Meet Mark Y
This is Mark Y. He is a photographer and a videographer that is based in Wellington, New Zealand. He specialises in wedding, event and drone videography/photography. You can see some of his amazing drone work here:
Mark is a good friend of mine that I first met while I was still a working photographer. He helped cover a few events for me, and he really is dedicated to mastering the craft. Originally growing up in China, Mark and his wife Echo moved to New Zealand in 2016. The first time he saw the Milky Way at night had a profound impact on him, setting him on the path of learning photography that lead him to where he is today.
This wasn't the first website I built for Mark: the first site I built was in the early days of my web design business. But last year we completely rebuilt the website from scratch to better fit the business direction that Mark Y Studios is heading. And we are already in the planning stages for a third iteration of the website, as Mark's business grows and evolves, the website can grow and evolve with him.
Mark Y needed a professional showcase for his portfolio so that people could see some of his work. Working photographers need a professional presence on the web. Without it, people tend to not take you that seriously. There are free website builders out there, and for many photographers they are perfectly suited for the job. And as far as I'm concerned, especially for your very first website, they are a great way to start.
But Mark wanted something a bit more custom for his website, and he asked me to build him something for him.
The first thing we did was sit down and talk about what he wanted to do. Back then, we called it a discovery session, but now it's part of the process that we call now call Kick-off! We talked about what he wanted to do with his business. Who were his customers? How would they interact with the website? What did he want to achieve? From there I did a bit of independent research, and then came up with a blueprint on how we were going to build the website.
Understanding the working photographer's workflow
The key to building Mark Y's website was understanding some of the things that photographers need that aren't typical of other website builds. A photographer usually needs the following:
- An online portfolio, an easily discoverable archive of the best work they have done
- A way of delivering high resolution images and video to their clients
We can do the first thing on the list quite easily: we can build anyone a beautiful website that is easy to update and is friendly for people to use.
But with the second it's something that we leave for the experts. Online storage and transfer bandwidth is prohibitively expensive unless done at scale, so what we did built a Client Gallery Section on Mark Y's website that provides an easy-to-get-to portal for his clients to be able to access and download the high resolution images from Mark Y's online storage platform of choice. (Picking the right online storage platform is a topic in itself! I'll talk about that in another post sometime in April)
For this iteration of the website, we went with a very simple one-page design. Mark is still in the early stages of his business, so our priority here was a matter of personal branding, we wanted a simple, minimalist showcase that focused on the kind of work that he does and the best examples of his work. We chose a sans-serif font and a monochrome colour palette. The top navigation is simple, with each of the links scrolling to different sections of the home page.
Clients can find and download their images by clicking on the "client galleries" button at the top of the screen, finding their gallery, then clicking the link that will take them to their password-protected gallery (hosted off site)
While slideshows don't always work for a lot of website use-cases, for a photography website they can be a great introduction to the site. We chose to use one here, with a slideshow of Mark's favourite images,
The rest of the home page is divided into sections, highlighting the wedding, event and drone work that Mark does. At the bottom of the page is a call to action and a contact form, and a footer with links to the blog.
Mark Y isn't standing still. He has big plans for the next six months leading up to the next wedding season, and we are going to be with him as he grows his business and needs to scale his website accordingly.
Check out the live version of Mark Y Studios website by clicking the link below:
Photos © Mark Y 2023