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Hows this for a start?

Discussion in 'Personal Portfolio Sites' started by Sphinx, Nov 8, 2016.

  1. Sphinx

    Sphinx Well-Known Member

    Further to my thread in talking pictures
    The portfolio site I am building is at www.starsphinx.com and I would love some feedback if possible.

    Obviously the site is very new and right now there are minimal images there - as I get more up I intend the galleries page to be further divided into sections -eg birds, native wildlife, captive, sports then each of those pages would have galleries the original page does now.

    The bits I am unsure about are the home page and about me pages because I simply cannot think what to write on them. I am also having confidence wobbles that the site should be up at all. Any suggestions welcome.
  2. Maroon

    Maroon Well-Known Member

    I find this part on the homepage a little unnecessary, better to keep it with little text as possible.

    You already have them along the navigation bar at the top and they're pretty self explanatory.


    In the about section you could also add something more personal such as what & why you enjoyed photographing at the safari
  3. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    The images that you have used as banners (the ones you can scroll through on the home page) seem to be suffering from too few pixels for the format. I don't know if this is a compression issue, or a sizing issue or what but it's not a great first impression for a photography website. Also have a look at your 'signature' - all those pixelated letters at the bottom of each image are a real distraction. Anyone with half a clue can clone out a signature so really it's only real purpose now is to advertise the fact that you took the picture. The fact that all the pictures are on YOUR website does that on its own and the signature is therefore redundant as well as, in this case, being an ugly distraction. Seriously consider losing them.
  4. Sphinx

    Sphinx Well-Known Member

    I have listened and (hopefully) learned - at least something. I have just done a big overhaul of the site taking in what was said above and would love opinions of it now.
  5. IvorCamera

    IvorCamera In the Stop Bath

    Get rid of the Amateur in the follow up of your description to the site, you are either a photographer or a enthusiastic photographer somehow Amateur just does not sound right to start off on any web site.......other than that its looking ok, on my tiny monitor.
    Sphinx likes this.
  6. Craig20264

    Craig20264 Well-Known Member

    'Private' Gallery? Not sure about storing private images on a website. Isn't the idea of a website to get your work noticed?
  7. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    I think the point of a 'private' gallery is usually to ensure that only the people who have paid for the images can see them. I've seen it on some wedding photographers' websites - the happy couple are issued with a password and can then go ahead and view all the images before selecting which ones they want in their album but it doesn't allow Aunty Jean to go ahead and copy the files without ordering first. Whether that's the case here or not, I don't know?
    Craig20264 likes this.
  8. Sphinx

    Sphinx Well-Known Member

    I am not sure what others call them but they are very common especially among wedding photography where the photos are put online so the couple and their family can see and choose them but are passworded so only they can see them. I use it mainly if I am shooting under 16 events as parents feel more comfortable with it that way. I might change it to protected rather than private?
    Craig20264 likes this.
  9. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    There are a few things that I really think you need to address here. One is actually very common to photographers - they're not designers. For instance, the first page of your site uses at least four different fonts, two of which fall into what's known as the 'novelty' genre. This is not the way to build a professional site. There's also your use of colour. It's fine to have links show up in a different colour - but pick one, not three. Some of yours are green, some purple and some blue. Visually, it's messy. I would also lose the 'Explore' button in the middle of your banner image. You have tabs at the top and most people are web-savvy enough to know that's where to look if they want to explore anything. You've got a big green blob in the middle of your image for no good reason. Also, you might love it, but lose that image of the three (leopard?) cubs. It's out of focus and that's not what you want on your front page.

    There's also a lot of repetition which makes the front page too big to fit on a whole computer screen (and I have a massive computer screen here!). You have tabs at the top of the page, three green icons with text underneath, a cropped photograph that looks like it leads to a separate section and then a repeat of the content of the green icons but with photographs. None of this is necessary - it looks like filler, and if people see filler, they start to wonder what the actual content is.

    I don't like text floating in front of images, but if you are going to have it, you must make sure it's relevant. 'Freezing the Moment' is good when seen with sports images, particularly if you are selling images to proud parents at sport events where their kids feature. 'Capturing the memories' of your own visit to the safari park is not a service. It's something you do for you. It's not something you make money from. If I see 'capturing the memories' I honestly expect to see something like child portrait photography there. Now, it might be that you could use those images for stock photography - I don't know what the rules are about making money from images you make on commerical sites like a safari park but as a rule, if you want to sell captured memories they have to be someone else's memories. I think you really need to decide in your mind if you are offering professional photographic services or if you are an amateur enthusiast who's a bit nifty with a camera wanting to showcase your efforts. Because as well as mixing up what looks like your own personal photography with photographic services,your choice of wording is very confusing on this matter and if you are expecting people to pay you, you don't want to sound confused. Instead of "Welcome to Starphinx Photography/ The Portfolio And Services from An Amateur Photographer", Consider, "Welcome To Starphinx Photography/Portfolio & Services". While I'm thinking 'design' - lose that grey box . The text is far too close to its edges and the leading is huge.

    I would move the blurb that you have written on the front page underneath the 'welcome to starphinx...' bit to the About page. I'd edit it to leave out things like 'offering a new cleaner layout' because that's not telling anyone about YOU or YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC SERVICES. The fact that you had an older, less cleanly laid out website isn't something that prospective clients need to know. I would also leave out 'if you would like more information...' because really all the information they need should be on your site. The only thing you haven't said on your site is how much you charge. So you might want to think about that and either include your pricing policy somehwere or suggest that people use the contact form to inquire about a quotation or to book your services.

    Your 'about' section is similarly sending mixed messages. It absolutely reads perfectly if you want your site to act as a showcase for your own personal images. It says nothing that makes anyone think they can hire you or that you have something to sell. What do you sell? How do you sell it? How much will it cost me? How do I hire you? That information should really be here. The fact that you can click onto the galleries and add images to your cart isn't obvious until you start clicking and unless I know you, I'm unlikely to find your site and start clicking through without that information being up front. It is important to include some biography - people want to know who they are dealing with and that's all good. But then you need to bolster that up with some information about your professional services.

    Also, when anyone clicks on your links to Facebook and Twitter, they will once again recieve very mixed messages that make it hard for a potential client to consider using your services. Reading 'apologies - I screwed up earlier' is not something that a paying customer wants to read!

    You have some really nice images and you clearly are passionate about the things you enjoy shooting, but I think you really do need to sit down and work out what it is you want to achieve with this site and your use of social media. (If any of this seems harsh, please don't take it personally. I am in the process of rationalising my own website which suffers from even worse confusion than yours on a slightly different level and so I'm currently very conscious of the idea that you need to have a consistent 'brand' out there and how to achieve it!)
    EightBitTony likes this.
  10. Craig20264

    Craig20264 Well-Known Member

    Gotcha. That seems fair enough. :)
  11. Sphinx

    Sphinx Well-Known Member

    First of all thank you for taking the time to do a detail critique - always more instructive lol.

    I am not going to respond to every point - a lot of it still needs digesting to appreciate properly. I do just want to cover the "confusion" as you put it - which is true but is actually from a good reason, its because I myself am in that state. The site actually reflects accurately my position if that makes sense - I do not know if my health will let me truly offer services and I do not want to be guilty of false advertising. The whole site/ social media thing at the moment is exploratory and my main focus promoting what I want to do is word of mouth. At the moment my social media followers are all people I know personally and I tend to frame posts in a personal way. I am very lucky in having been given some prime opportunities with the football and there is a good amount of interest there as more teams become aware of me. The lack of pricing is again a reflection of the fact I dont charge at least for downloads (which are small and only suitable for web). I will see what happens towards Christmas - if there is a good interest in prints and I have not crashed and burned medically then post Christmas I will address that.

    I am also kind of in limbo with the Longleat thing - I have tried to contact them regards their policy because I would like to be able to offer the images for sale but I need to know where i stand legally first. Some zoos/safari parks allow commercial photography for nothing more than a location attribution while others can charge you through the nose (or try to - no photographer is going to try selling pictures they have to pay £150 for each sale for). Unfortunately I have not had a response from Longleat so those pictures are display only for now - with some space filling where I have ideas for what I am going to do but need to be legally clear before doing it.

    I am a very long way from having a brand as you put it - and may never get that far. Or rather my brand will evolve into sporadic bursts governed by health. In the meantime I am looking to get the site as solid foundation. I will keep building it a little bit at a time.
  12. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    I understand that, and it's also very common I think for people who love photography but maybe can't yet justify calling themselves a 'pro' to want to be able to put a toe in the water so to speak. But the confusion needs to go. I think one way of acheiving that might be to simply re-organise things. You don't want to have too many tabs at the top because people won't bother to navigate them all, so I would either merge the HOME and the ABOUT page into one, or I would merge the ABOUT and the CONTACT page into one. Then instead of GALLERIES, I would split that into two tabs - one for PORTFOLIO and one for SERVICES. You put your absolute best stuff that showcases your interests into portfolio and anything that's for sale goes into SERVICES just pretty much as you have it now. That makes a clear distinction between the two.
  13. Sphinx

    Sphinx Well-Known Member

    Site is now in its thirdish year - and third iteration. I will update this thread when I update the site in case it is helpful to any other budding website builders. Again all feedback appreciated.

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