Tag Archives: portfolio

Link Roundup 09-01-2010

Finally starting to clear out my feed reader and catching up on these link posts. I have about 10 or 15 more in the hopper, but I’ll save them for another day.

Getting Your Work Online With a Photography Portfolio

[tweetmeme]This guest post was written by fotograf Rune Johansen

One of the many challenges of working for yourself is finding work. As a professional freelance photographer, the more avenues through which you can obtain work the better. One great way to gain exposure and get potential clients to view your work is to set up an online portfolio. An internet-based photography portfolio if designed well can really bring a touch of class to your work and allow people to view it at their leisure. It also gives you the opportunity to control exactly what your potential clients see, highlighting your best work and leading them through the information you want them to have.

HOW DO I BUILD AN ONLINE PORTFOLIO?

There are many ways to get your work online as a photographer. There are websites set up that allow you to sell prints of your work just by uploading high-res images to your account and letting the website do all the sales work. Of course they take a commission but for a lot of photographers this has become a steady stream of income. There are also websites like iStockPhoto that allow you to sell generic images for designers to use in their work such as on websites and in magazines. This can also pay well.

If you want a personal online portfolio, however, you will usually have to build it yourself. Don’t worry though if you don’t have any web design skills to speak of and the thought of building websites intimidates you. Adobe and many other graphics application developers have added the capability to build basic portfolios directly from inside their programs. Photoshop has a built in gallery feature that will automatically size your images, create thumbnails of them, and create an XHTML/CSS or even a Flash-based webpage containing all your images. Play around with the software and see what you can come up with.

Other options for a portfolio include using an open source solution such as Joomla! or WordPress to create a framework for your site, then using the many plugins and extensions available for these platforms to customise the site and turn it into a gallery based website. If this is too much of a challenge or you simply don’t have the time, hiring a designer to do this for you will usually prove to be much cheaper than having one develop a website from scratch. Have a look around freelancing websites and call some local design agencies to see what the prices are like, you may be pleasantly surprised.

WHAT SHOULD I HAVE ON MY PORTFOLIO?

It is important to make sure you have the right information on your website, but it is equally important not to overdo it. Many people make the mistake of writing their entire life story on their portfolio and crowding the images with lots of text. As a photographer it is important that your work speak for itself, so a minimal description – usually just a sentence – will normally suffice. An “About” page should be included, but should only have the minimum of information needed for your clients, such as relevant qualifications and experience you have as a photographer. Possibly include some hobbies and interests as this helps people get a better idea of who you are, but a photograph of yourself will go a lot further to winning you clients (if it’s a good picture!).

In summary, there are lots of ways to get your work online and no professional should really be without an online portfolio in this technological age. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a professional portfolio and it will serve you well for years to come.

Written by fotograf Rune Johansen

Link Roundup 07-17-2010

Before we get to the links, I apologize to anybody that visited the site recently and found it to be infected with a malicious redirect exploit. I became aware of the issue this morning (thanks to an email from a reader) and I had it fixed within an hour. These things happen from time to time, and I appreciate folks letting me know when something is wrong with the site. Now for some weekend reading!

10 Online Photography Portfolio No-No’s

[tweetmeme]Online portfolios can be an important tool for photographers wanting to share portions of their work with an audience. When done right, they portray your work in a highly professional and concise manner. When done wrong, you just look like a hack. I wrote about this topic some time ago, but I’d like to cover it again.

I should also state right up front that I don’t have a dedicated online photography portfolio in the traditional sense. Perhaps one of these days when I take some decent photos I’ll put one together. But I’ve had to look through many other portfolios and I’ve seen a fair amount in passing.

What I can say from those I’ve seen is that some of the same mistakes and nuisances are common to a good number of them. Now, it’s rare to find a portfolio site that exhibits all 10 offenses listed below, but it’s also rare to find one that exhibits none. (also keep in mind that some of these things are only my personal preferences and opinions)

If you have an online photography portfolio (or, more likely, a collection of portfolios housed under one website), here are a few things worth paying attention to if you want the user experience to be a good one.

Red crown
Creative Commons License photo credit: sunnyUK

1. SPLASH PAGE

Do you really need a whole page dedicated to your name or the word “Enter”? I probably know your name if I’m visiting the home page, and you ought to have your name present somewhere on every other page in your portfolio. Don’t force me to find your frilly little entrance link on the splash page, just get straight to the point.

2. MUSIC

I don’t encounter this one much anymore, but it’s still out there. Seriously people, don’t put music on your photography portfolio. It’s not adding to the mood or ambiance, it’s just annoying. I usually have music going on my computer and nothing pisses me off more than some website with music or audio ads messing with my tunes.

map
Creative Commons License photo credit: robpurdie

3. DIFFICULT TO NAVIGATE

A photography portfolio should be quick and easy for the viewer. Navigation is a key component here — make it as simple as possible for me to see your photos. If I spend too much time digging for the images, I’ll just leave.

4. PHOTO SIZE

Most photographers are pretty good about sizing their photos appropriately, but I do see some extremes from time to time. Images that are too small (< 600px) don't show enough detail to be interesting to the viewer. Images that are too big (> 1200px) won’t fit on some screens and you lose a lot of impact when you have to scroll. I find that somewhere in the neighborhood of 800-900px on the long edge is a good compromise: large enough to be viewed, small enough to load quickly.

too many dices
Creative Commons License photo credit: BovenX

5. PHOTO QUANTITY

A portfolio isn’t a dumping ground for every photo you’ve taken in the last 10 years — it’s supposed to be a small collection of your best work that represents you as a photographer. Each portfolio should contain 10-20 images on a specific topic or subject (maybe 30 or 40 depending on the subject and how they’re presented). Any more and I’m bored. Any less and I’m unimpressed.

6. PHOTO DIVERSITY

While photos in a specific portfolio should be on topic, they should also show differences in subjects, locations, styles, etc. If your portfolio for “fashion photography” has images from only one studio session, it just looks like you have almost zero experience. Show some diversity, and show that you’ve done this more than once.

7. PHOTO ORGANIZATION

How you organize your photos and portfolios is totally up to you — the important thing is that they’re organized. Unless you shoot only one specific subject/topic, you shouldn’t be presenting every photo on your site in the same place. Break it up and make it easier for your viewers to understand what they’re looking at. Even if it’s something as simple as “Landscapes”, “Plants”, “Animals”, “Waterfalls”, “Portraits”, “Weddings”, etc. Portfolios should be topical and concise.

8. ALL FLASH, NO INFO

Flash sites don’t bother me and I’m not going to start a flame war on the subject. But if you use Flash for your entire site, have the decency to also place a title or image number on the same screen as the photo (since most flash sites don’t have a separate url for each image). It’s so frustrating to contact somebody and say “I’m interested in that image of the staircase. If you click on the menu item that says “patterns”, then click on the other menu items that says “3″, then click the right arrow 14 times. That’s the one I want.” It’s a lot easier to grab a url from a non-flash site or just state the title of the image.

cookie cutters
Creative Commons License photo credit: danmachold

9. STANDARD TEMPLATE

This isn’t a huge deal, but it’s something to think about if you have some spare time. For sites that use templates or standard designs, a little customization goes a long way. The cookie-cutter design can sometimes send the message that you’re not serious about your work.

10. NO NAME, NO EMAIL

Similar to #8… if you don’t want people to contact you, then don’t put your name or email on the website. Contact forms are usually fine too, but some people prefer to send an email so they have some record of what they’re inquiring about. This is not a joke, I’ve actually seen portfolios that had no way to contact the photographer.

ANYTHING ELSE?

What other things with online portfolios bother you? What really gets under your skin from a viewer perspective? Any good examples of portfolios done right?

Link Roundup 06-27-2010

Link Roundup 05-01-2010

New Partner: Wix

Wix logo

Design your own free photography website with Wix’s website builder, and save time and money you would have spent hiring a web designer. With Wix, no programming is needed to customize one of the brilliant Flash templates, designed specifically for photographers. Choose a free template and immediately start customizing it, without downloading anything or even confirming an e-mail registration.

Wix is highly intuitive, and playing around with the design elements is a fun and even addicting process, even for those with no technical skill. The website builder’s user interface is graphic-based, and a simple drag-and-drop process allows users to customize design features. The result is a brilliantly designed, unique website that lets you share your photographs with the world.

Here are a few of the free design elements Wix offers, to create your own Photography Website:

Templates – Choose a template that compliments your photographs. Each template is fully customizable – change the color, texture and layout as well as the content itself.

Galleries – Showcase your photographs by arranging them with one of Wix’s many gallery styles. Each gallery style has its own unique layout, so you choose how your photos are presented. Gallery styles include matrix, slideshow and carousel formats.

Mini Web Pages – Create a separate page for information about the photographer. Another page describes your inspiration or artistic vision. Each collection of photographs, arranged by theme, date, project, etc. can have its own gallery page.

Menus – Building menus into your website creates an enjoyable browsing experience for visitors. Menus are automatically linked to your web pages – all you have to do is customize their appearance. Title your menus with the names of your galleries, your Bio page, and a Contact page.

Widgets – Include a Contact Form that visitors can fill out to get in touch with you, to ask for more information about the photographer and his/her creations.

Music – Add a music player widget to add an audio element to your website. Upload your own music files, and customize the On/Off switch.

Social Media – Add a link to your Facebook, Twitter or MySpace account. Publish your Wix creation on a number of social networks.

Another neat thing about Wix websites is that they are SEO compatible. This means that search engines such as Google and Yahoo are able to index sites created with Wix, so when someone performs a search for your photographs, your Wix site will appear in the search results. Wix’s SEOMyWix blog provides tips on how to optimize your website, to attract the most amount of traffic as possible. There are also plenty of video tutorials and helpful articles on using the various elements of the website builder, in Wix’s online Help Center.

Website created with Wix

I recommend using Wix if you are new to web design but still want to achieve professional results. Websites created with Wix are completely free, with the option to upgrade to a Premium accounts for users who wish to gain control over their domain. Upgrading also allows you to insert a Shopping Cart widget onto your site, so that clients can purchase photographs or service packages directly. There are a few Premium packages from which to choose, but each one is much cheaper than hiring a professional web designer.

Check out examples of photography websites made with Wix by visiting Wix.com, and clicking on “Explore” at the top of the homepage. Go to the Photography section. Or, start browsing the entire gallery of Wix photography templates by choosing “Create” from the home page, and opening the Photography category. Find a design that will illuminate your artwork, and make it yours with customized, easy and fun web design. Give your photographs the brilliant web design they deserve.

Link Roundup 09-20-2009

New Partner: Wix

Wix

Please join me in welcoming Wix as our newest blog sponsor! They’ll be filling the home page banner for at least the next month, and those of you who visit the blog via the web may have already seen their banner displayed.

Wix offers up a simple and powerful online platform for creating Flash websites — and for free! They also have a premium service that allows you to use your own domain, display your Wix-created site without ads or Wix logos, extra storage, premium support, and a few other goodies.

As photographers, you may be asking yourselves “How is this relevant to me, and why is Brian taking on a Flash website generator as a sponsor?” Yeah, just hear me out. Visit their sample websites and click on “Photographers” (2nd link down on the sidebar). Go ahead and flip through the sites and tell me that isn’t cool! These are all very unique sites and quite professional in appearance — definitely worth a look.

Wix.com

My thought is this… If you want to put together a portfolio or a photography website to display your work, but you don’t have the know-how or funds to create something on your own, Wix is the place to go. Hey, if nothing else, start off with a free site and build it up until you’re satisfied. When you get the dough to upgrade to the premium package, go ahead and get your own domain. At that point, you’ll have an awesome display of your work.

If you want to learn more about Wix or about how their site works, be sure to check out their FAQ in addition to the main site. They cover topics such as search engine friendliness, PayPal integration, stats packages, and more.

So who is this online service for? I’d say it’s a very good option if you don’t already have your own photography site or portfolio, you don’t want to spend a bunch of money to get your site going, and/or you don’t want to deal with the technical side of website creation. Hell, even if you already have a site, you’ve got the money and know-how for a custom site — you still might get a kick out of creating a Flash site through their platform.

If any of you out there already have a Wix-generated website, let us know in the comments so we can check it out!

Link Roundup 10-11-2008

  • A Primer In Selling Your Art At Festivals
    digital Photography School
    Selling photos in art festivals can be one of the most effective ways to sell prints. Here are some before, during, and after tips for dealing with these events.
  • John Chiara with a Huge Camera
    YouTube
    I love film photography, but this is just nuts! Though you have to admit that crawling inside your camera to load the film is kinda cool.
  • Shame On Yahoo!
    Photo Business News & Forum
    It seems as though Flickr was on the verge of a big mistake by choosing to strip metadata from their uploads in an effort to make downloads quicker. Have no fear though, it looks like they chose the right path.
  • 5 Ways to Shoot Autumn Leaves
    Beyond Megapixels
    For those of us in the Norther Hemisphere, fall is approaching rapidly. Here are some tips for capturing the changing seasons and the changing leaves.
  • The Adjustment Brush – My Favorite New Tool
    PhotoWalkPro
    For Lightroom 2 and ACR 5 users, here’s a good video tutorial on the Adjustment Brush tool, which allows you to make localized non-destructive edits on your photos for various things such as exposure, brightness, contrast, satruation, sharpness, etc.
  • We Are Lilliputians in a Bathtub
    Chase Jarvis Blog
    Chase found a cool time lapse video that used a tilt-shift lens. Between the effect of the lens and the effect of the time-lapse, this is a really interesting video to watch.

    Bathtub III from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.
  • Four Cool Photo Sharing Sites For Photographers
    Andrew S Gibson
    Nearly everybody has heard of Flickr, but what other photo sharing sites are there specifically aimed at photographers? Here are four cool photo sharing sites outside the realm of Flickr.
  • 10 Essential Tips To Get Great Blue Angels Photos
    JMG-Galleries
    If the Blue Angels are ever in your neck of the woods, check out these tips for getting the most out of photographing them.
  • 5 Tips for Building Your Photography Portfolio
    digital Photography School
    Here are some tips and advice for building up your photography portfolio. This includes things like shooting for free, charging minimal fees, staying organized, and more.