Friday, April 09, 2010

Need help - your favourite photography websites?

I'm about to have my website redesigned... big bucks, professional designer and all. My goal is simple... to have one of the best, most kick ass photography sites on the net!  

I've been searching out other sites for inspiration. What are your favourite websites? And why? Please share them here. Productive tips will lead to gratuitous praise and good karma!



  1. This here might not be good as a fhotography website, but it can be a great source of inspiration for you and your readers:)

    He designs websides and does graphic.

  2. Steve Mockford7:20 AM

    I think we need more information Ethan. Are you looking to monetize the new site? Whether that is done well or not will have a lot to do with site design and if not done well may actually drive viewers away. Alternatively, will it be a showcase and serve to draw both viewers and customers?

  3. Thanks for the link Joanna, it's a very interesting site design.

    Steve, I've put a fair bit of thought into the business objectives of the site and the target markets. I need to segment the site. Corporate clients want to get quickly to the search page (a searchable database of photos is being added)... so I don't want a cheesy flash into on the main page to bog them down. Photographers (client base for workshops & public talks) are looking for more stories, info about gear, tips, etc.
    As some guiding priciples, I want a simple design with excellent navigations. Focus on quality and richness of content.

    At this point, I'm fishing for inspiration about the basic design and artistic elements moreso than the overall structure of the website. I lean more towards a simple, elegant design that's not overly busy.... but not quite as simple as most of the tempate sites I see out there.

    Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

  4. Ethan, One I like is, simple menu, dark background, higher resolution available for files.
    Another one is for the same reasons. In two mouse clicks you reach your favorite foto. Also without a watermark the picture looks more interesting.
    The disadvantage to the flash sites is that they can't be easily indexed by the search engines.
    I hope it helps.
    Florin M.


    A couple nice websites. Searchable, light boxes and shopping carts. Easy to navigate.


  6. Hi Ethan. I'm not sure if you've picked a platform yet but I'd recommend customizing a Wordpress framework, it's great for SEO, web-based manageability, and there's a lot of templates, add-ins and other features you'll benefit from. You can easily integrate all kinds of photo-viewing add-ins like lightbox or whatever, plus it's database driven which is good for indexing images, search etc.

    My site is very simple and the heart of it is the blog, but I'm not really aiming to monetize or sell through it, it's intended to share my photo excursions as they happen. I built mine myself on a platform I do other design in, but again I'd still suggest looking into wordpress.

    My blog is here:

  7. Steve Mockford2:17 PM

    Hi Ethan,

    I have a preference for fairly simple sites. I think that Chase Jarvis,, and David duChemin,, both do a good job with their blog pages, although I am not a fan of either of their front pages. A slightly busier, but still manageable page is Joe McNally's,, although I also prefer his blog page to his front page. The link that Florin M gave you earlier to is also a nice, simple, easy to navigate site.
    Whatever you do, I look forward to seeing the new site.

  8. Anonymous2:58 PM

    Hey Ethan, the only suggestion I would make is NO cheesy music.


  9. I like pixelated too as well as these ones: -the website to highlight your photos..has forums and galleries to check out -has forums and galleries and articles about photography -you can sign up for an e-newsletter delivered to your mailbox 1/month with articles and product reviews, etc.

  10. Hi Ethan,

    Perfect timing! I just launched my new site and couldn't be happier. The backbone is through Photoshelter, which offers many wonderful standalone templates that can be customized or you can have a web designer fully integrate it into another design. They offer full e-commerce, advanced image search, client areas, customized galleries, excellent SEO and customer service. Have a look at mine: and check them out at:
    They currently have a win-win offer through this link whereby you get a discount and I get a rebate. As you can see, many top photographers from all specialties are using them in a variety of ways. Most importantly the guys behind it are dedicated, forward thinking, and really know their stuff. Feel free to ask me any questions.

  11. Ethan,

    Make sure that you make the site really easy to share. I know this is difficult with images as they are the assets but being as open as possible will help with exposure and reach. is a free social tool that makes it easy to do this.

    Also, if you want to focus on SEO you will want to look at community contribution and forums - think of it as an extension of what you are doing today with the blogs but looking for input from others.

    Finally, as you want it to make money make the checkout process as easy as possible - try to pick a partner that can support Google Checkout and Paypal in addition to the traditional CCs.

    Hope this helps,


  12. Ethan,

    Just wanted to add that everything Simon mentioned above is standard with Photoshelter. Very cool slideshows that can be imbedded anywhere (blogs, websites, etc) with no copyright concerns and all links lead back to your images for purchase or licensing (read excellent SEO). You can setup numerous image licensing models (Fotoquote is included)or self-fullfillment for print purchase, rights-managed stock, royalty free, whatever - and payment through paypal or merchant card service. The great thing is that it's all completely customizeable to you and your work. I'm in no way affiliated, just a very satisfied customer.

  13. Anonymous6:15 PM

    Hi Ethan,

    I lately found, his site I think is basic but packs a punch!



  14. Just wanted to say a huge thanks to everyone for their suggestions here... I have tons of work ahead of me on this project! Once I have the new website plans in place, I'll share all the behind-the-scenes thinking about the site.

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  16. Hi Ethan,
    I've been following your blog for a while now. I think it's one of the best photography blogs I've tuned into. I also really enjoy your articles in Outdoor Photography Canada.

    Are you still looking for website comments? Thought I'd tune in here as I recently went through the exact same thing - wanting a SIMPLE yet elegant website that accmoplishes the things I want - profile me and my work, but also indicate what 'products and services' I have available and make it easy to access those.

    I have only recently rebuilt my website. I did it myself on a Mac. I didn't want to hire anyone because I want to be able to change/update my site myself and I don't want to/have time to learn Dreamweaver or any other software that you can't learn in a half hour. I just don't have time. So doing it myself forced me to keep it simple. I truly belief simple is best. Customers don't want complicated navigation; they'll tune out if it's not easy. The key is to build in 'hooks' that keep folks in your website. Getting folks to look at your website index page is easy - getting them to stay for a while to really look around is the toughest part of the process. Simle really works to enable the retention.

    Two websites I'd suggest are one from my favourite New Zealand photography (I just moved back to Ottawa after 6 years of living in NZ) and the other website is my own. I suggest my own not to promote myself here, but to give you a relevant example since I recently went through the exact same process you're going through now.

    Andris' website:
    My website:

    My website is unfortunately unfinished. My Mum got really, really sick while I was in the middle of building it and she takes priority. I'm in the process of opening up my own part time photography business (I work fulltime for the govt), but haven't had a chance to complete the process or my website since my Mum became ill. But hopefully I'll finish it off soon.

    Anyway, I hope this helps a bit. Looking forward to more of your blog entries. It's great reading!