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  1. #1
    sly
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    What should it cost to set up a web-page?

    My New Year's resolution this year was to get a web page set up for my photogrgaphy. Due to my high frustration level with a computer, I knew I'd need help. Talked to a friend who does this kind of stuff, and he gave me an estimated cost to get set up. Last week he told me it's been more work than he'd anticipated, has cost 70% more, so far, and it's not done yet. It's still not set up in a user friendly way for me to upload, edit and move photos around; it's not set up for paypal; and the slideshow I'd wanted to have as part of it is not yet incorporated. This is the first time he's mentioned that the cost was getting significantly more than he'd quoted.

    What would be a reasonable cost to get a photo web site set up? I want to be able to show my work, in a number of categories (ie - portraits, landscape, alt prints.... with a more info tab for inforamtion about film used , printing method or whatever for those who are intereseted); be able to sell prints through paypal; have people be able to contact me through the site for commisions; and be able to add, delete and move prints around myself, without having to be frustated and annoyed every time I attempt to do anything, or having to pay someone to do it for me every time.

    I'm thinking I should tell him to stop working on it, dicker the price down, and live with it until I can take a course or something so I can figure out how to work with what's done so far and expand it to closer to what I'd envisioned.
    Last edited by sly; 07-06-2010 at 03:36 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2

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    I'm afraid you've hit the classic 'What is a reasonable cost for a table?' or 'what is a reasonable cost for a car'

    Well, sticking with the car motif, you can get a second hand car for a few hundred dollars and it will work fine as a car. You can get a website for a few hundred dollars and it will work fine as a website

    If you want a shiny new car with basic functionality, you are talking a thousand dollars. If you want a photography website with more than just a template look and feel youre talking about a thousand dollars.

    If you want something with a few frills, then you're talking a few thousand dollars. Same for that website - you see where I'm going..

    If you want a typical professional car that is very reliable and look nice, you're probably talking $8-10k ... ditto website

    If you want a car that is going to wow people and will draw heads, 10-20k. This will have lots of gizmos and doodahs..

    You can pay 20-30k for a website and it will have been hand designed with lots of consultation with you and have integration with your digital asset management system etc..

    Some people have a friend who can take a second hand car and pimp it up to make it look like the 20-30k car for 8-10k..

    Some people think you can buy a second hand car and throw a few hundred dollars at it to get the same - they might even manage it, but it's unlikely..

    Tim

  3. #3
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    Prices will vary depending on complexity of the site's structure and what your final requirements are.

    I remember wishing to update my site and *not* wanting to spend a fortune, and finally settled upon a "template" site that I can change myself. It is fully independent of any other website (SmugMug etc) and meets my needs exactly. I did ask for some changes, which I was charged for, however they were reasonable expenses and the resulting site does everything I need it to.

    I'm not sure how much your estimate started at, but I would expect that 70% more at this stage, without being able to update yourself, *not* having PayPal integrated and no slideshow working, means the designer has 1) grossly underestimated the time and features required, 2) has no idea of how to build a "Portfolio" site for a photographer 3) wants to make as much money as possible or 4) all of the above.

    Yes, good website design does take time, however I would expect that somebody "who does this kind of stuff" would be able to estimate from my requirements much, much closer than suddenly being 70% over(!?) - photographer's estimates usually stipulate +/- 10% difference maximum.

    Personally, I'd be pulling the plug now. 70% over estimate leads me to believe this person has no idea about what they are doing, and there's no guarantee that it isn't going to blow out by another 70%.

  4. #4

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    This really is a question without a right answer. Fundamentally it depends how idiosyncratic your needs are (therefore how much original thought/coding etc) and how much work you are able and prepared to do yourself.

    For me the answer was £400 (c $600 US) to have www.photography001.com developed and put up with my chosen webhost. But

    I did all the work on images myself. All the designer had to do was load them. I think most people who cared what their photography looks like online would want to do that.

    I had no e-commerce aspect at all, though I think a lot of the freeware/shareware that web designers use has this built in so it could be a nil cost extra.

    The basic creative concept-backgrounds, colours, was adapted from a previous site not started from scratch. That does get the cost and input levels down because you don't need to have a stage of briefing designers, and having them come up with several (usually) creative interpretations of your brief. If its been hard to settle on a "look" then this is an area where website development costs can run up quite quickly if ( for example) the designer based his estimate on putting up 4 ideas one of which gets chosen, but ends up producing lots more candidates and variants before the client is happy.

    In addition to scanning and image prep. there was a significant workload on me during the development phase. You can write the best brief in the world yet are still a myriad things to sort out on the hoof that your designer will want you to approve or decide between alternative treatments.

    Finally do make sure that the site is designed so it can be updated by you in terms of adding new images, new portfolios and so on. Otherwise it will be one of the myriad websites conceived as dynamic but which never actually changes and eventually dies of boredom.

  5. #5
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    For a photographer's website, being able to upload, edit, and annotate images without the aid of a "web master" is a key requirement. There is also a need to add and edit statements, perhaps a bit of blogging as well. For this, there are several web frameworks available that should be relatively inexpensive to customise. I've been playing around with Django and found it quite capable for my needs.

    Someone with experience of Django should be able to have a basic website up and running in less than an hour. Customising the look & feel would be two or three hours (a day at most).

    If you also want some eBusiness built in to sell images, that could get expensive..

  6. #6

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    I agree with Nanette, that 70% over budget is a little much, and your developer really doesn't understand what's needed, though you might also be dealing with licensing costs of additional software, depending on what he's using.
    I did a simple one page thing for a local ski club for a couple hundred, OTH the designer that did VCP's site (www.vcphoto.org) charged around 2K, and I know since I now maintain it, that it has quite a lot of work in it.

  7. #7
    Marco B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sly View Post
    I'm thinking I should tell him to stop working on it, dicker the price down, and live with it until I can take a course or something so I can figure out how to work with what's done so far and expand it to closer to what I'd envisioned.
    Believe me, you DON'T want to get into programming or doing webpage design yourself, unless you have had previous (work) related experience in IT.

    It will not be worth it, nor in the time you need to invest to even learn the basics, nor in money. In addition, some people never learn software development and programming at any useful level, their brain just isn't wired for the kind of super dry coding of if/then/else logic. I have seen it...

    That said, if you do want to have some control of the site, I think there are companies providing services targeted at photographers that allow you to control a website or its contents yourself, much like a blog. Don't know any from the top of my head, but some others might be able to point you in the right direction.
    Last edited by Marco B; 07-06-2010 at 10:39 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    My website

    "The nineteenth century began by believing that what was reasonable was true, and it wound up by believing that what it saw a photograph of, was true." - William M. Ivins Jr.

    "I don't know, maybe we should disinvent color, and we could just shoot Black & White." - David Burnett in 1978

    "Analog is chemistry + physics, digital is physics + math, which ones did you like most?"

  8. #8

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    If your friend has gone that much over budget it means he doesn't know what he is doing unless you have been changing the spec significantly as he has been working on it.

    Designing a photography website has been done to death over the years and there are thousands of off the shelf solutions to be had for very reasonable prices of only a few hundred dollars. But if you don't want to worry about organising your own hosting then I would recommend the following who will have you a site up and running in no time at very good prices.

    http://www.clikpic.com/index.cfm?section=prices

  9. #9
    winger's Avatar
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    I did my site using iWeb from Apple. It's not perfect, but it was easy. There's also jalbum for a add your own and customize it type site (it has more capabilities than iWeb).
    If someone else does it, I could see $500-$2000 depending on the details. I agree that being off by 70% is a sign that your friend didn't really know what he was getting into.
    IMO, it's better to use a ready-made program where you can drag and drop your photos in rather than doing a full reinvent the wheel site unless you're in IT and like to sit and fiddle with it a lot.

  10. #10
    Andrew Horodysky's Avatar
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    Hello Sly,

    You've posted a very good topic (and concern) for today's presentation options. The above posts all contain very good comments and suggestions. In terms of pricing, I'm afraid there's no concrete answer. Interactive designers and developers charge "all over the board".

    Be advised, that the "democratization" of the personal computer, and availability of graphics applications/programs, has creating a "designer" and "expert" out of anyone who can turn on a computer. There are a lot of people out there who call themselves designers, but have no formal training in the discipline. I have a masters degree from Pratt Institute (New York) in Communications Design -- specializing in corporate identity and print design. Although I do understand the vernacular and architecture behind "good" and appropriate web applications, I do not, the least bit, tell anyone that I can cobble together a site. It's not my specialty. And, it's not just about aesthetics; you have to also have a very good grasp of user experience and interface design (regardless of how simple the site or single page).

    Getting back to your original post request, a photographer's site doesn't have to be outlandlishly expensive. Should you have an idea of what you want a site to do for you, a good web designer/developer would be able to give you a few options and price estimates (start to delivery -- not counting web server hosting). He or she should be a collaborator, and be able to interpret your needs, coupled with giving you suggestions for improvement (look and feel, as well as user experience). No matter how simple the site, it's a process; one that needs to be planned out from start to finish. You should never be presented with unforeseen price changes in the middle of a job/project; those estimates are decided and agreed upon prior to start (regardless if it's $50 or $5,000). Look at other photographers' web sites, and see what you like or don't like about them; what works and what doesn't. Look though some design books in he books stores, as well, to see what's new "out there".

    One option (and not expensive) is to build a site within a larger photographers'/artist's site. I can't think of any, off hand, but recall seeing some very good ones. Maybe other members from this forum can make some recommendations. This forum's portfolio section is a great place to start. You can subsequently place a link to an additional, larger site.

    Another option/consideration, for you, is to solicit a graduate student in one of the art programs/schools in Vancouver to assist you in this project. Most at that level are learning industry best practices in their respective programs, and are usually open to working on real projects, rather than solely fulfilling experimental investigations for advanced classes/seminars.

    Hope this helps. Happy hunting.

    Andrew
    Last edited by Andrew Horodysky; 07-06-2010 at 09:07 AM. Click to view previous post history.

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