Author Topic: Web site and image critique  (Read 3123 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Victor Biro

  • Inactive Member
  • Toronto
  • Posts: 59
      • http://www.victorbiro.com
Web site and image critique
« on: September 02, 2011, 06:38 PM »
Hi,

I have just posted a new site based on Photoshelter's template and I am very interested in some feedback on both the site and the images.

By way of background, I am a relative newcomer to Photojournalism. My primary experience has been in things unrelated to photography, but more closely related to journalism. Over the past year I have been doing spot news work in the Toronto market, and managed a second place in the NPPA Region 2 Spot News Monthly Clips category.

As a result, I have few sources of input on my photography and my choice of images as a showcase for soliciting work.

What I am  looking for is input on the the following:

  • Site Presentation: Have I chosen well on my design, or do you have any suggestions on improvement or a different direction;
  • The Images: Please be brutal if necessary. I am a member of the NPAC because of the number of great photographers here, and I would welcome any input - positive or negative - on my shots.
  • My Choice of Images: Have I chosen well for the Portfolio section, and do you think they are presented in a way that showcases them well?
  • Any other input: I honestly want to grow as a photographer and photojournalist, so please feel free to throw in your $0.02

The URL is http://www.victorbiro.com

I have girded my loins.

Victor
 

« Last Edit: September 02, 2011, 06:50 PM by Victor Biro »

http://www.victorbiro.com
Canada (Toronto):1-647-727-2223
NA Toll Free: 1-855-811-1166
UK (London): 44 20 302-64554

Offline Warren Toda

  • Administrator
  • Toronto
  • Posts: 1952
      • www.warrentoda.com
      • Email
Re: Web site and image critique
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2011, 01:48 AM »
In no particular order and feel free to ignore any or all of this.

-------------- Web stuff --------------

• How about your putting your name to the left of the navigation, i.e. top-left corner area of the page? (That's just my preference).

• Make the body text a tiny bit bigger. It's currently 11px.

• Why do the Galleries use Flash but the Portfolio uses javascript? Although, the duplicate Portfolio uses Flash.


Contact Page:

• Misspelled "engagements"

"Victor is available for short and long-term engaements internationally.  Please feel free to contact Victor if you have any questions or comments regarding any opportunities you may be contemplating."

> So what? Everyone's available. What if someone just wants pictures and not an engagement?  :D

You have to phrase it (nicely) as a "call to action". For example:

Contact Victor for any short or long-term photo assignment.

We welcome your questions and comments regarding any upcoming photography assignments you may be planning. Please use the form below and send us your message.



About Page:

"Victor Biro is a Toronto-based freelance photojournalist with a focus on Sports, Editorial photography and Spot news."

> Why is "Sports", "Editorial" and "Spot" capitalized?

A lot of photographers use a term like "Toronto-based" but I've always thought it sounded a bit pretentious. If you live/work all over the place then it might be justified. "Toronto-based" is a lousy search term. No one uses "Toronto-based" in a Google search.


"Venues for his work have included international and national newspapers and web sites."

>Venues? Bad search term.

Flip the sentence around: International and national newspapers and web sites have published Victor's photography.


"Victor has also received recognition in Spot News Photography in the form of awards from The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA)."

>Again, flip it around:  The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) awarded its Spot News Photography award to Victor.



• "Victor's background in the technology and telecommunications sectors also provide opportunities to work as a freelance writer on various topics related to wireless, Voice over Internet (VoIP) and technology trends."

>Too vague. Drop the word "various":  "With a background in the technology and telecommunications sectors, Victor can also write on topics related to wireless, Voice over Internet (VoIP) and technology trends."


• "Victor is available for freelance assignment in, and outside, Canada."

>A lot of photographers say that they're available to travel the world. Hey, everyone's available to travel the world if someone else is paying. I think it sounds pretentious.

No one is going to call you out-of-the-blue and say, "We need you to go to China for six months". No one will offer any photographer a serious project unless that company already knows the photographer or the photographer is well-known.

My point is, drop this last sentence.

-------------------- Photo stuff ----------------------

• A Justin Bieber gallery? Turn in your camera now!  :D
Seriously though, I'd drop all these pictures.


• Why do you need a separate "Portfolio" link rather than just going through the "Galleries" link? Is there even a need for "Portfolio" because it only repeats pictures that are in the other galleries?


• Your image filenames are all over the place.

For a web site, this may not be too important. Although, it's much easier on you if your web filenames use only lower case and have no spaces.

For your own photo archives, you should have one consistent naming system. Using "DSC_xxxx.jpg" will come back to haunt you.


• Too many galleries, not enough pictures.

Portfolio can be edited down to, at most, four pictures.

General News can be edited down to, maybe, two photos.
 
The marching police pictures: in photos like this, often you need f11 or f16. A shallow depth of field works if you're singling someone out. Otherwise, you end up with a sea of out-of-focus heads. It also helps to look for some sort of pattern rather than have just a mass of heads.

Pictures of people with candles: Expose for the faces and not the candles. If the candles are far away from the faces and/or you're far away from the people, exposing for faces means the candles will be grossly overexposed. In this case, you could use a bit of flash but probably with a minus compensation on the flash. You might also add a tungsten gel to the flash. Flashing can also help boost colour, contrast and sharpness. Or, you could take advantage of the lack of light and intentionally shoot silhouettes. A silhouette isn't an underexposed photo but rather it's a dark shape outlined by some light.

If the candles are close to the face, you often don't need flash: crank up the ISO so the face is exposed properly and the candles are only slightly overexposed.

If you're close to the people, you could also use an off-camera flash with a tungsten gel and a minus compensation. This type of flash will almost mimic the candle light, (or at least not be too obvious), and it won't ruin the mood.


Indian Film Academy can be edited down to two pictures.

With red carpet pictures, often you should use flash. This isn't necessarily because you need the extra light but rather the flash is used at very low power to (i) put a catchlight in the eyes, (ii) brighten the whites of the eye, (iii) whiten the teeth.

Sometimes you may get lucky and the ambient light will do all of this. Otherwise, don't be afraid to use a flash even on a bright day. Use the flash at, say, minus-two stops compensation or on manual at 1/16th power (or whatever works best).

Remember that if you're indoors, you may need to gel the flash to balance with the ambient light.


Hockey can be edited to about two pictures.


Until you get more pictures, I suggest you somehow combine the stronger images into one or two galleries or maybe just one "Portfolio".

--------------------------------------------

(edit: deleted a bunch of photos)


« Last Edit: September 07, 2011, 06:17 PM by Warren Toda »

Photographer in Toronto
info@warrentoda.com

Offline Victor Biro

  • Inactive Member
  • Toronto
  • Posts: 59
      • http://www.victorbiro.com
Re: Web site and image critique
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2011, 03:24 AM »
Warren,

Wow! Thank you for all your work and input.

I have implemented all the web format and text suggestions.

I understand your suggestion regarding naming. I am already having issues and have to investigate some form of image numbering system improvement. PhotoShelter suggests naming based on the topic, but that is cumbersome in Lightroom's PhotoShelter upload module. In any case, I will find something that works.

On the galleries, I have removed the Justin Bieber gallery. Although I am no fan, it does seem to have an appeal, and I was hoping that the name might work some magic on the search engines. ;)

Regarding your question about the "Portfolio" java vs. flash, the structure of PhotoShelter is a bit cumbersome in some ways. As a result, you need to use existing galleries, and when you add them to the portfolio the behaviour is inconsistent with the regular galleries.

I will work on tightening things up with the images and galleries.

I am trying to leverage the eCommerce elements of the PhotoShelter site, so I wonder how I can exhibit some of the less generally interesting shots for sale, without diluting the portfolio aspects of the site. Maybe two separate sites?

Thanks again for all your work and suggestions. Please keep them coming.

Victor




http://www.victorbiro.com
Canada (Toronto):1-647-727-2223
NA Toll Free: 1-855-811-1166
UK (London): 44 20 302-64554

Offline Warren Toda

  • Administrator
  • Toronto
  • Posts: 1952
      • www.warrentoda.com
      • Email
Re: Web site and image critique
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2011, 07:39 PM »
Quote from: Victor Biro
I have implemented all the web format and text suggestions.

Keep in mind that the text suggestions I made were done quickly, off the top of my head. You may want to give it some thought and word things a bit nicer.


Quote from: Victor Biro
I understand your suggestion regarding naming. I am already having issues and have to investigate some form of image numbering system improvement. PhotoShelter suggests naming based on the topic, but that is cumbersome in Lightroom's PhotoShelter upload module. In any case, I will find something that works.

I've seen photographers name a photo like "spo-por-v-c-mr-1234.jpg" which means it's the sports category, it's a portrait, vertical composition, in colour and has a model release. This is a rather absurd naming system.

Most (all?) archive/cataloguing software can "see" inside Exif data. So, put all your keywords and other descriptive terms in the IPTC data.

Here's a high-tech secret for file naming: if you base file names on the date, your computer will automatically sort the pictures for you!

I'm not sure if search engines can see inside Exif data yet. But they can read title tags. Some web sites will automatically extract the caption to use as a title or alt tag. I'm only guessing that PhotoShelter does not do this.

So, having a filename like "lemans-car-race-john-smith-01.jpg" on your PhotoShelter site might help for web searches but it's not the best naming system for your own archives. Also note that PhotoShelter allows you to set up keywords for each photo. In this example, you might choose keywords: John Smith, car race, LeMans, sports, auto racing, etc.

Also: http://www.updig.org/guidelines/ph_naming_files.html


Quote from: Victor Biro
...I was hoping that the name might work some magic on the search engines. ;)

Not exactly sure how PhotoShelter works but you can still attract search engines by using a full and proper caption for each picture.

Instead of just "Car #49 driver J. Smith in Turn 3", the caption might say: "Race car driver John Smith from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, competes in the 2010 LeMans Race held at Mosport Racetrack in Ontario on June 25, 2010. Smith drives a Number 49 silver Ford GT for the Piloti race team which is based in Detroit, Michigan, USA."

Use whatever relevant words a customer might use to search for that picture.


Quote from: Victor Biro
I am trying to leverage the eCommerce elements of the PhotoShelter site, so I wonder how I can exhibit some of the less generally interesting shots for sale, without diluting the portfolio aspects of the site. Maybe two separate sites?

Some other photographers have a normal web site that showcases the "good" pictures and that site links to their stock library on PhotoShelter.

One of the good things about having a "normal" web site is that you're free from any constraints of PhotoShelter. For example: you can run a blog on your own site and you can set up your own e-mail and FTP.  (Added Sept 6: If you have a blog on another site, you can link to it from your PhotoShelter site.)

Good example is Francis Vachon in Quebec City. His "normal" web site is:  http://www.francisvachon.com/  Once at his site, click on the link to his stock photos to see how he's set up his PhotoShelter site.


Also on your site, there's no need to title your web page twice: "Victor Biro Photography | Victor Biro - Photography". Maybe this is a PhotoShelter issue? Use the title to also add a bit of description about your business.

« Last Edit: September 06, 2011, 02:59 PM by Warren Toda »

Photographer in Toronto
info@warrentoda.com