The photography business centers around your marketing. When potential customers arrive to your site, they want to immediately see your work on display.
The photo gallery serves as a marketing tool to get visitors to focus on your photos. It elevates your brand status and offers a high-quality experience. Yet, most photographers overlook optimizing their photo gallery to fit their specific needs.
Showcase your gorgeous photos in a positive light. Check out the five photo gallery best practices for photography websites below.
1. Use Photo Gallery Plugins
Think of your website like a car. A base model website only includes the industry standard essentials to help your photography business. To grow your business, you need to extend the functionality of your site. WordPress plugins make it possible to upgrade your site’s features.
Your photography should be center stage on your website. Explore using a plugin like Envira Gallery. It offers responsive, mobile-friendly galleries to exhibit your eye-appealing work. You also can organize your galleries into albums and sort them with tags. The drag-and-drop builder makes this plugin easy to use.
Large, uncompressed images can slow down your site speed. The slower your site, the less likely visitors will stick around to wait for your photos to appear. The solution is to compress your images with Imsanity. This plugin will automatically resize uploaded images to fit the display in a browser.
Plagiarism and theft is also a major issue in the photography business. You can protect yourself by adding a digital watermark to your images. Easy Watermark is a free watermark plugin to deter people from swiping your amazing work. It automatically adds your watermark to all uploaded photos in your media library.
2. Write Concise Captions
The photography business is more than just photos. It also requires writing skills to describe your work. When creating captions, use it as an opportunity to add to your brand’s storyline.
Your caption should provide your visitors with context about the photo. You want them to understand why the photo matters in your collection. Photo captions are teasers of a larger story. They should complement your brand with a similar tone and voice.
Write your photo captions using one to two complete sentences in the present tense. You can extend the length to a third sentence if the object of the photo is complex.
Stay away from stating the obvious. For example, if the photo shows Michael eating an apple, you should describe the significance of his action.
“Make sure your caption completes your photo. A simple description of the action wouldn’t be enough. Give them something more they can’t see in the photo. It’s a great way to catch their attention and activate their curiosity,” writes Patricia Santos, a customer happiness specialist at Fusion.
Accuracy is key when writing your photo captions, too. Double check to make sure you correctly identified and spelled the names of people and places.
Don’t feel obligated to use the first draft of your photo captions. Good writing takes time, so write several drafts before choosing the right one that fits each photo.
3. Highlight Photos with a Lightbox
A lightbox is a design effect giving your visitors a close-up look at your images. It opens the image with a centered overlay and darkens the rest of the page. A person can close the lightbox by clicking the visible “x” on the screen.
The purpose of a lightbox is to highlight specific images. It allows visitors to see an enlarged photo. Lightboxes also enhance the overall site experience. Rather than having an individual visit multiple pages, he or she can now stay on a single page.
Relying on browser navigation assumes the person will have time to click to the next page. Less page transitions mean customers can focus on your photos.
Lightboxes are interactive displays to tell your brand story. Get creative when personalizing your work of art. Use your lightbox as a centerpiece.
For instance, you may decide to spotlight specific images in your collection. You might produce multiple lightboxes with a “Spring Flowers Collection” or a “Monthly Local Favorites.”
4. Avoid Autoplay
Autoplaying anything on your website is a faux pas. It makes the assumption that a visitor wants you to control what they do when arriving to your site. Photo galleries with autoplay often annoy people and encourage them to leave without any hesitation.
Autoplay is a distraction for the visitor as well. When a new image appears, it forces the person to move their attention away from other important parts of your website. You could potentially miss out on a sale (or two).
“Many of the carousel’s biggest problems arise from the fact that they often advance automatically, without the user doing a thing. So there’s a simple fix: don’t autoplay,” says John Moore William, head of content strategy at Webflow.
Treat your visitors with more courtesy. Stay away from autoplay in your photo gallery. It’s an unproductive design that should remain a relic of the past.
5. Easy Navigation
Navigation is probably the last thing on your mind for your photography business. However, it’s critical to the success of your photo gallery.
Poor navigation negatively impacts the visitor’s experience. It interrupts their normal browsing habits and could increase your site’s bounce rates.
A photo gallery with arrows works well to help potential customers advance to the next image or move back. They can be placed on the slides, or either above or below them. More importantly, the arrows should move in the direction they point.
Trulia’s photo gallery offers user-friendly navigation. Visitors can advance to the next photo using the arrows on the main slide, or they can use the arrows near the thumbnail images.
There’s also dot navigation. This option uses filled or hollow circles to direct your visitors. The filled circle means a customer is viewing the current slide, and the unfilled circles indicate the total number of images in the photo gallery.
Showcase Your Work with a Photo Gallery
The photo gallery is your secret weapon for engaging your customers. Use it to exhibit your jaw-dropping photos and to drive more revenue to your photography business.
You’ll put a lot of energy into designing and creating your photo galleries. To not lose any of your beautiful work, you’ll want to backup your site. Try HostGator’s CodeGuard for daily, automatic website backups.
Shayla Price creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Originally from Louisiana, Shayla champions access to remote work opportunities. Connect with her on Twitter at @shaylaprice.