Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Building Your Perfect Website
As a professional photographer, you need to have a professional-looking website. What used to be a difficult process of design and coding now can be achieved simply, with minimal leffort and maximum effectiveness.
Once you have a clear concept of what you want your website to look like and how users will interact with it, you’re ready to start putting your plan into action. If you prefer to have someone else implement your ideas (so you can get back to your photography), there are many options available to you. They include hiring a professional web designer, using online services that blend templates and custom design or utilizing existing templates or basic galleries. A smart approach is to find other photography websites you like and contact the owner of the site to inquire how he or she made it happen.
The option that will give you the maximum flexibility and also help ensure that your site stands out from the crowd (though also the most expensive option) is to hire a professional web developer to create your website. Start by getting referrals from photographers with websites you admire, interview several designers and review their portfolios, and have clearly defined milestones for reviewing and approving the work as it’s done.
After the designer has created the final site, you’ll need a place to put it. A full-service web-design firm can help you get a hosting account and post your files to the server. Otherwise, you’ll need to perform these steps yourself (or enlist the help of a friend or colleague).
One way to strike a nice balance between the relatively high cost of a professional web designer and the time involved in doing the work yourself is to use a turnkey solution that offers tools for creating your site, plus services for hosting it. These services take minimal time to implement into a finished website, and their well-thought-out solutions cater to photographers.
VisualServer (www.visualserver.com) allows photographers to use their Website Designer feature to create a turnkey site from one of seven templates. Each template offers a variety of fonts and colors to customize your site, plus image galleries, contact information and other essentials are easy to place.
Professional photographer Chase Jarvis (www.chasejarvis.com) used liveBooks (www.livebooks.com) to create his site based on a design he provided. It enabled him to leverage professional web designers (in his particular case, the designers are in-house) while also being able to customize his site easily at any time using the online tools provided by liveBooks. He reminds photographers that “the most important thing to keep in mind when creating a photography website is that it’s all about the photography. That’s why my images are forefront on my site.”
Another all-inclusive solution for creating a photo website is clickbooq (www.clickbooq.com), which photographer James Quinton (www.jquinton.co.uk) of the UK used to create an online portfolio showcasing his images. With clickbooq, you can build a custom website based on its templates and then utilize its tools to fine-tune the result to your liking, with the final result hosted on its servers. The emphasis is on your images, and your site even will include a lightbox feature that enables clients to share images with other prospects.
Page 2 of 3