Going Pro (sort of)

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    So, today I’m quitting my job after six years with the company. If you’re on Facebook you might know I’ve had some issues with my current store and after talking with my family here everyone is in agreement that I’m working myself into a hospital stay from stress, totally miserable and deserve something better.

    I’ll be looking for something non-retail in the area but in the meantime I’m going to put together Buckwalter Photography as a rural photography business. When orionid and I were looking for wedding photographers we found there was a serious shortfall of professional photography services in this part of Virginia (the closest wedding photographer was in Manassas, 45 minutes away and we were not going to pay for what we saw in her portfolio). I don’t want to be a wedding photographer but I think I do alright with rural scenery and events.

    I have some publicity lined up but I need to put together a website. Does anyone have any suggestions for a professional looking photo business website? Building one myself is not really possible as my knowledge of website coding is limited to HTML and that really doesn’t fly anymore.


    Haven’t a clue how to help, but I wish you lots of luck, and hoping you the best!


    I’ve been using http://www.zenfolio.com/. I don’t know if you can pay enough to get your own domain name (I believe you can). I’m doing the premium right now. I was easy to get a handle on, I set the design myself, and it has pricing guides. I tried another site and it was horrid. Someone else ended up with all my info and it cross referenced.


    all this said, I don’t know if it’s the BEST choice for professionals but it works for me.



    *it was easy. Not I was easy. Well I’m easy but that’s a secret


    Good luck. I can’t help you on the website part but if youre looking for a side job to go with this I know some artists who found waitiing/coffee shop jobs were perfect for them because they offered a lot of scheduling flexibility.


    I was hoping to pick out some favourite shots and display them in coffee shops around the area, and maybe do a photo shoot for people once in a while for spare change, but taking the plunge into full-time photography…that’s exciting!


    I also have a hobbyist friend using http://www.smugmug.com/

    Siteground is the site I cancelled. Avoid.


    There are numerous professional services that will build you a website, a Google search will provide them. 1x Photo is part website builder, portfolio site/professional site and part social network. They all cost, a lot.

    I have my home site:


    which is pretty cheesy, because I can’t code for shiat. What I started doing is integrating my Pro site with my blog via WordPress.


    When I am done I hope to have everything a pro site would have portfolio, bio, rates, publishing credits ect all directly from the Blog which what I am seeing more and more small photography business doing. Pro photo sites say your business should all be reflected on the Blog so a customer can see what you are doing, how often you are publishing and how much you cost all in one place. This method has the benefit of being fairly cheap, as the templates from WordPress are free and you pay for hosting only.

    In the end, if you can’t code and you want the full flash stunning website, you are going to have to hire a designer and build it.


    A – Awesome! and Good Luck!

    B – What ennui said:

    In the end, if you can’t code and you want the full flash stunning website, you are going to have to hire a designer and build it.

    may be true… but the first question is “What is the website supposed to do?”

    If you’re trying to sell prints of images, there’s some various models that might be worth investigating that will get you up and running until you can hire some code monkey to help you be more “self-contained” including using eBay or Amazon (or some other similar site) for the sales function. I’m not sure what the DeviantArt model is, or how much you’d get from that, but that’s another place. Others have already mentioned other sites.

    If you’re trying to get commission work (wedding, architectural, whatever) all you really need in a good on-line portfolio and contact info, yes? There should be plenty of DIY webhosts and tools out there that’ll get you there.

    Mind you, I’m just brainstorming here from an outsider’s perspective. I haven’t done any of this stuff, so you can feel free to just ignore everything I said above except the first question:
    “What is the website supposed to do?”


    orionid has a DevianArt page and that’s definitely not the direction I want to go. My personal impression of DA may not be accurate but my only exposure to it is as a place people put bad fanfic pencil drawings and the really cool stuff is hard to find amidst the glut of mediocre stuff. And my stuff may be mediocre but I don’t want it to get lost in that. Make no mistake, there’s some great things on DA but I see it as an extension of your photography business, not the residence.

    Your idea to incorporate a blog into it is great ennui. I wonder if I can integrate my G+ public stream, since I’m now very active there (you should be too. do eet do eet). I want it to be clean, streamlined, show the work.

    I do have a friend who is a web developer who promised me earlier this year to build a site as part of his start-up company going public but their plans changed and he’s also a minor league hockey player so I lose him in hockey season. The problem with waiting for that is I kind of need this now. It’s hard to be a photographer these days without a web presence and I wouldn’t hire one who didn’t have one.


    Not that it’s completely fancy, but if you just want to show your work in a way that’s easy for people to view, you’re welcome to my webpage layout (ravnostic.com), I can send the files easily. That cuts out the need to do most of the coding, and what coding you would do would just be copy/paste.

    You’d need to rewrite the verbiage, replace the picture images with your own, and buy the cheapest hosting plan you can find (I like godaddy’s, some others don’t, but I found it pretty easy to operate) and upload the pages/images. If you’re only looking to put the work out there, it’s well within your capabilities to do.

    For that matter, my hosting allows me as many websites as I’d like, so if you bought a domain name, I’d be happy to add it in–got lots of room, unlimited bandwidth (both ways). The only difficulty would be getting me the picture files if there were a ton of them. But if you link to your flickr (or whatever site), you’d not even have to do that.

    Just putting it out there. I’d be happy to help out in any way I can in regards to reworking the page–it’s not really that difficult to do (at the level I’m doing it, at least!)


    Wish I had time to help you, Kes, but I can barely keep my head above water on my day job right now. I’d be more than happy to help with any web-specific questions or advice, though.

    Something to maybe consider if you’re looking to roll your own website might be a DotNetNuke site. There’s a LAMP-stack equivalent called PostNuke, too, I believe. This is an open-source content-management website framework with a ton of free and cheap add-on modules to cover everythiing from galleries to blogs to forums. Another framework that I’ve heard many people using is Joomla, which also has both Linux and Windows variants.

    Good luck and best wishes on your new venture!


    I was able to work with my web friend today, he is setting up ftp access for me on his server and is going to see if he can swing a free wordpress template for me. But thanks for all the options, I may still need them.


    So Kes, if you’re ok with sharing it, any idea what your price structure will be like? I’ve never contemplated charging for photographs but now I’m curious (well not Curious,.. I’m FluffyBunny, but that’s not important).


    I’m planning on $30 an hour with free digital edits to start. For event photography, that is extremely affordable. I’m aware that I’m not actually a trained professional but my entry costs will be low. As my business hopefully picks up and my experience grows, my time will become more valuable.

    Other factors will add cost
    – long travel distance
    – blocks of time above 4 hours
    – holidays and late nights
    – wanting copies of all photos not just the edits
    – rush jobs

    Prints will be cost + some reasonable markup. I haven’t worked that all out yet, depends where I get them from. Hell, if ennuipoet or someone else here can deliver quality larger prints at cheaper cost, I might outsource to them and make some money for both of us (if he’s into that sort of thing).

    One other thing that will set our photography venture apart is the vintage photography we can do with film and antique cameras. This is something I need to build a better archive for and hoping a reasonable starting fee will open some doors to get subject matter.

    To compare, our wedding photography was approximately $600 an hour, we are supposed to get our digital prints on cd after 6 months (which is this month, still waiting) and a $100 print credit, which wasn’t enough to cover 60 3x5s for the thank yous we sent out. But the photographer was an editor for USA Today and was using the Canon Mark 5II whatever thing and had nothing but L glass.

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