Give Your Photos a Home: Starting Your Photography Website on a Platform That Best Suits You

Give Your Photos a Home: Starting Your Photography Website on a Platform That Best Suits You

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.

No need to be techy to manage self-hosted WordPress website, though, as many web hosting companies offer one-click installation and there’s no coding skill required to run a self-hosted WordPress website. That said, being techy helps if you’re like me who wants to customize the look and feel and function of your website to the finest details by editing HTML, CSS, PHP and JavaScript, as self-hosted WordPress is the only platform mentioned here that lets you have full control from beginning to end.

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. ;)

Selling Photography Print with Fotomoto (with Brief Fotomoto Review)

Selling Photography Print with Fotomoto (with Brief Fotomoto Review)

I’ve now started selling print and digital download on demand directly on this little space online, using a print fulfillment service called Fotomoto . I’m not sure whether there is any demand at all, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, so I’m quite happy that I’ve finally got it started! Today, I’ll review a few options to sell prints online (with brief Fotomoto review at the end).

Free and Easy but No Control: Redbubble and Society6

I see some people using a service like Redbubble and Society6 to sell prints and other printed items. This is probably the easiest (and also cheapest, i.e. free) way, but not quite ideal for me cos I wanted to sell on my own website and have the full control over how the page looks, etc. I know this is typically me, the perfectionist. ;)

Built-in One Stop Solution: Smugmug and Zenfolio

If you still don’t have your own website, starting one with Smugmug or Zenfolio is a good idea. 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. You can also opt to use a custom domain, and SmugMug even allows full customisation of HTML and CSS (no JavaScript, though) while Zenfolio’s customisation is somewhat limited.

The reason I didn’t go with these built-in one stop solution is that I already have my self-hosted website (proudly powered by WordPress). Setting up another website with e.g. SmugMug simply defeats the purpose of having this website, and I also was reluctant to switch my alliance to SmugMug because coding with WordPress is my another passion!

Fotomoto Review: Turning Photography Website into Print on Demand Store

So I went to find a solution within WordPress and came across Fotomoto plugin that lets me sell print and digital download right on my own WordPress powered website for free of charge (there are also two tiers of paid plans called Pro and Pro Plus ). Just like SmugMug and Zenfolio, it handles printing and shipping for you, too. With Fotomoto, you can easily turn your photography website into a print on demand store, whether it’s run on self-hosted WordPress like mine, or Google Blogger, Tumblr, Squarespace and many more (see the full list of supported platforms ).

Brief Fotomoto Review

1. Canvas print and card arrived perfectly packed. Upon ordering, it took only 6 days (from U.S. to Singapore) to receive this canvas print (shipped by FedEx).
2. Upon unboxing the package, canvas print was securely sealed by plastic. Excellent protection.
3. I’m 100% satisfied with its print quality (orders made on Fotomoto are always printed by California based Bay Photo). The colours between screen and print are closely matched, which is a good reassurance for me and anyone interested to buy prints.

If you’re interested, feel free to check how Fotomoto works live on my newly-created print pages (N.B. I’ve disabled Fotomoto on mobile devices as it’s unlikely for anyone to buy prints on phone, so please access the page on your computer or tablet)! Or, Contact Me for any feedback or questions, as always. ;)

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