The evolution of a photographer’s website, from black to white, to a site that truly reflects the artist
I’ve worked with Viktoria for several years now, through a couple of iterations of her site. It went from black to white and the images started to breathe.
British by birth, Canada is her adopted home and with it, a lifestyle adopted to its majestic beauty. You don’t get the images she gets by parking your car alongside the road and shooting through the window. You set off on foot into the wilderness. That’s an amazing thing.
It was the logo which was most problematic. At first we tried to add an illustration … mountains and a lake. But that was too much of a cliche. Eventually we settled on type treatment, a classy typeface and little more.
Like a lot of clients, Viktoria has great instincts but little faith in herself when it comes to design decisions. During the redesign she sheepishly asked if maybe we could use her signature, and sent it along. That was the solution. Some people’s signature, mine for instance, would make a lousy logo. But Viktoria’s works. My role was just making sure we also included her name in type, for those who can’t decipher her writing. It’s a mistake I see many people make.
We also decided to dispense with sidebar navigation. It was hot for a few years. People were going to larger monitors with a wider aspect ratio. The empty space was falling on the sides of the images.
Then came the iPad and the popularity of smart phones soared. Now as often as not, people are viewing your site on one of these. Sidebar navigation either doesn’t work, or it makes your images smaller.
As she’s grown more comfortable with SmugMug, I notice she’s taken on more of the responsibility of her site for herself. Bad perhaps for my bottom line, but I’m happy to see her taking advantage of SmugMug’s versatility and easy to use tools. The ability to do things on your own, from simple updates to experimenting with pages and galleries is one of SmugMug’s strengths.
With a clean framework to build on, whether a site like hers works or not comes down to the quality of the images. With great images, it’s almost impossible not to have a great looking site. There are fewer design elements to break, and things don’t get cluttered. So the images are always the star.
With images like Viktoria’s, that means she’ll always have a great site.