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DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> Please critique my web page, I'm so stuck
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04/16/2014 12:57:28 PM · #1
On-Sight Photography

I'm stuck as in horrified to put this up officially. It's my first time trying to start out by myself. I tried previously with a couple of partners, but I won't even go there.

Now, I've had a fire built under me by someone I've admired from afar most of my life, who keeps convincing me that I have what it takes to do it alone. Here's what I need from you guys, since I wouldn't be here in the first place without ya'll. I need you to give me your deep down honest feedback on the page until I can get it to the point where I'm past being too embarrassed to show it to potential clients.

Don't be afraid to get mean... I've been here a long time so I expect it.

I have some questions in particular, but I think I'll take one thing at a time.

Also, I have NO knowledge of code and very very little knowledge of page layout. I did all of this with Adobe Muse CC. If there are any pro designers who think they can take this to a new level, I'd be happy to discuss a price.
04/16/2014 01:08:49 PM · #2
Ok, I'll start off with a couple of things I noticed on very first glance.
1. On-Sight Photographers is centered, but the text below isn't. I suspect that is beacause ypu wanted it to fall between the g and p, but to me it looks unbalanced.
2. The image transition is very quick - a more gradual transition would be gentler on my eyes.

Will have a look later when I have some time.
04/16/2014 01:14:50 PM · #3
Exactly the stuff I'm looking for! Thanks!
04/16/2014 01:21:38 PM · #4
First: congrats!! Big step!

Brief, first impressions:

- Navigation is easy, clean. Good start!

- The white drop shadow around the title makes the text hard to read.
- The gray box in which the photos are displayed is way to big for the size of the images. Or vice-versa. The images are too small for the box. This is true as well even in the gallery pages with the thumbs to the left.
- the links at the top both enlarge and italicize when clicked. I'd prefer one or the other. For example, when you're in Party Crashers, if you go up to the Weddings link, it covers the link to the left. Think about the link changing colors vs size and shape to show it's active.
- gallery pages: the thumbs are really small.
- italicizing the descriptive text makes it harder to read.
- on the testimonials page, perhaps make the images clickable so visitors can go see the image.

BTW, when I first visited the site, the title was all caps. And suddenly it's upper/lower. Did you change it while I was visiting???
04/16/2014 01:40:48 PM · #5
Originally posted by tanguera:

.

BTW, when I first visited the site, the title was all caps. And suddenly it's upper/lower. Did you change it while I was visiting???


I don't think so, lol. I'll address your other suggestions soon... and thanks SOOOO much!
04/16/2014 02:12:47 PM · #6
I agree - nice and clean and easy to navigate.

I accidentally hovered for a second over the heading "event specialists" and it duplicated those words in very large text such that it took up multiple rows. It looked kind of odd. (I am in internet explorer).

Also the headings of 'slideshows', 'contact us' and 'testimonials' appear in a kind of double letter font when other headings on the same line are single font.
04/16/2014 02:35:50 PM · #7
Oops lost all the text, back up in a minute...
04/16/2014 02:59:02 PM · #8
LOL, everytime I fix something, something else needs to be adjusted.
04/16/2014 03:02:31 PM · #9
Your hesitation is correct. Trust your instincts.
Do not let my comments discourage you.
I viewed your site using Google Chrome, so what I have to say may not apply to other browsers.
On the plus side - The site had a nice, clean layout, is attractive, and easy to navigate. Just enough options to give a good overview, without overwhelming with gunk.
Brace yourself - here it comes.
Pictures. First, you have chosen some great pictures. They speak well of your ability to capture special, fleeting moments in a meaningful way. They make me want to have someone like you do my photography. However, you start with Party Crashers. The pictures are fun, but I had no idea of the context (not sure I do even yet). Then, as you move through Weddings, etc., pictures from the party crashers event appear in almost every group.
As I was going through the different menu options, what looked like links kept appearing between the title and the galleries. Suspecting something amiss, I highlighted the area and discovered text! On my browser, it appears to be black text on a black background, and is invisible unless you highlight it.
What I saw after I did the highlighting was not positive. Text too big to fit the allocated space, Differing fonts. Kind-of a mish-mash of poor web implementation.
Unfortunately, by the time I'd waded through it, the site was screaming RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! The lack of expected implementation raised serious concerns about the photographer's professionalism.
As for specific suggestions:
1) Either establish a context for Party Crashers (the text in the Weddings section that you can't read does a (I think) decent job of explaining it) or start with a different category (initially I thought Weddings, but since you are not a wedding photographer, that may not be the right choice).
2) Limit the party crasher event pictures to the Party Crashers section. In fact, all the pictures in each section should be related to that section, and should just appear in its own section - no where else.
3) Clean up your pictures. While I understand your humor of the man with his tongue sticking out and the Your Dog Shit on My Lawn sign picture in Party Crashers, or the horrified bride in Weddings, potential clients may find them disgusting or revolting and move on to another provider. Your site is kind-of like a resume - you don't want to give the potential client any reason to NOT use your services.
Other than that, I think it is very difficult to judge the site without having all of the elements present (like the picture captions, descriptive text, etc.)
A competent web developer should be able to clean up what you have in less than 8 hours or so.
Once everything is visible, and there are no stray links running around, you can take another look at it and see where you want to go from there.
Good on you to try to do this yourself! The issues I'm seeing are relatively minor and are more related to not being able to see what is going on rather than any serious errors on your part.
It MUST be cleaned up before sending clients to it. In its current form, it does not do your work justice.
OK. To be fair, I also looked at your site in Internet Explorer - the text was visible for Party Crashers, but not on Testimonials or other locations. On Firefox, it was a mix of Chrome & IE - again, text under The Party Crasher was visible, but not in Testimonials.
Other Random Thoughts:
* Do not use dark blue text on the black background - too hard to read - pick one color for your links and stick to it.
* Some pictures are displaying one on top of the other, and they are not the same size. Be sure each picture appears on its own background, and only do the overlay where it is obviously on purpose. For example, under Weddings, click on the portrait b&w and watch the slide show run in the background, but with the selected photo blocking most of the background image.
* Try your site on all the different browsers you can find, including Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Safari. Also test them on an iPhone, iPad, Android phone and tablet.
* Event Specialists - is this just you, or is On-Sight Photography a group of photographers. If it is just you, it should be Event Specialist (singular).
Good luck! Feel free to PM me if you want. I know enough to be dangerous, but don't do web design / implementation on a regular basis. Others on dpc are much better at web than I. When it is ready, I'd be glad to take another look at it.
What a coup to get shots and testimonials from members of Chicago!
04/16/2014 03:07:25 PM · #10
Looks like I caught it between broke and your post and then the repair. Ignore the part about text not visible. The rest is valid. I'm still seeing random links appearing behind text, etc. It was more that than the missing text that was the bad impression. And yes, fixing a web site is a lot like nailing Jell-o to the wall... ;-p


Message edited by author 2014-04-16 15:07:55.
04/16/2014 04:02:32 PM · #11
I'm letting others do most of the helpful hints but what struck me first was the name of your site: On Sight Photography
That makes no sense to me.
sight has to do with vision, with being able to see.
Site has to do with places, including places on the web or in the real world

If you want to indicate that you do not have a studio and that you go places - like to parties or to local parks or to churches - to places to take your photos, I would call my service "On Site Photography"
04/16/2014 04:13:36 PM · #12
Originally posted by nam:

I'm letting others do most of the helpful hints but what struck me first was the name of your site: On Sight Photography
That makes no sense to me.
sight has to do with vision, with being able to see.
Site has to do with places, including places on the web or in the real world

If you want to indicate that you do not have a studio and that you go places - like to parties or to local parks or to churches - to places to take your photos, I would call my service "On Site Photography"


Kind of a play on words, I guess. On site + nice vision. I dunno... way to late to change it now. But now you've got me wondering...

' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' dtremain Just what I was looking for... looks like I got some work to do tonight. I was in a bit of a slump and needing direction. THANKS!
04/16/2014 04:58:53 PM · #13
you may not wan to use a live link to your site, if you have that option. you don't want google crawling it until its finished.
04/16/2014 05:21:10 PM · #14
Originally posted by cynthiann:

. . .
Kind of a play on words, I guess. On site + nice vision. I dunno... way to late to change it now. But now you've got me wondering...
. . .


Didn't bother anyone else and it didn't bother my husband, either. He says he thought of the expression "to shoot someone on sight" as in a police or military context so you could take pictures as soon as you saw the person or people. I hadn't really thought of that. My apologies :)

Message edited by author 2014-04-16 17:21:55.
04/17/2014 02:55:08 AM · #15
Ok, my very first thought was:

Oh no..... it is all black!!!!!!! (but you didn't yell unwanted music at me, so that's a big plus)

My eyes have a horrid time with black backgrounds when there are all those strong, bright contrasts on top of it (such as white fonts, bright photos, etc).

I realize I am probably somewhat in the minority here, but it really makes my eyes go wonky. I hate it so much that I am not ABLE to look for very long even when I try (as I tried for your sake, here). I normally just take one look and RUN!

I know it is considered a "classy" look, but perhaps you could come up with another classy look that isn't quite as painful, just in case there are quite a few others who have the same problem.

P.S. Thank you, DPC, for your boring light grey background :-)
04/17/2014 10:29:27 AM · #16
wrong thread

Message edited by author 2014-04-17 10:29:47.
04/17/2014 10:55:36 AM · #17
Ok, I'm probably going to be talking out my left ear as I don't know a thing about web-design...but I've been looking into starting my own soon so I've been looking and looking at lots n lots of pages of late. So what your going to get from me right now is my initial impression. I have in my first life worked as a page layout for hospital brochures etc...so layout is something that really bugs me when I look at something.

I use Google Chrome - here it goes...when I open the site...first thing I think is...

Wow - the pictures are really small (comparing to other sites).

Your drop menu's are not balanced in spacing...some are bunched up while others have room.

Party Crasher black background doesn't match the size of the wording (it's smaller)

Fonts IMO should be some type of block lettering. Years ago (and this could well be out of data...duh), I was told people can not read fancy font changes. The more block font that you can use the easier it is to read. Mind you there are numerous ones to choose from. The name of your business in a different font is fine...but everything else needs to be easy to read for the average person. Go back to some of the other websites that you have studies and make note of the fonts and colors that they use. What appeals to you the most and why.

I don't mind your gray background but to me using the black for the drop down menus is kind of harsh and unpolished/amature, play around with some colors that compliment yet don't compete with your text...have you thought of a long banner to cross the page entirely (kind of like our website here? And if you notice here that all the drop menus are equal in size?)

Question to the rest of you...how much does a web-designer charge? By the hour/job? What is a good average price???

I've marked this as "watch" because I want to see how this develops and hear what others have to say...thanks for sharing this as it's going to hopefully help me in the future.

Message edited by author 2014-04-17 11:00:37.
04/17/2014 02:29:14 PM · #18
Thank you ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Ja-9. I think I've addressed most of these now. I'm still trying to figure out how to enlarge the slideshows a little. I'm using widgets in Muse so just need to play with it more.

So glad I asked you guys for help. Looks 1000 times better already. I'm still struggling with the layout of the links. I'm going to be adding sports and college events soon so I'm going to have to do some kind of grouping.

Gettin' a little scarey. Soon it might actually look good enough to share with the local community and someone might actually pay me to do stuff for a change, lol.
04/17/2014 02:44:09 PM · #19
Originally posted by cynthiann:

Thank you ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Ja-9. I think I've addressed most of these now. I'm still trying to figure out how to enlarge the slideshows a little. I'm using widgets in Muse so just need to play with it more.

So glad I asked you guys for help. Looks 1000 times better already. I'm still struggling with the layout of the links. I'm going to be adding sports and college events soon so I'm going to have to do some kind of grouping.

Gettin' a little scarey. Soon it might actually look good enough to share with the local community and someone might actually pay me to do stuff for a change, lol.


Have you thought of moving this to Smugmug/Zenfolio/WIX? From what I've read and cked out you might actually like their pages better, several had said they are easy to navigate (pffffttt they haven't met me yet...lol) read this thread....I learned quite a bit from that thread and several have posted their websites, which IMO are good examples of what I think you want to convey. I want to be able to take off all "branding" from the website as I really like a clean look better. Just food for thought.
04/17/2014 03:41:55 PM · #20
First off, I want to congratulate you on the page.
I´m just going to tell you my first impressions, which is probably exactly what you want.

- The images are too small. They are the reason for the site. Watermark them if neccessary, but in a decent way.
- The page looks a bit 1998-ish, apart from the image stuff (which looks great). The colors (is it blue or is it grey?), the text perhaps shouldn´t be centered?
- When hovering over links, the text gets larger and pushes the whole content down. I don´t like that - I know those are links. Maybe a subtle color change does the trick.

All in all the site doesn´t need a lot of tuning to look classy.
04/17/2014 04:07:36 PM · #21
I am suggesting that you add a service area to your page. Without the help of your DPC profile, I had no idea that you were from Kentucky. This is some good information that could come in handy for a potential client.


Message edited by author 2014-04-17 16:09:18.
04/17/2014 04:35:20 PM · #22
Originally posted by Ja-9:


Have you thought of moving this to Smugmug/Zenfolio/WIX? From what I've read and cked out you might actually like their pages better, several had said they are easy to navigate (pffffttt they haven't met me yet...lol) read this thread....I learned quite a bit from that thread and several have posted their websites, which IMO are good examples of what I think you want to convey. I want to be able to take off all "branding" from the website as I really like a clean look better. Just food for thought.


meh, lol! That's what I'm running away from. I had a smugmug page for my birds and it was to complicated. I put this particular page together in just over a week and I love the total control. I am however probably going to use Zenfolio to sell my prints to my clients.
04/17/2014 04:36:53 PM · #23
Originally posted by maz001:

I am suggesting that you add a service area to your page. Without the help of your DPC profile, I had no idea that you were from Kentucky. This is some good information that could come in handy for a potential client.


um, hadn't thought of that. Probably I good idea, LOL!
04/17/2014 04:38:50 PM · #24
Originally posted by bogulo:

First off, I want to congratulate you on the page.
I´m just going to tell you my first impressions, which is probably exactly what you want.

- The images are too small. They are the reason for the site. Watermark them if neccessary, but in a decent way.
- The page looks a bit 1998-ish, apart from the image stuff (which looks great). The colors (is it blue or is it grey?), the text perhaps shouldn´t be centered?
- When hovering over links, the text gets larger and pushes the whole content down. I don´t like that - I know those are links. Maybe a subtle color change does the trick.

All in all the site doesn´t need a lot of tuning to look classy.


All you guys are coming up with stuff I would have never caught. I'll be tweaking more tonight for sure!
04/17/2014 06:30:53 PM · #25
Wow, Cynthiann! SO much better than on my first visit. The only really glaring remaining thing is the photo size. On my screen they are absurdly tiny. It might have something to do with how you're building the page. Are you limiting the width in any way (i.e. 800 pixels)? This could prevent the images from upsizing.

Following up with what maz001 said, you should add an About page, as folks like to know a bit about the people they're thinking of hiring.
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