For the last 5 years I only used Instagram to publish some of my shooting-results. During the COVID Lockdowns I decided to decrease my dependency on the big social media services by updating my completely outdated Homepage.
I asked myself why I decided to switch from my Website to Instagram a few years ago and there were multiple reasons. What annoyed me the most was the fact that my former website was fully static. This caused a lot of work to prepare images and HTML-pages (often including some manual HTML-coding and -tweaking). I still had multiple Domain-Names and a Webspace (which I did not use over the years as I just forwarded it to my Instagram profile) – hosted at a trustworthy provider.
I still needed to to decide if I follow the easy route by choosing a new Webspace-provider who offers pre-configured Templates for Photographers and their portfolios (one of the most well known is “Squarespace”) – or if I choose the the challenging alternative and create something quite similar based on a decent Content Management System (CMS) and my existing Webspace.
After some research I decided to choose option 2 for multiple reasons:
- This allows me to keep my pictures on my own platform without handing over some rights to a cloud provider (I read e.g. that Squarespace used pictures of photographers without their permission for marketing reasons as their terms of service allow them to do so).
- Independence from a big cloud provider gives me full flexibility when it comes to commercial ideas. If I ever want to include a poster-shop or something similar on my Website, this might either multiply my hosting costs with a cloud provider (if I need to upgrade from a personal to a commercial webspace-package) or I am not allowed at all to offer certain services or products – depending on the terms and conditions of the cloud provider. If I keep everything on my webspace, I am fully independent as long as the offered Products and Services are just legal.
- What bores me the most about Instagram is the censorship (it’s not even allowed to show Nipples- but Weapons can be shown – and if you publish art-nudes you live in a constant fear of being blocked or even banned). Moving to a big cloud provider is risky as platforms like Tumblr also decided from one day to another to ban/delete all pictures showing nudity.
- It seemed that meanwhile there are Content Management Systems and additional Plugins/Tools/… available which allow me to publish pictures and even Blog-posts like this one in just minutes, reducing the huge overhead which annoyed me so much in the past.
After 2 days and my very first experiences with WordPress, WordPress-Themes and -Plugins I finally finished the Layout of my new Homepage and the only thing missing right now is the content (Photos and some useful information in my Blog). I will for sure upload my future shooting results to this Website but also plan to upload some older stuff during the next weeks and months. This also inspires me to update my Photographer-Portfolio.
I hope my story inspires you. If so, please leave a comment. If you find mistakes on my website or have ideas how to improve the design or usability, please let me know too.