Photography
Photography

   Blue Loon no longer provides any website design services. As a photographer, your options are:

Do it yourself

    There are a number of software tools that could help you. If you are good at programming, try out Macromedia Dreamweaver, part of a suite of programs called Macromedia Studio MX 2004. There are templates that can be incorporated into Dreamweaver to give your website a certain style. In general though, there is a steep learning curve to mastering Dreamweaver. Photographer/webmaster Jan Allinder (see below) has an e-book you can buy A Photographer's Guide to Web Design (downloadable or on CD) to help guide you, even if you want to start with something simple. There is another part of Studio MX that might be useful to you if you want some animation on your website, namely the popular Macromedia Flash. Many websites now have Flash movies. It is very clean, vector based video animation. You can build a simple Flash based photo album, examples of which you may have seen on the Blue Loon website. You can implement simpler types of animation with just Javascript, a scripting language common in web pages (e.g., scrolling marquee photo galleries).

    To get fairly competent with website programming, you will want to master one of two other scripting languages. If your website will be hosted on a Windows IIS (Internet Information Server), you will need to know ASP (Active Server Pages). This website was built using ASP. If you will be hosted on a UNIX server, consider learning PHP. These scripting tools allow you to build dynamic web pages, i.e. web pages that take action based on user input on the current page. Web photo albums and shopping carts are examples of applications that require such programming. If you want to implement your own photo galleries, you may want to use photo album software available typically for under $100. The Blue Loon website uses a software package called "aspWebAlbum" for the photo galleries.

    To incorporate shopping carts on your website can be difficult if you want to do it all yourself. This is rather complicated programming, because you need to guarantee secure shopping to your customers. If you do it yourself, you can still use available shopping cart software, but you need to implement security yourself. Typically you need to obtain a merchant bank account and implement "SSL" (Secure Socket Layers" to handle credit card sales. Another way of doing things is to let someone else handle the actual purchase details for you, and notify you of the sale so you can incorporate it into your customer database. Blue Loon uses such a vendor, one which specializes in "shareware", which is inexpensive software usually available over the Internet, often as "try and buy". The most hands off way of doing things is to put your website in the hands of an ISP (Internet Service Provider) who automatically sets up a shopping cart as part of your service and handles the sales for you. For example, many ISP's support the "Miva Merchant" shopping software suite.

Have someone do it for you.

    There are a few web designers who specialize in websites for photogaphers/nature photographers. One is Jan Allinder of Lucid Images. Based in Mississippi, she has designed a number of websites for photo professionals. This is a good place to start. Also, try ArtWebWorks.com. Chris Maher and Larry Berman list an extensive client list of photographers for whom they have designed websites.

Have your ISP set it up.

    If you plan to sell a lot of stuff on your website, this may be the most effective way to proceed, but also the most expensive.


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