How to Design/Redesign a Photography Website
Decide what a photographer needs in a website.
In many instances, the images that photographers create are minimal: a collection of shapes or colors that are artistically arranged in the viewfinder.
When a photographer creates an image, he decides what stays in as well as what stays out of frame. A photographer is a visual storyteller. He uses light and shadow to create images viewers will give more than just a casual glance.
A competent photographer can create a properly exposed image, but a photographer who has transcended digital technology creates something that is a work of art. A photographer’s website is the frame for his artwork.
Know when less is more.
A sleek minimal approach for this site uses an off-white background. The header and menu were created in Adobe Fireworks CS6 and exported as images and HTML.
Create a template.
Start the site in Adobe Dreamweaver CS6 by creating a new HTML document and then importing an HTML exported from Fireworks. After laying out the site with placeholders for text and other content, save the file as a Dreamweaver template in the DWT format. Then, all remaining pages can be created from this template.
Create a home page.
The home page needs to have a bit of panache to announce to visitors that they have definitely landed on a photography website. A slideshow of fine art images is just the ticket. The slideshow needs to be compatible with portable devices like the iPad. Therefore, using Flash is out of the question.
After doing some research, the designer decided to use the Image Rotator Magic Dreamweaver plug-in from Project Seven to create a non-Flash slideshow on the site home page.
Flesh out the site.
Image Rotator Magic is a powerful plug-in that enables a designer to create animated banners, sidebars, and slideshows. The Dreamweaver extension has a user-friendly interface that enables you to choose which images you want to include, determine the length of time for which an image is displayed, and much more.
The beauty of the application is that the end result is not Flash, which means it can be viewed on portable devices like the iPad. The extension also creates all the code used to switch images.
Create the gallery and finish the site.
Every photography website needs a gallery of some sort. Rather than have a separate drop-down menu for each gallery, the designer wanted to create a single gallery that featured all genres of his company’s work.
Project Seven was the source for yet another elegant solution. A combination of the Horizontal Glider extension, which was used for the gallery menu, and Image Rotator Magic, which was used to create the individual galleries, proved to be the ideal solution.
After creating the gallery, the designer finished the About and Contact pages based on the template he created when he started the project. He was thinking about search engine optimization (SEO) when he created the home page and the other pages. He used the Google Keyword tool to find the optimum keywords for his photography business and peppered them in the text, page titles, and alt tags.