It's not really what you want to hear when you're running up the hill with a full bag of cameras on your back and a tripod in your hand.
We had driven for several hours and only stopped when we absolutely had to (because the light was so good), but those are the decisions you make. Do you photograph something now and risk missing something later, or do you keep driving with no guarantee there will be anything worthwhile later? We did a bit of both and fortunately we were bang on time.
Around half a dozen photographers walked down past us from Zabriskie Point lookout, all with a self-satisfied, knowing little smiles on their faces. They were convinced that they had captured the shots we had missed. And there’s no doubt they had photographed the last rays of sunshine because the sun had disappeared just five minutes earlier.
There's a lot more to the internet than just Facebook and Instagram. While these are great outlets for your photographs, they are not the same as having your own website - a personalised space where you can display your best photos and videos for people to see or your clients to find.
I've had a number of different websites over the years. My URL (www.petereastway.com) has stayed the same, but the websites themselves have ranged from a self-coded attempt to a custom build. The former had limited features compared to other photographers' sites, while the latter was expensive to develop and maintain.
Then I saw an advert for Zenfolio. Zenfolio lets you design and maintain your own website for as little as $7 a month (although I'm using Zenfolio's Advanced AU package at $420 a year), plus it's so easy to use. I can upload my photos at any time, change the look and feel of the site with a few clicks, write a blog and even email my subscribers.
If you can use a mouse, you can navigate your way around the Zenfolio interface easily!
What this means is that you can have your own website for a very modest annual fee, and then if you want to add in some extra features like an online shopping cart to sell your photographs, it's not a huge expense.
When I boiled down the main features I wanted in a website, it was a clean design that allowed visitors to quickly and easily see my portfolios. Zenfolio has dozens of creative and elegant designs which you can customise so they look unlike anyone else's. You have extensive control over the layout, colour, typeface and size of your photographs, plus you can add in your own logo (Pro and Advanced versions only). Or you can do what many photographers do and just choose one of Zenfolio's many superb design themes.
More Than Hosting
However, an effective website is more than just a smart looking collection of photographs. It needs to represent you and your work, so Zenfolio includes extra pages where you can introduce yourself, a blog which can be formatted with a variety of cool designs, and there's also a direct link to NuShots or Nulab for turning your photographs into prints and other products.
Look at it this way. Imagine you have a new body of work you want to show to the world. Upload your finished photographs to Zenfolio, place them into a gallery, choose one of the photos for your website's home page, and then write a short blog about the photographs. Immediately your photographs and words are live. It's that easy.
Fast & Responsive
Importantly for a website, it needs to be fast and responsive. Zenfolio sites load pages quickly so your viewers are not kept waiting and both photographs and video clips are optimized for presentation at any display size.
Once your new work is up, you can send beautifully packaged email invitations to notify clients or friends and family when galleries are ready to view. And even better, your Zenfolio website is mobile friendly for viewing on any smart phone or tablet.
The Other Side
While the public face of your website looks smart and professional, the administration side is just as efficient and easy to use. Called 'My Zenfolio', the simple administation of your website's options hides the complexities of website design, allowing you to focus on the content.
When you first open a Zenfolio account, you'll want to spend a little time looking at all the different design options, but once you've settled on the look of your website, then it's quick and ultra easy to upload photographs into various galleries, write your blog posts and, if you're going for a business account, setting up your price list.
Zenfolio will let you sell both digital files or a range of prints and other products. In Australia, Zenfolio has an arrangement with NuShots and Nulab for printing and delivering your work to your customers - all you do is sit back and watch the profits deposited to your bank account. Of course, you can also print and deliver yourself.
Special Offer - 30% Off
There's so much more to Zenfolio, such as password access for clients, SEO optimisation and even email campaigns.
When Zenfolio approached me to be a Zenfolio ambassador, I was more than happy to oblige. I liked that they asked someone who was already using their services, and I also liked the fact they were prepared to offer Better Photography readers a 30% discount on their first year's subscription.
To access this special offer, visit www.zenfolio.com/au and have a look around. There's lots of information there.
(Also feel free to check out my personal website to see how I use Zenfolio - you'll find it at www.petereastway.com.)