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  • #15238
    IainMc
    Member

    Hi

    I’ve just registered here and would appreciate some feedback on my photography website – http://www.dunmaglas.co.uk

    Please don’t pull any punches ūüėČ

    Thanks

    #15243

    I don’t have time to get into the whole set right now.¬† I peeked at a couple.¬† This is the only one I will talk about now.

    http://dunmaglas.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Coastal-Landscapes/G0000f1aeOzRDKv8/I0000poMvvlqxNeM

    The boats look like toys!  Did you do this with a tilt-shift lens?  The very wet shore to navigable water transition looks odd.  The sky appears to be heavily polluted air.  Colour seems too muted.  The cargo ship should be the focus based on your title but it is small, with bad lighting.  The photo is too busy, there is too much other stuff, too many lines and dots.

    #15257
    IHF
    Member

    Your website navigates pretty well, but there are too many images. I think you should cull them down a little and that would help a lot. It might¬†actually be the only problem when all is said and done. I also don’t understand why there are galleries and portfolios, both of which have some of the same images, but many in the galleries aren’t seen in the portfolio visa versa. Kind of strange and disorderly. I got lost digging a few times and found myself a little put off by it all.

    a lot of your images seem to be taken mid day, and with an eye level POV like any sort of passerby would take. Sort of gives them all a tourist snap shot sort of feel. Your black and white conversions need help, very muddy black and whites, but this may be more due to bad mid day lighting/conditions than processing. I can’t be certain because PP isn’t my strong suit. Maybe someone more knowledgable in that area will pop in and give some help/input.

    Not getting a pro “this guy knows what he is doing” vibe at all. Like I said before declutter a bit by editing your images down, and it may work a lot better. No need for multiple shots of the same subject unless the composition is vastly different.

    #15262

    You have a damaged file:¬† http://dunmaglas.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Red-Road-Demolition/G00000P0wcmRv7hM/I0000Et3e2FEd7Yo¬† It’s green in the thumbnail and also the larger image!

    The whole set appears to be out of the camera, on a cloudy, humid, low contrast day.  This is an original:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/54048679@N07/10944364464/

    And what it looks like after a few minutes of adjustment:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/54048679@N07/10944210675/

    It’s still not where I would really want it to be, but I hope you agree it is improved, and see the possibilities?

    The collage on your home page offers hope that the photos inside will be good, but there is some let down when you get into the individual galleries.  In this one (http://dunmaglas.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Boats/G0000N8GoH4daFxg/I0000w2Qqx5Y.pRg) for instance the building is not square, the left wall is leaning in.

    It looks like you are hoping to assemble a micro stock site featuring your own work.  I fear if you submitted to ShutterStock or Getty, your work would be rejected.

    There are several like this (http://dunmaglas.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Boats/G0000N8GoH4daFxg/I00004bLv8RXv1lg) for which the title is “Boats” but the subject could easily be “Derelict Dock”.

    I will agree with IHF that I’m not getting the vibe that it is a pro site.¬† I will disagree with her, however, regarding multiple shots of the same thing.¬† If you are putting together a portfolio, she is completely correct.¬† But, if you are putting together a stock site, then multiple photos that are just different enough is a pretty reasonable path.

     

     

     

    #15265
    IHF
    Member

    CC, so maybe have a portfolio of say 50 of the best tops, and then have a stock tab? Or would it be better to have the stock completely separated on it’s own site different from his port and print sales? Then skip the “print sales” tab altogether to do away with some confusion? Iain, does this mean that ONLY those in print sales are available for print, and galleries are only for stock, the rest shown are personal and not up for sale? (If so I’d keep the personal shots separated as well. ¬†Maybe kept on a blog?). Very confusing for your customers.
    CC I’ve never seen stock being sold independently on a photography site before. What would be the best way to go about it, so you don’t bore your potential audience, and people will easily find what they are seeking?

     

    #15279

    I don’t have a magic formula for building a site.¬† Net Firms offered up a coach last week.¬† I think I may see what he has to say.

    There are sites that are dedicated to stock and take submissions from many photographers.¬† Flickr is apparently feeding some photos into Getty Images as stock.¬† Some stock sites seem to offer images that have no associated cost.¬† I’m not sure how that works as a business model.¬† Some seem to have a lot of photographers providing images and others seem to only have one, or a small group, providing images.¬† All the stock sites had to start somewhere, so perhaps the small ones I have seen will build into the large sites of the future.¬† Conventional wisdom seems to be that stock should be clean, fairly simple images.¬† That would make sense if the image were to be used as part of an advertisement or in a brochure.¬† Images should probably be fairly saturated so they can jump off the page and grab your attention, too.

    The site my avatar here is linked to, started out as a way to show my photography.¬† In some ways it is a digital extension of slide shows I did for family and friends in the 1970’s.¬† Those photos were displayed as large as the room would support, usually on a 7 foot square screen that dominated one end of a room.¬† With a projector at the other end and people sitting around the sides, I could put up a slide, then give a short talk about the photo, where, why, what, depending on the seeming relevance.¬† Now I have family scattered across Canada and the US, as well as in Hong Kong.¬† The web page lets me throw a gallery together, add some notes and any family or friends that are interested can view the photos at their convenience.¬†¬† The earliest photos are from 1975 and 1976, then there is a gap because scanning slides and negatives is time intensive.¬† The bulk of images were shot after 2002 when I got my first good digital camera.¬† There are lots of photos you may not like or would find boring, but there are just over 3300 photos, so hopefully, something for everyone.¬† That’s about half the number of photos I shoot when we are on a single trip.¬† I try to limit galleries to 300 photos and my wife prefers I limit them to 250.¬† The Niagara Falls gallery has way too many photos, and a lot are very similar, but it is there for the people we visited the falls with.¬† Behind the private door are another 80 or so, photos of family and some event photos.¬†¬† I have a couple of Flickr galleries, one has 574 photos and the other has 1730.¬† My portfolio page has 68 photos, but my portfolio book only has about 20.¬† And, I have some photos at 500px, Red Bubble, Model Mayhem, and a few other sites.¬† Obviously I need a cohesive strategy, too.¬† Frequently I put photos wherever it is easiest and at the moment, that is Flickr.

    Many social sites have critique forums, you drop a photo into the stream and anyone can review it.  Different sites have slightly different methods and different results.  That arrangement works well for me because directing someone to almost any of my sites would be overwhelming in terms of quantity.   Focusing on one or two photos at a time is much easier than trying to take in the first 500.

     

    This has been a really long way of saying you should try to figure out the reason your web page exists, and put up content that supports the reason.¬† Having a regular Internet Service Provider, I can have as many¬† URL’s as I desire (and am willing to pay for).¬† So, I have 4.¬† One for my photo show, one that deals mostly with software, and two that have the same name but one is a .com and the other is a .ca.¬† Presently they point to the same folder on the server but they could be separated later if necessary.

    The other challenge is how do you drive the desired traffic to your site?   If you want to drive print sales of previously taken photos, Red Bubble or Fine Art America may be good choices because you drop the photo there, assign a lot of key words, and if someone wants the print, they look after printing and shipping.  In many ways, that is a subset of stock.  The photo is available, but instead of getting the file, you get a print.

     

    When I looked at¬†http://www.dunmaglas.co.uk/, I just clicked on photos in the collage.¬† I didn’t get into the menu tabs, so on that basis, I missed a lot of the site, and if I found it through Google, I would have seen the first few photos, then bailed out and left forever.¬† That may mean a lot of potential is being lost because people are not figuring out how the site works.

     

    #15280
    IainMc
    Member

    Thanks for the feedback folks I will certainly take this on board and consider the points you have raised.

    One or two points I would like to respond with.

    CC the green file is not damaged it was rendered that way as I was experimenting with tinted monochrome images.

    As regards the adjusted image you posted,¬† to my eye it looks a little over saturated/contrast (albeit artistic) and the colours are deeper than those buildings actually appear in good light (they’re pretty drab which is why they’re all coming down over the next few years even though there’s nothing structural wrong with them, just a failed experiment of 1960s urban planning). These images were taken primarily with editorial usage in mind and it my understanding that manipulation of editorial images tends to be frowned upon. I understand World Press Photo has changed its competition rules as this year’s winning image was disputed because of the amount of post production.

    Alas cloudy, poor visibility days are not something we are short of in the UK and I have to say I’ve seen duller images in newspapers.

    The issue you raised with the title “Boats” this is the gallery name displayed here and not the title of the image – confusing perhaps but that is the way Photoshelter’s default gallery display is configured – maybe something that should redesigned in light of your comment.

    For what it’s worth I do have about 1,400 images on Shutterstock (I stopped submitting a while ago because I’m not doing RF for pennies any more and also pulled about 300+ images from iStock) and about 5,000 (mostly RM) on Alamy.

     

    I admit I do have concerns about having stock/prints in the same basket so to speak, for the most part because the markets for these are completely different Рsomething PS is yet to offer a convenient solution to other than setting up two accounts which would involve considerable duplication of archiving.  On the other hand it seems a waste not to use all of the sales tools they have on offer. Nevertheless a strategic review is certainly in order.

     

    #15281

    Going through one of your galleries later, I saw you had a few more with the same treatment.¬† I had a couple of photos that looked a lot like those, but they were the result of a hard drive that crashed.¬† I don’t think I have the damaged ones any more.¬† I replaced them from a back-up.¬† But when I saw your photos, I had a flash-back.

    I liked where I got to with the buildings, I thought it made the grass too green and the red house to the building’s left was standing out more than I wanted.¬† Not knowing what the scene is supposed to look like, it was my best guess.¬† Hong Kong frequently has high humidity which gets in my way when I visit.¬† Other places like Beijing have pollution.¬† Sometimes we have brown air, here, too.¬† My objective is to cut through as much of that haze as possible, which may make the objects in the photo look better than they do in real life.¬† I don’t see that as a bad thing as long as they are not misrepresented.

    Newspapers typically have printing issues, between the paper quality and speed at which they have to print.  I would rather my photos looked like they belonged in National Geographic or Sports Illustrated than in a newspaper!

    It sounds like you are more than a little familiar with shooting stock.

    I wouldn’t consider duplicating archives to be a problem.¬† The last 4TB drive I purchased was less than $200.¬† Really, the duplication would be on the PS servers?¬† Unless the account has a charge that is not easily recovered through sales, I would set up duplicate accounts, or a second account with some other host.

    #15284
    IainMc
    Member

    It was drizzle on that day rather than humidity.¬† I think the rain had stopped by the time of the demolition but I’d stood about 90 minutes waiting and holding an umbrella over the camera for much of the time! Plus the focal length was 200mm so that obviously added to haze, being about a mile from the site, but it was the closest unobstructed vantage point I could find outside the evacuation zone.

    If you’re curious to see the buildings on a clear day- putting this reference in Google Maps search will bring up the location (Google Earth has 3D models in arial view) :¬† 55.879925,-4.208462

    Personally I think its a pity they’re blowing them all down instead of renovating into luxury flats because there is something iconic about them (they were the tallest residential structures in Europe when they were built) and I’ve seen uglier listed buildings from the same era (listed in the UK generally means its illegal to demolish because of historic or architectural interest unless in danger of collapse).

    I have to admit I quite like haze in images sometimes, especially in vistas where it has a graduated effect leading into the distance like in these examples (I had to run to escape a torrential thunder and lightning storm about 5 mins after taking the second one):

    http://bit.ly/1bNW9wj

    http://bit.ly/17Jmln3

     

    As regards PS I will look more into what other photographers who use it are doing as I haven’t done so for a while. Quite a lot seem to have prints and licence sales on the the same site (though not necessarily the same images) but I gather a lot of Photoshelter users tend to use it as a download facility for clients and those they’ve contacted on spec rather than being solely a vehicle to bring in sales per se.¬† I understand PS are looking at ways to overcome that though and drive more traffic to users sites.¬† So with that in mind, plus the fact I’ve only just upgraded to a Nikon D7000, it seems a good time for some major curating.

    As regards duplicating archives I just think it a bit inefficient compared with running multiple sites off a single back-end but I may look into Graph Paper Press (or Beam once its out of Beta test).

    #15287
    IainMc
    Member

    Just a couple of examples, which I don’t consider my best work by a long shot, but these are my top sellers in terms of volume and highest licence price respectively.

    This has sold over 300 times on Shutterstock alone (Enhanced licence twice) since 2009. My only regret is that I put it on RF to start with instead of RM on Alamy – http://bit.ly/1aPDTxN

    This one licenced a few months ago (RM non-exclusive) to a book publisher for $900 – http://bit.ly/17lZbX1

    I’d be very interested to know what you think of these images because on another day I might have culled both of them.

    #15290

    London-100-0016.jpg reminds me of the cottage, I can relate it to some of my photos but being shot in summer, in Ontario, the air is clear and sky is blue.  I have a definite preference for photos in good weather, though bad weather makes some shots.  I like night shots right after a rain when the streets are very reflective.

    London-58-0023.jpg, given a choice of the shot as is, or taken on a clear day, I suspect I would prefer the clear day photo.

    London-14-0017.jpg is a nice scene.  Good looking row houses!  The sky suggests a more distant shot would not have the clarity.  I like it.

    London-74-0031.jpg, doesn’t do as much for me.¬† I’m not a fan of most B&W.¬† Again, like all of these, it is a personal preference.¬† There are leading lines and the bridges look level.¬† It has kind of a cold damp November, feel to it, but that’s probably something that comes from my experience/imagination rather than being reality.

    If you sold them once, I would keep them unless you have space limitations.  You may sell them again.

    #15328
    ebi
    Member

    first glance: looks like bad stock photography. if i get a chance, i’ll take a longer look later.

    #15394
    IainMc
    Member

    Thanks for the feedback folks and after consideration I have identified a number of actions to take:

    Reduce the number of galleries / gallery groups on the site
    Reduce the number of images, duplicates and cull older images where the lighting/composition doesn’t work too well
    Focus on more specific niche areas of photography to develop – taking account of my strengths and weaknesses and where I am based (location wise) architecture and the urban environment is the most opportune area.
    Restructure the galleries and since most of my work is location-specific I should also have primarily location-specific rather than subject-based galleries. This may also help SEO.
    Look at ways to segregate prints sales from licence sales given the different customer profiles for these

    Any more tips would be appreciated.

    #15717
    IainMc
    Member

    I’ve made some major changes to my website. I still have more to do content-wise with the structure and editing of the galleries but would welcome any feedback.

    #15719

    Site loads quickly, I like the design¬†and I didn’t have much of problem navigating. The only things letting it down are the pictures.

     

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