November 30, 2022

Daniel Long

How to design a better photography website by identifying 7 potential problem areas

Image by Kevin Bhaga

Here are seven tell-tale signs that your website probably isn’t as effective as it should be

Photographers are not normally experts in website design (you’re likely too busy taking great photos), but there are a few key areas that you should keep a closer eye on when you decide to refresh or redesign your photography website.

These 7 areas can make or break a photography website and be the deciding factor between a successful website that your customers will love or a website that limits your customer's ability to view your images.

1. Your website looks dated, doesn’t work well on mobile, or doesn’t support HTTPS

These are no-brainers, so let’s get them off our list first: to be effective your photographer's website must look current and work well also on mobile.

A website that looks like it was built ten years ago will be a turn-off.

That doesn’t mean 10-year-old designs won’t cut it: some forms of minimalism are timeless. But if your website relies on design clues that were trendy in a certain past period, it will look old quickly and negatively impact your image. Think skinny jeans for men. (Conversely, if you don’t want to have to redo your website design frequently, go for simple, timeless styles!)

In this age, there is also no excuse for not having a website that works as well on mobile as it does on desktops. Depending on your niche, mobile might actually be the most important of the two!

Similarly, a website that doesn’t work fully under HTTPS (the lock icon next to its URL in a browser) is nowadays a show-stopper.

2. Does not let you sell/distribute images in all the ways you need

To a modern photographer, a website is not only a front window, it is a toolkit that helps in working with clients.

Good tools not only make your work better but also make you look professional in the eyes of the clients.

In turn, a good toolkit is made of tools that are individually fit for their own purpose, and that together help you face different kinds of jobs.

The same photographer might work with both high-end commercial clients and non-techy private customers, and those require different kinds of private galleries. The website should accommodate both.

If your website doesn’t provide the tools that cover most (all?) of your selling or delivery needs, it is a sign you need to look around for a better, more flexible solution!

Photo by Cherrydeck

3. Does not support video clips natively

Photographers are more and more expected to produce video clips just like they produce still images.

Websites for professional photographers (should we say “multi-media content creators”) should therefore handle both types of media, seamlessly.

What good is there in private proofing and delivery galleries if they can’t include video clips that are part of the same job as the photos?

4. Customers need help using your website

Your website should help save you time and reinforce your professionalism. This requires that it not only looks the part but also provides a smooth experience to your clients.

This includes design choices (simple trumps clever), as well as a good User Interface for the proofing or commerce parts.

Some customers are less comfortable with modern technology than others. But if a significant number of your clients call for help using your website or express frustration with it, that is a clear red flag!

5. It is slow to load, hasn’t been updated in years, or you worry about its reliability and security

Your website’s behind-the-hood ins and outs might not be immediately visible to your customers, but they are important:

A slow site not only will perform worse in Google but will also alienate busy clients.

A site whose security isn’t actively managed will ultimately be harmful, and similarly, a platform that isn’t kept up to date will end up failing.

So if your website is slow, or if you are not certain that your website is kept both secure and technically up-to-date, it is time to find a more robust alternative and enjoy more piece of mind!

Photo by Ilya Pavlov

6. It doesn’t have a good watermarking facility or isn’t integrated with Pixsy

Image theft is unfortunately all too common and a major issue in certain niches, like event and stock photography.

Your website should therefore let you not only effectively deliver high-res files, but it should also ensure that those files are well protected and that the images shown on the website cannot be abused.

Good, customizable watermarks are a key component in that, and having your website integrated with usage tracking systems like Pixsy certainly can be a big help in identifying and monetizing abuses!

7. Your provider takes a commission on your sales

Website providers are not agencies or representatives: they do not bring you new clients or new sales. They merely offer a product, in the form of a technology platform that allows you to work more effectively.

Camera manufacturers don’t take commissions on your sales, your website provider shouldn’t either.

Perhaps consider a platform like PhotoDeck? As an integration partner of Pixsy, PhotoDeck is a platform to create websites for photographers and agencies that help professionals look good, save time and sleep better. With extensive client proofing and e-commerce feature sets, a strong focus is put on flexibility and speed.

Daniel Long

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