Is photography your passion?
Has the thought of sharing your snaps online ever crossed your mind, but you don’t know where to start?
You can share your passion with millions of people around the globe using a blog. Linking that blog to social media and promoting it to others via the use of hashtags can circulate your work more quickly than you imagine!
Humans upload vast quantities of images to the internet. According to Business Insider, we’re sharing an astonishing 1.8 billion photos every single day!
With such a large number, it is true that standing out from the crowd is a challenge.
However, many photographers have established themselves online via the process of blogging and social media. There is always room for more photos and art in the world and people are always looking to discover new work from new people.
To follow in the steps of other’s success, you will require a strategy that involves starting a blog. There is much to learn about this, so let’s get cracking.
Below is a detailed guide on how to start a photography blog!
Why Get a Blog?
Starting a blog allows you to share your photography with a whole new audience – the biggest audience in existence. It’s a surefire way to kickstart a photography career or build your own portfolio for yourself and others to reference.
If you are a professional photographer then a blog is vital. Your blog acts as a calling card that you can refer people to see examples of your work. Blogs are an amazing marketing tool for people to find the services you offer and for you to get new clients.
Owning a website and/or blog allows you to put your flag in the ground of your own personal space on the internet. Your blog says “look, I’m out here doing business!” It’s a statement of intent, a motive to take your career to the next level.
Just like any modern-day business, any serious professional photographer needs to have an online presence and a photography blog is the perfect way to do that.
If photography is more of a hobby than a profession it’s still a great idea to start a blog. Your blog allows you to share your work all in one place, get feedback and improve your skills. Just because you’re a recreational photographer doesn’t mean that people don’t want to see your work! Many amateurs and recreational photographers become much-loved and endeared by their followers.
You might even find your blog attracting more high-profile attention – it could act as the gateway to professional work.
You probably already share your photography with your family and friends but you might want to start sharing it with the whole world too. A blogging platform is an ideal way to do that.
You can write about photography, sharing your ideas and knowledge.
If your photography blog starts to gain web-traffic then you can consider monetization through advertising, promoting products, or even selling courses or digital guides.
By creating useful content, you can establish yourself as a key authority or influencer. You can add and promote your blog via social channels to drive traffic to your blog.
It could be a great way to make some supplementary income and could even turn into a full-time business. Many people make an excellent full-time living from photography blogging alone.
General or specific niche?
You can create a general photography blog that covers all types of photography or if you specialize in a specific subcategory you can build your blog around that niche.
Select a unique photography style or specific photography skill, specializing in a particular niche makes you an expert in that field. Below are what to consider when selecting your niche.
- Does the field excite you?
- Are you familiar with the field?
- Do other individuals have an interest in the field?
- What will make you unique?
Some of the photography niches that you can consider include;
- Black and white
- Digital darkroom/editing
- Abstract and street art/graffiti
- Photomontage and collage
- Wedding photography
You may already have a photography style or technique that you consider your own – your signature style.
It’s worth considering how you can fine-tune your style for a wider audience. You might need to revisit your work and optimize your images, adding final touches where necessary. Think critically about your work – what can you do to prepare it for a wider audience?
Organization is also key. You’ll need to sort out your catalogs and archives and prepare them for upload. Make sure everything is neatly organized and ready to go. Label the photos you’ll be uploading so you can recall them later.
Choose your domain name
The perfect domain name should be catchy, memorable, and representative of you or your brand. You could use your own name or give your blog a specific name.
Your domain name should be unique so whatever name you come up with, you should cross-check it to ensure no one else has the same name.
When developing your domain, you should ensure that no hyphens are involved. They are arguably used to indicate spam and this might have a negative impact on your blog.
With domain names, you can either buy them from your chosen hosting company or use a different domain registrar like Namecheap. When you get it from the host company you typically register and host your site all in one place.
However, if you use a separate domain registrar, you will have to register and manage your own domain. Numerous hosts usually give the domain name for free with a plan for you to purchase a hosting plan.
Registering a domain
You can go to NameCheap or GoDaddy to search for your desired domain name. This will essentially be your blog name, so choose something memorable! It’s hard to go back without purchasing a new domain name, so put some serious time and thought into it. If you own social accounts then it’s prudent to think about how your brand strategy can align across every channel you use. For example, your blog will need to carry some connection to your YouTube and Instagram IDs so people recognize you as you.
Many domain names are already registered, especially “.com” domains so you need to check your name’s availability first.
Visit one of the sites and type the domain you want into the search box and it will tell you if it is available.
Unsurprisingly the .com domain is taken for my name:
But the domain ending in “.photography” is available so I could choose that if I wanted to:
After getting your domain name you can get going with creating your blog:
Picking a platform
Your website requires a platform from which you’ll manage it. This platform is a program that runs your site through a hosting server.
There are two main options here.
You can go with a self-hosted WordPress site which will take a little bit of setup work (don’t worry I’m going to walk you through the process!). WordPress is easier to use than ever but it does have a reasonably steep learning curve.
There are many advantages of using WordPress including:
- It powers almost 75 million websites globally
- 3% of entire websites use it
- It has 40 different languages for use
- It has numerous 3rd party resources and a large support community
- Far more customizable,
- Unlimited design possibilities
- Hundreds of helpful plugins to use
- Better for SEO and marketing in general
The second option is Wix.
Wix is easier to use for a novice and you can create a site with its Drag & Drop site builder. The drawbacks are it is limited in what you can achieve and is not seen as being very SEO friendly (it’s going to be harder to get people to visit the site via search engines such as Google).
WordPress has near-limitless expandability and crucially, it’s free. Wix and other site builders like Shopify and Squarespace charge monthly fees. WordPress is unquestionably the cheapest and most flexible option, but it can be a little bewildering to technophobes!
Ultimately, the competition between all of these web platforms is very high and as such, the standards are also very high. You can’t go wrong with WordPress or Wix.
WordPress Setup Guide
Setting up your site on WordPress takes a little bit of effort but in my opinion, it is worth it in the long run. I’m now going to talk you through the steps to make it as simple as possible.
1. Choosing a theme
Unless you are a web designer, it is a good idea to purchase a pre-built theme for WordPress. This just means someone has already built the website and you can just add your own text, images, and logo to make it your own blog.
Here are some super themes that we recommend for a photography blog:
Or search for a theme on Theme Forrest: https://themeforest.net/category/wordpress/creative/photography
Look for a theme that fits your photography aesthetic. For modern photography, a contemporary and minimalist theme might fit best. For wedding photography, you could go for something a little more classic.
2. Finding a hosting company
Key things to look for in a good host are reliability, security, uptime, customer service, and price.
I have used many hosts in my time and have found the best ones to host a WordPress blog to be WPX Hosting or Siteground. This website is hosted on WPX and I have other sites with Siteground so these recommendations are based on my personal experience.
3. Update domain nameservers
To use your domain with your hosting you will need to update the nameservers so they point at your host. This is really easy to do, you can just follow these guides:
You could also just buy the domain from the hosting company if you want to.
4. Install WP
Both WPX and Siteground have easy “One Click” WordPress installation options. Just follow these guides:
5. Set up WP – install your theme
Once WordPress is set up you need to install your theme. When you bought the theme you will have received it as a file, now you need to upload that file by logging in to WordPress and going to Appearance > Themes:
Then click “Add New” then “Upload Theme”.
Then click “Choose File” and select the file you received when you bought the theme:
Then click “Install Now”.
There are many thousands of plugins for WordPress which allow you to do an enormous amount of different things. Ultimately, it’s down to you to decide which ones you need. There are some we would recommend installing from the beginning of your WordPress journey:
- WordFence – keeps your site secure
- UpdraftPlus – allows you to keep backups of your site
- Yoast – helps with your website SEO
Plugins that are great for photography blogs include;
- Lazy load
- NextGEN gallery
- Flickr Feed gallery
- Smash Balloon Instagram feed
Some of these plugins will compress your images (within reason) to keep page load times down. You want a slick and fast site that doesn’t take ages to load. There’s simply no need to upload huge images to a website, massive images are only necessary for printing large high-def photos.
7. Add your content and images
You now should have a WordPress site set up with a theme installed so it is time to add your own text and images to the site. If you are using one of the themes we suggested it is easy to just upload your photographs and start creating your photography portfolio.
Many themes will have a portfolio section built-in. Various themes have different features for semi-automatic drag-and-drop and ‘codeless’ page creation, so uploading your work shouldn’t be too difficult!
Wix Setup Guide
Setting up Wix is simple; just go and sign up for an account here.
A word of warning; do not use the free Wix account as your website will not be on a proper domain it will be on a Wix subdomain (yoursite.wixsite.com).
Your site will also have ads on it with the free account. You don’t want this, it looks really unprofessional!
Check the full free versus professional Wix account differences here:
Once you are signed up it’s really easy to either use the domain name you have purchased or choose a domain name, through their own platform with a free domain for Combo plans and above.
You can then either use one of their premade themes and just load your text and images onto it or if you are feeling adventurous you can build a site from scratch. Both are done using their easy to use drag and drop editor:
Other Blog Platforms
Although we would advise going with either WordPress or Wix there are a few other options available such as:
- Movable type
Photography is a highly visual art form and for this reason, visitors expect to see a website that is nice looking with sharp images. Starting off with high-quality images is essential and the way they are displayed is critical to the success of your website.
- Use JPEG format files – they will load quicker
- Editing is required prior to uploading
- Crop the photographs to perfectly fit the website
- Use photo editing programs
- Never upload originals
- Forget to save the originals prior to editing
Promotion and marketing
Next up, you’ll need to think about SEO. For those that don’t know, SEO stands for ‘search engine optimization’. It’s the process of tuning and optimizing your site for Google and other search engines.
The tricky thing is, the internet is formed by mostly text. Images are also crucial, but Google primarily uses text to read and understand what your website is about.
In short, you’ll need to add plenty of text to your blog in addition to images. Writing posts and content is crucial – we’ll cover this in a moment.
In order to understand your site and pages, search engines analyzer the words that are on your pages. Therefore, you should use the title, heading, alt tags, and meta description in a logical manner that is also descriptive.
Write text about your work, your process, and your equipment. Add an ‘About Me’ or ‘Biography’ section too.
You can install Yoast as mentioned earlier which will allow you to change your page titles and meta descriptions easily. Yoast SEO will help guide you towards better on-page SEO. Write text about your work, your process, and your equipment.
Ideally, you should do some keyword research for any blog posts you intend to write, you can use SEMRush for this. SEMRush let’s you research content ideas and things to write about. The general idea is to provide value for internet users. What insight can you give? What secrets do you have to share? What can you help people solve? What challenges do you overcome in your work? These are all content ideas that you can elaborate on in blog posts.
You should assign image titles and alt-text to every photograph in order to increase rankings. Text that is relevant to your niche can promote rankings in search engines as well as complementary content to increase readership.
Using Social Media
Blog and social media work together in harmony.
If you aren’t using Instagram already then get involved. Instagram is the world’s biggest photo-sharing platform. It’s absolutely superb for photographers and is pretty much essential for anyone in the creative industries.
Instagram is exceptionally easy to use. Anyone can sign up and start posting their photos to Instagram. By posting your work to the platform, you can use hashtags to connect to your audience.
Some basic photography hashtags include the likes of:
You can also add niche-specific hashtags to your posts:
Try posting a photo up to Instagram now with some of those hashtags. You’re guaranteed to get two things:
This is where your social media journey begins. It’s addictive but serves an important and sincere purpose. The satisfaction of sharing your work with others around the world will motivate you to progress in your photo blogging journey!
Linking Social Media to Your Blog
But how can you point your social media account to your blog?
One of the easiest ways is to add your website to your social media bios. This provides a quick and easy link from your social media accounts to your website.
You should also consider making a Facebook account for your photography blog. You can post updates of your blog to your social media. For example, you can screenshot your photography blog post and post it to Instagram with a call to action that requests people visit your site.
If you want to add multiple links to your bio then you can use a tool like LinkTree. This allows you to link several links/accounts into one.
Another tip worth mentioning is using Facebook groups for networking purposes. There are hundreds of Facebook groups dedicated to photography and other creative work. You can join them and find tons of useful tips and guides, plus opportunities to share your blog.
A blog is an amazing way to share your photography with the world and in the case of commercial photography can also be a great way to get some business.
Here are some general tips:
- Use high-quality images but optimize them for web-usage
- Make sure your images a correctly sized and are Jpegs
- Make sure your website is easy to use
- Have clear contact information on your website
- Blog regularly on interesting and helpful topics
- Make sure your content is high quality
- Use social media to share your photography and blogs
- Think about who your audience is and write for them
- Engage with your audience (answer comments, social posts, emails etc)
One of the key points is to have some sort of commercial angle if you’re looking to sell your work. You might want to raise awareness of your service (e.g. in the case of a wedding photographer) in which case your work is designed to win you leads.
You may also want to monetize the site itself. You could also look into drop shipping prints and other merchandise, or selling your own personal prints and artwork in limited edition or handmade runs.
Your blog may be a way to get people to see your work and hire you as a photographer, if that is the case you may not want or need any extra income. But if you’re looking for other ways to monetize your work then there are several ways you earn extra money from your blog.
Once you have a reasonable amount of traffic coming to your blog you can try the following monetization methods:
- Putting display ads on your site. You can use AdSense for this.
- Using affiliate marketing to receive commissions on products and courses you promote.
- Creating a digital product that you can sell on your website.
- Creating a mailing list and selling products to them.
- Selling physical products on your site.
You can promote your products on social media, Facebook groups, and even locally via flyers.
With some creative thinking, solid work, proactivity, and willingness to engage with others via Facebook groups and Instagram, it’s certainly possible to create a useful and profitable photography blog from scratch.
So that’s it! It’s really not difficult to create a successful blog for photography, the only thing left to do now is to get started and create a blog. We wish you luck and hope to read it soon!