Redesigning my web-page
I am very trilled to announce the launch of my new web-site ( www.bogdanlazar.ro) dedicated fully to travel photography, a project that has been in my mind for almost a year now. As many of you have already a web-site to present yourself and your work and if not, I am sure you are considering investing into one; I thought to be useful to make a blog about my experience and to open in this way a discussion about such a necessary thing for photographers.
From the beginning I was interested in having a site which could be easily updated with new images, galleries and articles about traveling experiences. Although flash sites look appealing for most photographers, I wanted a little more – a database of images with description and other attributes suitable for some further projects that I have in mind. As I am not a web-developer, I also wanted to have a fully functional administration area accessible from a web interface. Multi-language tools were also on my wish list as I am mostly targeting European customers, very different from the linguistic point of view.
I was not able to find any suitable template available on the market to fulfill all my wishes. I have also considered using a general Content Management System, but the setup of such a website was already too much work and required skills that I do not have. I have then decided to aim at a custom made CMS specially suited for working with images. As Romania, the country where I am coming from has quite a few good and relatively cheap web-developers I have started searching in this direction. I have come up with Alopia, a small web-design company located in Timisoara, Romania. However, seems like we seriously under-evaluated the complexity of the project and we have passed quite a few deadlines negotiated along the way. With a lot of patience and work, we have finally managed to put it together at the beginning of this month.
The site features two parts: a public area – which all of you can now enjoy, constructed as a template and independent of the administration area – suitable to easy editing the image and articles databases. The public area features galleries to group the images; image details page; a blog section; standard contact and about pages, all in several languages. I wanted to present images together with description, as many of my images are directly linked to places I have traveled to, which deserve a little presentation. I also wanted to have links directly to the purchase pages of Dreamstime and other micro-stock agencies where my images are for sale (links including the referral codes where available). I also wanted to have a blog area to share my travel experiences with other travel photographers and friends. The articles (like in the blog area but not limited to) are quite versatile, featuring full integration with the images from the database. This leaves me room for further development of additional means to present my images, other than through galleries. Did I mention that all is currently available in 2 languages with the possibility to add more in the future?
The administration area features an uploading application for images, with automatic creation of full size images with custom watermark and also thumbnails. The image title, description, keywords and the links to the micro-stock agencies can be populated from the same administration area. EXIF data retrieval is on the wish-list. Galleries can also be created and edited, as well as the order in which the images are presented. Images can appear in several galleries. Articles can also be added and edited and marked as log entries if so desired. They can include images in either full size or thumbnails with links to the appropriate image details page. Languages can be added and the interface text can be edited for each of them, as well as other useful scripts and features.
Another particularity is the possibility to create hidden galleries (not presented on the browse page). I find this useful to make such light-boxes for potential customers, in which one may include selected images.
As for the aspect of the public area, I wanted something simple. I have avoided any graphical elements for navigation in order to focus the attention on the images themselves, and also to make the page load faster, considering the large size of the photographs.
Having presented my initial goals and expectations, I would appreciate any feedback or comments you might have. I have a list of further improvements for a next version of the site, and I will be more than happy to add your suggestion on it…
By the way, the developer ( Alopia) is considering launching this Content Management System as a commercial product sometime in the future, as it still needs some tuning, documentation and setting up demo accounts. However, if you are interested please feel free to contact them – you might be able to purchase the product before launch at a discounted price. The aspect of the public area can customized as per your liking. Alopia's web-page is in Romanian only, so if you do not manage to contact him, write me a comment on some image and I’ll give you his e-mail address – they can read, write and speak English…
Now, please enjoy here on dreamstime the images used for the cover of the first 6 galleries published on my web page:
Photo credits: Mihai-bogdan Lazar.