Redesigning my web-page


posted on 24th of september, 2009

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:






Bogdan Lazar
www.bogdanlazar.ro

Comments (12)

Posted by Bogdan on October 01, 2009
I am not 100% sure, but I think the programers found an open-source library of functions for working with images (including resizing, blending - used for adding the watermark, maybe exif functions etc...) in some language that can run on a webserver (I really do not know if is php, javascript or something else I don't know about). If you need more details, you can ask directly the programmers. You can find their contact information at www.alopia.com. The watermark itself was made by myself. I upload it via a form in the administration area, and a script puts it on each of the images in the database and remembers it to be used on the next uploads...
Hope my explanation helps,
Bogdan
Posted by Laurentiulpa on October 01, 2009
Hi,Bogdan!Congratulations for your website!
Did you manage to make and apply the watermark for free?
Posted by Bogdan on September 30, 2009
Thanks again to all for compliments...
@Mani33. I will definitely try as you suggested (I do not remember at which level the percentage of opacity is currently set)... I just need some free time!!!
Posted by smartview27 on September 27, 2009
Congratulations for your website, Bogdan!
Cheers!

Dragos
Posted by Kittycat on September 26, 2009
Great idea. Beautiful site and images.
Posted by Mani33 on September 25, 2009
Hi Bogdan,
If you use Photoshop, make the watermark in white and try the fill layer between 30-40%. Look at the watermark of DT it rarely doesn't fit any photo... Wish you luck!
Cheers ;)
Posted by Bogdan on September 25, 2009
Thanks to all for your compliments...
@Mani33 - You are the second person reporting this problem, so I guess I have to deal with it ;-) However, the watermark is applied in the same way to all images, but somehow it is more visible on the dark ones. It has something to do with the algorithm of adding the watermark. I'll have to see if there is something I can change about it to make it better... ;-)
Posted by Asyan on September 25, 2009
Looks great, bro!. Keep up the good work! ;)
Posted by Fultonsphoto on September 24, 2009
Simple but effective, nice images as well.
Posted by Wildmac on September 24, 2009
Great website! I really like the layout, it is simple and easy to navigate. I love your images and I hope you have many sales :0)
Posted by Mani33 on September 24, 2009
Nice! Simple and direct... I advise you to make the watermark lighter on the darker photos! The visibility of some of them is taken by the watermark.
That's my opinion. Cheers ;)
Posted by Torchdesigns on September 24, 2009
Cool article. I went to your web site as well. It looks really clean and professional. Not noisy, or too busy. That is awesome!

Have a great day!

Sarah



Comments (12)

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Photo credits: Mihai-bogdan Lazar.

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