Photography Portfolio - Self-hosted or Flikr/WordPress/etc.?


jimoben

Link Posted 14/02/2017 - 15:40
Hi everyone, I'm looking to get started with my own online portfolio. Admittedly I'm not exactly at a very highest level of photography skill just yet, but the idea is to go for a professional look to my site. At some point I'd like to offer my services for events - weddings and such like - so I might as well lay the foundation for a site that will be attractive to potential clients now.

As I said in the title, my question is - in your experiences, is it worth it to set up your own website for this purpose, or would Flikr or some ready-made blogging platform do the trick? I'm really just looking for any personal experiences with this that you may have, to provide some inspiration - that would be great! Thanks in advance.

QuestionableCarrot

Link Posted 14/02/2017 - 16:10
you cant beat flickr and its storage space - all for free
Learn how to live and you'll know how to die; learn how to die, and you'll know how to live.

Check out ones photographs on Flickr!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/awprentice/

McGregNi

Link Posted 14/02/2017 - 16:25
I've started a 500px portfolio, which has a nice presentation, although I don't find the time to maintain it and certainly not to participate in the community aspects (liking and commenting, which is required to become known and popular). It would be a good way to showcase your work, although it you go pro then a dedicated marketing site would he needed I think.
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Last Edited by McGregNi on 14/02/2017 - 16:26

Mag07

Link Posted 14/02/2017 - 16:44
Personally, I think both. Granted, maintaining multiple profiles is time consuming; however, it seems to be part of the business, like it or not. A self hosted website comes across much more professional in the eyes of many; however, it does not give you that great of an exposure. It works for the same way for practically any profession/business. Ideally, you have your own site, linked to social profiles; in this case, I'd personally look away from Flickr and more towards 500px and other more serious amateur/pros solutions out there; not forgetting about Instagram as their reach is just beyond ridiculous (now that it's owned by Facebook, you can maintain profiles on both at the same time).

One thing to remember, the way social platforms work, regardless of which one you pick, you need to actively engage your audience and 'return' favours/likes. It's almost sad, but without networking, your exposure will be limited unless you are absolutely outstanding. Everyone else needs to work on it.

It's easiest to start with an account on a favourite social platform, and as you get comfy with it, start expanding your presence to your self hosted portfolio and/or other platforms.

Please bear in mind my advice comes not from strictly photography experience, but marketing and evolving a business over the past decade. That said, It does seem to work very well. Starting to apply it to my photography, as time allows, with very positive results as well.

You possibly need to ask yourself few questions before you proceed - what exactly are you aiming for? Will you be able to personally maintain a self hosted website - do you have the knowledge or the patience, or the time? Do you, or will you need a platform to sell your work? Can it be easily incorporated into your self hosted solution or would you rather have someone else provide the knowledge and platform for you to do so. Do you consider yourself an artist or are you more into practical photography? Do you just want to sell prints or would like to provide a service, or both? They may seem overwhelming, but starting some logical process of gaining exposures will save you time later, should you be successful in reaching your goals. If not, you loose nothing and gain platforms to show off your work, even if just for fun.

Just my 2 cents.
'Photography...it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten....' (Aaron Siskind)
Last Edited by Mag07 on 14/02/2017 - 16:46

jimoben

Link Posted 15/02/2017 - 08:51
Thanks for your responses everyone, there are some really useful thoughts and suggestions there! I hadn't really properly considered using multiple platforms, but now you mention it, it makes a lot of sense. I suppose each social channel will attract different types of audiences, too. In that case, 500px and Instagram sounds like a good idea.

Since yesterday I've also been thinking a little more about my own site. What do you reckon about building it using WordPress rather than from scratch? I have friends who seem to have made sites pretty easily using it, but not photography focused ones necessarily. Perhaps there are some good themes to use as a framework.

Also, on a basic technical point, what file format is most appropriate for a portfolio? Normally I don't pay so much attention to this because I'm not publishing images online, so they don't have to be compressed. I found this article pretty helpful on image compression, but I still can't quite work out whether JPEG or PNG would be best!

Mag07

Link Posted 15/02/2017 - 10:03
Hello, Wordpress is a great platform with an easy learning curve so definitely a solid choice. Simply visit a place like Themeforest and browse photography or portfolio themes - link The choice is great. One thing to pay attention to is the reputation of the author - checking their template portfolio and status in the community will save you a lot of hassle in case of issues.

As for format, JPGS - I personally save at max quality in Photoshop, then use a JPGMini program to losslessly compress the files before uploading them online. If you are using Wordpress, you can skip this last step as there are WP plugins that will do this for you upon upload or if you prefer: periodically perform the lossless compression on files on the server saving you space, and more importantly, keeping page loading times nice and quick
'Photography...it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten....' (Aaron Siskind)

Unlocker

Link Posted 15/02/2017 - 10:36
If you want to enter a professional market in the future and lay the foundations now, forget Flickr, 500PX etc. That is not how you run a professional photography business.

Find a business name now and ensure it its available as a .com & .co.uk and that it is also available for a Facebook page, twitter and instagram name. Normally "your name" .com is better than something along the lines of 'eternal light photography' etc. etc.

Get your professional logo / branding done now. This will be used on website / stationary / social media / wedding fairs etc.etc.

Concentrate on content on your professional website, probably Wordpress based as getting a great looking theme is easy, then you can share that content on social media.

Brides don't look at Flickr / 500px etc. for their photographer, it's websites / social media / word of mouth that gets the business and the more professional you look, the better.

Photography is not the main part of a photography business. Marketing and business acumen is.

The correct percentage of wedding photography for your website is either 0% or 100%. If you want to do corporate / family / fluffy bunnies etc. , get a different website for that and link to it. Image is everything in the wedding industry! Even if you want to be a 'Jack of all trades, master of none' it's best not to give that impression to a bride to be!

Oh, forgot to mention, if you're not a people person, stick to the day job!

WebsiteBlogGearTwitterFacebook

royd63uk

Link Posted 15/02/2017 - 10:55
Excellent comments from Danny
regards
Roy

Pentax K3 gripped,and some lenses
https://www.flickr.com/photos/pentaxroy/

my pbase gallery

paulcliff

Link Posted 15/02/2017 - 11:21
Unlocker wrote:
If you want to enter a professional market in the future and lay the foundations now, forget Flickr, 500PX etc. That is not how you run a professional photography business.

Find a business name now and ensure it its available as a .com & .co.uk and that it is also available for a Facebook page, twitter and instagram name. Normally "your name" .com is better than something along the lines of 'eternal light photography' etc. etc.

Get your professional logo / branding done now. This will be used on website / stationary / social media / wedding fairs etc.etc.

Concentrate on content on your professional website, probably Wordpress based as getting a great looking theme is easy, then you can share that content on social media.

Brides don't look at Flickr / 500px etc. for their photographer, it's websites / social media / word of mouth that gets the business and the more professional you look, the better.

Photography is not the main part of a photography business. Marketing and business acumen is.

The correct percentage of wedding photography for your website is either 0% or 100%. If you want to do corporate / family / fluffy bunnies etc. , get a different website for that and link to it. Image is everything in the wedding industry! Even if you want to be a 'Jack of all trades, master of none' it's best not to give that impression to a bride to be!

Oh, forgot to mention, if you're not a people person, stick to the day job!

on that note...your website is down

Great comments though, I've been toying with the idea of trying some professional work, it's all bit daunting to think about, I've started pushing family members with the idea of me doing a photo shoot with them and or their kids to begin with.
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/gp/cliffo88/513746

Unlocker

Link Posted 15/02/2017 - 11:44
paulcliff wrote:

on that note...your website is down

Lol, well spotted, it's a good job I'm not a professional photographer, as a professional you should update your site regularly, then you would spot things like this sooner!

On another serious note though because of this, BACKUP & SECURITY!!

Websites do get hacked, mine got hacked a while back and I think the reason it goes down occasionally is that I haven't completely got rid of everything bad, there are loads of wordpress plugins available for this.

I am planning to wipe my site and start from fresh though when I get the time! The work in progress is at http://www.dannyewers.co.uk using the Avada theme for those interested.

Also, make sure your site is mobile friendly first - this affects Google ranking and more web browsing is done on mobile devices now instead of desktops / laptops. If you are shopping for themes for Wordpress, responsive themes are what you are looking for.

Another tip: email address. Do not use 'johnsmithweddingphotography at gmail.com' do use something like 'john at john smith.com' one looks professional and considered, the other doesn't!

WebsiteBlogGearTwitterFacebook

johnriley

Link Posted 15/02/2017 - 14:33
Don't forget there's the Galleries on ePHOTOzine that show your work to a wide audience. I've been posting a picture a day for over 10 years now and have thousands of images on there. This is in addition to here, Facebook, Flikr, Twitter......and of course my own site.

Own websites don't have the same draw and I've been neglectful of mine. Currently I'm putting together a Wordpress site to replace it, but with other time pressures progress is slow. Getting people to visit it is something else, so do it for yourself first and foremost and make sure that it's linked to from all the other places you post, such as EPZ, Facebook, etc.
Best regards, John

richandfleur

Link Posted 15/02/2017 - 18:32
Great topic and replies everyone.

davidstorm

Link Posted 15/02/2017 - 21:29
I think what suits best is heavily dependent on what you are trying to achieve. Danny has given some excellent advice if you wish to run a professional photography business, but I suspect you are not looking to go down that route at present and just want to build an online portfolio?

I used to have my own website, but let it lapse because I'm not a Pro Photographer and didn't see good reason for investing the time, money and effort required to keep it up to scratch. I'm happy to post on here and on Flickr, in fact i use Flickr differently to a lot of people and just use it for my favourite images. I post on facebook occasionally and I do get asked to do photography work on a semi-commercial basis, but I strictly limit what I do and I generally do it free of charge, for enjoyment only.

So, I think it's 'horses for courses' so to speak.

Regards
David
My Website http://imagesbydavidstorm.foliopic.com

Flickr

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs

JAK

Link Posted 15/02/2017 - 21:50
I prefer to keep control of what I put online so rather than pay a regular fee or chance a free service I purchased a QNAP server and run a gallery on that using the open source Piwigo gallery software. I can do what I want, when I want with it.
I originally had the free BT web space but that didn't have a php facility and got closed down anyhow. Hence my purchase several years ago. Cost was not much more than 100 and I can upload directly over my local lan so quite convenient. A great learning tool too as without it I wouldn't have a clue about unix, php databases, forums and so on. I wouldn't recommend this route though for those not prepared to dabble into such matters as getting it set up right is far from straightforward and some of the provided default 'apps' were prone to being hacked (nothing serious.) However I don't risk those now.
John K
Last Edited by JAK on 15/02/2017 - 21:52

richandfleur

Link Posted 15/02/2017 - 22:21
It's a good point in terms of the long term. Flickr from memory was experiencing much less use than previous years, must google that for specifics.
500Px is interesting, but more for over saturated web viewing images
Commercially Instagram and Facebook still have significant reach.
There's no guarantee your image hosting site of choice, especially if free, will be there in 5 years.

Great stuff on the business side of things above. Agree a photography business requires more business work than photography, and that's something to really consider if this is going to be a professional undertaking at some stage.
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