While not strictly an exercise, the final section of the module talks about creating a web gallery and what’s involved. I expect this to be an evolving project for me – but I’ve made a start at photo.phillong.me.uk with a few sample images.
The site is hosted on Zenfolio, which is pretty simple-to-use site with templates and the ability for visitors to share and order images. I’m dallying with some ideas which may be saleable, hence going with Zenfolio after trying their free trial.
The main page presents large version of some sample images I’ve chosen, and I’ve created menus to look at them in a gallery and further galleries can be added to the drop-down in time. I’ve tried to keep the navigation fairly flat – originally the template had galleries within the “Menu” option – but that felt like too many clicks. The default gallery view also included very small thumbnails, so I modified that so they’re larger so its easier to get an overview of the images in a reasonable size. I like the dark background for presenting my images – I think it helps minimise distraction.
I’ve arrived at this layout after viewing a few portfolio and gallery sites of other photographers. Some worthy of mention, and my thoughts, are below:
Neil Shearer Photography
I like the full-size browser-window images here and the very clear menu items across the top. Its really simply presented and easy to find your way around. I know Neil from my time in Warrington and around the music scene there, and asked him about how the site was created. He purchased a WordPress theme and configured that himself, with very little need for technical know-how; it’s a really great result using the freely-available WordPress and some outlay for the theme.
Neil’s sports portraits reminded me of Joel Grimes HDR commercial work, which includes a lot of sports portraiture, so I thought I’d check out his site. I like the dark background which avoids diverting attention away from the images. I also like the simple sorting of images into separate portfolios that are all instantly accessible from the front page.
What I don’t like is that the headings “Portfolio” and “Information” look like links (and behave like them on hover-over) but aren’t actually links – however other items at the same level of navigation are. From a user experience design perspective that’s poor, as the behaviour isn’t consistent. I actually thought the site or my web browser were playing up initial when I clicked “Information” and nothing happened.
This is another Zenfolio site, like my own. This combines the large-format images on the front page with simple navigation to key collections, so sort of a combination of both the above examples. Once again, I’m liking the dark background.