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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Revamped website,suggestions and feedback welcome!
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03/02/2011 12:46:20 PM · #1
Hey all, I finally re did my website and I would like to get some opinions and feedback on it.

Not all my photos are up yet but I've been trying to weed through them!

Steinbach Photo

Thank you for taking a look!

-Dustin
03/02/2011 03:45:50 PM · #2
FWIW
* It felt like it took the site a long time to load - suggest doing a screen shot and throwing that up as an initial image, and then load the active pieces - overlaying the static image. I'm on a high speed connection, so this would be almost unbearable on dial-up.
* Home page - I like your logo, font, size, the picture, and the quote - nicely done. The only distraction was the curl of the photo from the background in the upper right corner - only there - the other places didn't bother me.
* Portfolio - I don't like the category titles disappearing when you mouse over the pictures. Not sure I like the images switching over to B&W either, but that bothers me less than the titles disappearing. I suggest keeping the titles in place, but changing the font size and/or color of the text slightly to indicate it is "selected"
* Portfolio - I know you love the nightlife photo, but is is incongruous with the rest of the pictures - the expressions are very attention-getting, and I'm not sure you really want that to be the focus of your Portfolio page.
* Portfolio - Your rightmost picture seems too dark - that may be a result of the fairly dark photo for Wedding. The blues are beautiful, and I could be OK with the edges being dark, but the central plants / weeds are also dark and that is where my eye goes in the shot.
* Portfolio portrait examples - only use 1 picture of the girl with the bricks - on first glance it looks like you put the same picture in twice (same person, same background, very similar angle & pose).
* Clicking the portfolio tab probably should go back to the portfolio menu, not to the last selected portfolio picture. I know the link is there in plain sight, but I found it non-intuitive how to get back to the portfolio menu.
* OK, I see why the nightlife photo - nothing under it. I'd suggest losing the photo and putting the coming soon on the menu, or losing the category entirely until you have some shots to show.
* Portfolio Wedding - I'd swap the couple with the tree / the groom pictures. I like the couple picture better, and you want to lead with your best. A photo of primarily the bride would probably be better than the groom, if you got a good one. The group shots overlooking the water are very nice, and often not included in a portfolio, but I think it communicates a lot about your ability to work with large groups and get attractive results.
* Portfolio Landscape & Fine Arts. I don't like the walkway into the sunset shot - especially with the yellow lines on either side, and certainly would not lead with it (if I included it at all). I definitely would not use the photo of the man holding the knife - most brides looking for a photographer would reject you based on that shot alone.
* About - lose the last paragraph (obvious and doesn't need to be said)

General impressions:
A very attractive and professional looking site - navigation except as noted above is very nice.
The content and About page strongly emphasizes your youth, inexperience, and immaturity - not that those are accurate about you, but that's how it comes across.
For example, on the About page, you could say what you do (photographically), and that you are now booking appointments for Summer 2011. No mention of college, degree, other career, or age. You are a responsible, professional photographer worthy of being entrusted with recording a couple's most important life event - you take photography (and your responsibilities) seriously. You've just given potential customers a glimpse of your best work, which speaks about your skill, sense of humor, sense of appropriateness, and creativity. Don't disqualify yourself by your About page.
A few of the photos themselves subtly communicate a lack of professionalism, focus, responsibility, and experience. Again, this may not be accurate about you personally, but that's what the site is saying (IMO, of course, FWIW)
For example, it appears that you only have photos from one wedding - if you've shot more than one, be sure to include photos from both. Also, the nearly identical shots in portrait of the lady with the brick wall says you don't have enough good shots, so you need to include two from the same shoot. And (while I think they are good shots) the picture on the Nightlife portfolio menu, and the knife shot in Landscapes & Art strongly speak of youthful inexperience - not that you took them, but that you include them in your sales piece - your web site.

Summary
With a few tweaks, your site conveys that you are a talented, professional photographer. Your portfolio shots show technical expertise, great creativity, and an excellent sense of posing and backgrounds. Your logo and site look very professional.

Suggestions for improvement
- If you can, include a few children or pet shots in your portraits.
- Consider carefully your inclusion of a Nightlife section - is this an area where you think you can make money - taking night life shots? If not, lose the section. If so, have a clear understanding of what kind of pictures people are going to be willing to pay you for that would be Nightlife shots, and use pictures that cater to that revenue-generating type.
- Include photos from more than one wedding (two or three would be good)
- Think carefully about the content of your blog - this is not a place to talk about yourself and your experiences, but to convey to potential customers how you get great satisfaction out of capturing special moments and working with people. The blog will probably not gain you customers (it may be confirmation for some that you're the right person for the job), but it sure can lose you customers - regardless of your work.

I wish you all the best - in the completion of your degree, and in your photography work.

Message edited by author 2011-03-02 15:52:43.
03/02/2011 06:04:23 PM · #3
Thank you for that very in depth critique! Refreshing from all my colleagues just giving me the standard "that looks amazing" response.

I will definitely go through my portfolio more in depth and try and put more variety up. You are right though I don't have much experience.

I'm terms of the nightlife section I may have a job shooting for a local night club (I should find out tonight) so I figured I should cater to them as well.

I've shot 2 weddings so I'll o through and find a good selection to put up.
Is putting up the grooms men and brides maid groups shots okay for portfolios?

And I'll remove the knife photo. I've received a few comments about that one. Probably not good for catering to models and brides to be's.
03/02/2011 08:35:09 PM · #4
Not having a lot of experience isn't a crime - just a disadvantage that only more experience will overcome. The quality of what you've done with the web site so far, combined with seeking feedback from your photographer peers shows a great deal of professionalism and responsibility.
One other point - I think your portfolio categories have about the right number of photos - you don't want too many, but you want the ones you show to carry as much impact as possible.
Wedding pictures - try to think of what the bride would want (typically, it is the bride who makes most of the wedding decisions, and the groom just nods his head in agreement - if he's smart...) A bride worries about how she looks - can the photographer take my picture without making me look fat? She's concerned about romantic shots, and family / friend shots. I think you've got that pretty well covered with the shots of the couple, and the wedding party photo. I'd suggest a great picture of a bride, and maybe one of the bride & bridesmaids or bride & father / bride & family. The bride photo is key - the other not so much.
Not sure I've ever seen someone combine a Nightlife portfolio with their photo service site. I actually think it is a good idea - as long as you have a plan that gets you shoots and makes money on them. Shooting for night life has got to be some pretty tough photography - low light, rapidly changing light, and subjects almost in constant motion - better you than me! ;-p
The point is - if you get some good, tasteful nightlife pictures, it will help emphasize your versatility as a professional photographer.
All of this is just one person's opinion, so take it FWIW.
03/02/2011 09:00:31 PM · #5
Thank you and thank you again! I'll go through my wedding photos.

And the nightlife photography is definitely a challenge. I've been working with a friend who is a successful club photographer here in town and has kind of "shown me the ropes" and thrown me a lot of tips and tricks.
I hope I can get it down!
03/02/2011 09:18:51 PM · #6
You can, and will, and when you do, it will be very impressive - especially to photographers, who will (should?) have some appreciation for how tough it is to do, and do well.
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