Looking for Opinions on Site Mockup

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by manaheim, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'm redoing my website and I have a mockup up and running and would love some opinions.

    No holds barred, nothing off limits, be as harsh as you like.

    My photography business is called "Impression Engineering", the idea being that I "design and build" quality images- not just art, but an artistic process geared to meet the specific needs of a business.

    I'm trying to develop a theme around that, but my concern is that it's hamfisted or cheesy. I want it to look good and professional. Certainly, I know there is much adjustment to do even if the general idea is ok, but is even the idea ok? Not sure.

    (btw, the links on the top are nonfunctional)

    Anyway, have at me! Thanks for the help everyone!

    http://www.impressionengineering.com/newsite/
     
  2. jcolman

    jcolman TPF Noob!

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    To be honest, I like the site layout but the pics don't blow me away. I think that your potential clients will feel the same. Your pics need to be stronger than your site. I think right now it's the other way around.
     
  3. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

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    Ok, the site design looks more like a architects site than a photographers, but given your above statement, you could make it work. I would however make the blue print a bit more subtle.

    2nd, if you want people to take you serious and you want to charge people a premium for a product, drop the free version of simple viewer. You need to add the full version or find something else. Nothing says amateur to me like free a plug-in on a site. To me it states I want to charge you for my services, but I refuse to pay for any services myself.

    One last thing, if you are the only photographer, drop the line “Principal Photographer” it comes across as making yourself sound more important than you are. If there are other photographers, keep the line, but add the others as well.

    Sorry, just my opinion.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    For the most part, I agree...but I think that even the free version of Simpleviewer is pretty unobtrusive. It only adds a logo/link that is what, 10 pixels high? I would say that 95% of (my) clients wouldn't know the difference between the free version and the pro version. Now if you are targeting clients who would know the difference, then that's a different story...and in that case, you would want an entire web site that is really impressive to those who know about building web sites etc.
     
  5. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Seriously? :lol: Those are basically my best and favorite shots, so by that judgement, I'm in pretty bad shape. :lmao: I have to say this was probably the one comment I didn't expect.

    Making the blueprint more subtle is something I was condiering- thanks for the comment, I'll try to play with that.

    Good point on the principal thing. It just sounded cool, so I did it, but I have to remember "sounds cool" often means it's gonna sound silly. :)

    Actually, I had planned to buy the real version once I was comfortable with the site makeup. It's only $45, so no biggie.

    That being said, I think you're right Mike... most people probably wouldn't notice... I'm not sure if my particular clientelle would notice, but to be honest, I don't think most of my clients would ever even go to my website. :lol: I just have to have it up there in case someone does for some odd reason! :)

    Thanks for comments!

    Any more from anyone? All appreciated.
     
  6. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    By the way, the whole photographer vs. engineer thing was what I was struggling with. I'd like to somehow get both to fit in, but haven't thought of an idea for how I could best represent that.

    At one point I had a blueprint of a camera, but I figured that was a bit too obscure. :)
     
  7. randerson07

    randerson07 TPF Noob!

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    I dont know anything about building a website, but I do know that I dont like the fact that unless I click at the far top or bottom of the site, the scroll wheel flips through the pics. Im on a 15in laptop and some of the pics do not fit on the entire screen and I need to scroll. to do that on your site I have to move the mouse over to the side and slide the bar.

    I think the pics are OK but there seems to be too many, or many its too many in one spot, maybe having separate galleries for each genre would be better?

    Ill give you one thing, it loads super fast on my crapola work connection, and when scrolling through pics there are no delays which is rare for me while surfing at work.
     
  8. jcolman

    jcolman TPF Noob!

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    Let me be a bit more specific. Your opening shot is killer. Well done. But as I see it, if you're trying to attract people who will buy into you as an architectural photographer (given the number of building shots) you have a lot of work to do. You have no good interior shots, no great building shots and a lot of random shots of other objects. Go out and shoot some more killer images. You obviously know how to do it (with the exception of your one interior shot...you need to work on your lighting skills in that area). Also try and be more specific with your images. Stick to one theme or have different galleries to separate out your images.

    I'm just as guilty as you are with my web images in that I have too many random images on my splash page so take what I say with a grain of salt. However, I do have several different galleries inside my site where I can categorize my images.
     
  9. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    We're kind of going off on a tangent here, but I'm intrigued by what you're saying...

    For reasons that are too boring to explain, I actually don't have a very exciting portfolio... I'm not so much an arhictectural photographer, as someone who focuses a good bit of their time on commercial real estate. A lot of these properties are at best, fairly dull, and at worst, horribly ugly. :) It's building over time, but it is taking time.

    On the lighting, though... I generally have to move through a building fairly quickly and get decent shots using a very basic on-camera strobe setup. Are there things you think I could be doing differently or paying particular attention to in order to make this work better? Probably hard to tell on the one interior shot I have up... again, most interior shots on these things are not exactly pretty. You should see the one I have of the office with all the max headroom pictures on the wall. :lol:

    On the building shots... are you saying they are not great because they lack architectural interest? Or for other reasons? I went through and I really feel like they are some pretty excellent images for what they are intended for, which is again... real estate. If, however, you have any suggestions on making them better, I'd love to hear them. I'm all ears!

    Finally, the reason why I have various images up is I don't want to confine myself to just the one type of photography, as I do other things as well. However, probably the thing to do would be to seperate out the galleries a bit. I just need to figure out how I want to do that. :)

    By the way, to anyone reading this, I re-did the site mockup a bit. Rollovers work now, too. Have a look if you're interested. The comments were a big help!

    Thanks to everyone for their comments.
     
  10. jcolman

    jcolman TPF Noob!

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    The shots of the buildings that you feature are probably shot from the best angle. That's not the problem. The problem is that the shots themselves are boring, lighting wise. Have you tried shooting these buildings at sunrise or sunset with the lights inside the building on? Do you use a polarizing filter to help darken the sky and make the clouds pop? How about shooting them at night?

    For interior shots, an on-camera flash just isn't going to cut it. As you can also see, using available office lighting is flat and uninspired. Take a look at some really good interior shots and you'll see that the photographer used a number of off-camera lights, tucked away behind corners, plants, etc. It is possible to move through a building with two or three off-camera lights and do a decent job of lighting in a pretty quick fashion. You say that most of your interior shots aren't very pretty...it's up to you, as the hired photographer, to make them prettier.

    You've got the basic skills. You just need to go out and produce some really good shots to impress your clients.
     
  11. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Ah, ok. This is a different level of good, and I'm interested to try for it, but to some degree I'm in a market that has neither the time nor the interest.

    As a good example... when I get more dramatic lighting, they get distinctly upset because there are shadows everywhere!!! HORRORS! :lmao: That particular shot had the coolest lighting I've ever had for a building and the shots were amazing (given that it was an ugly building), and they made me go re-shoot it in boring light. :confused:

    They're not looking for art... they're looking for an accurate technical capture. On the more artistic side, at most... they like blue skies with some puffy white clouds in them. :)

    As far as taking a touch more time to setup a shot with more strobes and stuff... my customers want me to move through quickly and quietly to a point of extrmees. They want me to be as a ghost... there mere fact that I am even in the building with a camera is an undesirable necessity. I try to fade into corners and shadows. My customer AND the tenants of the buildings I'm in generally don't want people to even know there was a photographer in the building because it makes people nervous and raises questions. Is our building being sold? Why? Is our company moving? Are we going down in flames? Do I need to find a new job? Is the company who owns my building having issues? What if the new landlord is a jerk and raises our rent? Yadda yadda.

    Still, great feedback and it's something I've been wanting to do... I've been planning to pickup at least another strobe and a couple light stands, so the next time I have one of these that isn't quite so twitchy, I can push the boundries a bit.

    I've also been planning to try to poke around some more interesting buildings in the area that I can gain access to and just shoot those to add to my portfolio... I would very much like to have more truly architectural photography under my belt. I enjoy looking at it, and would love to capture some. So, if nothing else, your post has inspired me to be a bit more aggressive on doing just that.

    Thanks for the comments. I hope you don't take my response as rebuttal- your points are excellent, and I will even consider them and try to push the boundaries a bit with what I do today, but to some degree I think this is just a case of a relatively technical use of a camera directed by those who have less artisitc requirements.
     
  12. jcolman

    jcolman TPF Noob!

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    No problem. As you know, the internet is a difficult medium in which to communicate thoughts and intent. I see things and take them for what I perceive them to be, not necessarily what the OP intended them to be. I looked at your site and the first thing that struck me was "Architectural photography" so my comments were totally based on that misconceived perception.

    Good luck with your clients. I realize that limitations are often placed on our desire to be creative. I run into the same problem with a lot of my video shoots.
     

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