Photojournalist Lynn Johnson’s Website Redesign

Last week photojournalist and National Geographic contract photographer’s new website was launched. Squarespace was the platform I used to give we online portfolio and presence a complete refresh.

The standard for most photographers in the 1990s and early-to-mid-2000s was to build a website using Flash. I remember LiveBooks being super popular along with BigFolio and a few others. Most photography website companies back then offered Flash-based templates. Oh, how presentation and marketing has changed!

Lynn’s former website served her well and she felt it was time to finally update. So when she engaged me to redesign her website I was excited and of course extremely flattered.

Research

Every website I work on starts with research. I have loads of questions so we discussed a lot of options: budget, structure, content, marketing and maintenance; all of which overlap and how I determine the best solution. Time is precious and she wasn’t keen on spending a lot of it updating software, plugins, backing up her site, security, etc. Naturally she wanted to focus on people and stories — her passion.

Note: Of course there are ways to automate backup, security, etc. but those require additional and typically on-going costs.

//fast.wistia.net/embed/iframe/4ykvmww5w5?wmode=opaque

Squarespace

Squarespace was the best option and after several rounds and tests of the various templates they offer, we moved forward with the Fulton template. CSS was used to tweak the template. 

Template Limitations

We ran into a few frustrations or “not crazy about” aspects of working with a template but both of us did our best to come to terms with those limitations. Designing websites can be a tremendous challenge because it is often about working with constraints. There is always the dream scenario but in most cases, that is not an option. Still, the best part of the job is figuring out creative ways to get around constraints.

The one section where I had to compromise was the “Library”. It contains an archive of selected stories that she has published over the years. It is quite a body of work and I wanted to give it the real estate it deserved.

I started in one direction but realized I was making it too complicated for her to do on her own. Working around the built-in functions to present the content differently would require too many steps. So, the best option was to stick with a baked-in format. It’s a bummer that we’ve already had some feedback that the Library section is confusing so it’s my hope to revisit after we do some training, review the analytics and do some training. Perhaps it won’t be too complicated (crossing fingers).

Dream Client

Working with Lynn was incredibly satisfying and flat-out fun. She placed a great deal of trust in me and that felt great. It was a true collaboration; my favorite type of relationship.

Congratulations Lynn!

Multimedia Photojournalist Janet Jarman’s Website Redesign

Presenting my collaboration with Janet Jarman, Kati McCoy and Alex Kendrick on the redesign of JanetJarman.com

I’m excited to present Janet Jarman’s new website!

She announced the launch last week but I’ve been so busy with another website project and finishing up the details of my personal branding and marketing course that I just haven’t had the time! It’s all good stuff of course 😉

//fast.wistia.net/embed/iframe/etc1k1avir?wmode=opaque

Janet, her assistant Kati, our developer Alex and I worked on the redesign for nearly two years. Gasp if you will but Janet has been pretty damn busy working which naturally shifted her focus to making pictures; something she cannot afford to not do! It was a bit like ships passing in the night but we finally made it happen and I’m excited for her and proud of what we were able to accomplish.

Reception to her site has been positive — yay!

Content Relationships

A website redesign of course is not without its challenges. In terms of design and development, Alex and I had to figure out a way to present her video and still photography in a way that met her requirements: one type of media format needs to takes priority over another but there could be a situation where only one type of content was published.

Meaning: If say a video for a story was the featured format type but she had a still photo gallery version of the same story, she wanted the video to be presented first and the still gallery presented second. It could also be reversed or there could be only a video or only a still gallery.

HonestlyI was super confused at first because when I hear the term “related content” I immediate think “related stories or articles”; content that could be related in terms of topic but not the same story in a different format. You know, like “Other Stories You May Like”.

Our language while the same meant different things! So it took awhile to hash it out since we were working primarily via email and Basecamp. Alex is based in the Midwest, Janet in Mexico and I’m in Syracuse!

But, because the content also drives the direction of development — a reason why development or developers should be involved in the project as soon as it begins — it was critical to reach an understanding. I was trying to avoid was the possibility of a major CMS implementation nightmare.

We eventually created 4 different templates which I believe works but it was an intense point of discussion since the actual presentation of secondary content was purposefully designed not to be consistent.

Mobile

Janet’s new website is fully responsive thanks to Alex’s mad skills. Mobile use surpassed desktop last year and it will continue in that direction so building a responsive website was one of the most important requirements. Her previous Flash-based website wouldn’t even show up. A mobile-friendly website imho is a non-negotiable for website owners.

Photoshelter

We used a BEAM template to create the archives section of her website and we had a few limitations. 

  1. The URL for the logo cannot be modified to be linked to an external web page
  2. Templates have a lot of customization limitations.

The first kinda drives me bonkers. The second I can live with. In the end it was a decision based on priority. We went with mobile-friendly over customization. So, it isn’t an ideal set-up but as always you gotta work within constraints and I personally do not feel that every section of a website or web page these days needs to be feel like an exact match.

What I Love Most

Perhaps it is bad form to share what I love about my own design but I feel like I gotta say how glad I am that it has some warmth and texture. It feels approachable just like Janet.

Web Design: I Made This for Us

I Made This for Us was a website birthday present from independent radio reporter Mara Zepeda to photojournalist Amanda Lucier — two close friends separated by distance..

I was thrilled and flattered to be asked to help with the design.

I Made This for Us was a website birthday present from independent radio reporter Mara Zepeda to photojournalist Amanda Lucier — two close friends separated by distance..

I was thrilled and flattered to be asked to help with the design.

heck out their first post for the week. The pairing of image with audio is quite beautiful and touching.

Thank you Mara and Amanda. I look forward to your continued conversation.

Squarespace website design for photographer Amanda Lucier and radio reporter Mara Zepeda. 

7 Website Design Considerations for Photographers in 2013

A new year, another chance to evaluate your marketing mothership.

What are some of the most important web design considerations for photographers?

I get asked this question in various forms because heck, imagine hiring a web designer and ending up with a website that sucks or has nothing to do with your big plans for the new year!

Here are 7 important website design considerations for 2013 to help you make the most of your marketing investment for the long term.

A new year, another chance to evaluate your marketing mothership.

What are some of the most important web design considerations for photographers?

I get asked this question in various forms because heck, imagine hiring a web designer and ending up with a website that sucks or has nothing to do with your big plans for the new year!

Here are 7 important website design considerations for 2013 to help you make the most of your marketing investment for the long term.

1. Focus on Mobile

Seriously. If your site isn’t at least responsive (mobile-friendly), ya better get on it.

Photo by Elmastudio
Photo by Elmastudio

It is and will be worth every penny to invest time and cash to get your awesome content to display beautifully on mobile devices.

I cannot tell you enough how important it is to have a mobile-friendly web site.

Why 2013 is the Year of Responsive Web Design” by Pete Cashmore

What does the term responsive web design mean?

A website that responds to the device that accesses it and delivers the appropriate output for it uses responsive design. Rather than designing multiple sites for different-sized devices, this approach designs one site but specifies how it should appear on varied devices.

Source: Standford University IT Terminology

Basically, your website would adjust to various screen sizes at “break points” so you don’t have to create a million different sites for a million different devices. The industry-standard practice for accomplishing this is to use “media queries”.

Believe me, it is way more cost effective than developing a native app. A responsive website is also better than a website template that merely serves another stripped down template to show your work on a smartphone or tablet.

Why? There’s more to mobile design than just getting content to show up.

A responsive site (properly coded and thought-out) will:

  • Be respectful of content
  • Be easy to navigate
  • Be respectful of context and offer the best experience
  • Display and maintain your brand
  • Maintain the beauty and seductive visual qualities of your website

Be sure to read

2. Edit to Your Brand & The Gigs You Want

You worked your ass off creating that image. You know, that image you just can’t bear to edit out of your portfolio.

Ask yourself: Are you attached to that image because of what it took to capture that image? Are you attached to that image because of who is in that image? Are you attached to that image because your mom loves it?

Go back to your criteria for what makes a kick ass photo. Show photographs that truly reflect your overall brand story and business goals.

Hire a picture editors like Mike or Jasmine. You know, objective awesome people who will give you honest and helpful feedback.

Now …

If you want travel assignments, show images that will help get you travel assignments. If you want sports assignments, show images that will appeal to clients who need sports and sports-related photography.

Makes sense, right?

So … what about editing images to themes or emotion rather than literal categories? Risky? Go ahead, take a risk.

But …

If you don’t know who you are or what you want to do or what you value (hello, your brand), editing is going to be tough.

3. Have a few case studies

I tell my students to have a few projects in their portfolio that present their thinking. 

What makes this gold?

Your clients get to know your thought process and view you as a problem solver and not just a technician.

Here’s a working format (below). Take what you want, leave the rest.

  • Name of Project
  • Name of client
  • The challenge
  • The solution
  • The results

Simple.

You could also add publication date, credits, locations, etc. but remember to keep it short. If you want to add more detail, write a blog post and add a link at the bottom of the case study to that blog post.

Set yourself apart. Differentiate yourself from others by sharing how you think or how you approach an assignment, project, photo shoot.

Beauty and brains. Love!

4. Mind Your Page Load Times & More Pictures isn’t Better

Since 2010, Google has taken page load times as a factor when ranking web pages.

So, keep your portfolio images tight and targeted. Super duper quality trumps quantity any day.

I mean, people are busy!

Are there exceptions? Heck yeah.

Wedding photographers. Brides LOVE looking at images of other weddings. Give ‘em what they want but make sure you can live with what you show.

If you have a lot of images, look into getting an Amazon S3 account and using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) like CloudFront or MaxCDN to save some money, have a back-up of your website assets and deliver content faster.

Be sure to read:

5. Seduce Me with Your Copy, Too

Your work will not speak for itself.

There. I said it.

Photo by Pierre Metivier
Photo by Pierre Metivier

Work with a copywriter who understands content strategy, audience, branding to help you write some killer copy, a killer tagline, a killer about page, killer navigation labels, a killer 404 page.

Copy is part of an overall content (brand) strategy that extends beyond your website. If you’ve been copy averse, give copy a second chance. 

Your work kicks ass but so does the work of that other photographer.

What makes you different? Why should anyone hire you over them?

The people who hire you want to connect with a photographer who is a person, who has social proof, who clearly spells out what they offer.

Great copy paired with great photography can entice like no other. 

It’s important to have layered content, content that complements each other, elevates message to clearly communicate your brand and the benefits you offer your clients.

Your about page just isn’t enough.

6. Reduce the Clutter & Be Critical of Features

Present and package your portfolio without complexity and lots of doo-dads.

With every cool feature, ask yourself, why?

Why do you need that music? Why do you that animation? Why include all the social sharing buttons? Why use parallax?

With every piece of content, ask yourself, why? Does it really need to be there? Establish clear hierarchy and prioritize. 

Successful design is knowing when to strip away the excess to communicate clearly, effectively, purposefully.

Focus your message, get clear on your audience and you won’t need the extra accessories.

7. Have a Blog or a Tumblr page

Content, content, content.

If you still don’t buy into the blogging thang, all I can say is that dimension is so much more fascinating.

Share your personality. Share your interests. Share the way you think. Most of all, share content that helps people; that serves people.

With content you will reach your people and win fans and heck, Book Yourself Solid.

I mean hey, even Martin Parr has a blog (which honestly has poor interaction design — sorry Martin!)

A blog helps people connect with you. It’s a lot like those case studies I mentioned way up there. (I really am thrilled you are still reading 🙂

Bonus: Have more than just an online Portfolio

Sure the world has gone digital but if you’re like me you know paper can still be a magical experience.

Photo by Jonas' Design
Photo by Jonas’ Design

I once met a few student photographers who brought only their laptops or iPads to show me their work. They eagerly launched browsers to show their online portfolios.

What happened next?

They weren’t able to connect to the hotel’s wireless connection. Boy, did I feel for them

If you have the opportunity to meet with a client, a picture editor, gallery curator or other very important people in person, a print portfolio can make quite an impression sans internet.

Consider strategically editing your work so you offer a teaser of stupendous images online and more in a printed portfolio. It works in the reverse too!

Imagine your digital portfolio and your print portfolio working harmoniously to your advantage. Both can offer unique but complementary experiences, showcasing your secret sauce.

Check out these supreme photographers who use print and digital exceptionally well.

Got any other tips to pass along? Share them in the comments below!

You may want to check out an oldie but goodie, “9 Things to Consider When Planning Your Website

Danger Will Robinson! It’s Your Flash-Based Website!

​Last month Adobe announced that it will no longer support Flash for mobile.

The interwebs were quick to announce that Flash is Dead. Heck, it makes a great headline.

I’m waiting to see what happens but I do lean toward this camp.

But if that doesn’t jive with you maybe this will: Flash isn’t dead but it is moving in a new direction.

So I’m putting up a red flag for all the photographers using a purely Flash-based website or even thinking about buying into a Flash-based template. (My yellow flag? It’s Time to Break Up with Your Flash Website.

Last month Adobe announced that it will no longer support Flash for mobile.

The interwebs were quick to announce that Flash is Dead. Heck, it makes a great headline.

I’m waiting to see what happens but I do lean toward this camp.

But if that doesn’t jive with you maybe this will: Flash isn’t dead but it is moving in a new direction.

So I’m putting up a red flag for all the photographers using a purely Flash-based website or even thinking about buying into a Flash-based template. (My yellow flag? It’s Time to Break Up with Your Flash Website.)

Hello, Mobile is the Future

Let me say that again: Mobile is the future.

Adobe has clearly recognized (as well as most savvy business peeps) that the mobile market is just going to continue to grow.

If anything Adobe laying off 750 people to concentrate their efforts on HTML5 should alert you to where things are headed.

Sure, your flash plug-in may still be working on your desktop but here’s fact: Desktop market share (for browsers) is declining.

Check out this infographic on mobile marketing, too.

Now is the time to ask

Ask your website company what they think about the future of Flash at their company.

How will it impact your website (your business)?

What are their plans to help you deliver content on mobile devices?

Will they make it easy for you to migrate your existing content?

Switch to HTML5, CSS3 & Javascript Soon

I’ve stopped many photographers from buying “quick and easy” Flash website templates because it has always been important to design for the present and the future.

With devices and technology changing so often you want to be ahead.

The photographers who are currently using HTML(5), CSS(3) and javascript as the languages to display and deliver content don’t have much to worry about. They invested in a more long-term solution; a long-term solution that will scale. It’s future-proof.

It’s Good Enough?

Some of you may feel you’re OK because the company you use utilizes a combination of Flash (for desktop) and HTML5 (for mobile).

You maybe in a better position (remember: desktop is declining, mobile is rising.) but the problem I’ve heard (and seen) even with this setup is this: Most of your branding disappears.

Maybe you don’t care. Good enough is good enough.

Compare your non-branded HTML5 iPad experience to an HTML5 iPad experience that is branded.

Consistency IS important. Every time your audience comes in contact with your brand elements such as your logo, color scheme, photographs, it reminds them of you.

Who is your target audience? Will they notice? Do they care?

Sophistication attracts sophistication. Details matter.

Make time and start your research.

Whatever the outcome of Flash, you want to be in a position where you are ready; not scrambling to get a new website up.

The time it will take to migrate content and possibly start from scratch may cost you more.

Time is money.

Are you willing to risk eyeballs and possibly your next lead because your portfolio or website won’t display? Do you have the time to keep track of what Flash is doing or where it is going?

Wouldn’t you rather be making your next best picture?

12 Non-Flash Photographer Websites for Your Inspiration

A few weeks ago, I was asked by fine art photographer Lauren Henkin what websites I like over at the Flak Photo Network.

I have to admit that I’ve been hesitant about creating a list of say, “X Outstanding Photographer Websites” or “My Favorite Photographer Websites”.

A few weeks ago, I was asked by fine art photographer Lauren Henkin what websites I like over at the Flak Photo Network.

I have to admit that I’ve been hesitant about creating a list of say, “X Outstanding Photographer Websites” or “My Favorite Photographer Websites”.

I’m not quite sure I can explain why but here’s a stab:

Maybe because creating a website, especially a custom website can be so complex. Plus, marketing online takes many forms. Some photographers are well established and can afford to “break the rules”; others may have great agents. And one big factor: budgets. The money can have an impact on the features, functionality and the wow factor of any web site.

So before I launch into my list of 12 Non-Flash Photographer Websites I thought you might want to know my methodology:

  • No Flash: I’m not anti-Flash. I just think using Flash to power a website is like adding spinning hub caps to a Pinto or something like that. Really, I’m just all for using Javascript and jquery libraries to bring a bit of life and animation to websites. Using Flash just seems unnecessary to me. That’s just how I roll. For those who love Flash… let’s agree to disagree and you might as well stop reading 🙂
  • Easy to navigate: I’m a stickler for getting through a website easily and without too much thinking. If I can’t get around your website easy peasy, see you later.
  • Clarity of message: Some do it better than others but I think all reflect a strong brand or personality either through consistency of imagery shared, copywriting or both.
  • Diversity: I did try to present a diverse range of websites because not everyone can go to the moon.
  • Perfect doesn’t exist. Or does it? A website to me is always in a state of transition and evolution merely because technology and the tools for marketing change so fast. This isn’t to say there aren’t websites that truly kick ass but perfect? I’m really not sure. It’s easy to criticize work when context is absent. Some of these sites are not optimized for search engines or void of social media but heck, not everyone wants to tweet or be followed. You create, design within constraints and when building, owning a website you can have a lot.
  • No template websites: As far as I know, none of the websites mentioned use templates.
  • None are websites I’ve designed: All of these websites were designed by other talented peeps around the web. So this is as much a shout out for the photographers as it is for the designers. If you want to see work I’ve done for photographers, click here.
  • Not an image critique: In an ideal world, all the content presented is top-notch. As a photographer the goal is to present your very best work. For this purpose, I did not have the time to view every image. Plus, I work with a lot of businesses and photographers and the reality is that not everyone can afford a picture editor or photography consultant so they DIY. I’m approaching this from an overall experience; not focusing on any one thing. If I’ve responded to the images or anything specific, I’ve said so below.
John-Keatley-Advertising-and-Celebrity-Portrait-Photography-website.jpg
John-Keatley-Advertising-and-Celebrity-Portrait-Photography-website.jpg

John Keatley

Seattle Celebrity Portrait Photographer

I could look at John’s portraits all day even though I may not know most of them. Yep, these are famous people I don’t know yet…

His website is such a breath of fresh air. John’s website clearly looks to have been an investment that I’m guessing works well for him. Given his audience and his subjects, it was smart of him to go the distance.

Be sure to resize the browser on the home page. Watch his video bio (brilliant!) and read his blog. Every part of this website tells you something more about his brand, his personality and what it would be like working with him, hiring him or being photographed by him.

Julia-Parris-Photography-website.jpg
Julia-Parris-Photography-website.jpg

Julia Parris

New York Portrait and Editorial Photographer

This is another site that works because of its simplicity. There’s no fuss. Initially I wasn’t too keen on the splash home page but on her site, it works more like a magazine cover because of the layout and the image she chooses to display. Try refreshing the page: each reload brings up a new image.

Jewell-and-Ginnie-storyography-website.jpg
Jewell-and-Ginnie-storyography-website.jpg

Jewell and Ginnie

Charleston and Atlanta “storyorgaphers”

If you create video stories, here’s a website done smart. The site has spunk, down-to-earth personality (yay, copywriting!) and is well-organized. I love how their blog, “Notions” is designed in a different way from their main website but retains the flavor of their company/brand.

Ben-Thomson-Photography-Portfolio-Website.jpg
Ben-Thomson-Photography-Portfolio-Website.jpg

Ben Thompson Photography

Los Angeles Lifestyle Photographer

As a designer, I can appreciate horizontal scrolling websites. It’s a nice twist on the typical vertical experience but as a user, I despise most horizontal websites. Ben’s website is one I can get behind both for its design and usability. Check out either Book 1 or Book 2 and just click anywhere on the image areas to scroll horizontally. If you don’t want to click, use your keyboard to move through them.

Thomas-Senf-Alpine-Photography-website.jpg
Thomas-Senf-Alpine-Photography-website.jpg

Thomas Senf

Outdoor and Alpine Photographer

Now here is a photographer who knows what he loves to do. He doesn’t offer services for every photo category known to man. He specializes. What I really responded to was the organization of his images by theme: Fire, Earth, Water Air.

Most photographs tend to lean blue so his choice of background color really works well with color and black and white photography. It’s a nice departure from the grey, black and white backgrounds of most photographer websites. The titles and captions with each image help give context. I love his bio image.

Greg-Ponchak-photography-website.jpg
Greg-Ponchak-photography-website.jpg

Greg Poncheck

Designer, Photographer, Thinker

Here’s another website that slows, me, down, and yes, makes me think. Sweet touches of animation and I particularly like the navigation from one series to the next.

Mariana-Onate-photography-website.jpg
Mariana-Onate-photography-website.jpg

Mariana Oñate Cisternas Photography

Advertising Photographer

What I love most about Mariana’s website are some of the dramatic colors and bold photography. Add to that the nice touches of animation when moving from one portfolio to the next. Yes, this website scrolls horizontally when you view images but the large pagination arrows make the ability to do so easy peasy.

JJ-Tiziou-Photography-website.jpg
JJ-Tiziou-Photography-website.jpg

Jacque-Jean Tiziou

Philadelphia Picture Taker. Peacemaker.

What I love about JJ’s website is the depth. There’s so much content which is really great for search engines.The copywriting is polished, active and action-oriented.

The site is easy to read, navigate and seriously well organized. This site is an example of how a photographer’s website can be more than just a portfolio experience especially if your audience includes direct sales or services; meaning: you aren’t just looking to be hired by a picture editor or an advertising art director/creative director.

It’s clear he is running a business.

Lornas-Portraits-photographer-website.jpg
Lornas-Portraits-photographer-website.jpg

Lorna Freytag

Bespoke Children and Pet Portrait Photography

Lorna’s website feels like a book. There’s a precious quality to the design that is super consistent with the imagery. At first I wasn’t too sure I liked the splash page but in this case it works. I feel like I entered a magical place full of images that take me to another world.

Be sure to check out her commercial portfolio. It’s also a nice presentation.

Josef-Hoflehner-Photographe-website.jpg
Josef-Hoflehner-Photographe-website.jpg

Josef Hoflehner

Fine Art Photographer

For me, the best part about this website is the Publications section. I love the care and attention to detail that was put into the presentation of his books.

While some people might find his website stark or “too boring” I find the overall experience consistent and complementary to his brand and images. I feel like I could be in a gallery and with this website, I would need to break out the white gloves!

Tiffany-Brown-Photographer-website.jpg
Tiffany-Brown-Photographer-website.jpg

Tiffany Brown

Las Vegas Editorial Photographer

Ok, so some of my favorite peeps were involved in the production of this website and we are friends but I really do think Tiffany’s website was well-executed and every detail well thought out.

What I especially love are the image pairings. It’s rare to see image pairings on a photographer’s website and pairings that work well. I mean, there are some seriously funny ones likethis and really bizarre like this.

There are nice touches of animation on hover when on the main portfolio grid and when viewing a single image, moving from image to image is easy peasy. The image also scales to adjust to the browser window which makes viewing her website easy on a desktop screen or on a laptop. Main navigation labeling is clear and her site seems to be well-optimized for search engines.

Her blog is an absolute delight. It sounds just like her and that’s good because hiring a photographer is more than just digging their photos.

Giles-Revel-Photographer-website.jpg
Giles-Revel-Photographer-website.jpg

Giles Revel

Fine Art and Advertising Photographer

The images here are striking and so is the presentation especially on the home page. The website is pretty simple but the effect is bold. I’m pretty sure seeing Giles’s images in a gallery pales in comparison to the online experience. Check out his insects project.

New Website for Toronto Street Photographer Zun Lee

​Being self-employed has some definite perks.

One of them is meeting and working with super fabulous people. I mean you get to choose who you want to work with. That freedom to choose really makes having to work for a living tolerable and heck even fun! (It’s all about relationships!)

Being self-employed has some definite perks.

One of them is meeting and working with super fabulous people. I mean you get to choose who you want to work with. That freedom to choose really makes having to work for a living tolerable and heck even fun! (It’s all about relationships!)

For someone who sits in front of a screen all day and interacts with people more through 1’s and 0’s, communication is important and can be very challenging (for both parties).

So when communication rocks with people who are complete strangers and they turn out to be amazing, I feel lucky, blessed.

Photographer Zun Lee is one of those wonderful peeps.

And yes, I’ve spoken about Zun before: earlier this year, Rachel and I worked with Zun on his logo, identity and brand.

Today, Alex (amazing EE developer) and I are proud to announce the launch his new website: zunlee.com.

photographer-zun-lee-website-home.jpg
photographer-zun-lee-website-home.jpg

Flickr Fame and Creating a Mother Ship

The photography world feels so small and so huge.

Zun has a huge following on Flickr. I mean, the man has voracious fans of his work. It’s very cool.

[ Read this interview with Zun at Ledesma Street Photography ]

Flickr is a great place to showcase and share images, build community but the question remained: What if something happened to Flickr? It happens all the time, bigger company buys little company. Mergers happen; EULA or TOAs change…

So, one of the big reasons for creating this new website for Zun was to create a space he could claim as his own; his very own mother ship.

To infinity and beyond! — Buzz Lightyear

Now with his new website hosting his images, Flickr becomes a hub rather than the primary space for his images.

His brand has a place on Flickr and at zunlee.com. He can keep his Flickr community engaged and create new fans at his own domain.

That is sweet.

photographer-zun-lee-website-portfolio.jpg
photographer-zun-lee-website-portfolio.jpg

Building the Zun Lee Mother Ship

The highlights:

  • Zun’s website is integrated with one of my favorite CMSes: ExpressionEngine. I know there are rabid fans of WordPress (and I love WordPress, too) but ExpressionEngine is the bomb in my eyes when it comes to websites that demand complex relationships and display of content. Managing content seems to be much easier, too.
  • There is no Flash used on this website. Zun’s mother ship uses Javascript for any subtle animation and the display of large images on his home page slideshow.
  • Each image on his website has its own URL. This means each image can be shared with anyone without having to dig through navigation or top tier portfolio categories. Plus, there are some great SEO benefits to this approach: Zun’s site is larger allowing more content to be linked and indexed.
  • Typography using @font-face. I had initially designed using Trade Gothic Condensed but it wasn’t available through TypeKit and the fees of using another delivery service seemed costly so we went to one of my favorite place to get cool web fonts: Fontspring. We opted for Alternate Gothic FS.

Pop the Champagne!

Thank you…

Alex Kendrick for his patience and extreme attention to detail. If you are a designer or design agency looking for an ExpressionEngine development partner, Alex is your man. The man has his shit together.

Zun Lee for the incredible trust you placed in both of us. Working remotely is never easy and we’re thrilled the experience was smooth and professional. It’s a great experience to work with incredibly powerful, raw images. You are an inspiration and congratulations on the launch.

What a great way to end the week 🙂