What makes a GREAT photographers website?

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by bmac, Jun 8, 2003.

  1. bmac

    bmac Member

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    What makes a great photographers website? We already know what makes APUG such a great site, but what about sites for specific photographers? I am in the process of redesigning and rebranding my site, and I thought I would pick some APUGGIE brains. While searching photographer sites through Yahoo! And Google, all I have found is poorly designed sites, that have either no information, or too much information (for the general public). I’m also interested in hearing about if feel photographer sites are more for promotion, or for selling prints. I’d like my new site to do both. Is anyone having any luck selling prints online?
     
  2. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I'm going thru the same process myself. I've looked at a lot of photographers websites and I sure know what I don't like. But then again it's not so much what I like but what the "buying" public likes. Or at least motivates them to purchase. I would check out how some of the bigger and successful ad agencies promote themselves on the net as well as some of the more commercial photographers out there. Not just the "fine art" types. There is a reason the artistic types are always starving, they don't know how to market themselves.
     
  3. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    This is a very good question and certainly pertinant.

    I have spent some time observing other photographers web sites. The self promotion/marketing that this medium seems best suited for is apparently not well understood by those developing these sites. Things that immediately turn me off are sites that are slow loading. Those that are difficult to navigate come next on my pet peeve list. This is closely followed by images that are not well scanned and are unfaithful to the actual image. I would find myself reluctant to purchase a product from a photographer's site who was relatively or totally unknown to me unless some assurance of security and satisfaction were afforded.

    I wonder how effective selling prints is via the internet. I think that a site probably serves an advertising role first and foremost. How many potential purchasers of photographic art will take the time to search out a site from the hundreds already in existence? How many will be compelled to pull out the Visa and commit to buying a digital representation of a physical object?

    Kim Weston seems to have discovered a niche by doing the print of the month.This is an 8X10 contact print for a greatly reduced price. He must have learned this from his grandfather. Probably the Weston name does not hurt his acceptance. The price has something more to do with it. As I think about it, the cost of the print probably gives him an effective means of advertising that costs him virtually nothing and in fact may afford a small profit. This does force the photographer to continue to produce new work and that is not a bad thing.

    George Provost has taken to marketing contact prints (Azo and conventional silver) via Ebay. The selling price is normally much less then $100.00 and that means a mounted and matted print. Certainly not a get rich quick scheme. But still it gets some prints out among the public. Again a long slow road to public awareness and acceptance. Certainly reminiscent of the early days of Ansel and Edward W.

    As a further consideration, while we are speaking of marketing our efforts. I spoke with Michael Smith about his and wife Paula's two page ad in the Black and White magazine (American). If I remember correctly this is a commitment of about $2000 per issue. I asked him if he felt that the expense were justified and he replied that he had sold a print to a collector that finally took him as serious when he saw his ad consistantly running in the magazine for a year. That in his experience the commitment required, for those who wish to succeed, is immense.

    Well enough of my rambling. I look forward to hearing the view points of others. Perhaps Aggie will weigh in since I understand that Per Volquartz was going to cover marketing at the North Coast Workshop. By the way, I think that Per's website and the images found there is among the best that I have seen.
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Quang-Tuan Luong did a survey about who is actually selling prints on the net a while back. I forget whether it is on largeformatphotography.info or on the LF forum, currently at photo.net.

    My photo site is intentionally short on information. I just put it up so that people who are curious about my photo work can see what I do. If they are interested in buying prints or something else, they can email me.
     
  5. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  6. juan

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    I've tried adding a blog to my site - writing well researched but intentionally infammatory political posts - and getting links from sites such as Instapundit.com. It led to thousands of hits - but only for the one article. Very few folks drifted off to look at the photographs. Perhaps not a good target market.
     
  7. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    From posts on other discussion groups I have come to the conclusion that selling prints on the web is very difficult. Having that option as part of an overall site for your regular photography business is the best way to go. One site that you may want to look at is Dave Beckerman Black and White photography. He sells prints of NY on the net but attributes his success to being the number one or two site always on a google search of Black and White photography. I think he states in his journals somewhere it is because he just has a huge number of link backs to his site. it really is not a very well organized site but he sells. He also always has something up on Ebay which allows viewers of his work there to link back to his site.

    I have seen articles in some mags such as PDN, Popular photography and Shutterbug that have talked to well known photographers who have said there results selling on the web have been pretty dismal.
     
  8. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  9. Aggie

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  10. mvjim

    mvjim Member

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    ".......I think he states in his journals somewhere it is because he just has a huge number of link backs to his site....... " We have four different sites up at the moment and I can tell you that this is most important. Search engines often find you through outside links. Much of Aggies advice is on the money but one thing that is missing is to have patience (it takes sometimes months for a search engine to begin to list your site in their top 100 let alone their top ten). There are services that (for a price) will submitt your site to any number of search engines (the # depends on how much you are willing to spend), but these can be a short cut to getting listed and some of them will assist you in setting your titles, meta tags, etc. to get listed in the areas you believe your market exist. As for your basic web site design - as an old PR person once told me when I was running a membership campaign for a not-for-profit and attempting to design a campaign mailing ".....Jim, if you could be there to lick the stamp for them, you would. So make it as easy as you can for them to respond."