folio

Portfolio updates

Like many photographers I invest a lot of time and energy into my portfolio. I have had a Pixelrights folio since they launched their service earlier this year and every time they add more functionality I tinker with both the design and the content. Right now the service is looking great and the content management system is working well. One of these days I’m going to relegate my other folio platforms and throw everything at this service but until then please come along and have a look at the galleries for portraits, features and my personal work.

MY PIXELRIGHTS HOME PAGE

If you haven’t seen Pixelrights – check it out…

pixelrigts_ss
When friends of yours start up a new business it is natural to wish it well and then forget all about it until you see those friends again. That’s kind of what happened with me and Pixelrights. Shaun Curry, one of the founders is an old mate and when he rang me out of the blue a while ago to explain his new business venture I was happy for him and offered my support as I would with pretty much any of my friends.

A few months later Shaun got back to me and asked to ‘borrow’ a couple of pictures for their development website. Always happy to help I sent him a couple of JPEGs and signed up for email, Facebook and Twitter feeds to remain abreast of their progress. Once more, nothing much happened and then Pixelrights offered to develop the new website for The BPPA and suddenly there I was having an in depth explanation of their ideas complete with a demonstration of what their idea could offer.

Passive supporter becomes active advocate over the course of one afternoon. I love the idea and I really love the fact that these are people doing what they are doing for money AND for the love of what they might achieve. So what is Pixelrights? Here’s a cut and paste from their own concept page:

Working in photography and the visual arts ourselves, we wanted to create something that we would not only use, but also enjoy using. We saw the need for simple, functional yet sophisticated portfolios which would serve photographer’s interests and needs, in an honest manner with no marketing trickery.

Pixelrights provides a secure, simple, classically-presented choice of website designs, backed up with state-of-the-art technology, all for a single price. There are no hidden charges to remove branding, no divisive price plans and no subscription fee traps.

What it actually provides is a portfolio of the simplest form with good image protection and the option to allow carefully controlled and monitored sharing. There are quite a few design options and there will probably be more by the time the current “Beta” phase is completed. I have three folios on my pages and I have a range of hidden galleries which are invite only so that clients can go and look at images that I have uploaded for them to Dropbox making use of a cool and simple interface. The whole point of a beta phase is to gather opinions of users and make things even better and that’s exactly what is happening.

I’d strongly recommend that you go and check out Pixelrights for yourself and the best way to get there is via my members page. Make sure that you look at the features and the pricing because this is a good idea from good people with an awful lot of backing from working photographers.

Portfolio updates – finally!

©Neil Turner/TSL February 2003. Gordon Ramsay photographed in his kitchen

©Neil Turner/TSL February 2003. Gordon Ramsay photographed in his kitchen

I have just finished uploading a major update to my website with a refreshed selection of new and old images in the portfolio section and an updated look to the templates pages with links to all of my social media.

I still do most of the work on my site myself and so it takes a lot longer to do but I am very happy with the way that photographs look on my site and I guess that is a major selling point. There will be lots more changes over the next couple of weeks but I’d like to invite you come to the site and have a look at the new portraits selection as well as two new galleries of personal work which will definitely be updated as they are both about continuing passions of mine.

My website is www.dg28.com and if you have any feedback, I’d love to hear it.

Updating my folio and painting the Forth Bridge

folio_screen_grab

In the UK we have a saying that describes a never-ending task “painting the Forth Bridge”. The idea is simple; once the painters have finished painting the bridge, it’s time to start back at the other end which has been weathering for a number of years by then. Keeping your own portfolio up-to-date is a similar task. There are so many ways to present your work and none of them are perfect and so I keep tinkering with content, layout and even the technology. Five years ago it was Flash and then basic HTML code and then a bit of Javascript and now it is a combination of everything except Flash. My idea is that I want to be able to update easily and regularly without having to format and code stuff. Preparing the images is done using a couple of Photoshop Actions and then the images themselves are inserted into a “slider” which is set to play automatically but which can be stopped and images can be picked out for a closer inspection.

I would be very interested in any views and opinions that anyone has about the site and the way it works. It isn’t an exact science but I think that I’m getting closer to understanding how it all works. Of course photographers are their own worst editors and I suspect that the content will annoy many of you. Whatever you think, let me have it.

The bridge is freshly painted, I’m having a day or two off and then I’m going to start again. One of these days I might even change the colour…

The value of your online portfolio

martina_cole

Crime writer Martina Cole photographed at a London hotel © Neil Turner/TSL

I’ve had a web presence of some sort or other since 1999. First of all I was just dipping my digital toe in the water with some free web space and free software supplied by AOL when I was with them. That morphed into the original dg28.com website which was all about helping other photographers to understand light and lighting. Like most things we do in life, my site has grown and changed and it has mirrored my work – both have been through many changes to get to where I am now.

January as a freelance is traditionally a tough time – or so I’m told. One of my goals for this month has been to re-evaluate my online presence and to give my website both a freshen-up and to make it more iPad/iPhone/Android friendly. Work, happily, got in the way and so I haven’t got anywhere near finishing what I started. I have given a lot of thought to deciding exactly what the point of an online portfolio is:

  • I know that I haven’t been inundated with work from it
  • I’m sure that my SEO (search engine optimisation) isn’t state of the art
  • My Google rankings by name are great
  • My Google rankings by occupation, specialism, location and other useful factors are not great
  • I know that it gets a lot of visitors because I have all of the relevant analytical data

Who are my visitors? Where do they come from? Why are they visiting my portfolio so much? Would they notice if it wasn’t there? Would my business suffer? Five very important questions to which I don’t know the definitive answers. That got me thinking and it got me going online to see what other people thought about the very same issue. Professional photography is unlike most other businesses – clients that I work with don’t order online and the amount of repeat business is good but not to the extent that we’d like it to be.

From digging around myself, chatting to friends, colleagues and a couple of web professionals and generally canvassing opinion I have come up with a few absolute truths and one or two bits of generally accepted notions by which changes and upgrades to my web presence are going to be governed in future:

  • You have to have a web presence
  • It has to be good
  • It has to show your work off
  • It has to be focused and demonstrate clearly who you are and what you do
  • You have to assume that it is being looked at by the right people
  • Probably fewer than 10% of the viewers are the right people
  • Most of those ‘right people’ are there because they want to look at my work – they haven’t stumbled across my site randomly

So that means if I want to do more than one thing, I have to have more than one website. That means that I need to show pictures – the kind of pictures that I want people to notice, be impressed by and then to commission something along the same or similar lines.

By now I sense that most people who have read this far are saying “tell us something we didn’t know”. I apologise for being un-original but the truth is that there isn’t a magic formula – despite what SEO expert George keeps emailing to say. So where next? Should I invest money in getting a site built for me that is a bit better than I could build myself? What format should the pictures (because they are the most important thing on the site) be in?

In trying to answer those questions I have been looking at a lot of options ranging from template drive sites to slide shows to contact sheets to bespoke (and expensive) “wow” sites. As I get nearer to the end of the revamp process I find myself getting more and more apprehensive about the various options and technologies. So here is the thing… I have been playing with a software package called Wowslider and I have put a single test page together and asking for opinions and feedback about that page. So here it is www.dg28.com/folio/2013-01/ and I’d be very interested to hear opinions. I know this one thing for sure… what worked last year is probably very different from what will work next year and so January 2014 will probably see me going through this very process again. See you in twelve months time!

Folio photo #06: 10 Downing Street, November 2001.

©Neil Turner/TSL November 2001

Children from a Leicestershire nursery school try to hand in their petition against closure to No.10 Downing Street.

This was a very ordinary story about yet another petition being handed in at No.10 which became extraordinary when the Police Officer on duty allowed the two children to try to knock on the door and then stood back and laughed as they kept trying.

It was a very cute moment on a day where the world’s media were not watching and the reflection of the officer in the shiny black door makes this a favourite picture of mine. They never reached the door knocker and so the officer eventually helped them out by knocking it for them.