How to Create a Photography Portfolio Website for Free?
You are a photographer and want to have your own website, but you don’t have a big budget to hire a web designer. I have great news for you! You don’t have to be a web designer or a programmer to create your own website. Even a photographer, just like you, can make a website.
In this tutorial I will teach you how to make your own photography portfolio without knowing any programming language. The maintenance of your website will be easy too so you don’t really need any prior experience to get started, edit and maintain your website.
To build your photographer website for free you will need to use WordPress. This is an open source software, available for free download and it can be used for any type of website, including portfolio sites. You can download it from WordPress.org and install it to your web hosting server.
While the website building itself won’t cost you money, you will still have to spend some for web hosting service. You could go for a free host, but I would advise you against it, because free hosting servers are unreliable and your website could be unavailable right when your potential client would like to browse your photography portfolio.
Additionally, to have a more professional looking website, you can buy a premium theme for WordPress, but this is only optional. There are many free portfolio themes out there that will do the job if you don’t want to spend a lot.
Ok, so here are the main important steps for creating a photography portfolio website:
- Buy cheap web hosting and domain name
- Install and configure WordPress
- Upload your photos and create your online portfolio
Now I will show you step-by-step how to do it!
Buy Hosting and Domain for Photography Website
There are many good hosting providers out there, but mostly I like BlueHost, when it comes to WordPress hosting. BlueHost is one of the top hosting companies, which is hosting over two million websites on their web servers. Most of these websites are built with WordPress.
The official developer team of WordPress.org also recommends BlueHost as best WordPress host. So if you are planning to build your photography site using WordPress, BlueHost is for sure a good option. Here are few reasons why you should sign up with this company.
BlueHost offers great hosting service and excellent online support available 24×7 by phone, live chat and email. BlueHost is also very affordable, their smallest plan starting at only $3.95 monthly and includes the following features: 50GB web space, unmetered data transfer, one free domain and allows hosting one site. The Basic plan is perfect for hosting a single WordPress portfolio site. If you believe that you will want to create more than one site, you should choose the Plus plan which allows hosting unlimited domains.
If you don’t have a domain yet, I recommend registering one for free at BlueHost, because this will work instantly. If your domain is registered elsewhere, you will have to change name servers and add it to your BlueHost account. This is not complicated, but you will need to figure out how to do it.
To get started with BlueHost is easy; I will explain you below how to install WordPress to BlueHost.
Install and configure WordPress for your Portfolio Website
Why you should be using WordPress for building your photo portfolio website when there are other tools that are specially developed for this purpose. Well, it is true that there are many tools that allows you to quickly make a portfolio site, but these are limited in functionality. With these tools you can expand your site as far the system allows you.
With WordPress you can add extra features to your site anytime. You are not limited to the core functionality and features that comes with WordPress. With the use of different plugins or custom themes you can expand your site easily.
The installation of WordPress to BlueHost is straightforward. Once you get access to your account at BlueHost, in the control panel look for the WordPress icon and just click it. This will take you to a page, where you will have to choose the domain where your website will be installed, you will have to provide website title, email address, admin login info and finish the installation by clicking the Install button. This will take couple of minutes, but everything is automatic, so you don’t have to mess with uploading files and creating database.
Here is a short walkthrough video of how to install WordPress to BlueHost:
Building Your Photography Portfolio Website
Once WordPress is installed to your domain, comes the fun part. You will need to access the admin dashboard of your website by accessing the yourportfoliosite.com/wp-admin URL. Here you will need to login with the username and password you set on installation.
The control panel of WordPress looks like this:
In the left side of the screen you will find all the basic functions where you can add new pages and posts, install plugins, change design and make changes to your website.
So the first thing you will want to do is to change the default theme. You will need to access the Appearance > Themes page. Click on the Add New button and perform a quick search for the keyword portfolio or photography. Here you will find lots of professional themes for free. Select the theme you like, install it to your site and set as default theme.
Most themes come with customizer tool, which enables you to change logo, background, font styles, colors, basically the most important parts of the design, without the need of touching the code.
After you are done with customizing the design of your site, go to Settings > Permalinks page to enable user friendly links. Choose the link structure you like most, I recommend choosing “Post Name”.
Now, that the URLs are nice and clean, you can start adding content. First, you will have to create the general pages such as about, contact, terms and other. For this you will need to access the Pages > Add New menu item. Add the text, images, videos you want and hit the Publish button. You can always come back later and edit each page.
Now it is time to upload your beautiful images and create your portfolio. Some themes already include a portfolio section, while other will display the posts. Simply go to Posts > Add New, and start adding new posts. Upload one image to each post and set it to default image. Most themes will crop the image for you, so you don’t have to worry about resizing your photos. Keep in mind that before you are going to upload any photo, you should save it to web format and do not upload them in original file-size. It is important to reduce your images to make your website load faster.
Now if you choose the theme I did, your website will look something like this:
If the theme you choose does not offer enough features, you can add plugins to your website on the Plugins > Add New page. Just like with the themes, here you can also search for plugins and install them directly to your site for no cost. Probably you will want to install a contact form plugin to be able to display a form on your contact page, a SEO plugin for having more control over your website optimization, or other plugin that you might find useful.
In this tutorial I showed you how easy is to create a photography website with WordPress. If you have any experience with HTML and CSS it can be very useful for customizing your website’s design, but this is not required. You can create a site from A to Z with no programming knowledge at all.
Hope that my guide has helped you!