We are proud to announce our NEW community destination. Engage with resident experts and fellow entrepreneurs, and learn everything you need to start your business. Check out the new home of StartupNation Community at startupnation.mn.co

Photography site needing design/content help

LDPhotoLDPhoto subscriber Posts: 2
edited October 2007 in Website Critique
My site: www.loradavies.com</A>
I am an equine photographer and this is the 2nd site I`ve done.  I designed it initially thinking I had a great idea for it not to look like a "run-of-the-mill" site, but now I`m wondering if it may look a little too psychadelic.  I usually have a tendency to lean towards earth tone colors and rustic backgrounds, but I tried to break away from my norm and I`m hoping I didn`t go overboard. 
I will be the first to admit there are MANY things I don`t know yet about web design.  In fact, I just learned Adobe GoLive CS2 a couple of weeks ago and this was my first attempt building a site on it.  So this is a major learning experience for me. 
My goal for my business is 1) to always be professional but to always do work that is creative and try to think outside the box, and 2) to get over the "I`m new" hump and keep learning and growing to the point where my site is a regular stop for people I photograph and people recognize my work and eventually seek me out (hey, it will happen one day!)
So far, I have directed all of my customers to my site to order photos from an event. I do this by having business cards and flyers there, and having the announcer annouce where they can go to find their photos.  The bad thing about this is that my name is not easy to spell and remember and I have not submitted it to search engines yet.  So if they try to remember the site address but go home and don`t get the spelling right, they are probably not going to find it. 
The other bad thing about selling online is that if I don`t get a business card or flyer to almost every competitor (and there could be 100) then more than likely they are not going to know where to go online and they will never see those photos.  I have been looking into printing photos onsite, but cannot afford it yet. 
Another factor relating to the site and getting people there is that I am new to this area so no one really knows who I am yet and my name is not recognizable yet or synonymous with photography in this area.
Another goal for my site: I want people to get a good sense of my style and where it comes from, i.e. all of my photography is western equine and I grew up showing and rodeoing. That is why I put in the clip of me barrel racing on my About Me page, because I want competitors to know that I can do a good job shooting an event because I have competed in it and been around it.
I also want people to know that I can do not only event photography, but stallion ads, business cards, print ads, and portraits. I don`t feel like I have done a good job of making that obvious. And I would like a place where people can provide feedback or testimonials of some kind. 
I know my site is still very basic, but everyone has to start somewhere. So fire away! I would love to hear (or will endure if I have to) your comments.
Thanks for your help...LDPhoto2007-9-27 22:34:27


  • Options
    johnqhjohnqh subscriber Posts: 4
    You definitely went overboard. To be honest, I would not hire you as my photographer if I see this website.
    I am not even talking about usability, which Craigs covered a lot. What`s the use of that yellow color over black background? To make it worse, you used random yellow dots. The only thing I can associate that with is "noise". That`s extremely poorly done.
    I know you are a photographer, not a web designer. So, hire a designer to do it for you please. You can get pretty good design from designoutpost.com or sitepoint.com (I have done a lot of projects there). Certain business expense should not be nickle-and-dimed, that includes web design, which is often the first impression you leave to your potential customers.
  • Options
    LDPhotoLDPhoto subscriber Posts: 2
    I appreciate your honesty. I felt that my site lacked focus as well and I definetly want to re-think what I`m doing to distract people or confuse them. Thats the last thing I want to do!
    Craig, I am going to have to read your post a couple of times to let everything sink in. It sounds like there are multiple things I need to resolve, and your right, the gallery should not be set up that way. The reason that I have text links which take you to other sites is because I don`t know how to create a gallery in MY site that protects my work from being right-clicked and saved, printed out, etc.  My common sense appraoch would tell me to just make a thumbnail gallery as you suggested and then when the image is clicked to show it larger, have a watermark on it.  Is this what you would suggest?
    JohnQH, the yellow over the black background I originally thought was interesting and didn`t look at it as noise.  I thought an all black background would be boring. Obviously I was wrong so thank you for bringing that to my attention. 
    Oh and the blue "race track" you were referring to, John, in my mind was supposed to represent the three forks that come together here in Three Forks (where I live) to start the MO river. Guess that idea wasn`t so cool either. And I agree the positioning of it seems a little off. I think I should try and minimize it a bit so it doesn`t draw so much focus.
  • Options
    LDPhotoLDPhoto subscriber Posts: 2
    Another thing... about the About Me page- I don`t understand what the deal is with that clip.  I have no idea why is says something about changing your registry, etc. I don`t even know what that means, but from the sounds of it, it`s not good. Maybe I should just take it off. The clip is of me barrel racing. I thought this would add credibility in that I`m not just an event photographer, but I know the events because I have competed in some of them or at least been around them.
    The animation you referred to underneath that that says the photos weren`t taken by me is a slide show of my wedding photos, all of which are outside and pretty cowboy.  I included these to show people something else about me and my "style".  So that is why they aren`t taken by me, because I am in them and definetly wanted to give credit to the photographer.
  • Options
    LDPhotoLDPhoto subscriber Posts: 2
    This is the type of gallery set-up I would like to have in my site, and I think she has done a good job designing her site to keep the focus on her work, not the site layout and wild colors like I have done.  I was thinking about "toning down" my site and trying to put in gallery layouts similar to these and eliminate the text links from my GALLERY.  Good idea?
  • Options
    WeblineWebline subscriber Posts: 13 Bronze Level Member
    I don`t think theres anything wrong at all with trying something new, as you said you did. But, to me, when I look at the top of your sight, it doesn`t work. It isn`t that the colors or graphics themselves are bad, the bright colors just don`t lend themselves to the theme of your site. Its like seeing Roy Rogers and disco colors trying to work together .... but they really just don`t.The text on your page just touches on a topic, then jumps to the next without really giving a sense of anything other than a few sample pictures. You need your visitors to spend some time understanding what you do and why its beneficial to them to be there, and what you can do for them. Pictures are fine, but tell us something in the process, and then lead them to other pages in your site for more information. And, if possible, get all of your content into one site to keep them on your site, in the same browser tab/window. Personally, I hate it when I browse a site and suddenly I have a half dozen tabs open. Its much more effective to have a consistent layout and navigation menu on every page and use just one tab/window.On your contact page, maybe some type of form would be beneficial along with the info you have listed. To me, it helps create a more professional look for a site; the email graphic looks cartoon-ish for your subject.
  • Options
    Fred333Fred333 subscriber Posts: 0
    I think the site needs a little work. The colors are a little rough and might need to be changed. I would suggest earth tones.
  • Options
    LDPhotoLDPhoto subscriber Posts: 2
    Thanks guys so much for your advice!  I really need to do some work here, but I`m doing a little at a time. I have tried a little different approach to the color scheme. See what you think. Although I still don`t think it`s where it needs to be, at least you don`t need to wear sunglasses to view it!  I think it`s easier on the eyes. However, I`m wondering if I need to use a template to seperate things better. The top of the page feels a little strung out to me and I think it`s because it lacks structure. What do you think? 
  • Options
    LDPhotoLDPhoto subscriber Posts: 2
    Thanks for the comments. I know I have a lot of work to do to make this better and I agree about the wedding pics now that you bring it to my attention.  I thought of it as making me more personable and "real" rather than a bunch of text telling people what I`m about. But you make a valid point.  I will definetly work on it!
    Since you are a graphic designer, I would love to talk to you through email and pick your brain a little. If you have time, that is. Thanks again for your comments... 
  • Options
    texasmic1texasmic1 subscriber Posts: 0

    No problem. I don`t know how much help I can be via email, but I will be
    happy to do what I can. I have never used golive, although I`m sure an
    html editor is an html editor. I use dreamweaver, and before that I used
    frontpage. I built my first webpage in note pad with nothing but code in
    1996. It worked, but I wouldn`t want to have to do that again!

    I as a rule don`t recomend templates that are canned, but you may want
    to look through whatever kind of templates you have that came with
    golive and use one or more of them as a "jumping off place" or just to
    steal code from.

    Look at whatever tutorials that came with it and you will find out things
    that you didn`t know.

    I may be able to help you with Photoshop questions though. Are you
    using regular Photoshop Professional version or Photoshop Lite
    (Elements) I put Elements on my son`s computer, and I "dinked" around in
    it a little. It does most of what regular photo shop does it is just kind of
    the long way around on many things and there a certain things it can`t do.

    I can direct you to my website/resume/portfolio


    It is not great, because I put it together in a hurry, and it is done in Flash
    so there is really no code there for you to steal, but it does have a thumb
    nail section in the portfolio area. I put this site up when I was looking for
    a job and still direct people to it from time to time, but it has not been
    updated in a while, and I have since struck out and I am starting my own
    company (hence why I am on this site) I have just gotten started on my
    own company website which you would have thought I would have done
    first but I have had too much "paying" work to have time to mess with it

    My first suggestion would be that rather than trying to keep changing the
    website you have up right now, just leave it alone and start a new one
    from scratch on your computer using tables and thumb nails and when
    you have what you more or less want then update you live website with
    loradavies.com 2.0. Don`t be afraid to use some of the canned templates
    as a starting off place and then go form there.

    Also, building all these thumb nails with all the links will be very labor
    intensive when you don`t know how to run a batch setup, but I would go
    ahead and do it.   You have something up right now, take your time look
    at other websites and get ideas. If you see something you like, and you
    have no idea how to do it, email me the link with your question and I will
    do what I can to answer it.

    This will be good practice for me because I will be starting on my MFA in
    Visual Communication in Febuary (should take me 3years) and when I am
    done I most likely will start teaching at a college level.

Sign In or Register to comment.