Thursday, December 8, 2011

Easily Designing a Portfolio for Stock Photographer

Just about anyone and everyone requires a portfolio to showcase his works and either lure in new clients or prove his proficiency in his chosen niche. A stock photographer is no different. Actually a good portfolio is a great resource for any photographer in general and a free lance photographer in particular.

If you are an up and coming freelance photographer looking for new clients or to market your stock photos then the answer is definitely "Yes". An online portfolio not only allows you to attract international clients, but provided it gains sufficient search engine visibility, it will also make attract many potential clients who has by chance stumbled on to your site.
In addition, you can use it to sell stock photos directly from your portfolio on a royalty free basis

The mantra for a successful portfolio is to showcase your success not your failures! Spend sufficient amount of time to choose just a handful of your very best photos and those which are representative of your interests and passions. Remember, in a portfolio your intention is to wet a potential clients appetite to see more of your works and quality and quantity should always be given priority.

Designing a website which matches your style of photography is vitally important as in this age of competition the slightest of margins can make all the difference between getting and not getting the commission.
Many web masters use flash animation and ready made gallery extensions to showcase their images. Undoubtedly, Flash animation is great for attracting real visitors but many web browsers along with I Pad, I Phone etc. do not support Flash. So it is always wise to have an HTML page just for back up.
If you are a hardcore pro then get a pro designer to do the job for you. Otherwise you can also design it yourself by using ready made templates and most conveniently by using the popular WordPress platform.
If you are unsure of how to go about designing your website, remember a simple or neutral design where the focus is firmly on your photos is often the way to go.

And last but not the least you need to market your website in order to gain greater visibility in the internet. A great way to catch the attention of search engines and your audience is by integrating a regularly updated blog with your portfolio where you can publish both tips and tricks as well as personal experiences and observations. If you have a large following then using a discussion forum may also be a pretty good idea.
Regular social bookmarking and maintaining a twitter and Facebook page are other ploys you may want to try.
But above all have patience, Rome was not built in a day!

Of course, the most professional approach to creating a website yourself is by using a powerful piece of software like Adobe Dreamweaver or Microsoft FrontPage. However, these software are often intimidating and rather difficult handle for the amateur developer. A great alternative to this, that will save you considerable effort (not to mention money) and allow you more time to concentrate on important things (like taking great photos) is to use ready made WordPress themes. Many of them are free and those which aren't are almost always priced below $50. Here is a look at some of the themes you might want to try out:

Gallery is a premium WordPress theme which can be used for many purposes, including a Photoblog, Portfolio, Personal Blog, Product Reviews, and more. Some of its interesting features include:

Comes in 2 styles, 3 color styles each allowing easy makeovers to make your site look fresh every time.
Widgetized Sidebar and Footer where you can display relevant text, add cool plugins or even your Adsense code
Custom Fields for Images are optional
Featured Posts (or in your case images) on Homepage
Drop-Down Menu for Pages and Categories to give a cool professional look

Unlike the above two, Photoshot from Theme Forest is uniquely designed to serve as a photographer's portfolio theme. It includes a range of features to allow you to easily create the perfect portfolio website.
FAVORITE BOX - add photos to the favorite box and view them later in a beautiful fullscreen slideshow.
Block right click (prevent images from saving)
Unique menu - unique menu style, all elements are same width and it looks just awesome.
3 Homepage variations (Slideshow, photoblog, static page) not to mention two different color schemes (light and dark)

Infinity is a free professional WordPress-theme. The theme has 3 fixed columns, thumbnails integration, Flickr, Delicious and Twitter integration as well as an attractive visual design. The theme was designed by Zhang Yichi. It includes:
3 fixed columns design
Thumbnail covers style
Flickr, Twitter and delicious integration
However, a major drawback of the Infinity Theme is that it is NOT widget ready.

nother way of using WordPress to showcase your photos is by using a WordPress Gallery Plugins
instead of a dedicated WordPress photography portfolio theme. Some of the most popular WordPress Gallery plugins include:

1. Nextgen Gallery
2. Photosmash Gallery
3. Cincopa Wordpress Plugin

A few other less popular Wordpress gallery plugins include:

1. WP Photo album 2. Picasna 3. Superslider-show 4. Lightbox Gallery 5. Page Flip Image gallery 6. Cleaner Gallery.

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