Building a photographic website needn’t be a complicated and costly affair, as long as you stick to some basic guidelines and use a good hosting site — as Elizabeth Roberts discovered when she asked Tim Clinch to help her achieve the impossible…
Hi Tim…it was the boss. The Editor of B+W Photography magazine. ‘I’ve got an idea’ — always a bit worrying this — ‘I need a website, and I need a good edit of my pictures to go on it and, if possible, I need it done in a day. Oh…and I’ll need a blog set up as well.’ Good grief! ‘Are you free next Wednesday?’
Now, I love a challenge, hold some pretty strong views on photography websites and, having done all mine myself, know what I like and what I don’t like.
So I jumped at the chance.
I only had a day so, to make matters easy, I suggested to Elizabeth that we build both her website and blog with the same tools I used for my main website.
I built my main photography website (timclinchphotography. com) with Behance Prosite (behance.net/prosite) This has two advantages. Firstly it is simple to use and has nice, clean, uncluttered designs and secondly you have the added advantage of having your work hosted on the Behance network (behance.net). Being on the Behance network has proved very useful for me and I have even got two very large commissions from being part of it.
To build your site, you first upload your work on to the Behance network (which is free), and then seamlessly progress to your Prosite.
There are various payment options for Prosite. I pay monthly and it works out at less than £100 per year.
I have a second website, dedicated to hotel photography (timclinchhotelphotography. com). I built this with a new and very user-friendly site called Crevado (crevado.com), which is brilliant. At the moment it’s quite limited in its design capabilities but it’s expanding all the time -and I won’t say this again, IT’S A PHOTOGRAPHY SITE! I simply don’t need fancy graphics. It’s clean, easy to use and very affordable. What’s not to like?
A common mistake with websites and blogs is to use an off-the-shelf design that is used by hundreds of other people. One way to avoid this pitfall is by changing the typography. Prosite works very easily with the amazing Typekit typography site (typekit.com). There are literally thousands of amazing typefaces to choose from and it’s very easy to use and download from, and an account there is not only relatively cheap, but has proved invaluable in all my design work.
Next step, the blog. Again, as Elizabeth needed something simple and good for images, we decided to go with Tumblr (tumblr.com). In many ways this is the ideal blog platform for photographers as it is very ‘image biased’ (see point one in the top tips — content, content and content!)
For my own blog (see timclinchphotography.tumblr. com), to avoid it looking like thousands of others,
I bought a theme. There are lots to choose from on the Tumblr site so take a look (tumblr.com/ themes). It’s worth paying a bit for a premium theme. They are almost all below the $99 (£60) mark and make the world of difference. A very good designer is the Stylehatch company (stylehatch.co ) — clean and simple, and perfect for photography.
So, we did it. One day — a website and blog all done. Step by step instructions are pretty much impossible, but all the sites mentioned here are easy to use and intuitive. I assure you, I am NOT a website designer.
If I can do it, so can you.