I do not currently have a Web Gallery. At this time, I do not feel that my photography warrants its own website, I do not specialise in any particular photographic genre, and I do not take photographs for profit. When I started my studies with the OCA, it was my sole intention to learn about photography, to learn what all those technical terms mean, and to learn how to take a good photograph; I never expected my studies to become anything more than a tool for learning. However, things are not that simple anymore as my thoughts surrounding this taking photos malarkey are changing, and I have been thinking that perhaps there could be something more on my horizon. With this in mind, I have been pondering on whether I should take a leap of faith and create a site of my work, nothing fancy and really just a portfolio of images, somewhere I can point people to if they are ever curious about what I do.
Actually, the statement above is not entirely right as I do have a Flickr account (a link to which can be found below). Although at this time, my page is not very good, as I tend to use it more as a dumping ground than a serious place for people to see my work. I think the reason for this is that Flickr confuses me, in my mind it isn’t very logical, especially as you make up categories and tags as you go along; this may sound great and limitless, but as we do not all think the same, this could cause misjudgement in tagging, and good images may be missed completely! Perhaps I need to take the time to look into its functionality, tidy things up a little and re-launch myself into the big unknown.
Reading what Freeman (2011 p.242) has to say about this subject, it would appear that there are two types of website, the first a portfolio to display ones images and the second a sales site, where customers are able to buy images and products directly from the source. Whilst researching websites on the Internet, it was common to see a combination of both of these functions; a sensible thing to do as potential clients and customers are able to browse and buy at the same time. Moreover, it is becoming more common to see sites that add a third element in the form of social media, with links to blogs, Facebook accounts and twitter feeds. I am not sure if this is a good or bad thing, but this addition has probably been dictated by the digital world we now live in, therefore making it easier to keep everything together under one umbrella, not forcing additional searches to find separate pages by one author.
Reading the list of bullet points supplied in our course work, it is interesting to see what should be considered when creating a website and it is unfortunate that not everyone takes these points into consideration.
- First decide the purpose of the website. Do you want to show off your best images, or exchange all of them with friends, or present just on aspect of your work.
- You are presenting your best creative work. Maintain confidence in the excellence of our images, and think of the website as a display area of fine photographs.
- The image comes first. The first priority should be displaying each photograph to its best advantage. That means occupying a substantial area of the screen and with nothing around it that fights for attention.
- Everything needs a reason. Add symbols, buttons and words only as necessary.
- Keep it simple. A good default decision in photo gallery design is simplicity.
- Offer the fewest clicks to navigate. Do not make the viewer work hard.
- Make it searchable. Put important words in HTML, not embedded in pictures. Search engines like Google can search only words, not pictures.
- Let viewers know where they are at any time, and how to get to the next picture or set of pictures. An array of thumbnail images is a good way of stepping in and out of a collection.
- Get other people’s opinions. Talk through your ideas and design with friends and other photographers in order to help give you an objective opinion.
- Do you want your site to fit in with the general standards and style of other photography sites? Or do you want to stand apart? Take some time to look at other photographers’ websites. Consider making screen grabs of them so that later you can put your new design among them to see how it compares.
As suggested, I spent sometime looking at dedicated photography websites, some of which were from of companies/people I already knew and others were random selections that I made from search engine results.
Those sites that appealed to me most were very simple in both layout and colour design; I found it much easier to navigate through the sites with lighter backgrounds than those that were white on black backgrounds.
I also found it very off putting when faced with a barrage of colour and text. These are two sources I use regularly in my photography; I have taken workshops and watched videos from both of these photographers, but feel that less content and colour would benefit both sites.
One thing I did notice during my research, there do not seem to be many women photographers out there, and those that do have websites, blogs and businesses tend to photo photograph babies, weddings, and not much else. Perhaps there is a need after all …