One of the nicest sites from a technical/navigation standpoint and a photography standpoint that I've seen. Beautiful work and site. I agree with Leigh and Frank though I wouldn't have known how to accomplish it but it would be slightly nicer to not have to scroll to see the entire image.
Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
a mile away and you'll have their shoes.
Further nit-picking - I'd make the photos clickable to navigate forward.
I am not so sure I like the gradated beige background or gallery lights at the top but somehow they seem to work with your images. My concern would be how the beige would look on other monitors and devices? This means surveying and testing. Also I wish images were not as far down the screen and subtle navigation was above the images (and also below if possible). This would allow users with smaller screens (laptops and tablets) to move around the site without scrolling. Scrolling isn't bad but not for every page load. And a link back to the thumbnails is always useful, I already see it at the bottom of the image as a text link but to some it may not be intuitive.
The thumbnail galleries are old-school but so are large format nature landscapes, if it is easiest for you and most of the audience then no worries. But if these are static pages then you are looking at a painful updating process as you add new work and want to change things. The reason you don't see many (new) sites like this anymore is because they require so much time to simply change the sequences or add new images.
Longer, more descriptive captions allow search engines to find your images. Cross posting to social media helps boost search engine results and markets your work to a wider audience and gets you referrals, which are stronger than casual stumbles upon. Even a simple Tumblr can suffice as a blog and it will boost your search engine ranking and more importantly, quality of who sees your work.
The anti-theft measures may actually be a hinderance to search engines and stock sales. I'd continue with the small watermarks as you have, although you could make them larger while also less intrusive, but harder for a thief to use, by making them semi-translucent.
Also, if the images have copyright, keywords, and contact info embedded into their EXIF data (Photoshop>File Info) then you have a much stronger level of protection and an industry-standard mechanism for clients to contact you. And a way for automated image theft software to track and find abuses.
I'll argue, that from the point of view of selling stock for advertising, the benefit of people easily "swiping" your images for use in comps is more valuable than the impossible to collect lost revenue from some Third World or casual image theft. Besides all the thieves need to do is to make a screen snapshot and a crop to have your images and your copyright notice is small enough to easily clone out. I much rather have some art directors at ad agencies easily use my images in their presentations for real ad campaigns. Not every ad agency uses penny stock and should you have a unique and desirable image, the revenue from one stock sale could dwarf 100 print sales or more.
If you're like me, you may have investigated stock photography earlier in your career and become cynical and jaded about it but you do have very marketable images that would command a premium so I would dig a little deeper and at least make a mention of your willingness to sell stock on your website!
You do have the right idea in making the images large enough to appreciate them. That was a smart choice given your concern about casual theft. But the truth is you want your images stolen often and widely.
I hope actual constructive criticism is useful - I really do like the site and the images more so. It takes a lot of effort relative to most other photographers to get to this top level of craft as well as doing a custom site. But there is a lot to be learned or stolen from the canned commercial sites in terms of search ability and navigation. I didn't look at how you built it but I get the sense you may have mastered Dreamweaver (or similar software) circa 2003 and not kept up since. It might be worthwhile to get up to speed with an up-to-date developer to collaborate with since you have a very solid foundation and you could be an an attractive, portfolio-worthy (and not too expensive) client for them to work with since you could do most of the grunt work and they could make a modern framework that will work going forward the next 5 to 10 years.
I'll stand back and let the other guys call me a jerk for suggesting it is not absolute perfection ;-p I think it's about $1500 in development time and 30 more hours of grunt work to be absolute perfection!
Last edited by Frank Petronio; 23-Jun-2012 at 08:26.
Frank is right, as almost always - even he's not perfect Updating is the hard part of having a website. I have many new photos since the time I set up mine, but the very thought of updating it is daunting. I'm looking to get a different, easier to modify framework soon.
Makes me want to go takes some pictures of my own.... i have new bar to hurdle.... i dont think i can though... jeez those are really good... makes me feel like when i was 13 again ..... i took one look at my 9th grade science teachers pictures and said i can do better ... well here is to you Joe Fillingham .("Jungle Joe")...
Need go work on my photography some ... thanks...
Nicely done. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for all of the comments and critiques!!! Updating and making changes is very simple..... Joe.
Joseph Kayne Photography
Fine Large Format Photography