Photography Website - Critique Please

Discussion in 'Website Creation' started by exposurebits, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. I am exploring the possibility of having a career in photography. So, I put together a website. I would appreciate your thoughts on this. I am specifically looking for feedback on the following aspects of the site.

    1. Design: Your general impression about the overall look and feel
    2. Ease of use: Your navigational experience
    3. Performance: Page loading, image loading, portfolio loading, etc.
    4. Other thoughts you might have on my website.

    www.exposurebits.com

    Thanks for your time and thoughts in advance.
     
  2. A very beautiful and well constructed site with fantastic images. The only problem for me was download time - it is extremely slow. The front page loaded ok but selecting any of the menu headings that lead to galleries causes the activity bar at the bottom of my screen to progress very slowly - I think the problem is that my browser wants to download all of the data to cache before showing any images. I know next to nothing about WEB programming but is there a way to show the images as they are cached rather than waiting for all of them?
    Anyway, congratulations on a wonderful site.
    All the best,
    Mike
     
  3. It's very slow. I was surprised to find it's not a Flash site.
    I agree with Mike's hypothosis-- The page is downloading all images, which seems to be preventing the visitor from seeing something right away.
    I didn't look at your code, but you might want to modify it so that the visitor gets an image as soon as the gallery is clicked, and then the others are downloaded at that point.
    Also, the grey on black text is somewhat hard to read. I ended up selecting the text to read it.
    Beautiful photography. I like the hi-key black and white stuff a lot.
     
  4. Hi Mike,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to review and comments on my website. Truly appreciate it.

    I am aware of the the problem with download time and it's really bugging me. I have fast (25 mbps) connection and I personally don't feel it. It's generally in the range of 2-5 seconds. But I would imagine that it would be frustrating for someone with slower connection. I am working on it. I don't think there is no easy solution to it.

    Thanks for your time and kind words on my work.

    Regards,
    Abhijit
     
  5. Hi Damon,

    Thanks for your time and thoughts on my website. I explored the flash option as well and I even created some dynamic slideshows in the same format as my current website is. But did not like the flash version much. There are pros and cons of using flash and I thought of not using it for many reasons.

    The grey text I have looks ok to me on my color corrected LaCie 321 monitor. The next grey level that is compatible with html looks little screaming for my taste. But I appreciate the feedback.

    I am glad you like some of the images. Appreciate your kind words as well.

    Regards,
    Abhijit
     
  6. Hey there,
    I just cleared my cache, opened your site and clicked on "Lifestyle." 23 seconds from "Lifestyle" button click to first image of that gallery on a DSL line that runs about 1.3 Mbps, which is the top speed of my dsl plan.
    Just to be clear, I wasn't suggesting you use Flash, just that the download time felt similar.
    I was suggesting looking into what you need to do to get the first image down to the viewer, so there isn't a blank screen. That could be some javascript thing that caches the first image of each gallery right after your home page image downloads.
     
  7. Thanks, Damon, appreciate your help. I just implemented some code that should help load the page fast.

    I was actually looking for a similar solution as you stated. But could not really figure out how to load images in the background that would be needed for other pages. I was reading some forum and they said something called 'post-onload download' might help. But that might need some good Javascript knowledge to implement.

    I finally went ahead with deferring the loading of all the images. So, it will display the page first and then continue downloaing the other images.

    Anyway, truly appreciate your time and help.

    Regards,
    Abhijit
     
  8. It looks pretty good. Clean, easy to navigate. I don't find it slow at all, but either my connection is fast enough or you've changed the site already.
    Some issues:
    * The images are a bit too large for my screen (1024x768, running firefox maximized). I end up getting both vertical and horizontal scrollbars. They're just a _little_ too large though; shrinking them by perhaps 10% would probably fix it nicely.
    * The gray text is a little too dark to read. Of course, you don't want it to grab focus from your images either. For the slideshow countar at the bottom it's fine, but for the menu at the top, how about using Javascript MouseOver function to change the text color to white when you hover over the menu area? That shoudl give you the best of both. For the information tab, make the text white or near-white; the grey really is hard to read, and it's not really competing with an image there.
    * The slideshow text at the bottom is a little cramped, with "prev" and "next" jutting right next to each other making one word - that may well be my smallish screen again of course.
    * Oh, and speaking about the Information text, it sounds a little pretentious to talk about yourself in the third person ^_^
     
  9. Hi Janne,

    Thanks for your time and helpful meticulous review of my site. I did change the code and that must have improved the loading performance.

    The images I have on the site are of 16:9 format with 1024 pixel width. These days most of the PC displays and laptops have at least 1024 pixels on the horizontal side. This is probably more true for all those involved in this business, photographers, art directors, art buyers and what not. Very few have smaller displays for mobility purpose. So, I think the size would be just fine. But I do appreciate your cautious feedback on that.

    Regarding the text brightness, I just increased it a bit as I got few comments on that including yours.

    I have CSS MouseOver color change for the top/bottom menu/texts. It was little subtle. Just increased a bit for both top and bottom.

    The text size for slideshow/next/prev looks fine to me on all my 4 monitors. If I decrease a bit they don't look alright. But I certainly appreciate your feedback on that.

    I think, all 3, Mike, Damon and you have made some excellent suggestions and I am grateful for your time and advice.

    Regards,
    Abhijit
     
  10. Abhijt, I have 1024 pixel wide screen. But the application window takes a little bit of that - not much, but giving me a little less than the full 1024 so I get a horizontal scrollbar as a result. On the top and bottom, the menus, tabs and so on take their part - and once the horizontal scrollbar appears that grabs another dozen pixels at least. If you did something like 960*540 that would be almost as big, but give various browsers, themes and so on enough leeway to fit your images comfortably.
     
  11. Thanks, Janne, once again for your thoughts. I am already considering downsizing the images due to the fact that I sort of compromised the compositional quality of the imges a bit to conform to the format. You feedback gives me another reason to move in that direction.
    Thanks for your time!
    Regards,
    Abhijit
     
  12. Abhijit, don't feel locked into the format. You're showing your images and the format should conform to them, not the other way around. Decide on the largest permissible horizontal and vertical size - say, 950 and 520 so there'll normally be a little air around them too - then leave each image in their "best" proportions and just scale each down so neither dimension is larger than allowed.
    By the way, an eloge from me to you for your decision to show decent-sized images and not ruin them with intrusive watermarks.
     
  13. Your images are amazing. You should consider a career in photography. : ) as for the website I had no problem opening the images. Everything ran and open quick for me and I am on a old hp at work. Great job.
     
  14. Hi Janne,
    I am thinking exactly the way you are thinking about the image format and quality. I will probably try the size you mentioned and see how the site feels on a smaller display.

    I don't believe in putting in watermarks as they get in the way of viewing the images. I also like big images as they have different impacts on the viewer's mind that one cannot have with tiny images. So, thanks, Janne, for your encouraging words on that.
    Regards,
    Abhijit
     
  15. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    Back to the question of why you did it. Who is it targeted at? How do you intend to get it to those people? What effect do you want it to have on their behaviour?
    I wondered also whether it was a good idea to tell people about your day job and indeed the fact that you have a day job. But of course that relates to my first question.
    I looked at your site this morning and images were unreasonably slow to come up if for example I rejected the slideshow (which I almost always do) and just picked an image number at random to view. I have feeling that your site is loading all the images in a particular group sequentially and so if I pick out no. 25 it could take an age, or in my case it took longer than the patience I could bring to bear. Its better this afternoon and if thats because you've changed something thats fine. If its because my PC has cached your site then not so good and I'd suggest that you may exhaust a lot of people's patience before viewing your work.
     
  16. Hi Kye,

    Thank you so much for your encouraging words. It gives me hope!

    Regards,
    Abhijit
     
  17. Hi David,

    First of all, thanks so much for your time and thoughts on my website. Regarding the day job I believe you are referring to my "Information" page on my site, right?

    I think most photographers get into the commercial aspects of it while still hanging onto something for the obvious mundane reason!

    Regarding the image loading time, yes, I am aware of it and still working on it. You are right that the site downloads images sequentially. I think your experience during your afternoon visit might be due to the fact that the images were already cached.

    Anyway, I do appreciate your time, patience and thoughts.

    Regards,
    Abhijit
     
  18. Hi Abhijit,
    If my opinion is worth anything.
    Very nice in general, very strong images.
    Download speed way too slow, I have a fast connection and it still hiccups, lots of people are on much worse connections and my experience is they just move on.
    I'd lose the Emotive gallery. It is much weaker than your other stuff. Re order the advertising images, the first is weak, the beer in the right hand glass needs illuminating. The second image is too weak compared to your others.
    I realise beauty is all about post but some have a too overdone look to me. You obviously have mastered some looks, show us some more, you are pushing to be a photographer not a post processor.
    All in all a very fine site though, well done.
     
  19. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    Your day job. If your site is a summary of the work of an amateur photographer then say all you want about your day job. If however you want art directors and prospective advertising clients to pick up the phone and call you after seeing your site, then i wouldn't do the day job thing. Note that i'm not advising you to lie; merely that you're volunteering information that may well work counter to your objective.
     
  20. Hi David,
    Thanks again for your response. I think you brought up a very valid point. Let me think it through to re-align my objectives. I appreciate your insight into this.
    Regards,
    Abhijit
     
  21. Hi Scott,

    First of all, thanks for your kind words on my work. I take any input seriously and you certainly provided some valuable suggestions.

    Regarding, the Emotive gallery, I was not very sure and it was certainly not there in the original plan. I am still kind of experimenting with the overall message of the site and from that perspective this gallery is little off the track. There are some good and bad arguments about putting other stuff in a business website especially when it comes to selling art and its related services. You know all that. Obviously my objective is not to give any conflicting or deviating messages through my site. As I said I am still experimenting with few things on the site and hopefully it will take good shape in few weeks. Your input is definitely valuable.

    Image re-ordering is a continuous process for me and I will keep changing it as I get more feedbacks on different images and create some new ones.

    Regarding the beauty portfolio I have a tons of images to be edited and hopefully in few weeks it will be a better portfolio. Editing takes a long time compared to shooting. Especially the selection process is time consuming for me. Sometimes I do go for that extra mile when it comes to editing as I am learning new things about this process and I think the knowledge would come in handy someday. But thanks for your cautious warning on not targeting to be retoucher!

    Regarding the performance I am still working on it. Hopefully things will improve soon.

    Once again, thanks for your time and suggestions, Scott.

    Regards,
    Abhijit
     
  22. Abhijit, Take a look at the site below yours in the listing. The site loads instantly wirh a large photo up front and many pictures that are large thumbnails. Check his code. Your site takes way too long to load with my DSL connection. Too long to wait for me to see your photos.
    Howard
     
  23. Sorry, I meant the one above yours.
     
  24. Hi Howard,
    Thanks for the pointer. I think that site is hosted/powered by photoshelter. I will explored the optimization first and if nothing improves then I might go in that route. But thanks for your thoughts.
    Regards,
    Abhijit
     

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