Online Portfolio advice requested

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by dlifesjrny, Mar 20, 2006.

  1. dlifesjrny

    dlifesjrny TPF Noob!

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    I am looking to have an online portfolio to present my stock images.
    I currently have 2 sites I have been messing around with, and don't know if I want to use either of them.
    One is a popphoto site http://www.danielnydickphotography.com/

    and one is a Fotki site
    http://public.fotki.com/danielnydick/

    I know for professional purposes, I'd want to trim the fat.

    Maybe use the first link as a leaned-out representation of my best work, and keep the second one for fun, for albums.

    I am not happy with the popsoft setup, because I have to tag each image after it's uploaded and use these tages to creat "smart albums" which are albums created by a search.
    I would normally just add keywords to the otignal file, but the popsoft doesn't allow full size images...so...once I resize a batch of images with a thumbnail maker, the keywords are gone.


    Advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    In all honesty, they're both crap and look very unprofessional. There are a couple different ways to go about building a portfolio.

    1) Static. This would be a normal xhtml based site, where you control all of the images. An example would be my temporary "portfolio" that i just threw together in a few hours, http://www.webpsychdesigns.com/portfolio In this case, if you want the control of a static site with the looks of a dynamic one, then look for an image gallery built with dhtml/javascript. There are some located at Dynamicdrive.com, which is where i found the script for my site.

    2)Dynamic, hosted. With a normal hosting plan, your choices can be limited. Most dynamic portfolio applications use a language/infrastructure called GD that was built for dynamically resizing images. This can be great, because it will allow you to simply upload all of your images into a folder, and then it will automatically generate thumbnails and assemble them into a gallery for you. Sounds great, right? Wrong. For starters, most of them have really cheesy and unprofessional layouts, that will take A LOT of design tinkering to get them to look "professional." In a lot of cases, this can't be done well without php coding knowledge. The bigger problem is this: You often lose control over your images. Many of these GD based applications not only dynamically create thumbnails from your original images, but also dynamically resize your originals for presentation. That's bad. A prime example would be SimpleViewer, a flash-based web gallery. (http://www.airtightinteractive.com/simpleviewer/). If you decide that you must have a dynamic gallery, make sure you find one that does not use GD to resize the images themselves for presentation, only for thumbnails.

    3)Dynamic, dedicated. If you have a dedicated server, you have much more control over everything, including the way that any dynamic portfolio might interpret, modify, and display your images. My favorite gallery of all time would be Sepiroth's gallery, located here: http://www.sephiroth.it/test/PHP_remoting/imagebrowser/
    This image gallery is flash based and dynamic, and makes use of a verion of PHP called amfphp, which was specifically engineered to make the integration of php and flash applications seamless. Problem is, you can really only do all the grunt installation work on your own if you have a dedicated server. Otherwise, you'll have to put in a request to your hosting company to install the required PHP classes in the root directory on the server. They will most likely do this for you, but it will take some time (for them to review the classes and make sure they're not going to hurt the server), and they will charge you for it.

    If you're looking around for some dynamic image galleries, i would strongly suggest taking a look at Hotscripts' selection of php galleries. http://www.hotscripts.com/PHP/Scripts_and_Programs/Image_Galleries/index.html
     
  3. dlifesjrny

    dlifesjrny TPF Noob!

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    I like your temp. portfolio layout.
    I agree that Fotki is not very professional looking.
    I don't think the popphoto one is "crap", but it is quite clunky, not very polished feeling.
    I do, nonetheless, appreciate the info you have shared with me.
    Can you please explain the difference between static and dynamic, I seem to have missed that.
    I do have my own website and server.

    Other question, aside from the site's script, the album structure is okay at http://www.danielnydickphotography.com/ , right?
    Thanks!
     
  4. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Sure.

    Static websites have a bunch of data on them, such as text, images, etc. When someone visits the site, that stuff is displayed, however you specify. You're basically building a static page, that doesn't change from how you made it.

    Dynamic sites make use of web-based software. When someone visits the site, the server takes a request (can be as simple as visiting a certain page), processes it, and then spits something out for them to view, depending on what the request was. A dynamic page could be something as simple as a survey or a contact form. In this case, someone visits a page for, say, portrait shots. The server says, this person wants to look at portrait shots, so I'm going to take all of the photos in the "portraits" directory, make thumbnails out of them, and build a page that displays those thumbnails.

    The danielnydick site is okay. The album structure is fine, but the arrows are kinda cheap, and the layout could be cleaner. Also, you probably don't want/need all that lightbox/postcard crap at the top of the page. In order to get rid of it, you have to know which pieces of code you can safely get rid of. That's a task better geared for someone with at least a working knowledge of php(the software language that the album was built with).

    Most of the free dynamic portfolios are weak in my opinion, because they try to do a lot of different things not all that well, or at least cleanly. Technically, my site is dynamic as well, but in a different way. Most of the "image galleries" you find online basically take a folder full of photos and build an entire gallery website out of them. Mine is much more stripped down. The thumbnails are all static (built into the page), and the scripting just tells the server to pop up the full sized version when someone clicks on the thumbnail.

    As i said, I don't think any of the free galleries are acceptable for a professional online portfolio. As such, I think your best bet would be to either purchase a gallery (i'd recommend Pixaria, about $200), or pick a free gallery that you like and then hire a cheap freelance web designer to clean up the interface for you (maybe $10-$20 an hour).
     
  5. dlifesjrny

    dlifesjrny TPF Noob!

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    The danielnydick site was from the same guy that made Pixaria. I had horrible experineces with his lack of any type of support.
    I had to teach myself where anything and everything was in the php script, which was not necessarily a bad thing in the end...but there is so much more I could never figure out or get an answer to...
    Maybe I wil just keep tinkering with the danielnydick layout.
    Thanks again!!!
     
  6. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    That's a shame...pixaria looked like such a nice gallery.

    Lightbox looks okay, though not that much different from PopPhoto, and certainly not worth $300. Your best best will probably be to build a custom skin for a free gallery.
     
  7. dlifesjrny

    dlifesjrny TPF Noob!

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    Easier said than done, I know nothing of scripts/web design.
    Everything I changed on my current site I taught myself. I just immersed myself in the php codes and figured out what I could.
    I don't really have the time or energy to do that again, from scratch.
    I think I will just try and tweak the one I have now.
     
  8. dlifesjrny

    dlifesjrny TPF Noob!

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  9. bigfatbadger

    bigfatbadger TPF Noob!

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    Already looking a lot better to me!
     

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