From Simple Folder to Beautiful Photography Portfolio
This is the first of (hopefully) many stories documenting the development process and the idea behind a product designed for photographers that makes it intuitive and simple to manage a photography website.
Product and a cause
The aim — make it simple and “free” for photographers who are just getting into the game and give the pros a tool that’s not wasting their time or money to maintain a website. Quite the challenge. Hard, but not impossible.
There’s a sea full of site builders and platforms, that sort of make it easy to build and run a website, but these still miss a huge point. These sort of tools are great, but they are made with an assumption that the author of the website has necessary design skills and knowledge to build a website or motivation to learn how to.
Remove any learning requirements by using familiar tools that photographers already use daily. Get rid of any admin panels and complicated builders. Use the most mundane things that all of us use and most likely are the first things we’ve interacted with when we started using computers; Folders and playing the copy-paste game.
The current issue
Just as surly you don’t want to learn how to build a house, even if the tools you have to use are easy and straight forward (in most cases) you still leave it to professionals. You find the house you like and buy it, then have a designer and a crew adjust minor things to your liking. Why? You wouldn’t want your house to look bad, be impossible to live in, or fall in on itself — would you? Even though site builders and templates make it relatively easy to build websites, they still require you to learn how to use these and require you to know exactly what you want and how to do it right.
- Put design related decisions in the hands of experienced designers.
- Have a stable, functional and easy to use platform for designers to build websites on.
- Give the photographer the simplest and most familiar tools to manage the website without introducing anything new to learn. No unfamiliar user interfaces, workflows and unnecessary actions to take.
I can see the product ready in my mind. Next — reverse-engineer it into existence.
How the hell is it going to be free, so many photos to host? It’s not cheap and surly not free. Before the panic kicks in (just talking to myself)— remember WordPress.com? Tumbler? And other lovely platforms like those? Now, I’m going to be honest with you, I haven’t thought about making money out of this and I don’t think this is important at this stage. I’d prefer to have it be crowd founded, just to cover the cost of running it.
For me this product is just as much of a great tool as it is a cause. I just hate to see photographers put of making their website because of not having time to learn how to build a website, being afraid of doing it wrong, breaking things when updating the content and most importantly not having the money or not wanting to spend the money and not being sure of the outcome.
I’ll be writing more on this to expand on the details, document the road and share the progress.
I’ve put a mailing list together with awesome photographers I meet on Instagram. All of them are great and talented photographers and they were supper helpful with their feedback! They’ve helped me with a very important decision I had to make before moving forwards with development.
I’d love it if you’d join in on the feedback train. Let me know what you think of this and if you’d like to join the early adopters and play around the platform when alpha is out.