Author: rhaggart

If you’re not ready to tackle learning wordpress you might want to check out Tumblr http://www.tumblr.com/
Tumblr is the easiest micro blogging platform in the world and can be installed on a subdomain of your website (http://blog.yourdomain.com). After your site is live sign up for tumbler and tell us where you want it installed (example: blog.mydomain.com). Then on your tumblr blog click customize, then info, then check “Use a custom domain name”. Give it the same name you told us (example: blog.mydomain.com). Done!

If it hasn’t already, your website will become more important than your printed portfolio. That’s what APhotoFolio is all about.

Portfolios have migrated online so your website must be treated as something other than storage for outdated imagery. Often an agency will award a job without calling in a book. For example, when an AD sends me a layout, we discuss style, emotional tone and production values. I will send the AD a number of websites showcasing the work of the photographers best suited for the job. Once we have settled on a recommendation (and know that the photographer is interested and available), the appropriate imagery is culled from the photographer’s site and presented to the client in a deck for their approval. Sometimes the book is called in, sometimes it isn’t.

http://www.heathermorton.ca/blog/?p=4930

At first glance it might seem strange that we have a Design 5 (Chelsea), because everything on it besides the ability to enter an upper limit for the size of the picture box is exactly the same as Design 3 (Brooklyn Bridge). Except, there is one other fundamental difference in the way the menu behaves. The menu on Design 3 is fixed to the left side of the screen (you can still adjust border and menu widths). The menu on Design 5 is fixed to the side of the images (you can still adjust spacing).

Here’s an example where we have a site in a browser window and we make the window more horizontal (by dragging the window out to the right) to show you that behavior.

Design 5 – Chelsea

Antonin Kratochvil1

Antonin Kratochvil2

Design 3 – Brooklyn Bridge

Randal Ford1

Randal Ford2

A Photo Client is a simple, robust, client proofing/image delivery system that we can install on your A Photo Folio website. We have over 50 photographers using this add-on software. It can easily be added to any “live” APhotoFolio website. Learn more at: APhotoClient.com.

APCLeadIMage

Clients can log in to APhotoClient from your website or an iPhone.

Here are 5 reasons why APhotoClient is the best image delivery tool available:

  1. Simple and Intuitive – Your clients will not need an instruction manual to operate it.
  2. Mark favorites, comment and download images all in one location.
  3. Multiple Collaborators Per Shoot – Everyone can mark their favorites and make comments for the group to see.
  4. Multiple Shoots Per Client – One location for all your client’s shoots, all they do is log in.
  5. Works seamlessly with your APhotoFolio Website – Clients never have to leave your domain to see the images they hired you to take.

User Experience (UX) is fast becoming an important way to create a competitive advantage for one product over another. One reason why it’s so powerful is because the end user may have no idea what makes using one product superior to another they just come away from the experience happier.

From a portfolio website perspective I’m sure you can imagine why it’s important that your potential clients have a good experience using your site over your competitors even if they don’t know why.

When creating APhotoFolio websites I came up with a list of UX practices based on my experience as a Photography Director and from reading several books that I then built into the sites. Here are some examples:

Where Am I?
Nobody likes being lost and a website with hundreds of images can be an easy place to get lost. We give users visual clues where they are using physical indicators, color and boxes.

WhereamI1

WhereamI2

What is important here?
Nothing teaches you the value of hierarchy like working at a magazine. Hierarchy on a website helps the user determine what is most important on the page, where to go first and how to navigate the site. You can easily create hierarchy on our sites with size, position and color of text on the menu.

hierarchy

Which things belong together?
We give you precise control over the spaces between items because grouping is another important user feedback to help determine what belongs together.

How much is here?
Often overlooked on websites is letting the user know how much content is available for them to see. It’s easy in the physical world to look at the size of a store and quickly determine how much is available and how much time it might take to look, but online it can be quite difficult. That’s why a menu that shows everything available, thumbnail grids and numerical feedback are important parts of our websites.

howmuchstuffishere

Howmuchishere

How clear is the communication?
We give you words, icons and color to communicate with, but I believe simplicity is most important. A site should be clear in its mission. If there’s anything that separates APF websites from the rest of the pack it’s our commitment to simplicity.

We just Launched Design 5 – Chelsea

With D5 we give you the ability to control how big your images go. You enter an upper limit for the size of the picture box and it stops resizing there. Nobody in the world has this feature.
Go (here) to learn more.

We added some cool new features to all the designs.

Here are a few of the changes you will notice on the surface:

The navbar (bottom navigation) can be positioned on the left (see it here)  or center (see it here) and each item is now represented by an icon and/or text label, plus you have full control over what is displayed (names, order, size).

navbar center

(click to see larger)

navbar left

You can now choose between 4 different kinds of arrows for the mouse navigation.

newmousenav

There are now 11 different image transitions available (you can also set how long the transition takes to happen).

Image transition

There are now 7 different menu item indicators available (tells you where you are in the menu).

menu indicators

The menu text can be anchored to the top, middle or bottom of the menu.

menutextposition

We built a new scrollbar and have settings so you can adjust the position (left, right plus horizontal and vertical offsets), width and transparency.

scrollbar

Design 3 thumbs now slide in from the right and you can adjust the background transparency.

d3 thumbs

Design 2 has 12 possible thumbnail display options. You can choose between 1 and 4 columns of thumbs and between small and large sizes.

smallthumbs4colmedthumbs3collgthumbs2colmedthumbs1col

Videos now come with captions. The captioning system has a unique feature that allows you to change what the caption says as the video is playing. Have a look (here).

videocaption

Finally, we’ve added the ability to put clickable social networking icons on your menu.

d3 social networking socialIcons d2

BONUS: You can now use the scroll wheel on your mouse to scroll the thumbs and text pages.

Don’t forget that changing colors, adding a logo, video, homepage slideshow, custom contact form, custom fonts and changing images, text, pages and galleries whenever you want all comes standard with our websites. Making changes to your site without calling a programmer is a core belief here at APF.

Enjoy.

Then APhotoFolio is the place for you.

A thousand bucks plus $17/month gets you a website with all the upgrades included. Don’t pay extra to make it your own.

Want to add a logo? Included:
Logo Upload

Want to change your font or add your own? Included:
Font change

* Email us your font if you don’t see one you like already and we’ll add it for free.

Want to change the colors on your site? Included:
Color change

Want custom fields for your contact form? Included:
Contact Form

Homepage slideshow? Included

Video? Included

WordPress? Included

Ok, I think you get the idea. Calling someone up on the phone to make changes to your website sounds like 1999 not 2009.

I think there are a lot of websites out there besides just ours that do a fine job of presenting images to potential clients. I think many of them fall short in the very tiny details that make the viewing experience an exceptional one.

Things like:

  • Images that fit whatever screen the viewer is on
  • Clicking an image to advance to the next
  • Using the keyboard arrows to advance
  • Emailing a specific image out of your portfolio
  • A unique url to each image that makes sense
  • Clicking the browser back button and actually going back one image
  • Thumbnails that are big enough so you can actually see the image
  • iPhone compatibility
  • Palm phone compatibility
  • Blackberry compatibility
  • Easy to locate phone numbers and email
  • A blog that’s on your url

These are just pesky little details to some but they are so very important to APhotoFolio websites.

Many of you agree.

You’re looking at what we’ve been working on for the last couple months. Now we can start adding lots of content for prospective buyers.

We also built a new demo area to show off all our clients:
http://live.aphotofolio.com

And a new manual for all the sites:
http://apfmanual.com

Next we will be launching the client area that’s been in Beta testing for the last 2 months with our photographers and then we’ve got more designs coming.

Stay tuned.