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Your Photography Website Sucks! 4 Ways To Fix It.

By Michael Henson on January 31st 2016

(DISCLAIMER: This is a satirical discussion of website design. It contains images of websites that are well designed and that represent some of the top wedding photographers and studios in the U.S. Please do not infer that the website images contained within this article are examples of bad websites, they are not. The images below are solid examples of good design choices made by the photographers they represent.)

It’s Irony, Folks!

Let me start by saying that I know this article won’t be for everyone. There are some that will insist on creating beautiful websites that typify their brand and the humdrum monotony of excellence that they seek to provide to their clients. This might actually describe you!

You might have a pristine website that demonstrates incredible design choices, clean layouts, consistency in typeface (font) decisions, with a logo that is easily recognizable while maintaining a level of simplicity. In fact, some of the websites featured in toward the end of this article may have inspired some of your layout choices. They are beautifully put together, contain inspiring images, and work hard to impress potential clients. That’s what you want to do if you want to maximize your success as a photographer. Now, at this point, you might be thinking that I’m going to discuss how to achieve the quality look they demonstrate, but I’m not.

This article is written for those looking for something different. Don’t conform to the level of excellence the sites pictured below demonstrate! Instead of following in the footsteps of the masses, what we’re going to do today is discuss four approaches you can take to ensure your website is terrible, visually painful, and rocking some awful, flawed design for good measure. The example images I show in the course of this write-up will demonstrate what NOT to do if you are going for the most terrible web surfing experience possible. That being said, let’s go ahead and dig in!

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Logo

Typically, your logo is a major part of your branding, and you want to ensure that it is clean, memorable, and that you absolutely love it because you are going to put it everywhere – on your site, business cards, marketing materials, social media pages, and as watermarks on images. That’s not what we’re going for, though. We’re going to flip conventional branding wisdom back upon itself! You want your logo to be gaudy, overly noticeable but not in a good way, and difficult to read and remember. When brainstorming ideas, certainly don’t look at Apple or Nike or any of the other classic examples of logo excellence. I’m pretty sure those guys don’t know exactly what they are doing so break the mold and just disregard them.

 

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Flickr Creative Commons – Susanna Fernandez

Spacing

What you are going for here is little or no clean space. Have some text wrapping around an image? Go ahead and butt those suckers right up next to each other! Yeah, you have probably heard that you should ensure you have some white space to allow your images to “breathe.” That is a good policy when designing a website you want to look like the others, but you are trying to create a terrible website, one that is so bad that clients want to spend money with you just to meet the person behind the train wreck of a site, so you can happily disregard that! Besides, getting rid of all that wasted “breathing” space will allow you to add more text to your site, and everyone knows that people enjoy reading tons of busy text these days!

Font

Simply put, the more variety the better! Sure, there are professionals that create custom typefaces, countless theories, and rules surrounding the use of fonts based on screen viewing versus printing and other considerations. Just remember, none of that matters because more is always better. I’d recommend you mix and match fonts as frequently as you can, and those crazy script looking fonts are really fun, so add some of them to the mix! Remember that consistency and easy reading are overrated. When in doubt – Rock ALL the fonts!

 

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Flickr Creative Commons

Updates

Google’s algorithms and the SEO gurus are most certainly mistaken in their estimation that frequent updates with high-quality content are signs of a great site, but whatever. What you’re going to want to do is to try and find a way to get an old flash site, or something that is retro-looking (in a bad way). Then, once you’ve followed all of the advice in this article by using tons of fonts, not “wasting” space, slapping a massive, gaudy logo all over the place, and adding some of your most mediocre content, make like Elsa, and let it go! Seriously, don’t worry about it anymore! The beauty of a less than stellar website is that you can avoid the extra hassle of updating it and having to evaluate changes, traffic, etc. I mean, if someone visits, gets a headache from the tight text and crazy fonts, they probably aren’t your customer anyway, right? Boom! You just saved yourself the hassle of discovering that in your consult.

There you have it! Keep in mind that these are just a few of the quickest ways to ensure your website is less than stellar. They take minimal effort, even less thought, and can be implemented immediately! So, get to work on these and watch the amount of free time you have skyrocket. No clients to worry about means that you will have more time to shoot what YOU want to shoot.

[REWIND: HOW TO MARKET MORE EFFECTIVELY BY DEFINING YOUR TARGET MARKET]

If you’re looking to create a website that is nice and clean, easy to read, and attractive to clients, just be sure to do the opposite of the above text.

WanT TO see some great websites?

For those itching to see some great examples of websites that are designed well, look beautiful, and present a great brand to potential clients, check these out!

These are some great examples of  studios who have clean logos, adequate spacing, clean fonts, and are always updating their content on a regular basis.

 

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Space, fonts, and frequent updates! (www.sunshineandreign.com)

 

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Clean, recognizable logo & plenty of space! (www.linandjirsa.com)

 

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Tons of space and excellent font choices! (www.twistedoaksstudio.com)

 

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Space, consistency, and powerful imagery (www.linandjirsa.com)

 

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Clean, visually appealing, easy to navigate (www.lureyphotography.com)

 

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Large images, interesting font, easy to find menu. (www.hensoncreativephotography.com)

 

What other ways can you come up with that will keep you from being branded as someone with a “great site?” I’d love to hear your bad tips or horrible design flaws you’ve seen in the comments! (Please don’t actually name any names if providing examples from the Interwebs!)

Michael Henson is a St. Louis based photographer obsessed with everything creative. His photography interests span genres from still life to sports. When he’s not running around with his face to the camera or behind a keyboard writing, you can typically find a guitar in his hands or catch him out enjoying life with his family and friends.

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8 Comments

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  1. Andre Thomas

    I’m a wedding photographer and am trying to optimize my website–pictures in particular. Can someone school me on how to export pictures in LR and still maintain a good quality? I’m trying to get them below 400kb but it always gets distorted. I’m using WordPress.website: http://www.covenantlx.com

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  2. Andy & Amii Kauth

    Thanks for the props, bro … And the disclaimer. Good stuff!

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    • Michael Henson

      For sure! Wanted to make it abundantly clear that the sites I featured were examples of what you are SUPPOSED to do. :)

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  3. Pye Jirsa

    Haha, dig this article Michael! Funny approach, very true though. It sounds so intuitive when spelled out, yet so many of us have made and continue to make any/all of these mistakes. We have had our blunders in this arena as well =)

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    • Michael Henson

      Thanks a ton, sir! Agreed, it’s easily explained but difficult to consistently implement.

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  4. Shawn Kelley

    Such a refreshing article! Still laughing…

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  5. Alex Petrenko

    You may consider fixing the link to your website…

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    • Michael Henson

      That’s what we like to call irony… I’m on my mobile and have updated it with a temporary fix. Thanks for catching that!

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