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Author Topic: Website Questions  (Read 13221 times)
uintaangler
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« on: March 08, 2014, 09:40:53 PM »
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I would like to create a distinctive website for displaying my images and selling fine art prints
I tried Zenfolio and lost interest in it - the combination of my limited computer skills and Zenfolio's limited choices just didn't give me what I was looking for
I am willing to pay a professional to design the website for me
Any suggestions and leads would be greatly appreciated.
Reply right here or send me a PM
Thanks,
Bob
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rgs
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« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2014, 10:50:03 PM »
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Get a domain name if you don't have one then get a hosting plan. Mine is from BlueHost but there are plenty of other options. Then get a WordPress or Drupal installation (WordPress is easier and take less maintenance). Both are free and your web host should help you set them up. There are lots of free themes to choose from or you can pay for a theme or pay someone to custom design or custom modify one.

My themes came from Elegant Themes. I paid $39 for access to all of their themes for one year. At the end of the year I can keep what I have downloaded or renew and continue to have support.

My gallery and sales are handled by ShootProof (when you go to the Gallery you are on a ShootProof page). ShootProof has several plans depending on the number of images you need hosted. The cheapest is free (for about 100 images). I pay a small subscription for 1500 images. When someone orders, it can be sent to one of several labs (Bay Photo, ProDPI, WHCC) or I can self fulfill the order however I want. ShootProof does NOT take a commission on sales. They take out credit card fees and any lab fees and shipping and send the rest to my bank. I can also allow digital downloads of whatever size I want. It's a great service for a reasonable price and it saves me from having to host my own galleries or do any e-commerce.

My two sites (linked below) both came together in about a week total. There are a few little tweaks to do and I'm working on SEO but they are pretty much done.

Richard Smith Photo
The Singular Image

Hope that helps. My description may sound more complicated than it actually is. Just wade in. It's easy and there are people all along the way to help.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2014, 10:51:35 PM by rgs » Logged

MarkM
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« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2014, 03:05:37 AM »
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Hi Bob,

If zenfolio is giving you trouble, you should probably stay away from Wordpress and Drupal for the time being (in my opinion). While neither is super tough if you're comfortable installing software on servers, FTPing files, and making inevitable tweaks, they still require more computer skills than zenfolio.

Before you pay a designer, I would take a hard look at Photoshelter. They will give you a very professional web presence along with built in e-commerce and SEO in a way that is user friendly for both you and your visitors. You'll still end up dorking around with things, but it will be a good site right out of the box and probably a better, more researched design than you will get from most custom jobs.
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rgs
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« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2014, 01:54:36 PM »
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Hi Bob,

If zenfolio is giving you trouble, you should probably stay away from Wordpress and Drupal for the time being (in my opinion). While neither is super tough if you're comfortable installing software on servers, FTPing files, and making inevitable tweaks, they still require more computer skills than zenfolio.

Before you pay a designer, I would take a hard look at Photoshelter. They will give you a very professional web presence along with built in e-commerce and SEO in a way that is user friendly for both you and your visitors. You'll still end up dorking around with things, but it will be a good site right out of the box and probably a better, more researched design than you will get from most custom jobs.

While I am not specifically familiar with PhotoShelter, I think most of the photo gallery/selling sites are limited to some degree in the manner the OP is concerned with. Even ShootProof, for how much I use it and recommend it to others, is quite limited. That's why I only use it for the few functions for which it works best.

Drupal can be a problem for new workers but WordPress does not have a steep learning curve and there are lots of helpful resources to get you running. BlueHost, and many others I'm sure, does not require your to install on their server. They have automated functions that do the work for you. Plug-ins, photographs, and other materials can be brought into a WordPress site without ftp. WordPress has a very good upload function that uploads from wherever the file is stored (local hard drive, cloud, ect.) directly to WordPress - no ftp or file manager needed. But you are right that this can be a problem with Drupal.

In short, I think if the Bob will take a little time to learn WordPress, he will be repaid in short order with a site that is personal and more exactly what he wants. I say this after several years of working with Drupal sites. The two WordPress sites I referenced are my first WordPress attempts. It's just not very hard, at least if you have a web hosting service with good customer support.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 01:56:36 PM by rgs » Logged

jjj
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2014, 04:26:44 PM »
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The advantage of getting a good designer is that the site will look a lot better than a basic wordpress site. Important for someone who want to sell work and also has limited computer skills which was what Bob said in his post.

Another consideration is budget. Photoshelter is $360 a year, so a few years of that should pay for a designer no problem. And if they do it properly, you'll be able to upload images, add/remove content yourself quite easily.
You can even get someone to set up Wordpress for you, cheaper than starting a site from scratch and should be better looking than a generic template site.
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bretedge
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2014, 06:28:41 PM »
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I am a full-time professional photographer and I use Photoshelter.  I'm very, very happy with their service.  Their sites are easy to build using their point and click interface but they are also quite powerful.  And, they look good.  I've had numerous compliments on my website from clients, including magazine photo editors who appreciate its simplicity and ease of navigation.  A fancy site is cool and all but the focus should be on your photography, not your kick butt website.  I highly recommend you check out Photoshelter.

Bret Edge Photography on Photoshelter

Photoshelter
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Mike Sellers
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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2014, 06:40:21 PM »
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Hey Bret-what Photoshelter theme did you go with?
Mike
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bretedge
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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2014, 06:50:25 PM »
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Hey Bret-what Photoshelter theme did you go with?
Mike

My site utilizes the Beam Promenade template.
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MarkM
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« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2014, 07:04:33 PM »
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It looks great Bret.

I'm really not sure what a custom designer would bring to this to improve it.

The really nice thing about the upper-end portfolio services like Photoshelter and aphotofolio.com is that they not only have good designers and coders, but they also understand the industry. Photoshelter puts a lot of work into researching how people find, use, and sell images and that work shows in their designs. I'm sure you could find a designer who would do all of this, but that's not going to be the norm. I designed and continue to maintain my own site, but it's only because I enjoy it. If I didn't, it would not nearly be worth the time because the off-the-shelf options are so good these days.
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2014, 01:07:03 AM »
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You could also have a look at Squarespace: http://www.squarespace.com/

Mike.
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jjj
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« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2014, 06:11:46 AM »
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It looks great Bret.

I'm really not sure what a custom designer would bring to this to improve it.
Fixing this maybe... Tongue
[Unless it is meant to look like that  Undecided]
« Last Edit: March 10, 2014, 06:13:51 AM by jjj » Logged

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MarkM
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« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2014, 11:53:03 AM »
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I assume that's a visual pun on his last name. I think it's not only meant to look like that, I think it's pretty clever.
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2014, 12:10:39 PM »
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That's very charitable, don't you think?
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jjj
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« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2014, 08:55:18 PM »
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Looks like a web layout mistake to me.
My theory on doing things wrong is that you should leave no doubt that doing something wrong was a deliberate choice and not just a mistake.
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MarkM
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« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2014, 09:11:28 PM »
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Looks like a web layout mistake to me.

Of course, we can all have different opinions, but it's not a web layout mistake. The whole logo is a single jpeg. Having said that, I agree with you—if viewers think it's a mistake then it is a mistake—just a different kind of mistake. It didn't strike me as a mistake, but as John suggests, I might just be charitable.

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bretedge
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« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2014, 01:01:16 AM »
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I assume that's a visual pun on his last name. I think it's not only meant to look like that, I think it's pretty clever.

Yep, you nailed it. My designer created this logo a few years ago and I still like it, which says a lot since I've got the attention span of a 5 year old. Squirrel! ;-)
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bretedge
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« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2014, 01:03:32 AM »
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Looks like a web layout mistake to me.
My theory on doing things wrong is that you should leave no doubt that doing something wrong was a deliberate choice and not just a mistake.

To each his own.  In the 8 years I've used this logo you and John Beardsworth are the first to think it a "mistake".
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2014, 03:52:27 AM »
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It's a context thing. One would assume it is deliberate on a business card or stationery, but on web sites 99.9% of such cut offs are CSS layout errors. So at first glance that's what it looks like.
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jferrari
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« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2014, 08:13:42 AM »
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To each his own.  In the 8 years I've used this logo you and John Beardsworth are the first to think it a "mistake".

Add me to the list of those who will vocalize that they think it is a "mistake." Take a poll. After 8 years it might be time for something fresh. Or not. Your call.
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jjj
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« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2014, 08:33:55 AM »
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It's a context thing. One would assume it is deliberate on a business card or stationery, but on web sites 99.9% of such cut offs are CSS layout errors. So at first glance that's what it looks like.
Exactly my point. A 'mistake' used in design needs to appear deliberate.
On a business card, no problem, on a website....
Also bear in mind most people won't even mention if a website has an error. I only did so because of the specific context of conversation.
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