This article is a follow up to our blog post Top Tips for Designing a Successful Website.
Your website is key to the success of your business, and having a good site design is essential. Website design expert and Zenfolio partner Shari Warren provides site design and training service through her company Warren Creative Design. We asked her how she approaches the design process and to share her top Zenfolio site design examples.
How do you approach designing a site for a customer?
Since my design and business consultation services are tailored to the photographer’s goals and design esthetic, my first step is a phone consultation. I learn their specialty, such as portraits, weddings, fine art; who their customers are; and their perceived competition. This helps me determine what type of website design might be most successful for their business.
I also ask them to make a list of the URLs of photography websites they like the look and feel of. We review those sites together and then brainstorm design, gallery and web page organization ideas for their own website. Sometimes, I will mock-up design options using some of their photos in Photoshop, so we can further determine the design direction that appeals to them the most, before designing a new theme in the Zenfolio theme designer.
What are your favorite Zenfolio sites you designed?
Pam Jones of Paris Mountain Photography has a wedding photography site that really takes advantage of some of Zenfolio’s features. A clean, modern design shows off her stunning photos. Rather than her Contact page being just a solid color, I had Pam choose one of her photos to use as a background image for her Contact page. This gives the page a new dimension and continuity to her specialty as a wedding photographer. I also suggested using a custom page for her About page and to show a slideshow of Pam in action shooting. This gives customers a sense of Pam as a professional photographer and adds credibility to her already impressive portfolio.
Susie Talman of Susie Talman Photography wanted to have fun quotes as an overlay to her gallery thumbnails to add her personality to her portrait and lifestyle photos. She picked a fun font, and I created the overlays in Photoshop and then uploaded the images to her galleries and then selected those photos as the cover thumbnails
Nancy Merrill of Nancy Merrill Photography desired a vintage, scrapbook design look for her family and newborn photography website. Using files of antique paper and elements from her logo to create a background pattern, I created a custom theme, giving her site a tasteful photo book look. Also, on her custom investment pages, we used a collaged banner image for each of her specialties.
David Hanson of Hanson-Carlen Architecture & Construction wanted their website to look like a beautiful luxury online magazine showcasing photography of their residential project photography. The website really takes advantage of the full-screen homepage layout with a centered logo. For their blog, I took advantage of the banner header layout and created a collage of photos showing their team in action with a text overlay naming their blog “Latest Musings” to give a sense of the company’s personality as a lead in to their stories.
Shari Warren of Warren Creative Design has provided design, training and business consultations to hundreds of Zenfolio photographers since 2011. With her background as an art director in the software and publishing industries, she brings a creative, objective eye and marketing savvy to help portrait, wedding and fine art photographers showcase their photography and set up their websites and shopping carts to help accomplish their business goals.
Taylor McGregor, a native of Silicon Valley, is a customer service representative at Zenfolio. She has a BFA in photography and graphic design. Her passions are photography, the great outdoors, and racking up frequent flier miles.