Friday, May 30, 2008

Time to upgrade the hardware too....

Well, after starting the website upgrade, I noticed that my main editing PC was running far slower than normal. I did a quick baseline check to test the benchmarks, and it looks like it is time for some upgrades. So, for the time being, I'm focusing on the PC upgrade and will continue with the website upgrade once that is complete.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Well, the website redesign is underway and things are moving along. The first thing I decided to tackle was the HTML splash page. As my website is Flash based, I need some form of HTML presence in order for my site to be viewable by search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Ask, and others. It's also a double edged sword. The HTML splash page needs to be inviting, and create a desire for viewers to actually want to enter the flash based portion of the website.

So here is the challenge: How do you create an inviting HTML splash page for a photography website? The answer, of course, is pictures. You need some sort of showcase of what you, as a photographer, are capable of creating. You use that to create the desire in the viewer to enter the website to see more images, and to find out more about you as an artist and what you provide.

After deciding on some pictures to put on the splash page, I next turned my attention to the graphics. How would the website name appear? How about a logo? Should I use text, or utilize brushes to simulate text? Oh, the pain of the creative. In the end, I decided to go with something that gives a visual representation of the style of photography in which I specialize. I wanted to convey elements of heirloom quality, aesthetic appeal, and elegance. To accomplish that, I drew from the wisdom and experience of those that have been doing this type of thing for a long time.....jewelers. I sampled hundreds of images looking for something to strike a creative spark in my brain. That is where I would find what I needed: Elegance, style, and quality all combined. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I saw it in a pair of monogrammed cuff links. Simple, but effective, with a base of Onyx offset by my initials in platinum and surrounded in a gold border. Perfect! Now I had to recreate it.

As a photographer, I've found so many uses for Photoshop. I know that Adobe charges an arm and a leg for this program, but it is definitely worth it. With this one program, I can design my logo and name, create the pictures to put on the splash page, but it will also format it into an HTML page for me! What more could I ask for? So after a few attempts, I found the combination of text fonts, embossing, and color to give me something that I was happy with. A couple quick clicks, and I had my HTML splash page. Groovy, baby! A few more clicks, and I had my favicon (the little logo that shows up on the address bar next the the website URL) done as well. I would have liked to have the favicon match the logo design, but no matter what I tried I could get the gold/platinum look to be legible on white. If I put it on a black background all I could see in the 16x16 pixel box was a black square. So, in the end I was left with just putting my initials in black on a white background. Oh well, it will do for now.

Next on the to do list is the website content. I think I'll save the gallery updates for last. I've got a lot of good pictures to choose from, but one thing is for certain is that over the years my photographic style has evolved. I need to make sure that what I put in the gallery is cohesive and presents a unified theme. So, for now, I'll start with the updates to the price list and about us pages.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Time for some Housekeeping

I've been meaning to update the website for quite some time, and the long Memorial weekend seemed the perfect time to do it. Of course, once I got started I quickly realized that I wasn't looking at just a simple layout change, but an entire overhaul. I never really paid attention to all the little things that bugged me about the website to begin with, but this seemed the perfect opportunity to address them all at once.

My current website is Flash based, and built on a predefined template. That didn't give me a lot of room to customize the website to my own style. To do that, I'd need to be able to code in HTML and Java. Although I have a very strong technical background, those two programming languages as about as native to me as Russian, French, and Arabic. Oh well, nothing like being put in a "sink or swim" environment. Even if I don't get my website to look perfect, at least it will be much better than what it has been for some time. I think I'll take it slow and work on something individually:

  • Redesign of the site logo
  • Add favicons
  • Redesign of the HTML splash page
  • Update of Galleries
  • Update of all price lists
  • Update contact lists and links to the new blog site!

The new website is going to be up at: Feel free to stop on by and I'd love to hear any comments/critiques on the website.