Today I created an image to add to the opening slide show of my website. I am not a professional website builder by any means but I do know what looks good and what is not so good. I have seen many photographers critique websites and you have to be very careful to not fall into the trap of thinking you have to do something a certain way just because a more successful person/photographer said “this is how it is done.” I, like many photographers will watch the popular web-based show the GRID produced by KelbyOne. While I very much take into consideration the wisdom and expertise of Scott Kelby and his cohorts, after all, I have learned so much from KelbyOne and would recommend it to anyone wanting to better their photography and Photoshop skills. One does have to keep in mind that KelbyOne promotes third-party products and services. So many photographers use cookie cutter web-based hosting such as Smugmug and Zenfolio along with a host of many others. In my opinion they end up looking very “cookie-cutter-ish” not all of them, but a whole lot of them. Quite honestly it really comes down to personal preference. I really could not see myself with one of those kind of sites and what really gave me a chuckle was watching Scott Kelby and RC Concepcion critique websites one day (which felt more like a Smugmug infomercial) and mean while I felt the KelbyOne site (that very day) had its share of problems. The site loaded slowly, the cover photo of a mountain did not interest me in the least and most of all navigation was horrible compared to their old site. I will say that all of these things have been corrected.
For my site I wanted simple, yet with a feel that lets you know I created it, good or bad I made that site. I know this sounds crazy, but I wanted the viewer to see the site in a particular way as soon as the site opened. I wanted the first image you see to kind of have a feel that blended with the surrounding environment of that Home page. When I edit images I many times use “veils” in Photoshop, or at least that is what I call them. I will edit an image and then place a veil of color, grain, texture or any number of other effects over the image. I will use a low “opacity” and it will lend a feel or a vibe to the image. So I chose the beautiful image of model Nicole Gallagher to be used as the opening image. I chose it because for one, I love the look on her face, her eyes, I made the floral head-piece myself and I shot the image on a beautiful autumn day right here on the farm where I live. It was a very fun and memorable day so I really love that image. I then, using my veil technique, gave the image a feel that I felt matched the muted color scheme of my website.
I do not like to put a lot of images in that initial slide show, just maybe four or five. I have no background music and if you scroll down there are smaller slide shows that have other images. Then of course if the viewer is inclined to do so they can proceed to the “Portfolio” page to see all my work. Somehow I feel that by putting just a few great images up on that initial landing gives a good impression and we know what they say about first impressions.
So good or bad I like my site.