6) Don't just show pictures; show that you love what you shoot.
Have you ever noticed that people with passion, energy and drive are people that everyone else wants to work with? They tend to be more optimistic and fun. Your portfolio should convey this. If you're not 100% into what you're shooting, start shooting something else that's near and dear to your heart.
The general photographer population is growing larger and larger, and competition is fierce. Many photographers are able to succeed in this environment because they concentrate on a niche and carve out their own segment of the industry where there's very little competition.
Photographers often feel like they should be as general as possible with their portfolio website because they want any assignment that comes their way. They worry that someone will be scared away thinking that they aren't capable of a particular assignment. In this situation, I suggest creating multiple portfolio websites based on a single theme or niche. If you have multiple specialties, create multiple portfolios.
Your portfolio and your website should be able to show that you're a motivated expert in your chosen niche. You should be 100% authentic about your interest in the subject, and have passion, energy, drive and focus. Do what you love, and let that shine through in your work. People can see this.
If the subject doesn't motivate you, you shouldn't expect your viewers to be, either.
7) Make sure the portfolio works on your audience's terms.
Who should be looking at your work, and what are they like? What monitor size is most common? Are they using mobile devices? What software are they using all day long, and what does their workflow process look like? Find this out, and incorporate these things into your website design.
For example, many photo editors use software that allows them to edit images at a very quick pace using the keyboard. They're comfortable with this process. Therefore, it would be wise to make sure they're able to advance through your portfolio by using the left and right arrow keys on a keyboard.
Photo editors and art directors have often told us that they don't like being forced to send an email through a web form in order to contact the photographer. Instead, they want to use their own company email system to send the email because they want to be able to keep track of what they sent you and when.
Putting your email address on a website may increase the amount of spam you receive, but ask yourself what's more important, fighting spam or landing an assignment?
They already have a system in place, so you should fit into it instead of expecting them to fit into yours.
8) Use captions! Text is your friend.
Don't be afraid to put text next to your images. If you're a bad writer, ask someone for help—but don't avoid captions for your images.