Best SEO for photographers and their online portfolio

Photographer’s online portfolio in the making…

​​After 15+ years in web-design I can tell one thing; building an effective online portfolio for photographers isn’t a rocket science—but science it is. And as any other science it is governed by rules.

​​The following is my advice on what rules to follow in order to improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and promote your online portfolio as a photographer. You are about to get a solid checklist to follow and see your portfolio attract more followers and potential clients.​​After 15 plus years in web-design I can tell one thing; building an effective websites isn’t a rocket science—but science it is. And as any other science it is governed by rules.

​​Showcase your best work on your home-page

Be it just your best shot or a selection of top ten images – that’s what people interested in your work are looking for. Here’s the chatter in the head of a potential client: “let’s see if this photographer is skilled and confident enough to show me her best work and so handle my next project”. Since we are talking about an online portfolio (WordPress website, Squarespace, Behance profile, etc.) your website must be all about your work. That’s its sole purpose and main focus. Violate this rule with personal statements or motivational quotes and you are just yet another website stealing people’s time. 

  • ​​display your best work on your homepage
  • keep it short, up to 9 images maximum
  • ​​add a link or a button for a full portfolio
The homepage of an effective online portfolio

Provide high quality images with no watermark

​​I am going to be specific with this one just to drive my point home; your portfolio images must be 1200px (short side) and no less. Even go for 1600px and you are golden. The reason for providing HQ images of your best work is simple.

Imagine an art director preparing a presentation for his boss. Having small, 350px images of your work with a watermark will just not do the job of presenting a photographer. On the other hand, if he is able to download your images fast and free and paste into his Google Presentation, then your images will have a chance to get presented to the decision maker that approves a project of which part are your images. Fearing that you post a high quality image of your work and somebody will steal it just doesn’t make sense. There’s the copyright law that’s protecting you in case this happens

  • ​​provide high quality images of your portfolio
  • keep the size at minimum 1200px short side
  • remove the water-mark from your images
Image captions and meta-tags is a must
Image captions and meta-tags is a must

​​Writing the captions and meta-tags is a must

​​We are talking about websites people read and search engines index. Keeping with the technical advances here is crucial for your portfolio. Two simple rules to follow that are available in any website platform; image captions and meta-description. With the help of captions you can make sure there’s no room for misinterpretation. Put the name of the product there, client’s brand or simple comment on what was your motivation for approaching the lightning that particular way. Plus, captions are a great way of showing your visitor that you pay attention to how your images are being perceived and that give you credibility.

On the other hand, search engines will appreciate your extra effort if you provide meta-description for your images. Since we are talking about description, type what’s the content of your image and a few keywords that you want your image be associated with. Ideally, keep the name of your image file the same as meta description. Do the meta-description well and your images will pop up at the right Google search in Google Images section and will be added to many Pinterest boards.

  • ​​Describe your image with a caption
  • Provide the meta-description for each image
  • Keep the name of the file and meta-description similar
Google loves photographers that are organized

​​In case you wan to know more about the latest top-advice on SEO in 2020, here’s a short explanation and a list to keep on mind.

SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization” and it’s a set of practices you do in order to inform the right people about your offer on the internet. In your case we assume it’s your work, your portfolio. Since people spend more and more time searching for information on Google and follow the advice of their friends on social media, that’s where your marketing efforts should focus too.

The simplest way to describe it would be; know what struggles your potential clients are trying to solve, what they search on the internet in the process and then show up with your offer as help. Though it’s more complicated in real life, here’s a list of best practices to keep your SEO strategy in check. For more detailed explanation follow the expert’s advice in this video. ​​

  • ​have a professional website showing your work and how to contact you
  • ​get your work on social media websites like Facebook and Instagram and get active
  • get your Google My Business profile and update it regularly
  • start writing a blog about what you do, who are your clients and your location
  • ​join a professional network of like-minded people to get promoted