10 tips to create a better online portfolio


As photographers, a well-designed online portfolio is one of your most powerful tools as a creative. Your online portfolio is your first impression, the poster child of your work, and a demonstration of your skills and capabilities to present your best work.  As the Portfolio Reviewer here at Shutterstock Custom, I’ve listed 10 tips on how you can create a better online photography portfolio that can lead to more opportunities, clients, and experiences. 

1. Defining your audience

This may be the most important question you should ask yourself before you start building your portfolio. Who do you want to see your work? Who is your audience? 

Are you a fashion & beauty photographer trying to showcase some of your recent editorials or a wedding photographer showing off some of your newest engagement sessions? You want this information to be clear when the viewer stumbles upon the first page of your online portfolio.

How you answer this question will be the fundamental starting point of your website.

2. Navigation

There is nothing worse than going to a website and getting lost. Sometimes, when you’re an inspired creative you can get a little carried away in providing too much in too many areas of your portfolio. 

Categorize the work on your website by grouping images together by genre or theme. Separating lifestyle images from your portraiture and babies and families from landscapes helps present a more clean and organized portfolio. 

Clients and visitors will ensure a much better user experience and appreciate the professionalism. The last thing you want to do is create frustration and have them click off your portfolio!

3. Visible contact information

You’ve worked hard to create build your portfolio - don’t make it difficult for people to contact you! I often come across stunning online portfolios with no visible contact information. Without that information, you are eliminating any chance for people to connect with you. Having this easily accessible will make you readily available for job opportunities and inquiries. 

4. About page

Your about page might be one of the most visited pages on your online portfolio. Visitors come to see your beautiful work, but they’re also intrigued with who you are as a shooter! Whether the about page is short and sweet or a lengthy bio, it gives the visitor a taste of your personality and brand.

5. Keep your website simple

There is no need to add unnecessary bells and whistles, fancy transitions, and intricate designs. These additions could make the website less functional, and ultimately draw attention away from what is most important- your work!

6. Quality vs Quantity

Your portfolio acts as a visual summarization of who you are and what you’re capable of. This means curating your work to demonstrate only your best photographs. Take some time to evaluate the work you have and remove anything that may undercut your talent or question your capabilities.

7. Link your social media

As brands and clients expand their methods to search for new photographers, it’s important to cater to new promotional tactics. If you use social media, make sure to link it to your website! Having your website linked to your social media gives you a higher opportunity to be searched and shared. This optimizes your visibility and could act as a self-sufficient tool to market yourself. 


8. Searchability

Ensure that your website is searchable! Register your site with Google Search Console, and ensure all your web pages have titles and is SEO friendly. Create backlinks to your website, and use keywords to target your audience as much as possible.

9. Check your website on multiple devices

Nowadays people are using a variety of devices to find and view information. This means that your portfolio may be reviewed on a cell phone, smart TV’s, tablet or laptop. Take some time to test out how your portfolio looks on different platforms and make sure the navigation is clear and easy for the visitor.

10. Keep your portfolio updated

Once your website is built and your portfolio curated - you’re ready to go. However, don’t rely on this body of work forever. Keep your portfolio fresh and updated as you shoot new images. Visitors and potential clients want to see that you’re actively shooting and evolving. This goes for website design trends as well - keep it modern and go with the flow!

We hope these tips help you create an incredible online portfolio for your photography work. Have any tips you want to share with the community? Comment them below!

Guest post by: Ryan McCoy

Toronto, ON



Ryan is a freelance fashion and portrait photographer in Toronto, ON. In addition, Ryan is the Portfolio Reviewer here at Shutterstock Custom.

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