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Author Topic: Web site critique  (Read 4648 times)
guzi4real
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« on: November 09, 2006, 04:46:21 PM »
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Dear all,

I have been reading posts on these forums for some time but today is the first time that I take the initiative to post.

I have recently put online a new version of my website. Hoping that I am not breaking any forum rules / etiquette by posting this, I would like to ask you to visit it and if possible comment on it. I'm interested in hearing your opinion on the aesthetics, easy of use and quality/quantity of photos displayed. The site is at the following address:

http://george.gavanas.com/

Thanks in advance for your help and time,

G.
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2006, 05:30:37 PM »
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Dear all,

I have been reading posts on these forums for some time but today is the first time that I take the initiative to post.

I have recently put online a new version of my website. Hoping that I am not breaking any forum rules / etiquette by posting this, I would like to ask you to visit it and if possible comment on it. I'm interested in hearing your opinion on the aesthetics, easy of use and quality/quantity of photos displayed. The site is at the following address:

http://george.gavanas.com/

Thanks in advance for your help and time,

G.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84380\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

George,

I took a quick look through your website. Generally easy to understand and to navigate. I did find the places where you use white text on gray-ish background difficult to read, however.

The intent of your website is not totally clear.  Are you soliciting work, or is this just a way to display your photos?  Your statement "About Me" is the first place which hints that you are a part-time pro, and it is towards the bottom of the home page.

Kind regards,

Paul
« Last Edit: November 09, 2006, 05:38:25 PM by PaulS » Logged

guzi4real
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« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2006, 06:01:21 PM »
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George,

I took a quick look through your website. Generally easy to understand and to navigate. I did find the places where you use white text on gray-ish background difficult to read, however.

The intent of your website is not totally clear.  Are you soliciting work, or is this just a way to display your photos?  Your statement "About Me" is the first place which hints that you are a part-time pro, and it is towards the bottom of the home page.

Kind regards,

Paul
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84387\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Paul,

thank you for your time and comment. I will check the site using various monitors and possibly correct the contrast of those parts of text if need there is; however, so far no one mentioned this as something hindering readability.

Unfortunately, your point about the site's intent has been mentioned before and is quite problematic. See, I take pride in trying (and often succeeding) to work as a pro (managing projects, using pro standards, etc.) but when I think of where my photographic skills would be if I was doing this full-time for the past 4 years, I think to myself: "damn, I'm just an amateur".

My idea was therefore not to mention anything about my "status" (pro or semi pro or amateur) but to only provide hints and let the viewer decide based on the photos he/she will see. Now of course I'd be more than happy if someone I don't know would stumble upon my site and propose me some super interesting photo project but I don't really count on it. I intent to do my PR in person and provide links to the site as an online portfolio of my work.

Do you think this is an acceptable compromise that could work in practise ?

Thanks again,

Regards,

G.
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howiesmith
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« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2006, 06:10:44 PM »
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I thought the site was easy to use.

I would suggest different photos for your home page.  A close-up of a man smaking and a woman drinking are not exactly main stream.  However, if you think they appeal to your intended audience, they are likely fine.  Just be aware they may turn some folks off.

I thought the galery intrance photos were very good.  Very good.  I would suggest on the man for movie stills, cloning out the kight area in the upper right portion.  It distracts me - pretty picky but some clients are very picky.

The photos in the portfolios do not, in my opinion, come close to the quailty of the entrance.

The site is in English.  I suspect English is not your first or only language.  I notices a couple places, like the first line of who I am, that did not flow easily to me even though I am fluent in English (only).  There are a couple of verb tense problems.  I understand you are asking for photo input, but I would point out that some clients look at the entire site for an indication of your personal attention to detail.  (Once while reviewing resumes for hiring, an applicant said he had strong attention to detail skills, but misspelled attention.  The resume went into the trash.  I may have missed a great engineer, but you have to seperate the wheat and chaff someway.)

Overall, pretty good.  I would work on the portfolio images to bring them up to the strenght in the entrance photos.  Also, the images appear to be fairly limited in scope, not showing much experience.  For instance, movie stills might have several movie with more recognizable actors.  It is hard to show a great portrait portfolio with one one or two models.  (I try not to repeat models/subjects.  Show people you have been around.)
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2006, 06:52:43 PM »
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thank you for your time and comment. I will check the site using various monitors and possibly correct the contrast of those parts of text if need there is; however, so far no one mentioned this as something hindering readability.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84392\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

George,

The sections to which I refer are the "Photo Information" captions under your images.  I can read the white-lettered captions but the grey background lowers the contrast (at least on my work monitor which is not calibrated) and makes it more difficult to read.

Best,

Paul
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guzi4real
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« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2006, 07:12:52 AM »
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I thought the site was easy to use.

I would suggest different photos for your home page.  A close-up of a man smaking and a woman drinking are not exactly main stream.  However, if you think they appeal to your intended audience, they are likely fine.  Just be aware they may turn some folks off.

I thought the galery intrance photos were very good.  Very good.  I would suggest on the man for movie stills, cloning out the kight area in the upper right portion.  It distracts me - pretty picky but some clients are very picky.

The photos in the portfolios do not, in my opinion, come close to the quailty of the entrance.

The site is in English.  I suspect English is not your first or only language.  I notices a couple places, like the first line of who I am, that did not flow easily to me even though I am fluent in English (only).  There are a couple of verb tense problems.  I understand you are asking for photo input, but I would point out that some clients look at the entire site for an indication of your personal attention to detail.  (Once while reviewing resumes for hiring, an applicant said he had strong attention to detail skills, but misspelled attention.  The resume went into the trash.  I may have missed a great engineer, but you have to seperate the wheat and chaff someway.)

Overall, pretty good.  I would work on the portfolio images to bring them up to the strenght in the entrance photos.  Also, the images appear to be fairly limited in scope, not showing much experience.  For instance, movie stills might have several movie with more recognizable actors.  It is hard to show a great portrait portfolio with one one or two models.  (I try not to repeat models/subjects.  Show people you have been around.)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84394\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks very much for your time and comments. Let me provide some additional information concerning some of them:

- Concerning the main photo of the home page: you might have noticed that those are randomly picked from a selection of about 50 photos to give a sense of renewed content. However it seems that some ppl do not like some photos in particular, so I will definitely be removing a selection in the future.

- I will clone that bright spot out, thanks.

- I will ask an english-native speaker to proof-read the text. By reading it again I saw that I still have some spelling errors left (ouch!), so this will be corrected very soon.

- If the pictures don't show much experience it's because well, ... I don't have lots! I only did movie stills for one movie so there is nothing more to show. As for the portraits portfolio, I did my best to show as much variety as I can and it's true that some models appear twice or three times. I will look into that to possibly keep a maximum of two photos per model.

Thanks again,

Regards,

G.
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guzi4real
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« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2006, 07:15:40 AM »
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George,

The sections to which I refer are the "Photo Information" captions under your images.  I can read the white-lettered captions but the grey background lowers the contrast (at least on my work monitor which is not calibrated) and makes it more difficult to read.

Best,

Paul
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84404\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The letters in the captions are supposed to be light-grey, so possibly it's a matter of lowering monitor brightness ? I will nevertheless look into making the contrast between text and background higher.

Regards,

G.
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2006, 09:25:08 AM »
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The letters in the captions are supposed to be light-grey, so possibly it's a matter of lowering monitor brightness ? I will nevertheless look into making the contrast between text and background higher.

Regards,

G.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84455\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

George,

I'm now looking at your website with my calibrated monitor at home, and the lettering is easier to read.  But I'll bet that very few  of your potential clients calibrate their screens.  

Anything that gets in the way of people's positive experience of your site could mean a missed opportunity for you.  So definitely check into making the letters easier to read.  

Paul
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howiesmith
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« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2006, 09:41:14 AM »
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- If the pictures don't show much experience it's because well, ... I don't have lots! I only did movie stills for one movie so there is nothing more to show. As for the portraits portfolio, I did my best to show as much variety as I can and it's true that some models appear twice or three times. I will look into that to possibly keep a maximum of two photos per model.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84454\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Tough problem.  Your website goes out to many people.  Most clients want photographers with a ton of experience.  You can't start with a ton of experience.  Hard business to get into.  With no experience, you must have something different to offer. Like be very good, or very cheap (sometimes a turn off too), or something.  To get more experience, you maigh volunteer to work for next to nothing for somebody who has nothing to spend.

Good luck.  You look like you are off to a good start.
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tgphoto
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« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2006, 12:07:28 AM »
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George,

Really nice site overall.  Looks like you've done your homework--site is well thought out and has good flow.  Pages all seemed to load quickly and I didn't get lost along the way.  The copy for your site has been well written too, so Google should pick it up no problem.

One suggestion, and this is merely a usability issue, would be to limit the scrolling a user has to do when viewing each page in a category.  A possible workaround would be more pages, keeping the thumbnails for each "above the fold"?

Great job!

Tim
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guzi4real
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« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2006, 05:53:55 PM »
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Thanks to all for the very valuable feedback. In the coming weeks I will be adding a photoblog to the site; I will then post a message to share it with you :-)

tgphoto: photos are viewable without scrolling on monitors with 1024x768 resolution. It is true that I didn't bother optimizing the thumbnails pages; I will however try to see how they look with 3 x 3 thumbs and possibly switch to using that.

Thanks again to all !

Regards,

G.
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etude
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« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2006, 10:03:58 PM »
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George, I think you have made a good start. You do actually have quite a lot of images on your site and I'm not sure that the lack of scope is really such a big issue. If the images, your approach and overall presentation is strong, I think you will do well with it.

Keep this in mind:
What you leave out is as important as what you include.

I'd leave out:
"I currently work full-time for a multinational IT company and, in my free time, on photographic projects."

"I didn't study"

This is a sales tool. If it isn't going to either sell or add to the interest, leave it out.

Some of your site reads a little like a resume or CV. This communicates "beginner asking for a job" - do me a favour by giving me a chance to gain experience.

I think you can improve on this by creating a certain professional distance.

"I like to focus on ..." >>> George specialises in portrait photography

I think you are better off writing it as if you are someone else writing about yourself, or better yet, get someone skilled in writing to do it for you.

My best suggestion is this:
Search for the best photographer sites you can find. Identify what is good about them, and seek to emulate the strong points. One thing I notice about the sites that look the best - they don't use a large number of images to get the idea across. Just a small number of high quality images composed well - not just the photo itself, but how it is included and framed in the site. You only need a handful of images to create an impression. At that point you have either got their attention or lost it. At that point, if they are seriously interested, they will look for more.
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