Let’s cut right to the chase. What are the best options out there for photographers looking to have a great online presence? This is what I recommend based on experience. I keep this list updated, so it would make sense to bookmark it and check back occasionally as I add new things.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.
The Basics: Web Hosting for Photographers & Email Marketing
Rather than rehash the information here, see our comprehensive guide to WordPress hosting for photographers as well as a look at Email Marketing for Photographers: Starting Your List. And speaking of email marketing, kickstart things with a big list of 101 email subject lines for photographers.
Looking to move to a better web host? Here’s a case study on the WP Engine automated WordPress migration tool.
WordPress Photo Gallery Plugins
If you’d like to move beyond the super-basic gallery functions that are built into WordPress, two major plugins are the big players in the market right now. Both are powerful.
- Envira Gallery is a relatively new plugin that’s been well-received and offers a clean interface and support for high-resolution “Retina” displays.
- NextGEN Gallery has been around for quite a while and contains a ton of features, which is probably its strong suit, although some have argued it’s in need of a refresh or update of its interface.
Online Services for Photographers
- Dropbox for photographers can be a great tool for image delivery, backup, and business document management.
- I’m a big fan of SmugMug for photo gallery and ecommerce hosting.
Selected (non-gallery) WordPress Plugins
These plugins add bits of photo- and business-related functionality to WordPress:
- Advanced Image Styles offers the ability to manage the margins and borders around individual images by adding additional options when you insert a photo.
- Featured Image Reminder – displays a confirmation if you accidentally publish a post without a Featured Image.
- If you need forms, check out WP Forms which offers easy forms, quite a few features, and a rock solid company behind it.
- I’ve reviewed a few good Instagram plugins for WordPress.
- Lazy Load doesn’t directly affect photo appearance on your site, but rather loads the images as needed, improving the perceived site speed for your visitors.
- Optin Monster offers a bunch of powerful ways to create optin forms to help you leverage the power of email marketing for your photography business. They’ve been releasing a lot of new features – here’s a partial roundup.
- Regenerate Thumbnails: allows you to regenerate image attachments if you make changes to the WordPress media size settings.
- WP/LR Sync is a Lightroom Publish Service for WordPress. Upload to your WP site and easily update as you change metadata or make edits to the photos.
- WP Retina 2x: serve up high-resolution images for visitors with Retina displays.
WordPress Themes for Photographers
There are many great companies now publishing WordPress themes with an emphasis on photography or portfolios. Here are three we recommend.
- StudioPress has quite a few themes, but of particular interest look at the Modern Portfolio and Expose Pro.
- Photocrati offers a theme built specifically for photographers, including gallery management, 40 starting designs, eCommerce options. and more.
If you don’t go with one of those themes/companies, check out the official WordPress Theme Repository.
- My key to productivity is the Getting Things Done system with OmniFocus as my tool of choice. Read about OmniFocus for Photographers.
- Keep track of documents, photos, and other files across your various devices by smartly using Dropbox for photographers.
- Curious how to turn those Dropbox photos into a nice gallery? Check out two solutions for a Dropbox photo gallery for WordPress.
- Going to a conference or photo event? Check out my photography conference tips and tricks for success.
- Facebook results are tied to effective use of Facebook advertising. Perfect Facebook Ads is a guide specifically for photographers to help you get the most from your efforts.
- Search Engine Optimization is a broad topic. Get a free five-part course on SEO for Photographers with SEO SpeedStart.
- Been thinking about SEO but not sure where to go from here, or what is most relevant for your site? Get some prioritized plans with a SEO Audit for Photographers.
- How to Backup Your WordPress Site – while we hope to never need a backup of our websites, there are any number of accidental causes that could result in a failure.
- Great online learning? Sure. CreativeLive has that. They offer free live training coupled with affordably-priced access to archived programs covering photography, business, video, and more.
- Use Google Trends to choose smart marketing terms at the right times.
Education: Photography + Online Business
What? Isn’t that what this site is about? Well, yes, but I can’t do everything for everybody. If you’re looking for some great resources to boost your education of online business, WordPress, social media, and modern photography practices, check out these.
- Stuck in Customs offers a bunch of great photography tutorials, presets, and more. Get a 10% discount at Stuck in Customs using coupon code PHOTOWEBO10.
- More of an analog person? Check out our list of recommended photography business books. Updated July 2017
- You can learn a lot about WordPress at a WordCamp event. Here’s a guide to making the most of a WordCamp.
- Looking for a podcast? Imagely produces the WordPress Photography Podcast.
- WPBeginner offers a bunch of free resources as well as paid products and services.