Some thoughts on my site would be an awesome thing

Discussion in 'Website Creation' started by fotoandy, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. Hi everyone,
    Photo.net is perhaps the best gift to photography the Internet gives us. Just wanted to say that.
    Well, being in the "website design" area of the boards, we all know I'm here for feedback on my photography website, www.Foto-Andy.com, for which I thank you for your time, should you have it to spare of course.
    Apple users might dig that it's Flash-free, and the photo lightbox/viewer works on iPod/pad/phone, if a tad slow.
    The site is designed so I can feature my photo work (Latest Fotos, Foto Sets, Foto Featured) in a both current and archive/library sense (and shop in future, like Fotomoto), not to mention in a few different ways of discovery. I've also been writing a few articles/links on photo world of late, but haven't decided quite how that one will unfold as yet.
    I'm especially looking for comments about layout, load times, and any navigation/finding stuff. There's still much updating and order change to individual "Foto Sets" to come, so while feedback there is certainly great , please remember that's one of the last things I'm sorting out off a loooong list and bad sleep (unrelated).
    I should propbably add with hesitation (for fear of polluting your pre-opinion), it does bear mentioning I don't consider the site design fully finshed, I'd say 85%. I won't say just what (again fear of tainting results), but I can say now that much of this self-built site is now done, there are many, many, MANY photos to come, not to mention India (4th time now, thanks Swiss logo!) in December.
    Do not be afraid to hurt my feelings, but rudeness will be politely ignored.
     
  2. Do not be afraid to hurt my feelings, but rudeness will be politely ignored.​
    I re-read that this morning and realize it sounds a touch wussy and/or contradictory.
    What I mean is don't be afraid to be direct or negative, just please don't be a troll/douche about it...
    but maybe I've been on the wrong forums lately if I felt i needed that disclaimer :p ...
     
  3. It reminds me of one of those trinket stores in tourist towns where you walk in, stop and then realize there's nothing there of any interest beyond lots and lots of trinkets, and you turn around a walk out noting to remember to walk by it next time you're in town. This happens when I see a cluttered Website with lots of images, some of which don't seem to be by the photographer and with lots of competing visual trinkets. You said to be direct. Now if you don't mind, there are other Websites to stay and browse awhile. "Dingaling aling aling", as the little bell over the doorway sounds on my out.
     
  4. That was indeed direct, thank you so much.
    Thanks also for using "Now if you don't mind, there are other Websites to stay and browse awhile. "Dingaling aling aling", as the little bell over the doorway sounds on my out.", it exemplifies where rudeness comes in. And poor humor. And general lack of wit.
    Don't let the door hit you on the way out, you will not be missed.
    PS. "Website" is not capitalized.
     
  5. Andy:

    Way too many things going on. What is the purpose of your site? Generally speaking people have pretty darn short attention spans these days.

    I agree with Scott in that there seems to be quite a few images on the site that aren't yours. I would mark these images very clearly as belonging to someone else to avoid potential problems with copyright infringement and all that fun stuff.

    I've checked the site on a couple of different computers because the images look rather washed out to me. No difference really in checking on both Macs and PCs.

    I think there's potential with your images depending on what exactly you want your site to be. I know a lot of photographers who tried to be everything to all people and failed miserably and one of the things I always stress when I am consulted by fellow stock photographers is to focus the scope of a website to fit in with the target audience. If that target audience is "everyone" it's pretty hard to market efficiently.
     
  6. @Mikael Karlsson :Thanks for the excellent feedback Mikael, very appreciated. Hope my reply isn't "too many things either", typing it out usually helps my process greatly in all this, and might even help someone some day to avoid my mistakes, they are worth it if learnt from.
    Way too many things going on.​
    A lot going on is the idea for a change, even if it is surely "too much" at the moment (this feedback helping me to see what fat needs trimming). I did do the "usual" minimal design/content thing in previous site builds, it just feels too... same-same, and a loss of potential to the medium of a online creative website. I want to see what that potential is, part of the ride.
    This and similar feedbacks lead me to think that spinning any photo world news/links might fix that a lot. It was something to try for a while (and I _do_ enjoy it), especially as a vehicle to share things I find interesting/awesome in the world of cameras. That would also clear out any potential copyright issues (covered below) from this site, as well as make the blog side open for "Featured Fotos/Sets/Tags".
    What is the purpose of your site?​
    Show photos and life (as in explain with some words what's up in the shot/set as relavent, not as in all up-myself declaring how "I expose life!"), both for new/current work and archives.
    Also, offer a few different ways to see it all through "Featured Fotos/Sets/Tags", giving a viewer regular posts to check back for, as well as maybe see an older photo or set they may have missed.
    Generally speaking people have pretty darn short attention spans these days.​
    I have ADHD (if now the milder over-30y level), sometimes I so wish I was kidding or exaggerating!!! Hahaha!
    Seriously though, part of the "lots of stuff" route in photo count at least is to A: Give the short attention spans something to do within my site (hard part is getting them to trust they can, hopefully easier when I finish my backlog of content upload), and B: Savor my ADHD to an extent, if you think I shoot a lot of subjects now, Oi Vay 5 years ago...
    I agree with Scott in that there seems to be quite a few images on the site that aren't yours. I would mark these images very clearly as belonging to someone else to avoid potential problems with copyright infringement and all that fun stuff.​
    I too agree with Scott, just his delivery killed any serious reply on it from me. I am ashamed of my lazy watermarking of other peoples' work, and this public mention of it will likely drive me to move that to tonights' work time out of shame if nothing else. My bad, not to be flippant about it in the least.
    I've checked the site on a couple of different computers because the images look rather washed out to me. No difference really in checking on both Macs and PCs.​
    "Washed out" is very bad unless an effect I strove for, but obviously it's hard to tell exactly what you mean without samples. Could you please PM me a screetshot from either machine?
    I think there's potential with your images depending on what exactly you want your site to be.​
    Thanks for upping my "potential" quota, every bit helps! :) I would be lying if said I knew exactly what I want it to be (I'm still figuring out what to really specialize in), I have a lot of (photo) content to post up now that at least the site framework is up and working.
    I know a lot of photographers who tried to be everything to all people and failed miserably and one of the things I always stress when I am consulted by fellow stock photographers is to focus the scope of a website to fit in with the target audience. If that target audience is "everyone" it's pretty hard to market efficiently.​
    I agree wholeheartedly with this statement. It's a danger I wrestle to minimize, especially as even over 30, ADHD is not *always* helpful to focus within the photo efforts. My goal at this stage is to develop what I can do (People, travel, macro or at least passably) and see where it can take me, as well as get the years of shooting I've basically using as training "for the pros" out there and working a groove.
    Thanks to you and anyone who read this far, I hope I'm not babbling on too long in replies (I won't always, time is with me this week). If I did, again hoping it's one day helpful to someone.
     
  7. Have you licensed all the images on your site?
     
  8. Ok, after a day out biking the coast and a think about all these comments (and the volume of my replies as part of internally figuring this out/being active within the thread, thanks for any patience spent), I made one change to regroup and refocus both the website and this thread.
    No more news articles.
    Thoughts?
     
  9. @Les Berkley: I won't lie nor deny, I was slack at licensing, but not for laziness or malice. The article themselves were an experiment in adding something new to this site overhaul, and were never realy intended to stay up much longer.
    Even at that, considering the lack of ads (the Swiss link being the exception), I considered it fair use (esp. short term). I'm however deeply ashamed of forgetting to attribute a couple of pics I used (Doctor Evil and another that slips my mind), I deserve any muck you wish to throw on that one. Truly bad form on my part, even if only a little or within what might be fair use.
    PS: As just posted, news is pulled for a site refresh aside from this copyright issue, but having your comment pushing the issue into my mind was great for the decision. Thanks for taking time to write, it genuinely helped! :)
     
  10. A short post I did on all that come from this feedback, see how I bow to your mighty comments! ;)
    Thanks to posts so far, as well as a couple of emails either for privacy or lack or registration effort.
     
  11. Andy:

    Unless you're OK with people using your images for commercial purposes free of charge, you really shouldn't use images belonging to others without permission. Nothing fair use about that at all. If I write a review of a book and publish a photo of the cover of that book with the review, that would be fair use. My basic rule of thumb is that if the image isn't mine and I don't have permission in writing from the creator or an agency it isn't used. These days I don't use any images that aren't mine on any of the sites I run//maintain.

    I still believe tightening things up would be a big improvement. My own site is an extreme example of the other way around. I'm re-doing it completely and the new version will basically be the intro page and the photo galleries. Not much more. Then again, I cater only to professional photobuyers and researchers (mainly at big book publishers) and have nothing I offer to the general public.
     
  12. Mikael Karlsson: Hi Mikael, thanks for the followup post.
    Yup, the words you give on ccopyright are fair and true, I deserve them.
    Having said that (and reviewed all the news posts I did, now pulled as I explained upthread), there were 3 posts I found with non-Foto-Andy pictures, and of that only the Dr evil pic clearly fell out of fair use, used for a cheap laugh, and my bad-sleep brain forgot to attribute something OBVOUSLY not mine.
    The 2 other uses were in reviews (like your book example), (the Liebowitz documentary and the NASA D3 pics), both attributed correctly at posting time. And the NASA pics are public domain if attributed and linked, which I did.
    As I say, I take my shame, but let's keep it in perspectivem especially within the central question of the thread. When you say " for commercial purposes", that falls into making money off the image, or the site itself, I wish I was! :) There's no ads beyond the Swiss link (for which I get one whole free economy flight a year), heck I'm not even selling my own photos elsewhere onsite. Doctor Evil was the worst of this experiment (one out of 3 posts), and was, in context, more like a Facebook post than any sort of money grab.
    I'm not writing this to defend myself, more because I find this issue worth long-posting aboute, for all the distraction from getting other feedback. I 1000% agree with your opening words:
    Unless you're OK with people using your images for commercial purposes free of charge, you really shouldn't use images belonging to others without permission​
    I'm not okay about it, but when I find an image on a site (and I do, 2 last month!), I evaluate the context. One of last months' was a post on a bunch of flickr'd photos of a Tibetan Mandala, with a few text ads in the sidebar. He left my watermarks, he linked to me (doctor evil slip aside, all my ©s were also links), and it wasn't really selling anything. No prob, I let it slide, even left a comment with thanks.
    The other was one of my cat photos, used on a small site for an animal care center. While the w/mark and link were also correct, the pic was used to announce a bunch of calenders released. I contacted her and politely pointed out the situation etc etc, and while she didn't pay out without going the lawyer route (not worth it frankly), she pulled down the photo and life moved on. The irony is I'm actually one link poorer out of this, and don't even get a few pennies for the effort of protecting my work. Ha!
    Ok, I don't got much more on copyright to add beyond that (and whew, another keyboard abuse session), I'm going to pop over to your site and take in your example. In the meantime, can we call this the end of the copyright issue (email me if you want to carry it on, discussing is learning), especially as the posts involved exist only in private archive?
    Any further thoughts on my site are appreciated, if you need a topic: Navigation within my Foto Sets is a something I'd really love to hear about, or the home page without articles. :)
     
  13. Andy:

    Have you considered more conventional looking photo galleries? I think your site would benefit from that as they would do a better job of showing your photographs. I'm thinking about things like JAlbum or Coppermine. I use Coppermine for my galleries and it is easily customizable (and so is JAlbum) in a wide variety of styles and functions.

    My clients like to use galleries they feel familiar with. The same goes for the very few visitors from the general public that stumble onto my site. I ask the subjects of my images (not the crooks) for their views on functionality when they visit the site and the same holds true for them. Simple is better. I have an e-postcard set up on my site making it easy for people to share photos with others. It works great for me because I can see who shared what with whom.

    I think the same holds true for most sites. Simple really is better. It is easy to get carried away and add all sorts of stuff just because we can. There's obviously a balance though and that all depends on your target audience. My target audience is photo researchers and editors at large book publishers and they overwhelmingly state that they want things simple. These are also the results I came to when writing the 2010 PhotoSource Photobuyer Survey Report on the things editorial photobuyers like and dislike (link to it in this article: http://www.photo.net/learn/stock-photography/editorial-stock-photography/ ). Then again, that works for me and my audience.

    Now that I'm sitting down to re-do my own site from the ground up I'm making myself consider each and every page. Does it fill a function that is needed? If it doesn't out it goes. I should get done with a first re-model here any day now and the new site will be a lot leaner and contain far less pages, that's for sure.
     
  14. http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=41252
     

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