Launching a photography portfolio site is an absolute necessity to get your work out there. But it’s not a task that everyone wants to deal with.
That’s why platforms like Squarespace can be so valuable. It lets you create your own portfolio site geared towards photography where you can add photos quickly and organize the layout with ease.
If you’re a photographer with little-to-no technical background then the Squarespace photography setup is an excellent choice. Let’s delve a bit deeper into how Squarespace works and what makes it so great for professional photography websites.
The process of actually building & launching a portfolio site is much easier on Squarespace. Everything is managed internally so you’re only working with their platform.
Their detailed guide covers the entire setup process but I’ll quickly break it down into bite-sized chunks.
With Squarespace you can literally do everything in one place so you don’t need multiple accounts to manage domains, emails, or hosting via different companies. You can manage all this stuff from one clean Squarespace dashboard.
Once you learn how to use the system you’ll be surprised how versatile it is. You can do so much from Squarespace and it really doesn’t take much effort.
Best all of their pricing is basically in line with any other “beginner” hosting setup—but with twice the power and tons of extra features.
But you’re probably wondering what exactly comes with a Squarespace portfolio so let’s take a look at that.
Every site you host through Squarespace comes with incredible security and lightning fast hosting. That’s a given.
Here are some of the best Squarespace features for photographers:
With Squarespace you also get access to a free portfolio app for iPhone and iPad.
Using this portfolio app you can easily customize your portfolio, add/remove items from your gallery, and update the content of any page. This is great for photographers on-the-go who might snap a few photos and wanna upload them immediately to their website.
The Squarespace team also put together a massive knowledgebase with information about pretty much everything. You can search for any topics you like and find answers to common questions you’ll likely have during the process. Also, Squarespace has award-winning 24×7 support, so you can reach out anytime for help with any hangups you may have.
What it all comes down to is ease of use and reliability. Squarespace is a trusted company and they cater to many businesses, creative professionals included.
There are plenty of benefits from using Squarespace and you’ll still be paying comparable prices for any other website setup tool. This is why they’re a strong choice for photographers who just need to get a website online.
With Squarespace you have dozens of fully responsive templates at your disposal with a whole slew of customization options. This means you can update the fonts, colors, and general styles which make a big impact on the user experience.
If you’re launching a photography portfolio then you’ll really want to spend time picking a great template. With so many options it can be tough knowing where to start, but I’ll share a few that work especially well for photography portfolios.
This first example is the Forte template with a large fullscreen background. This is designed as a slideshow where you can add multiple photos, but I typically like just one large photo that links into the site.
The top navigation links are super easy to browse and they’re crisp enough to check out these pages at a glance. You always have the option to add dropdown menus or increase font sizes too.
Plus Forte comes with a custom gallery that looks beautiful on any page. Squarespace has detailed descriptions for each of their templates, and you can easily change templates later on, so don’t worry.
Now if you’d like a template with more presentation space check out Flatiron. It uses a grid-based layout with a responsive masonry grid to organize your photos into a clean homepage.
The design still relies on top navigation links with clear text and strong colors. The nav links are clearly in view at all times, even on mobile devices. And the page is designed to load quickly with Ajax technology when possible.
If you like smooth page loading animations then you’ll really like this template. It is fully compatible with non-JS browsers so it’s also a stable choice for accessibility.
Also the homepage style is quite unique and one of the best for drawing attention from visitors. It uses multiple photos in a grid to immediately draw attention to the work. You can fill this up with your best photographs and get people digging deeper into your work.
If you like this grid design but want a more structured approach take a peek at the Avenue template.
This also has a grid-based layout but the photos are fixed to certain sizes. Each thumbnail leads to a new page with photosets where you can add dozens of photos showcasing a new project.
Whether you’re a nature photographer, wedding photographer, or even a generalist it’s wise to create albums of similar photos. And with the Avenue theme it’s surprisingly simple.
Notice all of these themes have very similar design aesthetics. White backgrounds, clean text, and plenty of space for images. These are the features you should be scouting when choosing a theme for your site.
Custom Squarespace templates make a huge difference compared to alternatives. You can get your site up and running within a day using Squarespace’s template library and powerful editing features.
And these are only my 3 personal favorites that work well for photographers. If you’d like to see the whole collection check out their templates library.
To wrap up let’s take a peek at some quality portfolio sites of professional creatives. These are all managed by Squarespace and it goes to show how much freedom you have for customization.
The portfolio of Jeff Rogers offers a fantastic look at what a fullscreen background can do for your homepage. It immediately places attention right onto the visuals and you have full control to decorate that page as you like.
From your professional work to various photos of yourself or your cameras. The options are basically endless. And Jeff knows how to take advantage of this style on his homepage.
You can find a slightly different strategy on the homepage of Samm Blake, an Australian photographer currently based out of Brooklyn.
Her portfolio relies more on square thumbnails and photos organized into a clean grid system. This might work better if you have lots of photographs you wanna show off to visitors.
I personally like visiting portfolios like this. It follows the “show don’t tell” rule and it’s clearly apparent what Samm does for work. Notice the design is also a bit different with a side vertical navigation rather than links at the top.
But this can work amazingly well if you capitalize on the space. Make sure you have enough photographs to fit into the portfolio and use the page well. Your prospective clients will thank you for it.
Now if you take this layout and combine it with custom color styles you can work towards a portfolio homepage like Michael Steven Forrest.
This design uses a top navigation bar and the homepage portfolio covers a broad range of work. This design works great for Michael because it showcases all of his design & photography work at once.
The blue color blends nicely between photos so it creates a strong contrast against the white background. But as you click further into his portfolio you’ll find full-color images. The homepage is the only strongly designed page and it leaves one heck of an impression.
All of these portfolios are fairly minimalist but none are perfect. Each person needs to decide what type of site they want and how they’d like to present their content to the world.
But these ideas can help you brainstorm how to approach the design for your own portfolio.
If you’re a photographer (or working to become one) and you don’t have a portfolio online then you’ll definitely want to launch one. The only question is how to get it online.
The reason Squarespace works so well is because it’s newbie-friendly and caters to non-technical users. Photographers might know a lot about Adobe Photoshop for retouching, but that doesn’t mean they’ll know anything about Apache servers or PHP/MySQL coding.
With Squarespace you don’t need to worry about any of that. You can just focus on your work and let Squarespace get it out there to the world.
To get started visit the photography tour page and join the hundreds, if not thousands of other photographers already running their sites on Squarespace. Try Squarespace free for 14-days. No credit card required. When you’re ready to subscribe be sure to use code VANDELAY for 10% off your first website or domain purchase.