David, I cannot speak for all photographers here, nor can I speak for professional photographers. However, just about every -serious- photographer has some sort of an individual web gallery for photos. Now, maybe it is a free site or a cheap site, but there is some place. As you move toward the more serious photographers, the web gallery hosting is a bit more expensive. However, interested onlookers can see some photos there. On my gallery, interested onlookers can make comments about individual images, and those feed back to the photographer. Very interested onlookers can also purchase prints. At a minimum, consider those print purchases to fund the gallery site itself. Since some image files are upwards of 50MB each, having several hundred images visible is not completely trivial.
On the other hand, in the past some people have seen some of my small images and asked me for permission to use the images elsewhere. That depends on the exact usage. Some have gotten my images, used them without permission, and I had to issue a take-down demand, which is the first step before a lawsuit.