The thing with learning photography is that there is an ever changing set of "proudest" pictures that are worthy of sharing with people, be it friends, family, forums etc. ever changing because as you learn, you naturally improve (one would hope). This can be in composition, technical ability and most noticeably post processing skills. In theory a website is a showcase to go get paying business by proving you have some competency in photography. Personally, I'm not thinking about that (yet), just on doing things as well as I can and improving those skills where I need to. I've always had at the back of my mind that I want a portfolio and a blog. If for no one else's viewing other than mine whilst indulging my passion, however, I still wanted to do it properly. To put some method and organisation into my madness (erm... I mean pursuit of new photography skills and knowledge ;)).
There were then 3 constituent considerations which sprang to mind immediately when I started thinking about the best ways of showcasing my work.
1) There are lots of sets of pictures from projects or events which fundamentally document my progression through my photographic life ; from Studio shoots, camera club challenges to the little exercises I test myself with. Whilst not every one will be particularly riveting or wonderful, this is a documentary process of my journey.
2) Above that there is a more overarching set of the absolute best pictures worthy of a place in a portfolio. The Cream of the crop from the fruits of my photographic trials and tribulations (and hopefully improving progress).
3) A place for my meanderings, thought processes and lessons learned - also dare I say it?, possibly some knowledge and information that may be of use (or at the very least interest) to others.
So I wanted a blog and portfolio and a place to call home for them. THIS is where the choices are bewildering: Facebook, google +, flickr, 500px, Twitter, Weebly, Wix, Squarespace, Wordpress, photobucket, behance, fotolia, pixoto, viewbug, 1&1, hostgator and just about thousands more ranging from completely free to whatever you want to spend, monthly or yearly.
In the end it comes down to "just doing it" as a well known sports clothing brand are forever telling us. So I did. I bought www.petelebowphotography.com and posted it into the hosting service of www.1and1.com where you can add apps to help build a website, one of which is wordpress Yay!!
Then came a year of tinkering and maintenance. Every Plugin makes life simpler, more whizzy or impressive, however whenever that plugin gets updated it inevitably breaks something - NOT so Yay!
Tinkering and maintenance has proven to be frustrating and time wasting in equal measure and I was spending time on a website that I could have been spending out taking more pictures or editing, so I finally decided to pay heed to the photography podcast sponsorships that I've been brainwashed (in a good way of course) with over the last 18 months and voila www.Squarespace.com became the new hosting solution for my webpage and the next foreseeable future in my photographic journey.
1 week in and it was THE best decision I could have made, easy to create, stunning to look at and one of the best sets of customer support I've experienced. Have a browse around and see what you think.