New Website, feedback?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Aayria, May 13, 2010.

  1. Aayria

    Aayria TPF Noob!

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    Hey guys =)

    I really took the plunge! I have fallen so much in love with photography, everything about it, that I jumped in with both feet and made the decision to join the *LEGIONS* of photographers in my area:lol:

    I still have so much to learn -which is part of why I love this so much! But right now I'm in that period where I pretty much have to wait for my first paying client... and it's killing me! Not that I mind waiting, it gives me time to keep practicing and reading up on ways to make my pictures better. But I'm the kind of person who gets antsy, I feel like I NEED to be *doing* something in the mean time. So... my eyes keep turning to my website. I keep obsessively compulsively changing and knit picking everything about it, even though my husband insists it's fine as it is now.

    Today, I'm especially feeling like I should be working on it more, and am considering completely re-vamping it from the drawing board!

    Part of it is nervousness, part of it is perfectionism, and part of it is just my personality lol... But I thought maybe if I dropped by here you guys could offer some experience or piece of mind?

    If it's not too much trouble, I'd really appreciate if anybody had a chance to stop by my website and offer C&C, either on the layout, my choice of portfolio images, pricing, colors, fonts, whatever comes to mind! (Because at this point I'm very close to just redoing every bit of it:blushing:)

    The one thing I do think I want to work on for sure with the website, is adding a better section about session information. I want to divide it into "Newborn Sessions, Family and Portrait Sessions, Events/Parties, and Maternity Sessions. ...( Eventually working towards offering wedding packages some day.) But for now, before I've even had a single paying customer, does what I have work?

    In the mean time, I've got my buisiness cards, am trying to hand them out at every opportunity. I even approached a lady in the grocery store who had a newborn baby girl and asked if she'd had pictures done yet! LOL. She asked for my web address and I gave it to her, but haven't heard back... So maybe that's why I kind of wonder if my website needs work?

    I also have a good friend who's husband has been a wedding DJ for years, and I've done several shoots for her family now. Her husband offered to take several of my buisiness cards and spread the word to people looking for a photographer that they recommend me :)

    *sigh* maybe I just needed to vent =P If so, thanks for listening everyone. If you get a chance to stop by the website please let me know anything you would change/add. Thanks so much!!!
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Hi. I stopped by the web site a few minutes ago and looked through all the image galleries. One thing...the images come up with the transitions, come into view, and are then gone a little bit too quickly...I'd like another 1.5 seconds to 2 seconds to view the image in its normal mode, before the fade-out transition begins. It's a very,very "fast" display, which is better than too slow and plodding, yet, it's still too quick a view IMHO. I would rather the photos go too rapidly than waiting interminably--I hate to wait!

    Your sample photos are okay, but I think there are some horizontally composed shots that ought to be verticals...it's sort of a distinction between more formally trained portrait artists and photographers and the less-studied shooters in how they frame and compose an image. Small children especially are harmed by horizontal framings on standing poses, which often crops off their feet or lower extremities, and renders them as very small in the frame, with large expanses of empty space on either side of their head and shoulders. With a vertical camera orientation, the child is always rendered larger in the frame--bringing more clarity, more detail, and physically larger and more-emphatic focus on the child him or her self. If the setting/background is actually of real interest, then a horizontal framing can be appropriate, but when the framing makes the subject's head quite small, the photo really doesn't have the kind of clear,direct, visually engaging professional quality that I think many people are looking for.

    I think your photos could use a bit more stylistic polish, a bit more consistent "look" to them. I understand that you're new to this, and the fact that you have built your own web site and are seeking feedback shows that you have commitment and are serious. I hope you take my comments in the spirit in which they are intended. I do not want to appear to be bashing you or your work, yet I realize that sometimes C&C, or even an offhand comment, can be hurtful. The fact that you're committed to perfection and are not afraid to re-work something makes me think that you've got what it takes to "stick",and also that you actually have the fortitude and whatever the female equivalent of 'cajones' is to make a go of it!!!
     
  3. Rrr3319

    Rrr3319 TPF Noob!

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    hi! i looked over your website really quickly, but i noticed a few things:
    ----the writing at the bottom ("about", "portfolio", etc) is too dark on the black background, at first i didn't see it and i was "umm, okay what do i now...?", just a lighter color would make it way easier to see.
    ----i think you may need to rethink some of your prices. i'm not a pro, so i guess i can't give too much advice here, but the one main thing i have learned from this forum and everything else i have read about the photography business is that you need to set your prices higher, even if you are just starting out. and i would also maybe rethink the refundable sitting fee. i think advertising that on the website is going to encourage people to try to take advantage of you. i'm envisioning a thread in a few weeks from you like "they want me to refund the sitting fee, but they still want to buy a few 4x6s for $3 each..." ;)

    overall, i really like the layout and design of the website, i think it looks really nice and professional. :thumbup::biggrin:
     
  4. Aayria

    Aayria TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for taking the time to check it out! I completely appreciate all of your input, don't worry =)

    I went back and changed the slideshows to show each image 4 seconds before changing, rather than 3. Also, you can click on a picture and it comes up centered on its own so that you can pan/browse at your own rate.

    I totally understand what you are saying about pictures of children, too. For some reasy, the vertical shots of kids always "looked" better to my eye, but I couldn't figure out why! I didn't realize there was an explanation for it :lol: I will definitely keep that in consideration for future pictures.

    I also see what you mean regarding "polishing my style." It's something I'm working really hard to hone in on... I've had inspiration from so many different photographers with varying styles that I think it's made my personal style more of a hodge-podge smorgasborg of everything rather than something that is clearly mine. How did you, as a photographer, begin to realize your personal style, and when did you realize it?


    Thanks again :)

    Thanks! I went and changed the font color to stand out a bit better, it was a little dark, especially when I looked at it on a different computer screen than my regular one.

    As for pricing.. I'm not sure. I'm so new to this and haven't had a client yet. I actually just RAISED them yesterday, because I didn't want to appear to under confident in my work, or unprofessional. I was also a little scared by the "bridezilla" thread and wasn't sure I wanted to cater to that "socioeconomic group" as it was put there:lol:
    What would you recommend? After looking at other photographers in my area, session fees range from 125-400, with prints from $10 for an 8x10 to $50 for an 8x10. Photo CD's range from about where mine is (200 for a CD of the session) to $4,600 for a CD of 20 images!:blushing:

    I did, for now at least, clarify what I meant by the 100% returnable session fee. I dont' want people to feel obligated to purchase from me if they're not happy with the results of their sessions. But I'm assuming that if you want to order any pictures, you're somewhat happy with your session, and thus the fee would not be returnable. I do NOT want to have to post a thread like you mentioned and could totally see that happening without clarification =P

    I'm so new to this, but I want to go about it as professionally as possible, so I really do appreciate everyone's input and advice!
     
  5. Aayria

    Aayria TPF Noob!

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    Well.. I raised my prices as much as I was comfortable with. But I feel a little.... arrogant =X I know if I'm not comfortable enough with my work to charge what it deserves that I shouldn't even be going into buisiness yet.. But for somebody just starting out do you think my prices are OK now?
     
  6. ShutterShaman

    ShutterShaman TPF Noob!

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    Overall I think the website looks nice.

    A couple suggestions:
    1)First, I totally agree with Rrr3319 about the prices, with regard to the refundable sitting fee. You want to come across as ultra confident. If you're not confident that each and every client is going to love your pictures, why should they trust you to take them.
    2)I really don't care for the background on your blog that says free images from backgroundfairy.com. It just comes across as amateurish. I would either clonestamp that image to the bottom or get a new image.
    3) I would encourage you to host your own blog. It just is much more professional. At the very least, you can purchase your own domain name ($10) and use it as the URL for you blogger blog.
     
  7. Aayria

    Aayria TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for your input :) I agree completely and the more I've thought about it.. I want to come across confident and professional. I'm in this both feet forward, and if I don't have confidence in my own work, then why should my clients?

    As for the blog, I'm working on remaking it in wordpress under my domain name at aayriabella.com/blog. I own the domain so it's silly to continue to use blogspot. I just need to get comfortable re-making it in wordpress, maybe enlisting the hubby's help a bit.

    Thanks for your feedback!
     
  8. Aayria

    Aayria TPF Noob!

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    I played around with the html a bit, and managed to get that "free backgrounds" button out of the blog. I still want to redo the blog and put it on my own domain, but it works until then =)
     
  9. Dallmeyer

    Dallmeyer TPF Noob!

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    The presentation seems good to me and the blog fits the style and purpose. I agree with Derrel about the pace of the foilio pictures being too quick. Also the preloading java/lightbox thing seemed to get stuck in a loop (?) - a big hassle with web2.0 i 've found is discovering the weaknesses of a platform after you've built your content. The PP of the pictures looks good enough to make a start imo - perfectionism keeps a person trapped on the starting grid.

    BTW if you're sitting with someone and showing them the website, it looks nice in F11 full-screen too.
     

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