Why Do Photographer Websites Suck?

Actually, that’s not true. Not all photographer websites are bad. But a very large majority of them are. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Professional photographer, Scott Borne, recently wrote Five Reasons Why Photographers Should Build A Blog Rather Than A Website.

I’ve visited 20 Flash-based photographer’s websites this week. I’ve been subjected to long load times, terrible – loud music, poor animation and a serious lack of good imagery.
– Scott Borne

Scott spent a lot of time looking at photographers websites for a contest called: Emerging Photographer of the Year. I on the other hand, spent a lot of time looking at wedding photographers websites specifically to find a photographer for our wedding. Unsurprisingly, my fiancee and I ran into the same exact problems as Scott did.

It seems common practice for photographers to use Flash and have background music playing on their websites. My only guess, is that it’s for users to sit there and watch a slideshow of their images. Other than that, I don’t know why you need music. You’re a photographer, not a musician, singer, or song writer. You’re trying to sell your photos, not music. Odds are I’m already listening to music on my computer when visiting your site or I’m looking at it somewhere where I don’t need music to attract others, such as a coffee shop, bookstore, etc.

If your using Flash to prevent people from “stealing” your images by doing the whole “right-click” and “save image,” don’t bother. You’d have to somehow prevent the Print Screen button as well. If someone really wants to steal your image, they’ll find a way. Instead use a service like TinEye to find your images online to see if they’re being used without your proper copyrights. TinEye even has a bookmarklet and IE/Firefox plugins, so you don’t have to keep remembering the URL. Also, it’s really annoying if you don’t allow users to right-click. There are users who like to “right-click” and choose “Open in New Tab/Window.” Not everyone is out to get you!

I do disagree with Scott’s opinion that photographers should start blogs instead of a website. Instead, I do think photographers should have a website or at least Flickr or Picasa public account to share their photos for viewing. The photographers primary objective is to have their photos be seen by others and potentially get clients or sells their photos. A blog would be a good addition to a website for a photographer where they can expand on a photograph as to why they took it, techniques used and any other information that they may want to convey to their audience.

Scott’s 5 points are valid. Blogs are easy to start. They can be started for free. And you can style it to whatever you want it look like. There’s nothing wrong with using a CMS, such as WordPress, for your photography portfolio. Actually, I would recommend it, if you’re not already using Flickr or Picasa as well. Or even Posterous.


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