How to start a photography blog
Whether you’re a professional or an amateur photographer, it’s important that you learn how to start a photography blog and create your own website.
Community sites like 500px, Flickr and Instagram are great, but learning how to make a photography blog for yourself is the best long term option.
Despite all the website platforms that cater especially for photographers (e.g. Squarespace), I highly recommend you choose WordPress and your own dedicated hosting.
|Hosting + Free Domain NameGet a free domain name on this Bluehost plan, highly recommended to anyone starting a blog.||View Offer|
WordPress is a free website creation tool, which you can use to quickly set up a photography site featuring a blog, a portfolio, a booking form, sales galleries, and any number of other amazing features.
WordPress is also a flexible option if you’re interested in optimising your website for SEO.
I’m going to show you how to start a photography blog in just 3 simple steps.
3 Steps to Start a Photography blog
Making your own photography blog or website may seem an overwhelming task, but it’s not complicated if you follow my steps outlined below.
Let me know if you have any specific questions in the comments, but if you follow my guidelines, you should have your blog online in under 20 minutes.
Step 1: Choose Domain Name & Hosting
(Time required: ~10 mins)
Step 2: Install WordPress
(Time required: ~5 mins)
Step 3: Choose a Theme
(Time required: ~as long as you want!)
Step 1 | Choose Domain Name & Hosting
This is the fun part – choosing what name you’d like for your photography site. Most people use their own name plus the word ‘photography’, or you can be original and come up with something more memorable.
It’s good if you have a story behind the name too, like my site Gold Hat Photography, which I chose based on a quote from the Great Gatsby novel.
Where possible, I recommend using a .com domain for your photography website as it suggests that you’re international rather than country specific.
Don’t bother purchasing it just yet though, as you’ll be able to get it for free when you set up your ‘Hosting’.
‘Hosting’ is basically your own private space on the Internet where your website will live. There are hundreds of Hosting options, and one day if you start getting millions of hits (fingers crossed!) you may need to change to a more expensive host.
However, for the time being I recommend you take my advice and go with a company called Bluehost.
Why Choose Bluehost?
Trust me on this one – I’ve researched and tried many different hosting providers over 10 years+ of work online, but time and time again I keep recommending Bluehost, especially for first time users of WordPress.
Here are 10 reasons why so many popular bloggers and photographers use Bluehost for their hosting:
- FREE domain name (saves you money!)
- FREE WordPress site builder (this is REALLY useful as you’ll soon see)
- FREE SSL (this refers to making your site secure)
- UNLIMITED domain hosting (you can have multiple sites on one account)
- UNLIMITED hosting space (never run out of room for your photos)
- UNLIMITED file transfer (upload/download as much as you like)
- UNLIMITED email accounts (if you have a second shooter/helper etc)
- Money-Back guarantee (cancel within 30 days for a full refund)
- Affordable (at time of writing, their basic plan is less than 3 bucks/months!)
- First Class Service/Support (ask a question 24/7)
First Class Service/Support is a really useful feature, especially if this is the first time you’re building your own blog.
Also the free business email account is a great way to add credibility – far better than emailing from an @gmail.com or other free email provider. (There’s some more handy info on free business email addresses here.)
Most hosting companies only provide support during US work hours, which isn’t ideal if you live outside the US – there’s nothing worse than having an urgent issue with your website, and having to wait until an obscure time to get help from support.
Thankfully, Bluehost’s support is available 24/7, 365 days a year. Their support team are fast to reply, and very helpful.
OK, so let’s get started! Click here for the Bluehost homepage, then click the Get Started Now button.
Then choose your Plan. I’d recommend going for the Basic plan for the time being since it’s great value for money and allows plenty of room to grow.
If you plan on hosting a lot of images, you can always upgrade in the future to the Plus or Choice Plus plans if necessary.
Hosting terms are billed up front, and each plan features a 30-day money-back guarantee, which gives you ample time to try out their service and cancel for a full refund if you feel it’s not right for you.
After you’ve selected the plan, you’ll be taken to the next page where you’ll need to enter whatever domain name (site name) you want to use.
On the next page you’ll need to enter your details, and then choose some options – the ‘package information’.
Here’s a screenshot of what I use for package information settings and I recommend you do the same:
The ‘Basic 36 Month Price‘ option is the cheapest in the long run which is why I always choose it, and it also means you won’t need to remember to renew your site after only 1 year.
The ‘Domain Privacy Protection’ hides your home address and phone number from the public, so I’d recommend adding this option too. Leave the other options for now.
As for the ‘Savings’, this may vary at the time you read this, but usually Bluehost offers good discounts, so you should see an amount similar to what I saved above.
Why choose WordPress?
Before I go on to tell you how to install WordPress, I want to explain why I think you should be using WordPress for your Photography site… or rather, why I think that you shouldn’t go with an all-in-one service like Squarespace when deciding how to make a photography blog.
Reason 1: Price
At time of writing, Squarespace costs $12/month for its personal package, and $18/month for its Business package. This can quickly add up.
On the other hand, WordPress is 100% FREE :-)
Reason 2: Customization & Flexibility
All-in-one website platforms for photographers like Squarespace do offer some great features, but the problem is that their features are often limited.
If you want your site to do something particular (and trust me, you will!), you may have to hire a web developer to make the changes, or simply it won’t be possible at all.
WordPress on the other hand is infinitely customizeable. If you don’t feel confident enough to delve into the code, it’s fine. WordPress offers thousands of ‘plugins’, which allow you to add a feature onto your site quickly and simply.
WordPress plugins for photographers are usually free – you usually only pay for ‘PRO’ features, and in my experience, these aren’t necessary.
Reason 2: Uniqueness
Website builders like Squarespace offer editable templates to make your blog look pretty, but at the end of the day, there’s a high chance your site will look identical to every other photographer!
With WordPress on the other hand, there are over 10,000 themes to choose from!
Building a WordPress site is a lot easier than you imagine, and there’s a lot of very good reasons why over 23% of the Internet is powered by WordPress today.
Step 2 | Install WordPress
Once you’ve registered with Bluehost, you need to install WordPress. This used to be a bit of a hassle, but thanks to Bluehost’s free site builder, it’s super simple!
So log in to Bluehost, and look for the ‘website’ section. Then click the ‘Install WordPress’ button.
(If you can’t find it, just press CTRL (or Command on a Mac) + ‘F’, and start typing the word ‘Install’ to search for it on the page.)
On the next page, click the ‘Domain’ drop down arrow if your newly chosen website name isn’t already selected, and select your website.
You can ignore the ‘Directory’ field – just go on and click the Next’ button.
You may see that Bluehost tries to recommend a Pro to install WordPress for you, but this isn’t required – I’m going to show you right here how easy it is to do it yourself, so you can save up to $399 :-)
On the next page, you’ll see some details of your new site. I’d recommend you change the Site Name to whatever you want it to be called, and update your password to something memorable.
You may also want to update your Admin username and email address too.
You can change this information later, but make a note of it just in case you don’t receive the email from Bluehost with your details in it.
Then make sure all the check boxes are ticked, and click ‘Next’ to start the installation of the WordPress software to your new hosting.
Who would think starting a photography blog would be so easy?!
Next you’ll have to type your Admin URL into the web browser on your computer (i.e. Safari, Chrome, Firefox, etc.)
This is usually your new domain URL with /wp-admin after it, e.g. https://goldhatphotography.com/wp-admin
You should be taken to a login screen like the one below, so enter your Username and Password that you copied down from the previous step.
That’s it! You’ve officially learnt how to make a blog and logged in to your first WordPress site! Congratulations!!
Have a click around inside WordPress – you’ll find that it’s pretty simple to pick up.
I recommend that you join the WordPress Support forum where there are loads of helpful guides and users who can help you out in a pickle.
If there’s something you’re really stuck on, you can always hire someone on Fiverr to help you.
Step 3: Choose a Theme
Every WordPress site has a theme. Think of WordPress ‘themes’ as the outer skin which makes your site look pretty and displays the content.
By default, your new WordPress site may have the ‘Twenty Nineteen’ theme installed. It looks nice, but it probably isn’t suitable for your photography site. There’s also the newly released ‘Gutenberg’ theme, which offers some powerful features for bloggers.
Here’s a great list of WordPress photography themes that’ll make your site look very professional in a few clicks.
You can also choose a free theme by searching within your WordPress dashboard.
Just go to ‘Appearance’, then ‘Themes’, in the black menu on the left hand side of the WordPress dashboard. Then click on the ‘Add new theme’ icon.
WordPress offers lots of free themes which you can preview at the click of a button, to see how the theme looks with your current content.
As long as you haven’t made any custom edits to your site, the new WordPress theme will simply be like a ‘skin’ to your existing content, adjusting how it looks visually, but not touching the actual words/images/videos that you’ve spent time adding.
Just hover over any of the themes you like the look of and click the ‘Live Preview’ button. If you like how it makes your existing site look, click the ‘Activate’ button to overwrite your existing theme with the new one.
It’s tempting to go for a free WordPress theme, but I’d recommend spending a few bucks on a Premium WordPress Theme.
Why? Well apart from the fact you’re less likely to have a similar site to someone else (there are thousands of paid themes), you also open the door to free, unlimited support, and this is extremely useful.
With free themes you’ll usually be left on your own, wasting hours trying to figure out how to make a change, so take my advice – spend a few bucks on a premium one.
If you’re ready to invest a little more on the design of your new WordPress blog, take a look at what’s on offer from a company called Flothemes. I wrote a review on Flothemes here and offer a Flothemes coupon code too.
One final option is to use of the many website builders available, to help you create a website without the need to fiddle with any manual code. They can be a good all-in-one solution to getting something online quickly.
So there you have it! Now you have an infinitely customisable WordPress photography blog!
Leave a comment below and let us know how you got on :-)
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.