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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos Presentation & Building Galleries 
Thread started 14 Nov 2014 (Friday) 05:09
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Website creation: need some advice (hosting, site-building, selling)

46 posts
Joined Mar 2010
Nov 14, 2014 05:09 |  #1

A little background: I'm consider myself an enthusiast photographer. I'm self-taught, and I enjoy taking photos of a variety subjects: portraits, action, landscape, and event photography.

Over the years, I have occasionally accepted payment for my services and photos from direct friends and acquaintances who are familiar with my skill. These exchanges were very one-off and done "the old fashioned way" - cash for pictures. But many people have ask me if I have a website and a more systematic way for them to purchase my photos, and I unfortunately had to say no. Photography was my hobby, and done mostly for my own enjoyment. But I finally figured it wouldn't hurt to have my own website and have it become a secondary source of income

So I'm taking on the seemingly monumental task to build my own photography website, with the purpose of elegantly presenting my portfolio and sell the occasional photo directly from the website. I know that that are free ways to simply throw up a basic (crappy) website out there on the internet, but I do want the quality of my website to reflect the quality of my photography, so I'm willing to spend a little money.

I consider myself fairly tech savvy, but I admit I'm in a little over my head here (which was why I hadn't bothered until now). After some research, it appears to me that to have a professional photography website, it entails the following:

1) My own top-level domain name
2) Website host
3) Website builder
4) E-commerce system (shopping-cart, etc to accept payments)

So my research resulted in the following names:
- (highly regarded hosting service)
- (highly regarded website builder)
- WordPress (CMS? website template generator? Not sure)
- Dedicated photo sites like 500px, Smugmug, zenfolio.

It seemed logical to me that no matter what, I needed a web hosting service, and tops many of my searches, so I purchased a domain and hosting from them (at about $4/mo, but I paid an annual installment). They have a 45-day refund policy, so I'm safe in case I changed my mind.

Then I looked at website builders, and was at the top of recommendations for elegant templates and easy but powerful editor, and they have an entire category of templates tailored for photographers. But what surprised me was to learn that Squarespace ALSO provided website hosting, and e-commerce. It was more expensive ($8/mo), but it appeared to be a complete package.

So now I'm second guessing my hostgator service. But I read that Wordpress is much more powerful as a builder, but harder to use, but has tons of support throughout the web. And I can use WordPress for free? Or I can buy a Wordpress template for a fixed one time cost? Huhhh?

I'm a little (okay, alot) confused as what exactly is "WordPress" - what is free about it, and what do I pay for.

Branching off my research, I looked into 500px, smugmug, zenfolio. But they don't really appeal to me since I don't want to be tied to another website and their restrictions. I'd prefer my own completely independent website. I'm willing to put in the time and effort to learn how to bring it to fruition, but as you can see, I can use a little guidance from fellow photographers who might have had to deal with a similar situation.

So any advice is appreciated, with the reminder that my site's objective is to professionally present my portfolio and have the ability to accept direct payments for specific photos on the website.

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OOOHHH! Pretty Moth!
941 posts
Gallery: 24 photos
Likes: 122
Joined Dec 2013
Location: Detroit, MI
Nov 14, 2014 08:24 |  #2

Take a look at John- he's a POTN member who offers hosting services here. …63851&highlight​=john+potn

Excellent rates and service. I use him myself.

Wordpress is free, and you can use free templates, or buy templates based on your wants/needs. Wordpress has TONS of online support, and many of the companies who you buy templates from include support as well.

You can see my site in my signature- this is a free wordpress template I'm still playing with. I need to adjust the size of my images for the gallery pages, and make some more tweaks, but this is just for me and my family, so it doesn't get a high priority right now.

The advantage of going with a host like John is you can do whatever you like- you can do wordpress, joomla, drupal, any CMS system you want to use.

1,184 posts
Likes: 35
Joined Mar 2012
Nov 17, 2014 09:04 |  #3

Wordpress is free software (Content Management System) which allows you to run your website. It has a lot of free & paid templates & plugins that enhance & add new features (ie. ecommerce, etc). You install Wordpress at any webhost and your only expense is web hosting costs.

Squarespace is a web hosting provider which has their own Content Management System which allows you to run your website. They have some templates that you can use and additional features like ecommerce. You pay them for use of their software + webhosting on monthly basis.

With Wordpress you can customize your site 100% while with any vendor you have to stick to their templates.

I want to guest blog on your Landscape / Travel photography blog, PM for details

Wilbur ­ Su
34 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Oct 2014
Nov 17, 2014 11:20 |  #4

With WordPress, you have the choice of free and paid themes. Some of the themes are photography based.

Even if you choose a non-photography based theme, you can incorporate galleries into your website by using plugins. Here is one (of many articles) that describes some of the plugins you can use:

http://www.elegantthem​ …beautiful-photo-galleries (external link)


46 posts
Joined Mar 2010
Nov 18, 2014 19:21 as a reply to  @ Wilbur Su's post |  #5

After a little more research into this project, it seems my best bet is to go with the more flexible (but more work) option of Wordpress.

SquareSpace seems attractive until I get down to the business of selling prints, which I would need to fulfill either myself or use a 3rd party service.

If I need to do that any way, I might as well start with WordPress, and maybe get an account with SmugMug to handle the selling and delivering of prints.


Douglas ­ Whittaker
1 post
Joined Jan 2015
Location: United States
Feb 09, 2015 14:02 |  #6

Anticipation is killing me...what is the outcome of this? Which plan did you choose? Why? What are the results after a couple of months?

There are no bad pictures; that's just how your face looks sometimes.”
Abraham Lincoln
And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, [It was] very good. ~Genesis 1:3

Mostly Lurking
14 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Apr 2011
Location: San Francisco
Feb 11, 2015 12:49 |  #7

i would definitely recommend squarespace - its easy to use with a lot of drag and drop functionality. its easy to add commerce as well.

5Diii | 16-35L | 24-70mm f/2.8L | 24-105 f4L (for sale) | 50 1.4 | 85 1.8 | 100L IS |

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Website creation: need some advice (hosting, site-building, selling)
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