There are some excellent photographer websites out there, but the vast majority of them fall short in demonstrating their owner’s best work.
My biggest complaint is the use of Flash. Although Flash is great for showing motion and other effects on the web, it is not a good medium for showing photographs.
First, there is the temptation to take advantage of all those wipes, smears, pop-ups, “Burns Effects” and reveals that Flash has to offer. It might be cool for some disciplines, but in photography, I think these effects are vastly overused.
Try to imagine looking through a picture book, but before you turn every page you have to turn the book over upside down, flip it up in the air, blink three times and only then you can see the next page. That’s Flash.
It’s the same for a photojournalist or fine art photographer; the sequencing of your photographs is of utmost importance. You want your audience to view each image in a series or sequence to tell your “story” and there should be little distraction as you go from one photo to the next.
Effects Aren’t Special
Since most photographers are not Flash programmers, they buy or subscribe to these generic sites online and then customize them to suit their needs. The result is an endless assortment of bells, whistles and special effects designed to appeal to a very broad audience.
They may look slick, but you must ask yourself how this works for your prospective customers. Is this how you want them to see your work?
Some photographers may have friends who are programmers, or even have the funds to hire one. This is a far better solution, but there is still the temptation for a programmer to try to impress his friend/client by utilizing all the effects outlined above.
When designing a website to show your work, the best approach is to view the site through the eyes of your audience from the start.
So how does one do this? I will share some ideas in tomorrow’s post.