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Common web-design worries expressed by photographers

For every new web design project, I start with getting a good understanding of my clients’ goals by sending them this “project kickstarter” form.

This set of questions, although quite lengthy, has always been beneficial to clearly define what needs to be done by both parts.

One question in particular I think paints a good picture of the problems in the web-design industry in general, and the personal struggles photographers sometimes have when taking on such projects.

What follows is a round-up of answers given by photographers (looking to build a website) when asked:

“Are you worried about anything regarding the project?
What do you imagine going wrong?”

I’ve organized the examples into various categories:


1. Costs

a) Full project cost

“I am worried I won’t be able to afford your services!”

“Just having too small a budget, maybe phases would work?”

“I worry someone like you might not take my project – I am a small fish and I know you are particular about who you work with – I respect this tremendously.”

b) Cost blow-outs / No transparency with costs

“Concerned about extra fees along the way”

“I’d like to know the costs upfront, so I can see if it fits my budget.”

c) Expensive updates in the future

“I can’t make changes in the future without it costing me money again.”

How I address this worry:

First of all, I almost never work on an hourly basis, I’m not trying to sell my time. Instead, I work on a per-project basis, which allows me to focus on the quality of my work instead of rushing things.

There’s no clear-cut price list for a new photography website, simply because it depends on a lot of factors (platforms used, size, custom design, SEO, eCommerce etc.)

I surely don’t have the cheapest prices in my line of work, and the margins in my business don’t allow for the discounts large firms offer for “assembly line websites”. What I offer instead is the right service, delivered on time for the right price.

And once we set a project cost, the price never alters, there are no “surprises” or hidden costs. We want to have an up-front and honest working relationship.


2. Trust

“I have had 2 bad experiences with programmers working remotely who disappeared or promised they could do things they were not able to do. “

“I have had a bad experience with two previous web designers. Promised me the world and delivered on none of it.”

“I want to trust that someone else has my best interests in mind and will help me succeeded with this important aspect of my business.”

How I address this worry:

I’m a public-facing person (even though I’m an introvert). I keep writing content to help photographers. So it’s not like I could ever disappear somewhere :-) I try to take responsibility for my work and never make false promises (by doing my research before deciding the project tasks).

If you’ve read my articles so far, you know I’m an honest person and that I hate sleazy marketing tactics. I’m all about serious hard work, and quality over quantity.


3. Communication & clarity

“I hope that I communicate what I want clearly!”

“I want the designer to also understand my workflow.”

“Sometimes I do have trouble articulating my vision and fear that I won’t be fully understood.”

“Not nailing down the design and branding from the get-go and then wasting money on website development that didn’t have clarity in the first place.”

How I address this worry:

I always try to be a “partner” in a project, not just a simpler developer. Collaboration is important to me, so I dedicate ample time to learn more about my clients’ struggles and often schedule skype calls to improve communication even further.

And if I ever misunderstand a task, I’m flexible with my work and go back to work to take the site to where my clients are happy with the end-result.


4. Time (delays)

“I don’t have the time (nor expertise) to manage the site and would rather be out [taking photos].”

“Just the timeline of the project.”

“Both sides being able to meet deadlines.”

How I address this worry:

Read this answer from the March 2016 Q&A.


5. Quality of the results

“I want to work with a designer who understands the commercial realities of a website and has some UX experience.”

“Worried about reduced functionality of the site.”

“We don’t want to look like everyone else.”

“Being tied into one platform/provider.”

How I address this worry:

Having worked on over two hundred photography websites so far, I’ve developed a creative eye for what makes or breaks a site.

And I’m constantly reading web-design articles and books to improve my craft and to stay in touch with the latest web design trends and best-practices. Then I use that knowledge and experience into my work.


6. Complexity / Difficulty

“Worried about the user-friendliness of the back-end.”

“Not having full control or access to everything at the end of the project. I’m fairly good technically, so I do like to be able to go in and change a menu nav or something without having to refer to a programmer all the time.”

“I just need websites that are incredibly easy for me to manage.”

“Just technical stuff, bumps in the road for people trying to use it.”

“I am worried that I will be lost when it comes to updating the site and changing content or the way things look or progression through the site. I want to feel comfortable going forward alone with everything.”

How I address this worry:

I never get annoyed when a client of mine doesn’t know how to do a simple technical task. I’ve been there myself, I had to learn it all from scratch at a time when I would have rather went out to shoot more photos.

So I’m used to “hand-holding” clients till they can manage the site on their own: sending step-by-step instructions or link to tutorials, jumping on quick skype calls with screen-sharing etc.


7. Confidence

“I worry about my own personal confidence to go live and get out there – I think I am relying a lot on good web design to make me shine. I need to be creating more work and this is the primary reason I would rather hire someone to create a great website.”

How I address this worry:

While I can’t solve all my clients’ confidence problems (because I’m busy with my own), I can do my best to explain all the possible technical options for a site and provide some clarity.

That clarity can sometimes be the missing puzzle piece to get people started in the right direction.



Funny answers

“Everything can and probably will go wrong lol. Murphy’s Law…”

“I need to be more educated on what to worry about!”

“Nothing, it will be awesome”

“I am not a worrier.”

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