Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Photographer On The Web - PART 4 – Private Web Site

Your Own Personal Web Site

Getting your own personal private web site is lots of work. Even if you pay for it, and you will pay lots, it is still a lot of work. Doing it your self from scratch is not recommended as doing it well is extremely difficult. There are sites that will let you use ‘Create a Site Wizards’ but they tend to not be that good and tend to look like they were designed with, well, 'wizards'. Or you could use FrontPage Templates but the it would loke like a FrontPage Template.

There are sites that offer site design at nominal cost ($400.00 - $1,000.00) or you can pay to have your site designed by a firm for you ($1,000.00 to $15,000.00). These prices would be for basic sites only and would not include updates and would not include commerce. Adding banking and credit card commerce to a site is another expense. What to do?

Self Designed/Paid Design

A self designed site can be an intriguing idea at first. “Wow, I should be able to do this. How difficult could it be?”

Well, for starters you will need a Domain Name. You can go to registrars to get a domain name like MyPhotography.com or MyPhotography.net, both of which are taken. So finding a cool unique Domain Name will be your first challenge. The cost is minimal and can be as little at $7.95 U.S. to $20.00 U.S. per year.

Then you will need a company to host your site. Many Registrar companies offer hosting services that can include a Web Page and E-mail. These can cost from $3.99 U.S. per month to as much as $400.00 U.S. per month depending on services required but basic sites generally will be under $20.00 U.S. per month unless you want to post many hi-res images.

Adding Commerce facilities can add an additional $40.00 U.S. per month or more.

Then you need to design a site. You will need a program like Microsoft FrontPage, Microsoft Expression Web, Adobe Dreamweaver or some other program. Then you will need to learn how to use these complex programs.

Will you want to be adding Java, Flash, Silverlight or other components? More programs and more learning.

Typically I have found that after two to three months of working every night, beginners can get a pretty crappy site put together. A bad site is generally worse than No Site when you are trying to market yourself or your photos.

In order to have a successful site, it needs to be dynamic. It needs to be changing often so that users come back frequently. The exception to this rule is if you only want a single page ‘ad’ so people can find you on the net and get your contact information.

Another option is to pay for having a site designed. Finding a company to design the site, dealing with the designer and programmer, and getting the site on-line can be a long and very expensive process.

Pros: You Get on the Net

Cons: Lots of Work, Costs

Sites: Registrars:

Dotster (http://www.dotster.com)
1&1 (
GoDaddy (

Photographers Web Page Services

This is probably a photographers best bet. There are many companies that offer great sites with great looking galleries. Some of these companies offer various services including mail, multiple galleries, easy to add/edit content, and commerce.

Costs for these photography specific sites cost from $25.00 U.S. to about $50.00 U.S. per month. Some sites have a one time setup fee that can be from $100.00 U.S. to $500.00 U.S. Some sites include commerce and some charge extra for commerce. Many top professional photographers use these types of services.

Pros: Less Work, Relatively Cheap for what you get, Can Look Great

Cons: Costs, Do Not Have Full Control of Site Design


ifp3 (http://www.ifp3.com)
MPix/ZenFolio (http://www.mpix.com/Zenfolio.aspx)

SiteWelder (
FolioLink (
PhotoBiz (
Zenfolio (

Sell a Site

OK, this is not truly related to this discussion but I thought I should mention it here. You can sell web sites to your clients. There are companies that will let you upload your client’s images to a pre-designed site, then you can sell the site to your clients. Great for sports, weddings, and so on. Check it out.

Pros: Free, Potential for Making Money

Cons: None but read all the rules and regulations (OK, some costs)

Site: MyLife Pages (http://www.mylife-pages.com)

© 2008 Francois Cleroux

(Version 1.00 - November 2008)

Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.

1 comment:

  1. Francois, I just finished reading the photography on the web post. This is great information for photographers trying to build a web presence. Not sure if you'll dig any deeper into the topic, but I find Facebook to be a great tool for increased exposure as well.

    Thank you for including the section on mylife-pages. I am a photographer and I am constantly trying to get my images in front of potential clients on the web. I designed mylife-pages to be a great product for my clients and a marketing tool for my studios.

    Keep up the good work.



I value thoughtful comments and suggestions. If you like or dislike this post, please let me know. If you have any ideas or suggestion, comments or corrections (I do make mistakes) please also let me know. Thanks.

- Francois Cleroux