View Full Version : Nervous....

09-19-2008, 07:55 AM
So I decided to get off my rump and jump in head first. I took the plunge. I built my website this past weekend, looking for some C&C on it. I am nevous as hell.... I mean, what if the site actually works? What if I get some business out of this? LOL! :eek: In any case, please feel free to check it out and comment on what you think needs improvement. And as always, thanks for looking....


09-19-2008, 10:00 AM
I like the lay out of your website. Get blogging girl. The link on the link page doesn't work, but I am sure that this is a work in progress. :)

09-19-2008, 10:28 AM
Paula - I really like how you did a collage format instead of the usual flip through format.

09-19-2008, 10:33 AM
I also like that you can click on an image to enlarge it. A couple of th ings that i notices that you may want to think about:
The BW military middle photo is way too dark, and the shadows on the kids' faces aren't a good idea to show in your catalog.. also, I love the photo of the glasses w/ the couples images... BUT there is a plastic cup to the right which is a bit distracting.... just food for thought... good job!

09-19-2008, 11:25 AM
Thank you I was thinking about that... I don't know why I included it... I'm going to remove it ASAP...

Badness... thanks for the comment on the blog, yeah, I should get something in there, this weekend for sure, once I kidnap my neighbors good glass :)

thanks for pointing out the link doesn't work.... will have to check into that too.

09-19-2008, 01:48 PM
I am a graphic designer and web designer when I am not behind a lens. Your SEO is poor. The design is alright, I would say it is average... nothing pops out though.

You need to do hardcore keyword research and get your meta tags into the code. in your /head tag.

I understand that this is a work in progress but here are a few tips (I have been designing websites for some time now) and you should follow them if you want to rank high in area searches. My website at mindforged.com doesn't even have a gallery and utilizes the same flash for every page... it is a week old, well like 6 days. In local Fresno and my hometown searches I am already ranked #5 in yahoo searches and awaiting google placement through DMOZ which could take a year.

Ok. Here are the tips:

This is a website, not a physical portfolio. Build it like a website first. Focus on what search engines are looking for. Use CSS in order to change your website on a global level in seconds. I can literally change any aspect of my website with a single change, that includes text formatting, colors, links, everything...

Next. Your titles should not be - Home, - Gallery, etc... name them based on how you would want a search engine to see you. My titles are things like Visalia Wedding Photography, Fresno Wedding Photography and Event Photography.... I subtly change every single title in order for the search engines to add a keyword here and there.... keep it under 10 words or so though. Search spiders see titles before keywords.

Create every page like it's going to be your home page and approach every page like it is a separate site but cohesive with the rest. This way when someone comes to it they think they are at the landing page and feel like it is at the top level... sometimes a search engine takes you to the about us page first or something because of the keywords used in the search.

Anyone can build great websites... I keep mine simple because I would rather be at the top spot in a web search in Central California... As a matter of fact, this post will inadvertently use keywords to connect to my website because of my signature... this is why I put keywords before my actual link to the website in my signature... spiders see this stuff and index it. So this post talking about wedding photography will give me even more status with search engines...

The pictures are good... but pictures do not matter if someone has to get to page nine in a web search to find you. You need to register your site with DMOZ, Yahoo and MSN... sometimes I do google also, DMOZ can take a year.

I don't normally build websites for personal reasons... I build them for work but we have to learn a great deal about search engines and all that... what you want to do is go here --- https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal then do keyword research... it is all about hitting all the niche keywords and exact phrases... with a phrase like "wedding photography" in your keywords you will compete with a million other sites.... you need to get to the exact 3 and 4 word phrases... like "[insert city name] wedding photography" or "photography in [insert city name]" --- I had to stop using my town name so that search engines do not put this page in the number one slot ahead of my site :)

All in all your site is average built by a photographer (you) not by a web designer. Any site that is optimized right is going to get ranked above yours... someone will call their number instead of yours... because getting to page four in the search is something that takes time and if I already talk to the customer and get a good response then hey... I get the client and you are still on page four.

Drop the italic text and go with something really legible... that will be read, instead of something that makes the eyes want to stop reading. Typography is everything in a site.

Well.. CC on the photos look fine.. I would look into a redesign of the front entry of the site to be legible and stylish.. it looks web 1.0 from the late 90's --- something has to pop.

Sorry for jumping on you if I sound like it... just trying to help I provided ways to fix it though.

09-19-2008, 07:51 PM
Thats awesome! Thank you so much! I really appreciate it and will try to do all the things you said, that took alot of your personal time to type all that and in no way did I think you were jumping on me. Thank you! :goodvibes

09-20-2008, 08:47 AM
A good start; I'm very happy to see someone NOT using Flash. A few thoughts: First, consider changing the typeface used on your home page. Script fonts look nice, but are actually difficult to read. I prefer a plain sans-serif font such as Arial.

On your 'Services' page, "receive" is mis-spelled twice.

I'd suggest having all of your galleries in on place; looking at your index links, I see "Gallery" "Materinty Gallery" and "Children". Perhaps a single "Gallery" page, with links to each individual gallery?

On your "Pricing" page: Twelve hours and 1000 images on CD for $1200? Damn, you're hired! I strongly recommend against any sort of 'final outcome' estimates. Especially when you think of the post time required to deal with even 600 images.

I don't see anywhere that discusses rights management. Remember in Canada, if you're paid a fee for your images, it's assumed that the purchaser gets the copyright unless specifically stated otherwise. Do you want to be able to use the images in your galleries? A 'fine print' page is a good idea.

Overall I like the idea; you're site is nicely laid out, loads quickly and is easy to navigate. I like the way you've displayed your images, but remember that your galleries need to be your absolute best work; I see some images which could benefit from a little more post.

Just my $00.02 worth - your milage may vary.


09-20-2008, 12:50 PM
[QUOTE=tirediron;5269]A good start; I'm very happy to see someone NOT using Flash. A few thoughts: First, consider changing the typeface used on your home page. Script fonts look nice, but are actually difficult to read. I prefer a plain sans-serif font such as Arial.

On your "Pricing" page: Twelve hours and 1000 images on CD for $1200? Damn, you're hired! I strongly recommend against any sort of 'final outcome' estimates. Especially when you think of the post time required to deal with even 600 images.

I like flash, I actually love it but you are right.. it has its place. For me it is for a presentation on the web page, not the webpage... so I also have to say to Lynn, while flash looks good, search engines cannot read it.

If you want to get classy with the font you could use something with serifs. Typography is everything IMO and you need it to look classy... arial is not really in the classy boat.

You could just use the statement of "Weddings from $1200." I will not even do an event for below $2000 unless I am there anyway... like in an hour I have a skating competition to go. A new skatepark is opening in a nearby town so I am going to take pictures and hand out smugmug fliers.

09-20-2008, 10:51 PM
There's a fine line between classy and business-like. My preference is for a clean business-like approach, but I'm not catering to weddings, or 'people' photography, so that's a very subjective thing.

As far as the whole pricing thing goes, my opinion (and bear in mind that you can count the number of weddings I've shot on the fingers of one hand) is that best to avoid 'package' pricing. Perhaps something like "Fours hours of on-site time, X travel miles (and let's face it, these days, travel costs can be huge), and post-processing on 25 images $1200. My big concern is that you may unintentionally commit to something you can't deliver; for example, it's a tiny church, the ceremony is a half-hour long, and there's no reception. Chances are you won't get anywhere near 600 images. You now run the risk of the irate couple demanding "their money's worth" and/or "But on your website, you PROMISE..." Granted these wouldn't hold up in court, but do you need the hassle?

Just tossing things out there....

09-22-2008, 01:27 PM
A big Thank-you to everyone for your comments! Re-visions are in the works :)

09-22-2008, 03:34 PM
yes... you are offering way too many images... this will desaturate the over all quality of your work... I'm not a wedding photographer... but from the sites i've seen even 100 to 200 finished shots is a lot...

also, for your children portraiture.... if you are charging a sitting fee between $80-$100 you generally should be looking to make money off prints... if you are committing to a two hour session, timely post processing, and giving away the digital negatives you should charge a front end loaded sitting fee of about $250.00...

after you factor in your time learning, cost of equipment, gas, travel, post processing even this isn't that much...

don't devalue yourself because you are new... a front load sitting fee of $250 isn't making anyone rich...

as far as the weddings.. imo you should be careful there.... do you have wedding experience? proper contracts?

if you have no experience you could try emailing some surrounding photographers and offer your assistance as a secondary shooter/assistant to get the feel of things... (imo i wouldn't bragg about your new site to them)...

you won't get paid much but at least you can a few test runs in...

weddings are very important and stressful events( i mean a person only gets married two or three times in their whole life right?)... you should have adequate back up gear, good low light equipment (either fast lenses or high iso bodies or both), you have to be able lead/direct a big group of people and deal with bridezilla...

good luck to you!