Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: Kris Houweling Photography & Showit Sites

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Vancouver BC
    Posts
    12
    Real Name
    Kris Houweling

    Kris Houweling Photography & Showit Sites

    Hello Photographers!

    I started taking photo's less than a year ago and things have taken off really fast! Today is day two of my new website launch and I am really excited to share it with everyone!

    Part of my reason for sharing is for feedback. I may have flaws here and there and its a good friend who can point them out for me. Support is really important, same with praises.

    I am hosting with SHOWIT, a "drop and drag" based website company with wonderful customer service. I built my site without any knowledge of how. The first week was just playing around, full days spent accomplishing nothing. But it was worth it, after thee weeks this is what I have, and it saved me $5000 from hiring a professional.

    With that said I also wonder if there are any other show it users out there? I feel we showit users are interested because each site is different and we can learn from each other with ideas.

    I thank you for you time.

    Here is the site:

    www.krishouweling.com

    ~KRIS~

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Kris Houweling Photography & Showit Sites

    Hi Kris,

    Just had a quick look, and noticed a small type in the "Do you charge a deposit and is there a contract?" section - misspelling of "deposit".

    Update: Another typo in "MY GEAR"

    In terms of the site being a selling tool (especially for weddings), I can see a few big "no nos" there -- I'll see what others think before saying any more though.

    Hope this helps!

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Vancouver BC
    Posts
    12
    Real Name
    Kris Houweling

    Re: Kris Houweling Photography & Showit Sites

    Its great how some have an eye for tiny little spelling errors, thank you. In regards to some other "no no's" I wait in anticipation. Of course it sucks hearing errors one makes but I want to hear them. I am also grateful for having the opportunity to hear these.

    So I am grateful, thanks Colin I look forward to hearing more.

    ~K~

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Kris Houweling Photography & Showit Sites

    Hi Kris,

    I also found a few more -- you might like to run the text through a spelling checker.

    With regards to the "ebb and flow" of the site, to be brutally honest, I think that you'll be making a rod for your own back (as we say) with some of it.

    To expand on that a little ... (and I'd like to apologise in advance that this is going to sound a bit blunt -- I don't think "suger coating" things is going to help, which is what I'm trying to do" ...

    1. You start the wedding FAQ with "Why do you shoot weddings?"; Frankly, I don't think prospective customers really care why you shoot weddings. Only "what's in it for them".

    2. "How do you approach your work during the wedding?"; It feels to me like you might be trying a bit too hard to convince them - which would make me wonder why you felt you had to try that hard.

    3. "What equipment do you use?"; Definately feels like you're trying too hard - almost desperation territory. Personally I think of the 5D2 as a prosumer / advanced amateur camera, not professional level. True professional-level cameras are 1D series with "best practice" features like dual media, so you're not going to lose once-in-a-lifetime photos when you have a media failure. Your other camera appears to be a Canon XTI - in no way shape or form is this professional level equipment. All that aside, the whole section still bothers me -- I think if you feel the need to mention things like that, it's important to also translate that into what benefit that is to your customer.

    4. "Do you shoot with a second photographer?" Great that you mention this, but you've got some bad spelling and grammar issues in the paragraph.

    5. "We want our Wedding Day filmed also. Is this something you can offer?" I'd suggest making the URL a hyperlink.

    6. "Do you edit the photos from our Wedding Day?" I think this sets the prospective client up to expect that all images WON'T be processed to the highest possible standard (probably not something you want to be doing) - and I don't think they really care if you enjoy image editing or not.

    7. "For all the photos I edit I also send the original version. " - I think this sets a REALLY bad precident. (sorry!)

    8. "Do you require a meal?" - Your problem - it's not their place to make arrangement for you at a wedding - you're there to serve them.

    9. "Do you charge a deposit and is there a contract?" - Trust me - the last thing they'll be worrying about on their wedding day is paying you the balance of what they owe you!

    10. "My packages start at $1700 and include an engagement session and a second shooter. Both are negotiable."; This is a sure-fire indication that they'll haggle on price, and that you don't feel confident of your position.

    In FAQ for Headshots section ...

    11. "Why bring a friend?" Section - spelling mistake

    12. "Secondly, it serves to assist me if your friend would like to volunteer holding a reflector, a simple lighting tool. If you do come to the shoot alone I have assistance on call always. " ... frankly, these are your problems to solve, not the clients - so I wouldn't be mentioning them.

    13. "The final product:" I think the work "allow" sounds a bit "pompous" - I'd suggest phrases like "the package includes"

    14. Personally, I've found that giving clients images on disk for THEM to print is a BIG NO NO - you lose control of the image - you can be making a margin on the image - and if they get the image printed themselves, chances are it'll be "sub optimal" - and it completely bypasses your quality control checks. Many photographers make most of their margin out of print sales ... and you're passing up on all of them!

    15. I think you showcase shot is possibly a little soft, and personally I'd zap the wart / pimple to camera left of his mouth.

    16. My Gear; I'd kill this section entirely - it just seems unprofessional on a sales site. Would you expect a surgeon to like the types of scalpel blades that he uses, or his variety of artery clamps? Of course not. Customers are only interested in "what's in it for them".

    That'll do for now -- I think I've beat you up badly enough for the first critique! (sorry!). I really don't want you to feel too despondent - but I do think that in it's current form, it'll be "lambs to the slaughter" compared to other wedding sites

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Kris Houweling Photography & Showit Sites

    Me again!

    I don't normally do this, but you might like to take a look at this website - I think she's the near perfect example of "balance" in the amount of information she presents, and a masterclass in in HOW she presents it.

  6. #6
    Letrow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Haarlem, Netherlands
    Posts
    1,683
    Real Name
    Peter

    Re: Kris Houweling Photography & Showit Sites

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Me again!

    I don't normally do this, but you might like to take a look at this website - I think she's the near perfect example of "balance" in the amount of information she presents, and a masterclass in in HOW she presents it.
    One comment on this site though...I couldn't find the wedding photography examples. And the eye candy and pin up examples have changed my view on weddings totally in just a few seconds. No, just kidding, but my wife would never pose like that (I think). Is that an American thing, getting a portfolio of photographs of yourself with different kinds of clothing? What do you use it for??

    @ Kris: I like the atmosphere you convey in your pictures. I am not going to add to Colin's comments, but agree that some of the text should be more business like. Good luck.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Vancouver BC
    Posts
    12
    Real Name
    Kris Houweling

    Re: Kris Houweling Photography & Showit Sites

    Colin,

    If you lived in my area I would take you out for lunch! I really appreciate you taking the time to do this for me and I will return the favor one day for another. All of your critique is valid and I am taking a closer look. Spelling and grammar issues are always embarrassing so I will call in a friend to help me with that soon. Some ideas of yours will really make a difference, especially in the Wedding Info section. As for selling prints for Headshot clients I see your point and I am loosing out by not taking great responsibility for the value of my work. I am now on this as well!

    If you check back on my site by the end of tomorrow I hope you will notice a lot of change, more simplification in the text sections mostly.

    Thank you again Colin, really wonderful of you to help.

    ~K~

  8. #8

    Re: Kris Houweling Photography & Showit Sites

    Kris

    Colin has done a really difficult thing here as you appreciate. I did a couple of crits like that on another forum and I really did not like having to say the things I said. But, the recipients were as receptive as you seem to be. It is very brave to put yourself up for c&C on a business website. Colin has concentrated very much on the look, feel and reading of the website. I would like to just give my first impressions of the photographic content. In particular I am not convinced your Fine Art section actually contains that many saleable artworks. Now if you come back and tell me they sell like hot cakes I will go away but to me the subject matter is not something I would see going on too many peoples walls. I know I am shaking an old stick with this but most of your stylised HDR processed images are of of very localised interest. they are not surreal in an artistic sense because you have only adjusted the existing visual output rather than the input. The stylising applied to a shot of a street is not going to cut it as fine art (in a commercial sense) unless there is something very special about it. You also need to think about what the majority of people will do with a fine art photo print - they buy it as a compliment to decor - you need to keep it simple, neutral and and intriguing. In my opinion most of the images are far to cluttered and complex to compliment modern home or commercial decor.

    I was a bit confused that when I opened fine art I was then given another sub-menu which included for fun and portraiture. Again the content does not met expectation of fine art - don't get me wrong there is some nice stuff in there but mis-categorised at the top level in my opinion. The portraiture is what most punters expect a photographer to do as a service anyway but it is buried in Fine Art. Should Head Shots not be a subset of Portraiture?

    For the wedding stuff I cannot detect a distinctive style. I am seeing alot of unconventional compositure sitting with some distressed look and lomo type shots but nothing I would call consistent. Now it may well be that your market research has found a niche for this type of shooting but when starting out, unless you a have a very marketable quirky style I would have thought you would want to hit as big a market place as possible and yes that means good quality workaday boring stuff...it sells. Once you have built a reputation and the orderbooks are filling you will be able to intoduce some of the more quirky material as an option to descerning clients. If you are good they will start to spread to word to like minded clientelle.

    I really do not mean this to sound negative because you a have sound base on which to build and I am an amateur so I am coming at this from the point of view of joe public rather than a photographer.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Kris Houweling Photography & Showit Sites

    Quote Originally Posted by Letrow View Post
    One comment on this site though...I couldn't find the wedding photography examples. And the eye candy and pin up examples have changed my view on weddings totally in just a few seconds. No, just kidding, but my wife would never pose like that (I think). Is that an American thing, getting a portfolio of photographs of yourself with different kinds of clothing? What do you use it for??

    @ Kris: I like the atmosphere you convey in your pictures. I am not going to add to Colin's comments, but agree that some of the text should be more business like. Good luck.
    Hi Peter,

    It's called boudoir photography - I haven't done any personally, but it is a style of photography I'd like to explore more. So not directly relatable to weddings (although there's definately a cross-over with many young brides/bridesmaids these days) -- the reason I pointed Kris at the site though is because I think her site is one of the best examples of a professionally presented site that I've ever seen; I think she presents much of the same types of information that Kris tries to, but she does it in a way that's professional, but at the same time, personal. And all with a type of photography that needs to be handled "sensitively".

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Kris Houweling Photography & Showit Sites

    By the way Kris, if you need or would appreciate some guideance on shooting a wedding, I can point you at so much world-class instruction your head will spin! Also, although I don't shoot weddings personally (I really don't need that much stress in my life!), I do provide technical consultancy to several -- so also happy to give you any technical assistance.

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Kris Houweling Photography & Showit Sites

    Quote Originally Posted by krishouweling View Post
    Colin,

    If you lived in my area I would take you out for lunch!
    No worries. I'm doing well here - I scored an offer of lunch from you, and accommodation from Mary all in the same day!

  12. #12

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Vancouver BC
    Posts
    12
    Real Name
    Kris Houweling

    Re: Kris Houweling Photography & Showit Sites

    Hi Steve,

    Thank you also! The "Fine Art" does need to be renamed. In fact I knew this already but have had a hard time thinking of what else to call this category. I will move my portraits to the headshot section and cherry pick through the photos so only the best remain. I also never realized my lack of consistency as a wedding photographer. It makes perfect sense however because I have not found my style and for most of those shots I was the second shooter. This will be my first year taking the lead. But you may have pin pointed a reason why I have not gotten a lot of wedding inquiry. My selection of photos is also very limited for weddings. As of now I have two weddings to shoot this summer and hopefully a few more!

    I will redo my whole gallery section and make it much more consistent and organized. Do you have any ideas what I could name the "fine art" section as? It will be a gallery of HDR, Landscape, Plants and For Fun. Also, any ideas for renaming the "for fun" section?

    Thanks Steve

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Kris Houweling Photography & Showit Sites

    Quote Originally Posted by krishouweling View Post
    I will redo my whole gallery section and make it much more consistent and organized. Do you have any ideas what I could name the "fine art" section as? It will be a gallery of HDR, Landscape, Plants and For Fun. Also, any ideas for renaming the "for fun" section?
    Just a thought Kris, I fear you may give the impression of spreading yourself too thin - someone wanting a wedding photographer will probably be a little discouraged if they get the feeling that you're not a specialist wedding photographer, but are instead a "general purpose" photographer. Perhaps a bit like the advertisement from a computer shop in town here that says "we specialise in everything" which is (a) unbelieveable, and (b) gives the impression "we just want your money -- but whether or not we can do the job properly is of little importance to us". Bit like if you had to choose a surgeon to remove a brain tumour, and one candidate says - "yeah - I do brain surgery - and heart surgery - and plastic surgery - any sort of surgery really" - how would you feel about getting that person to do your "life or death" operation, -v- one who only does brain surgery?

  14. #14

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Vancouver BC
    Posts
    12
    Real Name
    Kris Houweling

    Re: Kris Houweling Photography & Showit Sites

    I hear that!

    In fact I wobble with Wedding Photography. I do it because I love it, its fun and a great learning experience. But the bottom line is I am not as passionate about it as many others are. My plan is to see how this summers wedding season goes, if its great and I love it even more then I will create a new website for this only. But my plan might be to focus on Headshots and Band Photography. This way I can have a more focused and trusted site.

    Some days I even consider taking all the wedding stuff out but I am still attached. And I already know its not for me in the long run. My plans are to be a successful Headshot photographer and Landscape Nature Photographer.

    ~K~

  15. #15

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Kris Houweling Photography & Showit Sites

    Hi Kris,

    Just remember that when it comes to wedding photography (arguably THE most demanding type of photography, and in an environment where where are no second chances to get many shots), as a paid professional, you have legal, eithical, and moral obligations to your clients (and I mean client, not customer. A client is someone who is "under your care"). Loving shooting a wedding is great - the fact that it's fun is great - but it's really not a thing to be doing "for a great learning experience" (not withstanding that we're all learning all the time anyway). Anyone shooting a wedding on a paid basis needs to be thoroughly prepared (including backup equipment), be thoroughly familiar with their equipment (and how to operate it), and a master at shooting in difficult environments under high pressure (including the correct use of flash lighting). Unfortunately, shooting hundreds of shots in the hope of getting "one or two good keepers" just doesn't cut it either. I like to compare it with space flight in that "failure is not an option".

    To be honest, many unprepared photographers jump into the deep end of wedding photography ...

    ... and promptly sink.

  16. #16
    Markvetnz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Auckland, NZ
    Posts
    639
    Real Name
    Mark

    Budding wedding photographers

    I've read this lot and my take is as follows. The world is full of aspiring wedding photographers who assume that it is "easy money". Somehow people think that all it takes is a half decent camera and a few good lenses. I know nothing about wedding photography, other than that to do it right a professional needs to do it. By a professional, I mean an experienced person who has been in the game long enough to have seen all the likely balls-ups that occur on the day. There is nothing like a bit of been-there-done-that to sort things out when the proverbial hits the fan. In my line I've spent 25 years in a very busy environment. Despite continually trying to keep up to date, I still learn something new every day and I still get caught out be the odd thing. However, I am able to easily deal with 95% of unforseen problems. They say it takes 10000 hours to get really good at something. With weddings you only get one chance.

    If I was to ever shoot a wedding for money (not ever going to happen), it would only be after I'd done many as the gopher of a really slick wedding photographer. One thing I know for sure is that whenever we see people making difficult jobs look easy, then we can safely assume that that person is an expert. Of course, many fall into the trap of assuming they can also do the job because the other guy made it look so easy. I spent a day with Colin a few months ago at a very informal shoot and I learnt more in those few hours, by observing and keeping my mouth shut, than I could have learnt out of any book.

    I agree with Colin's take. Although your camera can take great images, it is not a professional camera. A 5d2 might be used as a backup camera for weddings. Your clients don't give a hoot what camera you use, so long as the pictures are great. They will, however, be really ___'d off when something goes wrong and they find out after the fact that your backup camera was an entry level consumer model and the photos aren't what they expected. I've looked at your pictures and I feel you need to show more variety in different settings. I'd forget about all the photoshopping textures and effects and rather showcase really good shots of people that truly capture the mood and emotion of the day.

    For wedding photography there are readily available lists of must-have shots. My recommendation would be to simply show some fantastic shots and then your prospective clients can see what you can do. No need to tell them how good you are when they can see it for themselves.

    Hope this isn't too harsh. Your site needs a WOW factor, because there are literally thousands of similar sites out there. Good luck and, like all forum members, I wish you all the best.

  17. #17

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Budding wedding photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by Markvetnz View Post
    I'd forget about all the photoshopping textures and effects and rather showcase really good shots of people that truly capture the mood and emotion of the day.
    This reminded me of something I forgot to say ...

    I once heard it said that "an amateur practices until they get it right -- a professional practices until they never get it wrong" - with this in mind, I've seen many aspiring wedding photographers "come a cropper" because the bride and groom gave them their business based on a small selection of good shots on their website. Unfortunately, these often turn out to be the ONLY good shots that the photographer has produced (and over several weddings) -- the BIG problem is the fact that they can't reproduce these kinds of shots 8 times out of every 10 on the day - B&G are disappointed -> livid - and then the "proverbial hits the fan".

    Not aiming this at anyone in particular - just giving a general overview of how these things work in the real world.

  18. #18

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Vancouver BC
    Posts
    12
    Real Name
    Kris Houweling

    Re: Budding wedding photographers

    Again, I hear all of this!

    I respect the wedding industry. I also acknowledge that the Bride may have been dreaming of this day her whole life! That is something to take very seriously. Last wedding season I assisted a professional photographer at seven weddings. In no way do I feel I have learned everything but I feel prepared enough to take it under my belt this time around. I also communicate this to my clients so they understand where I am coming from.

    At first my impression was that wedding photographers are rowing in the big cash. I do not see this anymore. I read BEST BUSINESS PRACTICES for PHOTOGRAPHERS and it slapped me around silly. Same with my photographers friends. Money was never the reason why I got into this anyways.

    Thanks guys for your thoughts, these postings have proven to be really insightful and real for me! Keep em coming...

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •