Wednesday, June 16, 2010

This ain't so simple: "Collecting the Collection"


What a huge job it's been to create a website to showcase a collection of my photographic works.
Note: If you're a visual creature, skip these words till you get to the image at the bottom of this post - it might do a better job at highlighting the long process it's taken me to get here.

For the word lovers... To give an insight, it started with a brief that highlighted the key content pages, which included a requirement to build the galleries in flash format and to provide SEO features too... "What's that?" I hear you ask... Here's what I'm talking about...

CONTENT is the "stuff that goes on a page"
ie: words, photos, video etc.
If I create it, it's my "IP Content". IP stands for "Intellectual Property" which means I claim to have developed it. Some Content will be created by other people, for instance, the legal words to cover my website "Terms of Use" and "Copyright Statement" and my logo - developed thanks to my partner Quaetapo for pulling that together for me. Generally, you have to build the Content before you build the website.

FLASH is a type of website programming.
Most standard websites are done in HTML but a Flash website protects the copyright of the Content better than HTML. This is because the programming code of a Flash website is hidden to developers (whereas HTML is not hidden) and the "right-click-save" feature, usually available from most computers, is also disabled. 

The disabled "right-click-save" feature prevents, to some extent, copyright breach - which is great news for photographers, designers and creative content producers trying to make a living from their works.

Everytime someone uses the "right-click-save" feature on a photo on a HTML website and stores that photo on their computer, the copyright of that photo may have been breached. Most people don't realise that doing this could be perceived as "stealing" the Content from the copyright owner.

Most countries have individual laws that protect Copyright ownership but there are International laws surrounding it too. In Australia, generally, a photographer owns the Copyright of an image captured. This is a whole topic in itself and I'll pick-up on this sometime later... [NB: If you need a great IP Copyright or Trademarks Attorney, let me know - I have a brilliant contact here in Sydney].

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
Basically, SEO makes the search engines find your website and indexes your web pages with the keywords you define for it. If you want to be found by someone using a search engine, you have to have SEO for your web pages. In my case, this is important because I want a person based in Sydney and searching for "Eastern Suburbs photographer" to see my website.

Traditionally, a Flash website hides the programming code so most Flash websites are hidden to the search engines. But there are ways to work through this issue and provide SEO for Flash websites and an unpaid search query will hopefully find and list my webpages for all my keyword phrases.

Galleries: Which images to show?
I wanted to showcase a collection of recent images that show the types of works I do as a photographer. I defined "recent" as created within the last five years but that didn't stop me from also including some historical images drawn out of my archive. This meant going through literally thousands of photos...

I also did a bit of historical research in regards to photography. As the editor of my own images, I needed to consider other opinions on what made a great photo great.

I created a list of basic categories and then start finding the best images for each. This was a huge process of sorting and filing. Then, each image had to be resized and "optimised" for the website. I really have to thank my partner and also a business associate David, for being clearly decisive and supportive of the process too. The end result are the "galleries" I now have contained on my website.


Here's a collection of images that I call my current "CompCard". You can find most of these images on my new website www.markhamimages.com - Enjoy