Where is your home base?
San Francisco Bay Area
How did you get started helping Zenfolio photographers?
I started as a customer using Zenfolio, about seven years ago, for my own portfolio website. I really enjoyed the gallery organization and customization features. Zenfolio offered me an opportunity to work with them on some creative projects. One of the projects was to offer personal website design consultations to Zenfolio customers. There was such a great response that one of the founders asked me if I would start a consulting business to help Zenfolio customers with design and training. I have now worked with hundreds of Zenfolio customers worldwide since 2011.
What are the top three questions you ask photographers when you begin working with them?
1. What are your photography specialties? (such as Portraits, Wedding, Lifestyle, Landscapes, Nature, etc.)
2. What are your business goals? (such as book more sessions or sell fine art prints)
3. What do you want to accomplish with your website? (show my portfolio, private client galleries, sell prints online)
What is your process when working with photographers?
After I determine a customer’s business goals, I will write up a strategy and a to-do list to help the photographer plan their galleries and content for their web pages. I give a step-by-step approach to keep photographers on task, so they don’t feel too overwhelmed. I will email and set up phone or Skype appointments to check-in and provide training on Zenfolio features to help them finish their websites in a timely fashion so they can be open for business as soon as possible.
What is your favorite question to ask photographers?
I always ask my customers how they got started shooting. Everyone loves to share their story and passion for their photography. I keep their answer in mind
while working with them and designing their website.
What is your favorite part of working with photographers?
I love creating design themes that really showcase a customer’s photos. They are very appreciative of the role coordinating colors, fonts and layouts can make in a professional presentation. When I am finished with the design, I want the photographer to have the confidence and be proud of their website, ready to show to their prospective customers.
If you could share a couple of tips with aspiring or new photographers, what would they be?
Curate your work. Keep in mind that visitors have a short attention span, so be very selective of the images you show on the homepage, as this is were a visitor will get their first impression. Also, only show a limited selection of your best work for each gallery, and arrange those images as they relate to each other for a pleasing visual flow and presentation.
What's the best part of working with photographers?
Working as a creative professional all my professional life, I enjoy chatting about the creative process each photographer uses with their customers and sharing tips and resources for equipment and photo editing.
Do you shoot photography?
Yes! While I am trained as a designer and art director, I also consider myself a photo enthusiast. I shoot as much as I can and am continually working on my photo editing skills. On my own Zenfolio website, www.shariwarrenphotos.com, I sell prints and license my photography to companies. I also use my website to experiment with new Zenfolio features and layouts to better help my customers. Additionally, I belong to some local photo groups and enjoy going on photo walks with other photographers. I always have my camera or cell phone with me, and I enjoy capturing fun or intriguing images.
What do you think are the top Zenfolio features essential to helping photographers with their business?
1. Easy gallery organization and private client galleries.
2. Customizable design themes and in-gallery watermarks for protection.
3. E-commerce for selling prints and other products.
Any other last thoughts about Zenfolio as a service?
I am a real fan of the Zenfolio support team. I have true confidence sending customers to them for any questions I might not know the answer to. Also, they have been responsive and generous with advice when I am working with some custom code or layouts for a customer that requires a unique approach within the Zenfolio platform.