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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:24 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:57 pm
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Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
CameraLabs Gang,

Back in Winter semester (Jan-Apr 2011) I took a web design class. All the students were assigned to purchase a domain and, by the end of the class, create a website. I decided to create a site to display my photography and advertise for portraiture gigs. All the code was written by myself, with an occasional google search to help find solutions for some JavaScripting.

Since the class, I made some minor visual and code changes, but the same 'style' is as it was originally designed. Most of the changes I now make are with the ever-growing portfolio. After a gig, I add some shots to the site.
I've done a couple weddings so far this year and scheduled for another, handful of engagements, portrait shoot and family shoot. But I still feel it's lacking maternity/newborn work (p.s. my wife is expecting in a week! so we'll be able to get some fun shots of the little guy once he's born).

So, now that I feel the photography-side-job-thing is slowing, but surely, picking up a bit of momentum I'm curious what you all think of the site. What are some of it's strengths? weaknesses? What vibe does it portray? What are your thoughts of my rates/products offered?

Thanks guys for checkin' it out:

http://photography.ryankristjanson.com

p.s. ever since I've gotten flashes and used them off-camera, I feel the images I deliver definitely have gone up a step, which I think is good in the super-super-saturated market that I'm in, being a little college town where dozens offer next-to-nothing rates with equivalent quality. Not saying I deliver top-of-the-line images or anything -- just trying to pay for the hobby here and there, & I feel I can do a good job for the price.

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Canon EOS 5D II + PowerShot G12
Samyang 14 f/2.8 + Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 + Samyang 35 f/1.4 + Sigma 70-200 f/2.8
Yungnuo YN560 + YN560ii (x2) + Cactus V4

WISHLIST: 300 f/2.8
FORMER: Canon 5D + 40D + 450D + 18-55mm + 28-135mm + 50 f/1.4 + 100 f/2.0


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:09 am 
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I can't tell if the site is supposed to work this way, but when I click on "Portfolio" at the top, there's no photo shown by default. When I then click on a category, such as "Wedding", a strip of thumbnails appears, but again no photo. So it takes three clicks to get to a photo. There should be a photo showing as soon as the user clicks Portfolio. Perhaps there could be a default image for each section for when the user switches to that section, and a default section for when the user first clicks Portfolio. But I think there should always be an image showing.

Also, in the Contact section, in my opinion it's probably better for you to just put your (obfuscated) email, rather than making the user fill out a form.

Otherwise, very well done. And very nice photos.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:20 am 
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Location: St. John's, NL, Canada
I like the layout of the website and the color scheme. Very elegant. I have a suggestion on the portfolio. The arrows to scroll along the thumbnails is too slow for me. I recommend that you have two or three rows of thumbnails and do away with the scrolling all together. People will get annoyed with this.

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Nikon D200
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:23 am 
Very ellegant & nice,but a bit too slow for my taste. You still some work to put into it,I would modify the Contact urgently for starters.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:21 pm 
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Location: Surrey, UK
The website is very good and professional in my opinion. It did seem a bit slow but my Internet is not very good (still waiting for them to upgrade our local exchange) so it is probably mostly me. :D

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Camera: Canon 550D with battery grip
Lenses: Canon 24-105mm f/4L, Canon 50mm f1.4, Canon 18-55mm, Tamron 70-300mm,
Accessories: Manfrotto 055XPROB with 808RC4 head, Canon 430ex II speedlite, Lowepro Nova 180AW and Lowepro Pro Runner 450AW


Oh that is so lame, every hot girl who can aim a camera thinks she’s a photographer -Stewie Griffin


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:51 pm 
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Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
Thanks guys for the feedback so far. Looks like I have some changes to make. To speed things up, I might compress the JPEGs a tad more without losing image quality.

And I'm still trying to think of the best solution for the portfolio. Add a default image shouldn't be too difficult, thanks for that tip. But reason why I have it go to the selection page is for analytical purposes -- to find out which category is sought out first, second, etc. ... I'll have to brainstorm a solution there.

Any thoughts on the rates/packages offered? Steep? Steal? Other features/services you've noticed that are good, but not one I got going?

Thanks

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MrKman | website
Canon EOS 5D II + PowerShot G12
Samyang 14 f/2.8 + Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 + Samyang 35 f/1.4 + Sigma 70-200 f/2.8
Yungnuo YN560 + YN560ii (x2) + Cactus V4

WISHLIST: 300 f/2.8
FORMER: Canon 5D + 40D + 450D + 18-55mm + 28-135mm + 50 f/1.4 + 100 f/2.0


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 12:07 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:52 am
Posts: 861
Location: Surrey, UK
I don't think I can really comment on yours prices as it depends on your area. In the sunny county of Surrey the footballers wives will pay a lot more and as a result my prices start from £150 and go right up to £300! :D

I would look at all the photographers in your area and their prices. Make your prices competitive but not too cheap otherwise people will think you are desperate for sales.

Also remember there are two ways of selling your products. You can charge a really low cost for the service and then high prices for prints and digital copies. Another way is to charge an upfront cost that includes a variety of prints and digital copies. This seems to be what you and I have done as it is the easiest way to guarantee money from a sale.

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Camera: Canon 550D with battery grip
Lenses: Canon 24-105mm f/4L, Canon 50mm f1.4, Canon 18-55mm, Tamron 70-300mm,
Accessories: Manfrotto 055XPROB with 808RC4 head, Canon 430ex II speedlite, Lowepro Nova 180AW and Lowepro Pro Runner 450AW


Oh that is so lame, every hot girl who can aim a camera thinks she’s a photographer -Stewie Griffin


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 8:58 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 29, 2010 11:27 pm
Posts: 773
Location: Toronto, Canada
I love the 'Ryan' logo - very creative!

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:30 am 
This is a very impressive site, and being hand built by a photographer makes it exponentially more impressive. Right now the site is very clean and professional, I doubt the average viewer would have any complaints. But that being said I think there are a few items that need attention.

1 Whats with the subdomain? ... http://photography.ryankristjanson.com is a long domain to send viewer too for a homepage. I notice that just www.ryankristjanson.com redirects you to http://photography.ryankristjanson.com In the future I would post this as my website as well as using it on business cards and email signatures etc.

2 Nav bar at the top of the page has the current page tab white as well as what ever you mouse over white as well with the default clickable tab being a very, very light grey. The problem here is the separation in tone is very small I have to look very closely to see which tab I am currently on. Make the default tabs darker.

3 Ditch the footnote on your about page. This might be more of a personal preference but I feel that you could mention Rexburg and surrounding areas in your page.

4 As others have said make the portfolio tab default to a specific gallery and automatically display an image. As to which gallery don't do the most popular but choose the one which you want to shoot most of but don't choose Fine Art, Land & Sky or Creatures as they probably aren't your largest source of income (thats not to say they are bad pictures). Also consider narrowing down the amount of galleries you have up, as it is now I would imagine most viewers would be too impatient to view all 9 galleries. Great images by the way, I'd hire you.

5 Pricing: dollars and cents wise you're under charging, maybe you could mention "student pricing available" being that you're in a college town if you want to tap into the low end market but if people are going for cheap they can find it anywhere. You want people to chose you because of your images not your price. I used to live in Utah so I can imagine the market is somewhat similar. If its weddings you want you're in a great place for it, the only problem is people don't want to pay much. I think its safe to say you can raise your prices. I'd say start at 500 and go up as you have from there. Moving onto that actual pricing page I don't like the (~100) thing you have going on, upon first viewing I thought you were referring to cost of each event. I eventually realized it was the approximate amount of images to be shot. Take it out, show the total images to be shot for each package.

6 Contact: I agree with the others here, email address is preferable.

7 Speed: I noticed no problems here, my internet is relatively fast for the US though 25/5Mbps, even in the galleries the images all load fast. Who are you hosting with? This may be related to my distance from you being much closer then most of the forum members. If this the case that is fine because you're target market will be viewing your site in predominately Idaho.

8 Image file size: If you are a user of photoshop you can try file>save for web and devices this produces drastically smaller files sizes and be sure that your images are being converted into sRGB.


Question, what are the benefits of showing the last update/version # of your site? This is something I have considered doing myself.

p.s. this is post 1000 :D

p.p.s Congrats on the baby!


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:57 pm
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Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
Tomis, thanks for the thorough feedback!

1. Couple reasons why I had a subdomain were because for my class I already purchased ryankristjanson.com, but I wanted a url that involved photography. Also, so I could have other subdomains in the future for other freelance work (Analytics, Excel, Access consulting or something -- def. too busy for that right now, but wanted my options in the future) ... basically, it's what I got for now.

2. I have plans to update the color (well, grey) scheme with darker greys. Added to ToDo list

3. Fixed, thanks

4. I now have it that the portfolios open with the first image in the list of thumbnails, should be easy to update as I add images to the portfolio.

5. Took out the (~100) stuff I had goin' on there -- yeah, too much information. Bottom of table has approx number of images. And I bumped up the base starting price to $400 for now. Perhaps that'll persuade shoppers to go with the larger packages.

6. The contact form was originally for the class as well, one of the final features/projects. I thought it was cool, and was surprised to hear the semi-negative feedback about it. Just curious, what is so bad about it? Not user friendly? Too controlling? Not inviting?
(I thought it was cool because the PHP code sent emails to me with custom subjects so I could easily detect they were potential photo gigs... meh)

7. Yeah, not too worried about speed. And students are the target audience, and so many of them spend time on campus, which has killer speed. ... Still, conscientious of images sizes. Slideshow on home page has 900x600 JPEGs compressed at 11/12 per Photoshop -- not compressed enough?

last updated version was some PHP code for an assignment as well. Probably mostly for the instructor to know which students were completely tasks on time or late, hehe. I don't find it distracting. Or is it?



p.s. YES, the baby is born; will have to post images latter. Mom and baby are healthy and well.

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MrKman | website
Canon EOS 5D II + PowerShot G12
Samyang 14 f/2.8 + Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 + Samyang 35 f/1.4 + Sigma 70-200 f/2.8
Yungnuo YN560 + YN560ii (x2) + Cactus V4

WISHLIST: 300 f/2.8
FORMER: Canon 5D + 40D + 450D + 18-55mm + 28-135mm + 50 f/1.4 + 100 f/2.0


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:24 am 
Contact forms can be nice if you need specific information from clients but as photographers we don't need anything beyond the ordinary. I think its just easier to send an email. That way I know whether or not it was sent correctly and it allows me to save as a draft and come back later. Maybe you could have both your email/phone and a contact form?

As for file size, there is a very big difference between just and ordinary file>save as and choosing jpeg and 11/12 quality and the file>"save for web and devices" option. Try it, you'll see that for the same resolution the file size is nearly half.

Congratulations on the baby! Is it a boy or girl?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 3:38 am 
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Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
Updated the contact form so it shows the email address & phone. Already got a contact since changing it a couple days ago -- whoa.

And Tomis, thanks a TON for the "save-for-web" tip -- applied to nearly all images on the site. Recorded an Action and automated the batches to speed things up. Yes, all image sizes were cut by 40-50%. That should definitely help with download times.

p.s. We had a baby boy. Still needing to find a moment to take some portraits (apart from some hospital shots that I took).

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MrKman | website
Canon EOS 5D II + PowerShot G12
Samyang 14 f/2.8 + Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 + Samyang 35 f/1.4 + Sigma 70-200 f/2.8
Yungnuo YN560 + YN560ii (x2) + Cactus V4

WISHLIST: 300 f/2.8
FORMER: Canon 5D + 40D + 450D + 18-55mm + 28-135mm + 50 f/1.4 + 100 f/2.0


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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 11:52 am 
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Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
I was on a two-week business trip a little while back. And during the weekend there, stranded in the hotel, I hashed out some new code for the site. I graduated from college and moved back home to Atlanta, GA. So I'm trying to 're-market' myself.

I moved the navigation to the left, vertically oriented. Plus the navigation contains links to almost all the pages on the site now, so fewer clicks for the user to go where he wants. I was attempting to make the overall layout more horizontal so it could fit within most monitors without needing to scroll down.

I've troubleshooted the site on various browsers and OS. And, frankly, I can't say that the site is "bullet proof" -- man, I hate Internet Explorer. Chrome renders the page the best, especially with the CSS webkit scroll bars.

Not sure if any of you recall the previous formatting, but what do you think of the new look-n-feel?

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MrKman | website
Canon EOS 5D II + PowerShot G12
Samyang 14 f/2.8 + Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 + Samyang 35 f/1.4 + Sigma 70-200 f/2.8
Yungnuo YN560 + YN560ii (x2) + Cactus V4

WISHLIST: 300 f/2.8
FORMER: Canon 5D + 40D + 450D + 18-55mm + 28-135mm + 50 f/1.4 + 100 f/2.0


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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 12:18 pm 
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Location: NW England
Your header `Photography by Ryan Kristjanson`seems a little large & impinges/covers the text on the sub-pages.

Site loads quickly, is easy to navigate & has a clean, uncluttered look to it. 8)

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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 12:21 pm 
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Thanks! What internet browser are you using?

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MrKman | website
Canon EOS 5D II + PowerShot G12
Samyang 14 f/2.8 + Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 + Samyang 35 f/1.4 + Sigma 70-200 f/2.8
Yungnuo YN560 + YN560ii (x2) + Cactus V4

WISHLIST: 300 f/2.8
FORMER: Canon 5D + 40D + 450D + 18-55mm + 28-135mm + 50 f/1.4 + 100 f/2.0


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