I want to start a website for my photography. I don't know what program I should start designing in.
Some specific goals for the website:
Capable of log-in because I would like to have people see their shoot
I don't want to have a gallery that you click on number 1 thru 1000 to take you to a photo.
^^ These concepts are what I'm shooting for with a little bit bolder design.
I'm not new to the Creative Suite, so I'm familiar with going from one program to the next for design. I don't know the benefits designing in AI and then putting it in DW... or Starting in PS...? Or Flash? But from what I understand, Flash is not ideal for SEO...
HELP! Because I'm ready to get started
Such sites are pretty advanced, theres no software that will do that for you. You must know at least some scripting language, like PHP + have an idea about what is html and css. You can create such websites with free tools like notepad++, netbeans, eclipse, or wyswig's like adobe dreamweaver, muse + some photoshop to manage graphics.
If your website provider uses PHP which is common with Linux based OS, you will find a whole host of free php gallery programs for your website. Take your time and look them over good, as some of them are easier to break in than others are. You want the most secure apps for your website, or you will be spammed/hacked/any other crap they can throw at you. If possible look at what your provider recomends, they may have some apps on their site or links to what they recommend.
Since you mentioned you are familar with Adobe Creative Suite, but didn't say which version is which?
Secondly, I would recommend that you research further by google on 'responsive web design' concept using with HTML5/CSS3. As you know, more people have the access to all kind of gorgeous toy, perhaps all of them including smartphones, tablets and computer (whether if it is laptop or desktop), it is wise to design responsive web design. Knowing HTML5/CSS3 will help a lot.
Secondly, I would think it is wise for you to hire a talented web designer to help you with website development as you are probably busy being photographer. I have no idea about your comfort zone with HTML/CSS coding, or your knowledge.
Yes, you are correct about Flash-based website is no good for obvious reason. I know that there are whole bunch of photographers out there still are using Flash-based websites for their photography busienss. They probably lose some potential clients or increase business because of Flash-based website not viewed on smartphone or tablet, especially smartphone and tablet. Not only that, flash-based files load slowly on smartphone/tablets.
I have seen some gorgeous photography websites that have HTML5/CSS3 with some interesting galleries presentation - none used with Flash at all. You are encouraged to research on responsive web design concept.
Hope that helps.
Unless if you have both of your hands dirty under the hood of HTML and CSS, you certainly will find some comfort zone with Dreamweaver. It is imperative that you know and understand what to expect of HTML and CSS.
Another thought. Ask your web provider what they are using for server software. It generally breaks down to two apps, either MS windows server or Apache. If you have the necessary authorization for controling your web site (generally not so for free web sites) you can create a folder that is password protected.
Then you can use either photoshop or lightroom to create a gallery for that client/folder. Give the password to the cliend then they can view the contents of that folder.
Note: Do not confuse the use of a password for that folder with the password you use to control the website. Your ftp password needs to remain private to keep unwanted attackers from trashing your site and possibly other customers if your server is a shared system.
This also means that your client should only view the folder through a website url and not your ftp url.
I am moving our website from Squarespace to Business Catalyst using Fireworks and Dreamweaver. There is a new program called Muse as well included in Creative Cloud and CS6 (I think?) that would build pretty sites like the ones you are interested in without much knowledge of Flash, CSS and HTML.
We avoid Flash as much as possible because a lot of our customers access our site on mobile.
I am also new.
But have discovered that CSS is quite easy to pick up the basics and this will be what makes your site look pretty - that part is down to your ability to design and your eye for style.
There are several slide shows with different styles in the widget browser which removes the need to write code and with a little fiddling you can get them to run and look how you wish: here was my question about it with some links to them:
This is the one used with a little adapting: http://www.dynamicdrive.com/dynamicindex4/simplegallery.htm (i did link it but it refused to work for some bizarre reason) Alas my site is not up yet.
To have people log in and use their own password to access their own photos you will need to look at the tools provided by your hosting service; my basic understanding of this (this a future mission for my head) is that you will need you customer details in a database stored and accessed through your host - you set the folders they can access. My advice to figure this out is go and compare different hosting services and in their bumf, they will tell you how to do this. In fact it is a great place to start so you can work out what you need.
I do not use these but was doing exactly the above to figure out what i need and how to do it: http://www.names.co.uk/web-hosting/features/1-click-installshttp:// - click on hosting and find 1 click installs to browse their server packages. - (the links are not working for me! I am not gonna work this out righ now, argghh, lol)
From there you can work out what packages would be of use. I would also reccomend calling any host before signing up, becuase you may sign up and find they are of no help to you in terms of support; i have done this and been stuck! I never did work out that path to perl!!?!! Lol. Luck.
Flash website is not good for SEO point of view. Such sites that you want to create are very advanced and you must learn some script languages like PHP, CSS and HTML etc. If you only want to use Adobe product then Dreamweaver etc. I create my sites on wordpress like Watch Indian Drama Online , Cricket and more.
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