As an aspiring photographer, you may be regularly posting photos on places like Facebook, Instagram or Flickr, but those places aren’t really called “your website”, and you shouldn’t be building your photography home on “rented land”, i.e. platforms that you have no control over. Hence, if you still don’t have your website, getting it setup is your best next move. But, who should you host your website with? Well, it depends what you want.
For Photo Blogging
If your main purpose is photo blogging, with no plan of scaling up (e.g. selling prints, starting workshops, etc.), you can sign up with a platform like Tumblr or WordPress.com for free. They have quite a number of photography themes (i.e. templates) to choose from, so you should be able to find the one you love.
For Selling Photography Prints
If you want to sell photography prints on your own website, signing up with services like SmugMug or Zenfolio is your best option. It’s not free, but they let you host a website with a built-in print on demand store that handles printing and shipping for you. These platforms are made solely for photographers and let you focus on what matters most to photographers, i.e. taking photography, and you can leave all the rest for them to handle. I’d probably have signed up with one of these services if I had not started my website with self-hosted WordPress which I’ll talk about next.
Going Beyond Photo Blogging and Selling Photography Prints
If you’re aiming to scale up and do much more than photo blogging and/or selling prints (e.g. starting a photography business, running workshops and letting participants book and pay online, running online courses and creating members-only protected pages with login feature, etc.), self-hosted WordPress (WordPress.org ) is your go-to platform.
Don’t get mixed up with the aforementioned WordPress.com which is a free blogging platform (I know this always confuses people!). Self-hosted WordPress is a content management system that you need to install on a web server by purchasing a web hosting plan (USD100 or less a year) with a hosting company like Bluehost and manage your theme and plugins updates by yourself.
So, what do you choose? Once again, it depends what you want, but I’d like to encourage you to start a photography website if you still don’t have one yet. I’m sure your fun will be doubled (photography + your own website)! As always, feel free to Contact Me for any questions. ;)