I gotta say that for me the biggest turnoff to a web site is when I see Java applets or Flash on the _main_ page. Those technologies can be really useful to create on-line apps and cool demos (not to mention stupid cartoons), but they must NEVER be shoved down the user's throat. Especially with a photo site, it's even worse because you start adding up Flash+Hi-rez photos and even on broadband it's a PITA.
For me, an all-Flash site is always synonymous with a plasticky, bubble-gum disposable site--movie sites, for e.g.
I suggest you get a good CSS design (one that is tweaked enough to work in ALL the browsers, not just IE), and XHTML for lightweight markup.
And lastly, don't overuse tables and buttons. There is enough flexibility in XHTML markup to avoid doing horrors like TV channels sites.
A good source of sexy, lightweight, standards-compliant Web coding help is http://www.alistapart.com/