Recently I was looking for a photographer to photograph some artworks for me, so I contacted a previous work colleague of mine for a quote. It just so happened that he was in the beginning stages of re-branding his photography business and was looking to re-do his website, so we got chatting.
Etienne had designed his new logo himself, which I loved right away – it has a distinct style and bold feel which defines the personality of the brand very quickly. This was extremely helpful when it came to designing his site. Off the bat he had a few basic requirements – firstly, the site had to showcase the photography without too much distraction, ie no unnecessary buttons, captions, or widgets, and images should be as large as possible without them being clipped off the screen or displaying ‘too big’ or ‘too small’. Secondly, Etienne would be uploading his images himself, so he needed a user-friendly back-end… with the potential to add a client area down the line.
Tackling the 1st problem seemed fairly straightforward at first but with the multitude of screen resolutions and devices out there it required a lot of fine-tuning. In the end the site uses different style sheets to more precisely control the image sizes and site layout for the different displays. For example, on mobile phones the menu is collapsed so that it doesn’t hog all the screen space, the block elements stack below each other rather than alongside each other, and the images are set to adjust to 100% device width so that they are as large as possible. On very high resolution screens, the site displays larger images and thumbnails, and the font sizes are increased to account for the greater pixel density.
The back-end is a custom-built php-coded admin system. I sometimes prefer this hand-coded approach to using WordPress and plug-ins as it allows much more flexibility and control with how the front-end galleries looks and functions, as well as what the client can edit in the back-end. It is often more user-friendly while still allowing for easy extend-ability and addition of new features down the line.
There is also a blog, integrated to seamlessly match the site, where Etienne can showcase recent work and upload tips for clients and/or photographers.
You can take a look at the site here: www.ekophotographic.co.za. Re-size your browser window down to the width of a mobile phone, refresh the page, and see how the site adapts.
Etienne Koenig is a fantastic photographer who specializes in architectural/interior photography as well as hotels and resorts.