How to Make an Online Photography Portfolio – Format.com Review

How to Make an Online Photography Portfolio – Format.com Review

Portfolio Thursday

Creating an online portfolio showing your concert photos is crucial if you want to get more clients, likes, and jobs.

The big question is what is an online Photography Portfolio Page and why do you need one as a Photographer (even when you’re doing photography just as a hobby)?

A photography portfolio page is the professional showcase of your work as a photographer and it should include your best photos.

  • Your portfolio is the entry door for people into your world and therefore you’ll need to get their attention quickly.
  • Your portfolio is becoming your working permit because people will recognize you as a professional photographer who they want to hire and work with.
  • By building your own portfolio page you keep control over your photos, which is crucial.

As the author, Austin Kleon says “If you’re not online you’re not existing”. I love this quote because it’s so true. If you’re hiding your photos on your hard drive at home, nobody will know about you and is going to hire you.

So far, so good.

Choose your best photos, put them online and show your work to everyone.

This will be the ideal way and I am going to teach you exactly how you can have your online portfolio ready in a short time in this article.

But if you don’t know the right tools, it’ll take you a lot of time and money to figure out how to build an online photography portfolio by yourself. 

When I started my career as a photographer 10 years ago, I only posted my photos on Facebook and Flickr. I thought this is the best way how I can reach new clients, but I was wrong. I couldn’t get any new clients unless I talked to another photographer who suggested to have my own Portfolio page showing my best work. And he was right. Why didn’t I thought about this? It makes a totally different impression if you send someone to your professional looking Photography Portfolio page, then sending them your Facebook link where you also post your private family photos.

How Not To Set Up Your Online Photography Portfolio

So, let’s get your own Portfolio homepage, I said to myself. I searched the internet and found out that I needed the following to set up my own homepage:

  • WordPress
  • own web domain
  • web server where I hosted my homepage
  • design for the homepage

So, I reached out to a graphic designer who built a great design in Photoshop. However, he was not a developer and I needed to hire a web designer who could translate the Photoshop design into a usable script for WordPress. As you can imagine this took time and it was expensive paying two freelancers. Once my Portfolio Homepage was finished I wanted to change small things such as adding a bigger photo, adding another text block and so on. Unfortunately, I always had to get back to the graphic designer first and then the developer could change the design on my homepage. After some months I decided to stop this approach since it was too expensive.

Next, I heard about WordPress Themes. A Theme is basically the design of the homepage. There are platforms such as Themeforest where you can buy thousands of different themes. Once I bought a theme for $60 I recognized that I can’t change everything to my likings without having developing skills.

And again, I was frustrated with the whole situation. I just wanted to show my best photos on a single page, but it took me already months and hundreds of dollars for having a Portfolio Page I was not satisfied with.

The biggest frustration was that I was a photographer and I didn’t want to deal with all these technical issues.

I bet you already had similar experiences when it comes down to building your own online Portfolio page. You know that you need such a page, but your struggle is how to set everything up without spending the time and money.

This is the reason why I decided to write this blog article. I know so many people in my HTBARP community who are overwhelmed with all the technical aspects and they needed a simple and fast solution to show their best work and get more jobs.

However before we get started to build your Portfolio Page, I want to reveal the 4 most common mistakes when building your Portfolio and how to avoid them.

4 Most Common Mistakes When Building Your Portfolio

Mistake 1: Mixture of different types of photos

Imagine you get in contact with a band manager and email him a link to your portfolio site.

Because you don’t only shoot concerts, but also senior portraits, weddings, some cats, and newborns, you’ve packed it all onto one portfolio page.

What do you think will happen when your contact visits your page? He’ll leave immediately! Why?

People want to work with specialists.

They’re searching for people who’ve found a niche in which they’re successful.

I assume you would also rather go to a car mechanic if your car’s broken down than to a carpenter who repairs cars as a hobby.

I often see people who mix their concert photos with their private family pictures. This is definitely a no-go!

You might make a living as a wedding photographer and take concert photos for fun in the evenings. This isn’t a problem at all, but you should separate your work, based on subject.

Have one webpage for your wedding business and one for concerts, enabling you to send people to the appropriate specialized website, which will make them see you as an expert.

Mistake 2: Too Many Photos

I often see portfolios that contain 100’s of photos. Sometimes, they’ll show 5 photos of the same singer in the same pose!

I don´t know why, but people tend to show way too many photos in their portfolios.

If you wanted to check out a new photographer’s homepage, would you want to see his best work or would you want to click 100 times to see his work? People on the internet are busy and don´t have the time to stay on a site for a long time, searching for photos.

Ask yourself, do you want to see 10 awesome and spectacular concert pictures or 100 average shots of one concert? I promise you, you’ll get bored after you’ve seen the lead singer in the same pose for the fifth time in a row.

Your best photos should reflect the atmosphere of the concert and give the observer the feeling that he or she was there, standing in the first row next to you.

Therefore, I urge you to be a strict editor. This might sound hard in the beginning, but you need to learn to recognize your best work.

I would suggest displaying only 20-30 of the best photos in your Portfolio.

If you want to show three pictures from the same concert, don’t. Choose one, not more. Showing two or more photos from the same performance gives the impression that you don´t have enough good ones to show and have just chosen these ones to fill up your portfolio.

Mistake 3: Portfolio on social media sites

social-media Logos online porfolio

Some people don´t have their own homepage or portfolio site but use social media sites such as Facebook Fan pages, Flickr, 500px, and so on instead.

This might be the easiest way to show your work when you’re just starting out.

But there’s a big downside to this.

You don´t have any control over these sites. Facebook might change their policies and you’ll have to pay a monthly fee for your fan page or, even worse, they just delete your profile. Flickr might change the user agreement and sell your photos without your knowledge.

You want to make sure that you are in full control (at least as far as that’s possible on the internet!).

Therefore, the best option is to set up your own online photography portfolio. This also looks more professional than sending a music manager to your social media sites.

Mistake 4: Portfolio is not responsive

iPhones, tablets, 13” laptops or 27“ iMacs – you name it, nowadays there’s a huge variety of different ways to surf the internet.

The key for your portfolio is to be “responsive“.

Responsive means that your homepage always looks great whether you view it on a phone or a gigantic cinema screen. As mobile devices are becoming more popular to browse the internet with, it´s a must-have.

If we go back to the example of the music manager, you can imagine that if he’s using his iPhone but just sees cropped photos and menu buttons which don’t work on your homepage, he’ll leave and you won´t get any response from him

Online Portfolio Builder: Format

Since a lot of HTBARP followers didn’t know how to showcase their photos online in a great looking portfolio, I was searching for an easy solution to this problem. 

My requirements were the following:

  • easy to set up
  • no technical skills needed
  • a great support team (that can help in minutes)
  • affordable (actually I was searching for the cheapest option)

Searching through Google I found a Portfolio Website Builder called Format.com (Format was recently voted the #1 online portfolio website builder in a survey of 800+ creatives)

Format Ranking Online Portfolio Builder

Read what concert photographers from the HTBARP community are saying about Format.

“Thanks for the tip of format! I haven’t ever done a website and this one was working within a few hours!” – Ben

“Format is very easy and fast to use. Everything works fluently. If I can build a portfolio with Format then anyone can :)! I’ve waite for this kind of online portfolio for many years. Toughest part was choosing the photos.” – Pasi

“After being prodded by family and friends to build a website, I did a fair bit of research and finally chose Format. I’ve never been disappointed in my choice! I LOVE it! Very easy to use” – Rich

“Tried Format and Squarespace free trials, I just felt format had the look I was going for more than the other. Super easy to use, and the tech help/live chat is great if you’re stuck with anything! – Robert

“….as a die-hard WordPress user, I gotta say, Format makes things waaaay easier.” – Maria

How To Build Your Online Portfolio with Format – Tutorial Videos

With Format, you can build your online Portfolio within minutes. In addition, you can proof, manage, and deliver client work directly from your site and even sell your photos through their store platform. Watch my format review below.

What Is Format And How To Get Started?

Click here to get an exclusive 30 days free trial account.

How To Design Your Format Online Photography Page?

How To Setup An Online Store, Proofing, Blog? How To Use The Format App?

IMPORTANT: Make sure to join Format using my special link, which gives you 1 month for free. You can test drive the software and decide afterward if you like it. If yes, just upgrade otherwise your account will become inactive (no credit card required.

For me, Format is the best portfolio builder out there.

Listen to my Podcast with Luke Curtis on how to build a Portfolio here. 

Format Pricing

If you decide to upgrade after your free 30 days trial, you can choose from different plans.

PersonalProPro PlusUnlimited
$6/month annually or $7.99 month-to-month$12/month annually or $14.99 month-to-month$24/month annually or $28.99 month-to-month$44/month annually or $49.99 month-to-month
100 images1000 images10 000 imagesunlimited images
3 Store Products15 Store Products50 Store Productsunlimited Store Products
Unlimited PagesUnlimited PagesUnlimited PagesUnlimited Pages
Unlimited VideosUnlimited VideosUnlimited VideosUnlimited Videos
Client ProofingClient ProofingClient ProofingClient Proofing
Custom HTML &
CSS Editing
Custom HTML &
CSS Editing
Custom HTML &
CSS Editing

I would recommend getting either the Personal or Pro Plan, depending on how many photos you want to upload. If you use Format as your online portfolio page only, get the Personal plan. If you also set up your blog and want post concert reviews, the Pro plan is the better option.