I had no idea how to start a website. People were saying you needed a host and your own domain. “What is a host?”. It all seemed pretty technical.
You don’t need any technical IT skills to start your own website. I will show you how to make a photography website in the steps below. It will only take 4 minutes to have your website set up, then I’ll go over how to create a photography website design using templates.
By the end of it you can have a website that looks like this:
First let’s go over some basics on how to build a photography website.
The Tools We’ll Be Using: I’ll be showing you how to set up and make a photography website using WordPress. You can easily update and upload your photographs when you have it installed on your website. This will be easy to set up as Bluehost, the same web hosting account I use, installs Wordpress for you.
What is a Domain and Hosting: To set up your own photography site you are going to need a domain name. This will be in the form of a .com. A domain is your address on the web.
Hosting is where you store all of your files that you use for your website (photos, text, logos, etc.). Whenever someone visits your website, your host will send the files to their computer so they can view your website.
Your Hosting Account: The hosting company we are going to use is BlueHost. It’s the same one I use for this website, and for my home deign website Home Tree Atlas.
When you sign up with BlueHost you get a free .com domain name and they will install WordPress onto it for you. The plans range from $3-5 a month, depending on the length of the plan you get (12- 36 months). This is paid upfront to save you money. But you are not locked in. So if you want to cancel, BlueHost will refund you the months you haven’t used. Ministry of Canvas is an affiliate partner with Bluehost.
A Name for Your Photography Website: Even before you start creating your photography website, the first thing that you need is a name for your website – a name that you can register as a .com. If you don’t have one yet, you can check out my post here (How to Create Photography Name Ideas for Your Business or Blog).
Step 1. Photography Website Hosting Set Up
To get your photography website set up, head on over to the Bluehost sign up page, and select the starter plan:
On the next page we are going to enter our name for the website in the new domain section:
Then you’ll be asked to enter your account details.
On the same page there will be a package section where you get to select which plan you want to go with. As mentioned above, the longer the plan you go with, the cheaper it is month by month. This is all paid in one lump sum to save you money, but you are not locked in. If you decide to leave after a few months, Bluehost will refund you for ht months you haven’t used.
When it comes to the add ons, only go with the Domain Privacy Protection. This keeps your personal details private for your domain name.
There you have it – you have just created your photography website hosting account. The next step is to install WordPress, then get yourself a photography friendly design theme.
Step 2. Setting up WordPress
Once you have your web hosting set up, the next step is to install WordPress onto your domain name. This will only take a few minutes and is easy to do since Bluehost will do it for you.
Go ahead and log into your Bluehost account. Then click on the Install WordPress button:
Next click on the green Install button:
On the next page click on the Check Domain button:
If a warning comes up saying “installation directory is not empty” just check the box that says “OOPS! Looks like something already exists there!”
On the next page you’ll see a box that says Show Advanced Options. Click on the box and enter in the details for your blog. Once that is done check the box for “I have read the terms and conditions” and then click on the Install Now button.
Right now Bluehost is installing WordPress onto your new website. After a few minutes, you can visit your domain to see your new photography website.
The next step will be to install a WordPress theme that works well for showcasing photographs.
Step 3. Installing Photography Website Templates
In this next step I’ll show you how to design your photography website using WordPress templates.
WordPress themes and templates allow you to quickly design your website however you like. Some templates are better suited for corporate businesses and ecommerce or bloggers, while others are better for photographers. You’ll even be able to find templates suited to your style of photography, whether that be wedding photography, fashion or commercial photography.
WordPress has a lot of free website templates and themes. But you’ll want to opt for a paid theme as they include added features (full length sliders, portfolio pages, etc) and are designed a lot better. The average price for a premium theme is around $40-50.
One of the best places to shop around for themes is ThemeForest. Here are some of their best photography website templates:
Pond Photography Website Template $43 – available here
Core Photography Gallery Website Template $48 – available here
Berger Photography Portfolio WordPress Theme $16 – available here
Creative Market is another place to find elegant and simple website templates. On their site you can find a special section just for photographers here:
Here is a very versatile WordPress theme for photographers. It has a number of options on how you can show your photographs on a page – from gallery thumbnails, to vertical sliders – available here:
Once you have bought a theme, you’ll then be able to download the theme as a zip file. In the next step I’ll show you how to install the template onto your website.
Step 4. Installing a WordPress Template onto Your Photography Website
Once you have downloaded your theme as a zip file, you’ll then need to log into your photography website. You do this by going to your domain name and add /wp-admin to the end. So like this: www.mynewwebiste.com/wp-admin
Once you’ve logged in, on the left hand side you’ll see a tab that says Appearance. Hover over it, then click on Themes.
At the top of the next page click on Add New. Then on the next page click on Upload Theme (found at the top). Here is where you can upload your theme’s file.
Once it is uploaded, you’ll then need to activate your new theme.
Now you have a fresh, beautiful and professional photography website.
Step 5. WordPress Settings
There is just one more thing you need to do before you can start creating and posting to your portfolio website.
When you log into your website, go to the Settings tab on the left side and click on Permalinks.
When you create a new post on your website, WordPress will name the post as a number in the url – so you get something like this www.mynewwebsite.com/434232. Which isn’t good when it comes to search engines finding your website.
To change this, select Customs Structure and enter /%post_id%/%postname%/
Your New Photography Website
Now you are ready to start building your photography website.
Here are some other photography related posts: