Designing a Photo Website in WordPress #9
Creative websites should feel like treasure hunts.
By Sara Frances | October 06, 2011
A fun experience on the web is equivalent to the pleasurable entertainment factor of an exciting brick and mortar store.
Entertainment is king! Many, or perhaps most, photographers and videographers these days work from home. Studios are not a thing of the past, but are usually unaffordable to the individual practitioner, whether newcomer or long time pro. So how do you create the impact and fun factor of going to a high-class portrait studio or production house? With a fabulous website, of course!
Web and PR experts tell us that entertainment factor is the next big thing in design, and sure enough, I see this in the recent stylistic push in website templates. I've just completed a new site using Broadside by Michael Garcia of ProgressionStudios. This template is only a 45 days old as of this writing, and embodies exactly what I'm talking about here.
I'm applauding what the best creative template designers do. As a fellow creative, I hope you lust for more than the common type of banner heading site with commercial column appearance.
One of the biggest benefits creative templates bring you is space. Space with nothing in it gives the visitor both a shock and a moment to breathe. Space immediately evokes the feel of a video game. Press this and see what happens. Move there and find a new vista around the corner. Such a far cry from the ubiquitous banner type site. The in your face format will create treasure hunt entertainment.
You're a creative, not a cookie cutter.
There's no middle ground here. You have to decide on your business description and choose you site template accordingly.
I note that the same thing is mirrored in the products produced by the photo/video industry. There's either standard, basic garden variety work, ground out at low price and looking very much carbon copy. OR there's highly imaginative, beautifully lit and composed work - art or close to it. Expensive. Like the shrinking middle class, it's hard to find viable studios part way between ho-hum mass market and niche market.
And don't tell me you're not an entertainer.
You are, perhaps unbeknownst to yourself, if your business is viable in today's market. Much as we would all like to believe we offer an important service, the public more frequently sees photo and video as expendable and non-essential. Often you're relegated to a lower level than the choice for chair covers at a banquet. Yes, poor wedding photographs cause regret for the rest of people's lives. Yes, we know it's vital to have great web identity video for the professional or business. But strangely enough, photo and video services to the general public and most business have remained afterthoughts, low down on the budget.
Therefore I suggest you think about what you actually do in a new way from the viewpoint of the client. You work very hard to make a portrait sitting fun, easy and confident with attractive results full of personality. Worthy of pointing to with pride. That's entertainment!
You put yourself in a business person's shoes, seeking out and capturing his passionate drive and devotion to product and service. Documenting passionate dedication in anything from cupcakes to cardboard is an attention getter. That's entertainment!
Creatives simply cannot look like the rest of the world. Standing out is what you do everyday, and your site must be the flag that announces this as you march in the parade down Internet Street.
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