Website Ideas

In order to decide the format of my website I have looked at a few examples of other photography portfolio websites.

www.worldinmylens.com has been designed by someone who runs a web design agency. It is a very glossy travel photography site and I really like the nice clear galleries split by continent and country. However I don’t like that at the top you scroll horizontally but you are also able to scroll down the page vertically too, it makes it a bit confusing. Also on my mac when I scroll horizontally I keep accidentally opening the preferences panel. Its a bit annoying. It also isn’t very clear how to get back to the home page.

www.stanseatonphotography.co.uk is a lovely wedding photography site. I really like the clear, straightforward, elegant layout with a large display photo and smaller photos used as links to other areas of the site. The menu is simple and it feels like there are not many pages. My only concern is that the Journal section seems to lead to another website – I would prefer everything to be in one place.

Initially I thought I was going to like  www.jeremycowart.com but I didn’t really. The thumbnail that I clicked on from another site showed an image with four images below labelled Artist, Humanitarian, App Creator and Teacher. When I actually clicked on the thumbnail, the site had clearly been updated and all the photographs on the home page were displayed in a collage which looked smart but felt a bit muddled. I had liked the idea of galleries that were a labelled according to activities rather than subject area or style of photography.

www.ericryananderson.com has a simple clear website that looks a little more contemporary than Stan Seaton Photography. I quite like the short, snappy, honest bio that he has.

In summary, I would like my website to:

  • scroll vertically and not horizontally
  • Include clearly labelled and defined galleries
  • Have a simple straightforward menu
  • Include a larger display photo and smaller photo links
  • Everything to be on one website
  • The galleries to be labelled according to my activities
  • Short, snappy, honest bio

I have several target audiences for my photographs so my website needs to appeal to couples planning to get married as well as commercial businesses, travel companies and stock images businesses. Therefore I think I would like my website to have three or four main menu pages and the following sub-pages and galleries:

Website-Plan

I think I would like to borrow heavily from Seaton Photography and for my website to be laid out something like this. I will use the branding that I developed last semester and use the colours I have chosen previously for each of the main areas.

Website-Layout

Tools for Creating a Professional Web Portfolio

Throughout our second semester we will be developing a website that uses the branding we created in the first semester.

The first step is to research which tools are available to help me create my portfolio website. I don’t have any coding skills so I need to look at any templates and programmes that can help me create something professional.

Blogs

This far I have been using a free WordPress.com website that allows me to create pages of static information as well as this blog. I like writing this blog and would like to be able to incorporate it into my new website. The only problem I have is that it is not easy to include my new branding in the WordPress templates.

WordPress.org offers a lot more flexibility, templates and plug-ins but is a little more tricky and expensive to set up.

Website Builders

There are a number of great web builder programmes available on the Internet like Wix, Moonfruit, Go Daddy and Weebly. These are online programmes that include a wide range of templates that can be customised easily using drag and drop software. Most have a free plan and include email services, an online shop and easy purchase of domain names.

I have created websites in Moonfruit before and have found it to be easy to use. The help section was comprehensive and there is a range of plug-in programmes that can be used with it to expand the functionality of the web pages. The online shop is easy to set up and is great for individual items but not quite so straightforward if you are selling prints of various sizes. I haven’t found a way, as yet, to automatically send purchases straight to the print company.

Photographic Website Builders

Some website builders have been designed specifically with photographers in mind. Smugmug, Zenfolio, pro galleries in PhotoBox, and Defrozo.

Most photographic website builders have a free plan or are completely free. They either print photos themselves or have links to professional photographic printers and they handle all of the online ordering automatically. Again they use templates that you can personalise but I haven’t found them to have has much flexibility as the general website builders.

Defrozo is worth a particular mention here, although still in Beta form at the moment it describes itself as the ultimate marketing platform for photographers. Functionality is limited at the moment but is developing all the time and promises to include a CRM system and client websites.

Photographic and Art Communities

Behance, DevianArt and 500px are all photographic or art communities where you can create a web portfolio and network with others that have similar interests.

At the moment I have no strong feelings as to which tool I will use. Once I have decided everything that I want to include in my website I can come and make a final choice.

Wedding Tags

This weekend I took the official photos at a friend’s wedding. I thought it would be a good opportunity to promote myself and perhaps make a little money through the sale of the photos.

It was quite a large wedding with over 250 invited guests so I needed to find an affordable solution. In the end I decided to create some half size business cards that showed the web address of where guests could see the official wedding photos. They were sized at 85cm x 27.5cm and printed on both sides on standard business card stock of 300gsm. If I was paid for photographing a wedding I would include the cost of textured, embossed or even laminated cards in my fee but as I was photographing voluntarily on this occasion I kept things basic.

The cards were designed in Illustrator using the purple and blue branding that I have chosen and included a photograph of the couple that I took at their engagement. I had them printed at KallKwik in Hull.

WeddingTags_Bus Card Insert Front
Wedding Tag

The cards were left casually on tables and available on a table by the door near a basket of wedding favours for guests to collect on their way out.

The cards seemed to go very well. At one point I went around the room and gave out some cards personally; they were well received with several people saying that they looked forward to seeing the official photos. Only one person gave the card back to me saying “you haven’t taken my photo so I won’t take a card.”

Because I knew there were going to be a lot of guests at the wedding I had 200 cards printed. I had a lot left over so in the future I think I will only need to have enough cards printed for just over half of the guests. Many of the guests at weddings are couples or families and only need one card between them.

I designed the cards with 3mm of bleed all around them but they have been cut very closely to some of the words, possibly because of the way that the printer laid out multiple copies before he printed them.

I also needed to proof read the cards a little more thoroughly as I have since found an error in the phone number on the cards.

Corporate Brand Developments

Pleased with my corporate brand design and the layout of some of my stationery, I have taken the design a little further, correcting some mistakes I found and developing other stationery items.

I have now decided to have a business card with a sleeve in order to support any wedding work that I may get. I aim to have my details on the sleeve and the unique web address were wedding guests can access the photos on the card inside.

I have also included a design for an envelope, a CD and CD sleeve and also some pen drives.

 

I have also created a suite of stationery items on a similar theme but in different colours that would be more suitable for commercial photography. The business card is slightly altered as it would be used more as a traditional business card rather than to convey a unique web address to a large number of people.

 

Corporate Brand

After several trial runs I finally decided on a logo, colours and now a stationery design too.

I have designed two versions of my logo and created each in both landscape and portrait to give me greater flexibility in the way that I use it. I like the block logo on a solid colour and I prefer the letters without the block on a photograph and as a watermark.

I have only shown the stationery designs below in one colour way but I would like to have printed a version in each colour in the range. I have also shown the stationery with one image on the reverse but I would like it printed with a range of different images.

Business Card Design

As a photographer in a creative industry, I want my business cards to be creative and to stand out. I’m not going to be part of a large organisation where my business cards need to conform to a standard format so I want them to reflect who I am and what I do.

The standard size for a business card is 85mm x 55mm, usually in landscape but it doesn’t have to be. I have seen cards of various shapes, sizes and with bits cut out or added on to them.

Square Business Cards
With rounded corners and a calendar
Folded Business Cards
Viewfinder Business Cards
Mini Business Cards
Fun Business Cards
Wooden Business Cards
Musical Business Cards

Here are a few cards I like that I think are targeted at a similar market to the one I want to target.

 

I’ve also checked out ‘The Best of Letterhead Design’ which has some good examples of well designed and innovative business cards.