// Internet Duct Tape

Dude, Your Online Photo Portfolio Sucks

Posted in Becoming a Better Blogger, Miscellaneous by engtech on September 08, 2008

I’ve been browing through my local photographers looking for family portrait photographers and wedding photographers. As someone who is very familiar with the web, I’m always struck at how poorly some people do their web portfolioes.

How Do They Find You?

Like anything, the most important thing about a photography site is how it ranks on google for location + keyword searches.

I’m sure that ottawaportraitphotographers.com does quite well when it comes to new clients finding them via Google.

The Good

I chose my wedding photographer because he uses a blog to display his pictures. The pictures are big enough that I can see the quality, there isn’t anything hiding the images, and enough pictures load all at once that I can get a good indication that I want to see more without having to click on each individual photo. Blogs also have the added feature where I actually can tell that the photos are recent work. With some sites only the hairstyles give any indication of when the photo was taken.

There were a few Ottawa wedding photographers who use this approach of having both a blog and a flash-based gallery, and I have to say I was impressed with all of them.

The blogs are photo galleries all on their own. None of them mix personal blog posts in with the photos.

The Bad

One of my biggest pet-peeves with photo gallery sites is having to click on each individual photograph to load it. It isn’t so bad if I can middle-click on them to open them in a new tab to look at later, but with some flash- or javascript-based sites it takes forever! I have to click on each individual picture, wait for it to load, look at it, then click again… it ends up taking 20 times as long to view the entire gallery vs a blog-based sites.

If you use a flash-based site for displaying your photos, it has to be FAST. Use something like SimpleViewer instead of coding it yourself.

Another pet-peeve is when the pictures aren’t big enough to see the photo in detail. Thumbnails are great for overall navigation, but it’s very hard to tell photo quality when the picture takes up less than one fifth of my screen.

The Ugly

One of the worst things I’ve seen is watermarks embedded in the image. We all understand that you don’t want other people to steal your livelyhood, but much like how digital rights management shouldn’t prevent people from watching a DVD, the embedded watermark in a photo shouldn’t prevent your potential customer from seeing how good your pictures are. I can’t appreciate a photo when the writing on top of them is too distracting.

Of course, it’s even worse to have blurry photos in your portfolio. Thank you, but if I wanted an out-of-focus shot I could do it myself.

I hope if there are any amateur or semi-pro photographers in the audience they can learn a few things about what customers are looking for.

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