. Also, if you plan a career as a commercial photographer, like focusing on weddings, kids, etc, you may want to give your clients the option to purchase certain images directly from your site. Look for a site that has a built-in e-commerce function that clients can use to easily choose and purchase the images they love.

8. Marketing:


Lastly, you want a site that helps you to connect all your social media pages with your portfolio site. This way, visitors can share your photos on social media platforms with just a click, allowing you to gain more visibility for your brand. You also want to look for a platform that helps you manage your client email list, so that you are ready and organized for sending mass emails.

It may at first seem overwhelming all the things you need to do to get your portfolio together. However, if you really sit down and get your plan together and choose the right portfolio website builder, you can create a beautiful, professional site in days. Now get out there and start putting your site together!

More tips on making a portfolio here:

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Julian Dormon is the Founder of BigBlackBag, specializing in professionally designed online portfolio websites perfect for photographers, artists, and other creative professionals. He's an amateur photographer and professional entrepreneur with a passion for all things beautiful.

  • Thanks for the tips. I created my website with smugmug. Many think that smugmug is just a portfolio site or to show off your work… But I have made it an actual website with tutorials and things also. EthanKPhotography.smugmug.com

  • Yes that’s a good option!

  • Bouchet Images

    I am also using Smugmug but I would not recommend it if you are serious about SEO. They limit the number of characters for the URLs to a very small number, create strange URL for pictures (not SEO-friendly at the picture level), and they block the Google crawl bot most of the time.
    I thought it was a great option for my portfolio when I started a few months ago, but after discovering these limitations, I will most likely move to a WordPress theme with my own hosting. That is if I want my work to be found…

  • Jason Brown

    I highly recommend Zenfolio – I use it myself for my own portfolio website at http://www.bardophotographic.com

  • Markus Will

    I’m using both. smugmug for presenting my whole Portfolio, and WordPress to present special areas of my work…


  • Arpit Aggarwal

    You can also use PicWiz. Found it to be quiet simple and quick:

  • Here’s a nice tutorial on how to create a portfolio website with WordPress 🙂


  • Thanks! I just finished creating my photography portfolio ! http://prasadbasavaraj.in. I did it on Justfolio platform (http://justfolio.com). What i love about it is its absolutely free! Hosting, Your custom domain linking…everything included! forever. No trail period or credit card information!

  • Arpit Aggarwal

    I found this convenient self-hosted solution which is really cheap and doesn’t charge monthly fees:

  • Sazb50

    online picture proof photography website hosting easy to use not a bas cost and their technical team help with anything that you want to change etc or are not sure of.

  • Olivia Green

    The layouts and interface on Zenfolio looks old now.
    Have shifted to Pixpa recently and the website is way too clean and elegant.

  • Jason Brown

    In many respects I agree with you – the default templates are very clunky and Zenfolio sites lack the shine of rival offerings. I ended up inserting my own HTML code into custom pages to get the look and feel I wanted. It’s a far from ideal solution but it has at least allowed me to apply some polish to Zenfolio. The problem I now have is that switching to another site would just be far too much work. Now if these sites offered some sort of migration tool, I might consider it…

  • Olivia Green

    Not sure about other platforms but Pixpa is one of the easiest yet most powerful platforms I’ve come across. You just need to add new albums and then photos, which is possible with just just a click.
    Also, there’s a design section where you can customize almost every element of the website.z
    Why don’t you try their 15 days free trial? They have 24 hours chat support may help you migrate from the old website.

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