Over the past 10 years I have had websites from four different services, each a bit better than the previous yet all still lacking in one area or another. My first website was hosted by a company I cannot even remember the name of! You can tell the lasting impression it made on me. Let's just say I would be terrified to have a flashback of that website today and I am both proud and relieved at the progress I've made over the last decade both as a photographer and in my personal style but we will talk more about that in a bit.
My second website, the first one I was truly excited about, was created using Photoshelter. For the most part it was a good experience but I never liked the way the site looked with small images and quirks that just made me crazy half the time. That being said, I do not know anything about Photoshelter or their service today so I will simply leave it at that.
My third website was built using Big Black Bag. This was the first website that I was able to put some of my own creativity into as this was about the time when companies started creating admin panels on the back end of their sites, adding this feature as both a service and a selling point for their customers. This change in the industry afforded people like me, with no knowledge of coding or web design at all, to create their own more personalized websites. If you ask my wife Lisa....this is where everything went south.
Obviously, as a photographer, I am a fairly creative person. Who better to design my website than me? Am I right? I mean, so what I like crazy fonts? Don't you!? Less is more? Who says? I like my websites to be dark, smooth and then when you least expect it, I want it to slap you upside the head with my photographs and my beautiful, decretive fonts! As a matter of fact I like crazy. Luckily for me and probably for you too, I have a very sensible and no-nonsense wife who is usually there to keep me from getting into trouble. The key word is usually. You see, I tend to stay up late, editing images and tinkering with my website. Lisa has learned that she should probably take a peek at it now and then because chances are I turned my name and logo into some bright blue calligraphy font when she wasn't looking and just ran with it. I probably added a new blog post as well where I said at least three things I shouldn't have, added a kick ass photo collage to it showcasing my 50 favorite photos of the day and then slapped my new blue super-font on it before hitting publish and going to sleep. The next morning, there is Lisa having breakfast shaking her head. "I don't like it", she says. Oh no she found the fonts!!! I hang my head in shame knowing what I have done was wrong and promise to change it back as soon as possible. This happens more often than I care to admit. I don't know if you know this or not but there are a LOT of cool fonts out there. I am simply blessed that I have a wife with far more common sense than I have.
My last website was leaps and bounds ahead of my previous websites and this one was created by Squarespace. Now, I will say that I really like Squarespace. If you do not have a need for a custom built website or you really, really like to tinker without knowing anything at all then a service like Squarespace is great. In fact, my experience the past year and a half with their service helped me understand what I really wanted from a website. I was able to use that experience, along with my wife's better judgement to help direct Jack Brauer, owner of WideRange Galleries (I'm really sorry for all the emails Jack) and his designer Raza Durrani to create a beautiful, clean and functional website all without a single blue font.