Digital Photography Tips, Tutorials and Resources
You may have heard of the ‘holy trinity’ of qualities a project should have: Fast, cheap, and good. The general rule of thumb is that you can’t have all three of these desirable qualities. However, if you choose to build a photography website using Elementor and Envira Gallery, you can nail every one!
Between Elementor and Envira Gallery, you can create a website fast, that looks professional. You can also include most the functionality your site needs, rather than miss out on something essential. What’s more, each plugin is cost-effective, and won’t break the bank. If anything, they could bring more income your way given the value of each.
For this post, we’re going to show you how to build a photography website using Elementor and Envira Gallery. Throughout, we’ll discuss the exact steps you need to take, and what you’ll want in place to succeed.
Table of contents
- Why You’d Want to Build a Photography Website
- Why WordPress Is the Best Platform to Build Your Photography Website
- Introducing the Elementor and Envira Gallery Plugins
- What a Good Photography Website Needs to Succeed
- Before You Begin: Nail the Technical Aspects of Building Your Site
- How to Build a Photography Website Using Elementor and Envira Gallery
- In Conclusion
Why You’d Want to Build a Photography Website
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of how to build your site, we should go over why you’d want to do this in the first place. After all, with platforms such as Instagram you get to leverage a massive market share, a ‘passing trade’ of would-be customers, and have no outlay to boot.
No doubt, these are all fantastic positives for using a platform such as Instagram. In fact, we think it’s a good supplementary platform to use. However, the key qualifier here is “supplementary”. There are lots of reasons why a social media site isn’t the best for your primary site:
- You don’t decide how the site uses your images. This is a massive consideration. For example, you could find that your work appears in promotion material for Instagram, and there won’t be much you can do about it.
- There is no protection from theft. By extension, there’s nothing stopping anyone from downloading an image from your Instagram profile and using it elsewhere. Of course, web theft is common, and you can’t protect an image 100 percent of the time. However, you have no way to manage this aspect on a third-party platform.
- The ‘passing trade’ and big traffic numbers aren’t all there for your photography. Yes, Instagram pulls in swathes of traffic. However, most of this isn’t there to see stellar images. Instead, you’ll want to attract fewer numbers with a high-probability of converting them.
To touch on this last point more, there’s no point in attracting a billion users if none of them care about your photography. Your conversion rates will be low, and you’ll waste lots of time and money. Instead, its better to target only those people interested in landscapes of rural coastal villages (if that’s your thing).
There’s a greater likelihood that you’ll find more paying customers, or at least fans of your work (who can then spread the word through social media for you).
Why WordPress Is the Best Platform to Build Your Photography Website
It’s a Content Management System (CMS), which means you can store, organize, and administrate content such as posts, pages, and media. Of course, this includes images. As with choosing to run your own site, there are lots of reasons why WordPress is number one:
- It’s free to download and use, because it’s open-source.
- Because WordPress is so popular, lots of web hosts cater to the platform. This means your site will run fast on the majority of hosts, and you’ll often be able to spin up a new site within minutes (if not quicker!)
- There’s a huge network and community of developers, teachers, bloggers, and much more. It’s a supportive and inclusive group, and means you’ll have no trouble finding the right information, tools, and services you need.
One big advantage of using WordPress is how extendible the platform is. While the core software is fully functional, you can also expand on what’s in the box using plugins. These are add-on elements that provide contact forms, social media icons, security tools, and much more.
Some are almost essential for your site, and you can find many for free on the WordPress Plugin Directory:
The same goes for themes. These are like skins for your site, and provide the visual elements your website needs to stand out. If you want a different look for your site, you choose a different theme. However, the best themes and plugins also let you customize your design to your own requirements. We’ll talk about this in a bit more detail next.
Introducing the Elementor and Envira Gallery Plugins
In most cases, you’ll want to choose a theme that gives you flexibility, lets you create a great-looking site fast, and doesn’t hit the pocket: Fast, cheap, and good personified. The same goes for your photography site’s image galleries too.
We have two solutions to introduce to you that we’re going to use throughout the rest of this article. Let’s talk more about both of them now.
Even if you take a cursory glance at anything related to WordPress, you’ll see the name Elementor. It’s a leading page builder plugin that lets you start from a blank slate and piece together a layout to your exact requirements.
What’s more, you can customize almost any aspect of your website, such as the colors, typography, spacing, padding, and everything in between.
This gives you the same customization and flexibility that a professional web developer has, but you won’t need any code to make everything work. This is an astounding plugin that opens the door to a world of web design that can make or break your photography website.
However, Elementor also offers a free blank theme – called Hello – to help you build your site from scratch.
While you can use the Elementor page builder with any other WordPress theme, Hello is tailor-made for it. With this in place, you’re in complete control when it comes to your design choices. You get to decide how your header, footer, body content, and more looks from the ground up rather than tweaking an already established design.
The best news is that Elementor is far cheaper than you’d expect. A single-site license is $49 per year, and comes with everything more expensive tiers do. However, while we’re going to use the premium version of Elementor in this post, if your budget doesn’t stretch that far, you can achieve a similar outcome with the free version of the page builder:
While you don’t get some of the standout features such as the header builder and template designs, you do get the core functionality. It could be something you enjoy using, at which point, you can upgrade for more features.
Elementor is great for most applications, but for some tasks, you’ll want to come to the experts. If you want to build a photography website, you’ll need to implement image galleries. Envira Gallery is a front-running WordPress plugin that will help you do just that.
It uses a drag-and-drop editor to help you build your image galleries, and a supply of customization options too. You’ll find out about these throughout the article.
Envira Gallery also offers a number of add-ons to the core functionality too. For example, you can watermark your images to help protect them from theft, and stop others from downloading from your site.
To find potential customers or traffic, you’ll also be able to take advantage of ‘deeplinking’ functionality. This lets Envira Gallery help you to reach the top of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), and get organic traffic to your site.
Because Envira Gallery starts from $29 per year, you’ll be able to find a tier to suit your needs and budget. However, higher tiers provide a greater set of tools to work with. For example, the Pro tier at $99 per year includes the Elementor integration. We’ll obviously feature this later on in the article.
What a Good Photography Website Needs to Succeed
While you want your site to be as unique as possible, all great examples of photography websites have similar facets. This doesn’t mean that your website should look and act like the rest, but it does mean that you’ll want to make sure the following is part and parcel of the experience:
- A visual focus on your images. This should be a ‘no-brainer’, but it’s worth pointing out.
- Clear navigation, to help users to get to your other pages.
- A dedicated portfolio page, because you’ll want to show off your best work.
- When your visitors have a need to contact you, you’ll want to have a dedicated contact page that contains a form fit for purpose.
You could also expand upon these elements depending on your own goals and desires. For example, you might want to have a page that talks about you as a person, how you approach photography, and your projects. This helps to humanize your site, and could sway some visitors to become customers.
In addition, a blog is a good way to tell stories about your work and clients. The blog would be a good place for photo essays and collections. Also, a few choice image gallery layouts can work wonders here, depending on your goals.
Before You Begin: Nail the Technical Aspects of Building Your Site
However, before you implement any of these features on your site, you need the technical groundwork laid out and ready to build upon. When it comes to a website, these are a domain and a web server:
- Domain. This is the address of your site – such as enviragallery.com – and it’s important to choose the right combination of words and/or phrases.
- Web server. Your site’s files and folders have to live somewhere, and your web server is the place. It’s a remote purpose-built system that a hosting company maintains in the majority of cases.
There are two parts to a domain name: the label and the Top-Level Domain (TLD) extension. For the latter, there are lots to choose form, and you don’t have to stick to .com anymore. For example, you could go with .co, or even choose a dedicated niche TLD, such as .photos or .photography.
As for purchasing one, you need to go to a domain registrar. There are lots of options, and some web hosts provide this service. SiteGround and DreamHost both have dedicated registrars at competitive prices.
Namecheap is a fantastic third-party registrar that does what it says on the tin, and it also offers hosting (although not at the same level as hosts offering domains).
Moving back to hosting, and you also have a lot of choice here. In fact, we cover this elsewhere on the Envira Gallery blog, and we think it’s essential reading before you move on.
How to Build a Photography Website Using Elementor and Envira Gallery
You’ll note that there are three steps between you and a live photography site. This doesn’t seem like a lot, but they’re all essential. What’s more, you’ll likely have the skills you need to implement each one. If not, we’re here to help!
Before we get into the first step, we’re going to assume the following:
- You have a web host.
- You’ll have a domain name.
- WordPress is live on your web server with a linked domain name.
The latter seems difficult, but it’s simple to do and takes a few minutes. You’ll also want to complete the purchase for Elementor and Envira Gallery while you’re here. That way, you have everything you need ready to to rock and roll.
1. Install and Activate Elementor and Envira Gallery
The first task is to install Elementor and Envira Gallery on your site. There are a few different parts in this step, but we can begin within your WordPress dashboard – specifically the Plugins > Add New screen:
This offers you a representation of the WordPress Plugin Directory within your dashboard, and if you search for “Elementor”, you can install the core plugin (using the Install Now, then the blue Activate button):
At this point, you can click the Upload Plugin button, which will bring up a drag-and-drop uploader. Here, drag in your ZIP files for Elementor Pro and Envira Gallery in turn:
Once you click Install Now, WordPress will complete the process. This will be the same for Envira Gallery, and will take a couple of minutes at the most.
You can check on the installation status for both plugins on the Plugins > Installed Plugins screen:
From here, you should make sure that your enter Envira Gallery’s license key. You can find this on the Envira Gallery > Settings screen:
Once you click Verify Key, you can get down to brass tacks: Building your site’s design.
2. Choose Your Site’s Layout
When you build a photography website using Elementor and Envira Gallery, it’s important to start with the former. This is because you can use Envira Gallery to enhance the overall design.
While there are lots of ways to build a layout using Elementor, we’re going to create a new page using the Pages > Add New link within WordPress. When we finish, this will be our home page.
When you first open a new page, it will be blank. However, if you click the Edit With Elementor button, you’ll open the interface you need:
On the next screen, you’ll see the modules Elementor gives you to build your site (‘Elements’), and a live preview of your page:
You can begin dragging Elements in to build your site if you wish, but there’s an easier way that’s quicker to boot. If you click the grey folder icon within the page canvas, you can begin to choose from various pre-built Blocks, Pages, and templates to piece together your site:
It’s a good idea to start with a suitable design for your home page and work from there. Once you find the right one, click the green Insert button, and Elementor will import it into your site:
This will take you back to the editing screen, and you can work further on your site:
Most of the design work should be in place if you choose your template with care. However, there are a few other tasks you can carry out to build your site:
- Add more pages, and use the corresponding templates to create a cohesive design.
- Include other elements to help improve the layouts of your pages. For example, you may want to add contact forms to your site.
There’s one more task we want to cover, because it relates to your image galleries. Let’s discuss how Envira Gallery can help you in the next section.
3. Embed Image Galleries Using the Envira Gallery Plugin
If you build a photography website using Elementor and Envira Gallery combined, you can leverage some unique compatibilities. Here, we’re going to show you the Envira Gallery element. You can find this in the left-hand Elements panel, or use the search bar to locate it:
You can drag this to an empty space within the live edit canvas to add it to your layout, then use the simple set of options here. For example, you can specify a title, the ability to choose a gallery, and a way to specify how many images your gallery will display:
If you don’t yet have a gallery to choose from, save your changes, click the hamburger icon in the top-left corner, and choose EXIT TO DASHBOARD:
Back on the WordPress dashboard, choose Envira Gallery > Add New to come to the gallery creation interface.
There are a few options here, so choose the option that’s best for you to get your images into WordPress:
To choose from your WordPress Media Library, click Select Files from Other Sources. Once you choose all the images you need and confirm, they will appear in the Gallery metabox underneath:
When you’re ready, click the Publish button, and head back to Elementor. From here, you can select your gallery and display it on your site:
Of course, there’s much more you can do here to make your galleries stand out, but the initial addition looks great as is!
If you consider photography to be important to you, a dedicated website is a great idea. It will give you the control you need over your own images, and you can set the narrative rather than leave it up to algorithms or chance.
Over this post, we’ve discussed how to build a photography website using Elementor and Envira Gallery. The page builder is quick and straightforward to use, as is Envira Gallery. However, both are powerful enough to help you achieve your vision and desires. The result is a focused website that packs a punch and will attract visitors.
Do you think Elementor and Envira Gallery make a good match? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
Image credit: Hans.
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