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Author Topic: How do I get a website for my photography biz?  (Read 4837 times)
The View
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« on: June 17, 2007, 01:50:28 AM »
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I am starting a business as a headshot photographer in LA.

For this it is key to have a website to present work you have done.

And I have questions:

1. Where do I register my web address? I saw links at google where you have to pay every month for it?

2. What's a good host? Can you change it if it doesn't work out?

3. For presenting headshots on the web I have a bad feeling about posting JPEGs, as they are so poor with skin tones.

In which format do you post photos on the web? Does it have to be "Flash"?

Or can you just use the Gallery feature of Lightroom?

Thanks a lot for reading and responding!
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rvanr
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« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2007, 05:07:00 AM »
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1. Where do I register my web address? I saw links at google where you have to pay every month for it?

Lots of options. Generally an annual fee. The easiest option is to get an all in one package (design, hosting, domain registration), just google 'photography web sites' and you'll get plenty of options. You can get an all-in-one package based on a template that may be personalised (cheap and easy), you can get a web designer to design something for you (more expensive, but easy and you have more control), or you can design it yourself (can be very time consuming, you have total control, but you are limited by your web design skills)

2. What's a good host? Can you change it if it doesn't work out?

You have to do your own research. I am in the UK and am happy with my mine, but a US based host would suit your needs better.

3. For presenting headshots on the web I have a bad feeling about posting JPEGs, as they are so poor with skin tones.

Anybody with some knowledge of photography and the Internet will know this to be true. You will need to make it clear to the browser that the images on the site give an idea of your style, and do not reflect the quality of the end product.

In which format do you post photos on the web? Does it have to be "Flash"?
Or can you just use the Gallery feature of Lightroom?

Opinions are divided. Flash requires a plug-in for the browser and this may rule out a few potential vistors. Some people (like me) find excessive use of flash features like animations, sound, etc. offputting. There is no law that says you have to use flash!

Good Luck
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Gordon Buck
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« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2007, 12:03:40 PM »
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I feel your pain.  Getting your own website is an intimidating and awkward process but it can be done.

As part of your research, you should consider the Microsoft Office Live services.  You can read about this at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/officelive/.   Through Office Live, you can get three different levels of sites and services.  (I'm not affiliated with Microsoft in any way.)

I have the free version, Microsoft Office Live Basic (OLB).  My site is http://hornerbuck.com.  OLB has been  a relatively easy way to set up and maintain a website.  I've learned a lot in the process.  There are templates to use so you don't really need a website programmer.  On the other hand, you'll be forced to use those templates and/or some of the hacks and work-arounds that are presented in the OL forums.

Office Live Basic isn't particularly photo friendly and this is one of the problems that I've noted on the "blog" page of my site.  However, there are two levels past the Basic version in which you could do additional and less restrictive programming.  These higher level sites have monthly fees  but also help you to set up "catalog" pages and direct sales.  (I think so anyway, I haven't used them.)

You may want to hire a programmer; if so, that person will probably be able to guide you through the process in addition to setting up your site and services.
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The View
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« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2007, 06:36:43 PM »
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Anybody with some knowledge of photography and the Internet will know this to be true. You will need to make it clear to the browser that the images on the site give an idea of your style, and do not reflect the quality of the end product.


[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=123260\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks! This is a very good tip.

I would also post a note that people with non-calbirated monitors might not see the colors as they really are.

And thanks to you, too, gordonsbuck.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2007, 06:40:38 PM by The View » Logged

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wolfnowl
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« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2007, 07:20:11 PM »
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Hi There:

You've been given a lot of good information already.  Basically, your first question is divided up into two parts.  If you want your own domain (yourcompany.com for example) then you have to register it.  There are a number of companies that will take care of that for you.  If you're connected to the internet you likely already have an Internet Service Provider (ISP) so check with them first.  Registration varies depending on what country you're in.  In Canada for example registrations are managed by CIRA.  That gets you a name.  Owning that domain name will cost you an annual fee.

The second part is finding someone to 'host' your domain for you.  That means that the files live physically on their servers, and people access your site by connecting through them.  Again, you may wish to check with your ISP to see if they offer domain hosting.  This is where it gets tricky because costs vary with the amount of storage space you desire as well as your monthly 'throughput'.  Basically throughput is the amount of information that is traveling back and forth through your site.  To use a really simple example, let's say you have a 6MB file on your site (hosted on their server), and 100 people download this file in one month.  That's 600MB of throughput.  That's also why people use much smaller files!

From there you have to decide if you want e-mail addresses associated with this domain (hosted on their mail servers), how many e-mail addresses, throughput for e-mail, etc.  Generall speaking, companies will offer packages offering x amount of hard drive space, x amount of throughput and x e-mail addresses for $X/ month or /year.  This is in addition to the domain name registration.  Some things to keep in in mind are what kind of connection they have to the net's backbone (T1, fibre optic, etc), what their connection speeds are, what their user/node ratio is (imagine 3 people waiting to use the bathroom at the same time and you discover why a high user/node ratio isn't a good thing), and other things like that.

Your website itself varies considerably depending on your own programming knowledge or if you want to hire someone to design it for you.  A simple Lightroom gallery will get you started.  Flash is a tool like any other.  I think it has it's place and is in common enough usage (flash player is a free download) that you could consider it.  As has been mentioned however, overuse of flash or other software can make your site look garish or gaudy and is likely to turn people off.

My $0.02

Mike.
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The View
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« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2007, 09:31:27 PM »
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My $0.02

Mike.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=123395\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

They will buy a lot. Thank  you.

I get the importance of the user/node ratio.

Godaddy has been recommended to me. I wonder how to find out a host's user/node ratio?

Also the throughput. Nobody seems to post those numbers on their websites. Or at least I can't find it.

I intend to write an e-mail and ask.

What user/node ratios and what throughput would be good for a site like mine?


Thanks!
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2007, 09:46:25 PM »
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By all accounts pair.com is a nice host to run a business.  (I've a friend running his there.)  They cost quite a bit more, however.  They just seem to work.

I use bluehost.  They seem fine.  They restrict CPU usage however.  (Well, they shut you down for a minute or two if you use too much.  That's why less php and more static pages is better on shared hosting.)  They have a higher cpu usage plan, too.  Oh, and I've never been shutdown so I've no idea how easy it is to trigger the limit.

I've used dreamhost and would never do so again.  (Too much lost email.  Down time, too, but it is the email that kills me.)

There is a site called something like webhostsforum (or webhosttalk or something) that you can peruse for host commentary.

I would also register my site at a place like godaddy.  Should be a little easier to move it around if you do not like the host you go with.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2007, 09:47:39 PM by DarkPenguin » Logged
The View
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« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2007, 12:02:12 AM »
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  That's why less php and more static pages is better on shared hosting.)  They have a higher cpu usage plan, too.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=123411\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

What is a website with more CPU usage?

I intend to use a Lightroom gallery, I also think of getting a flash template from lightroomgalleries.com

So there are two steps, if I got this right:

1. Register a web address at GODADDY

2. Getting a host, which can be godaddy or the sites DarkPenguin mentioned. GoDaddy us ad financed and I'm not sure if I want third party ads on my site.

The main thing for me is to have a tasteful website, because the style of the website may give visiting potential clients a subconscious message about the quality of the shoot.
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Chris_T
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« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2007, 11:46:39 AM »
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You are asking the right questions, but these are just the nuts and bolts part of a web site. Many other questions are even more important, such as how to design your site and how to find a *good* designer. The difference between these questions is analogous to finding a good camera and knowing how to take good photos with it. Many spend lots of effort and $$ in *presenting* their photos such as matting and framing. But when it comes to showing their work in a web gallery, they seem to think that they can be sloppy.

Here's a lengthy thread on this topic:

http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=13890

After the last post several months ago, it continues to get ~50 hits a day.

Quote
I am starting a business as a headshot photographer in LA.

For this it is key to have a website to present work you have done.

And I have questions:

1. Where do I register my web address? I saw links at google where you have to pay every month for it?

2. What's a good host? Can you change it if it doesn't work out?

3. For presenting headshots on the web I have a bad feeling about posting JPEGs, as they are so poor with skin tones.

In which format do you post photos on the web? Does it have to be "Flash"?

Or can you just use the Gallery feature of Lightroom?

Thanks a lot for reading and responding!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=123249\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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The View
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« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2007, 02:35:52 AM »
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Many spend lots of effort and $$ in *presenting* their photos such as matting and framing. But when it comes to showing their work in a web gallery, they seem to think that they can be sloppy.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=123554\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Absolutely. The way your present yourself gives the actor who comes for headshots an idea of who you are.

I have seen too many of those gadgety websites, where some somber music plays, and when you click for a photo you hear a soundfile of a camera release. First only the good ones had it, but now I  have seen the absolutely same kind of site with not very professional work on it.

I think it is not such a good idea to have a website that looks like all the other headshot photographer's websites. Especially as those flash gizmos stop impressing people,  or start to annoy them, as they take their attention off the photos they have actually come to your website for.

I have in mind a site with strictly showing photos, and no playthings. I would only have some links that answers questions an actor coming to my site might have, for example of my way of doing the shoot. And to give them a good idea of my good knowledge of their world.

I am still not well informed what flash is. It's a programming language, and it has flashy results, that's all. I have repeatedly heard HTML pages are better for presenting photographs, but I don't know why.
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The View
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« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2007, 02:37:40 AM »
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So I guess it may not be a good idea to use a Lightroom Web Gallery as my photography business's website design?

It wouldn't really allow for much test, wouldn't it, especially for that FAQ section I am planning.

Or would it?
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Chris_T
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« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2007, 07:12:16 AM »
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Here are some suggestions, and I wish I could follow them myself <g>:

1. Determine your site's objectives, and who your primary target audience are. These should frame your contents and design, and answer lots of nuts and bolts questions, such as speed (i.e. flash) etc.

2. View as many similar sites as you can, and note your likes and dislikes. If you find ONE site that satisfies you, you are almost done. If not, bookmark the pages from different sites.

3. Find a capable web *coder*, but not necessarily a good web *designer*. Convey the above to him/her and ask for comments. This tells them that you have done your homework, and is also a good way to screen out those who cannot handle the job. Ultimately, you should be in control of the content and design, and he/she should be the implementer. Too often, web designers want to offer "everything" for you. That may mean regurgitating what they have already done (easy for them), or dumping lots of "features" on you (more costly).

4. Avoid changing your mind and redesigning your site. That means investing more time and effort on the above *before* coding. Follow the carpenters' advice: "Measure twice, cut once."

Building a web site is not unlike building a bookcase. You can build one within minutes with a kit of particle boards, or start with your own plan using hardwood boards. Each serves a purpose, and each requires a different effort.

Quote
So I guess it may not be a good idea to use a Lightroom Web Gallery as my photography business's website design?

It wouldn't really allow for much test, wouldn't it, especially for that FAQ section I am planning.

Or would it?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=123678\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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