“Don't pursue a career in the Arts unless you love the Arts truly, madly, deeply. And do not have any delusions about what awaits you both in educational settings, and in the job market. …If you think you're gonna get a break because you have a disability, think again. …You better be the best you can be at what you do, and do not allow yourself to use your disability as an excuse NOT to work continually and consistently towards total professionalism and high standards of quality.”
-- Jaehn Clare, professional theatre artist, from "A Career as an Artist Ain't an Easy Row to Hoe," keynote address for The Art of Employment: Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities on March 25 & 26, 2002 at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis MN.
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An ArtsWORK exclusive by Kendal R. Miller
Frames, Phrases, and Photography by Kendal, LLC
After finalizing the concept and budget for the new Photography by Kendal (PBK) website, I believed that everything would to come together exactly as planned. As the saying goes, “the best laid plans of mice and men…”
Requiring a website that could hold thousands of photographs, I browsed the Internet for hosting companies and asked colleagues for referrals. (Network Solutions, Cushy, Tripod, and WordPress as examples.) Utilizing the Smaller Indiana (www.smallerindiana.com) blog to invite additional quotes, I ultimately completed my research.
Determined to design the site myself, I purchased Website Tonight® through Go Daddy® at around $320 for a three-year period. When my attempts were similar to my soon-to-be-retired website less the ads, I had a change of heart.
Research disclosed that a web designer’s fee depends on how complex the site, and the services they provide or outsource. I found that prices ranged from $2000-$10,000 to build one from scratch. Being able to write and provide photographs helped reduced my costs. Keeping Go Daddy® but eliminating the Website Tonight® package also decreased the hosting fee.
This is the final article in a series written by artists affiliated with ArtsWORK Indiana. We'd like to hear what you think, so go to our Facebook page and tell us! Check out our other "View from the Field" articles.
Retaining the help of talented web designer, writer, and editor, Melissa Jackson Brister (melissajacksonbrister.com), I took her advice and noted the features that I liked from other websites I had reviewed on the Web. Additionally, I searched her portfolio to determine what elements I preferred from sites she had built for other clients.
For the new PBK website, I sought an updated look with a “less is more” impact. I wanted clients to spend more time viewing my fine art photography rather than reading about it. Excessive wording and colorful fonts and backgrounds were kept to a minimum. I did, however, want additional information clearly accessible through easy-to-navigate tabs and links.
Disregarded from my original plan was having the website coordinate with printed promotional materials. In addition to matching postcards, rack and business cards, I envisioned the same maroon and gold color scheme. When attempted, the combination competed with photos. Selecting a black background with white and gray fonts, the photos popped off the page.
Choosing layouts, backgrounds, and font colors was only the beginning of a long list of decisions that had to be made. Others included:
Working with a professional web designer was a rewarding experience. Having limited design experience, I watched in amazement as the supplied copy and photos turned into pages. Behind the scenes, temporary links were provided to sign-off on pages, or make more decisions about layout, colors, and copy.
During the building process, a major concern surfaced. With my lack of web building experience, I knew that adding and changing photographs on the site was going to be an issue. Having to use my designer to post a significant amount of photos from a portrait session or event would be awkward.
Consulting with Melissa, she could link a photo hosting service to the main site so that I could easily upload photos. While free photo hosting sites such as Flickr are available, I looked for a more secure, easy-to-use site with large quantities of space. Photobucket and SmugMug where considered, but I selected Zenfolio for its ease of use and affordability. Taking advantage of a free trial period, I experimented with the service while my designer continued working on the main site.
Confident that I could use Zenfolio, I purchased a one-year subscription (multiple year discounts were not available) for around $100. Nearly 100 photographs and an on-line resume’ and catalog were uploaded to start—all of which I can maintain and update. Once completed, the photo hosting site was hooked up to the main site.
Along the way, Melissa sent lists with requests for words and phrases describing my photography and services. All of these key words and phrases were used for a search engine optimization that improves the visibility of the Photography by Kendal website on the Internet. Before announcing the release of the new PBK website, I had time to proofread, make changes, and check all the links within the site.
With other responsibilities on both my and the designer’s plate, building the site took around six months (not including research) to complete. Melissa’s remarkable design skills showcased my photos and copy beautifully—I couldn’t be more pleased with the final product.
Having a new website not only boosted my professionalism as a photographer, but gave me a renewed confidence as a business owner. I am no longer embarrassed about my on-line presence. In fact, it’s a thrill to say, “My work can be found and purchased on my website 24/7!”
See profiles of a few of the many accomplished individuals working in diverse fields of the arts who also have a disability.
Go to People in the Arts
Gina Soo Golden is a painter from Indianapolis, Indiana. “I like to mix realism and surrealism.” “I aim to give a visual definition of feelings one could never quite describe with words,” she has written in her artist statement. Pictured above: The Gray Room.
read more about Gina Golden
Nicolas Lyford-Pike is an artist from Columbus, Indiana. Pictured above: Toyota Avalon.
read more about Nicolas Lyford-Pike
Warren Miller is an artist from Indianapolis, Indiana. Pictured above: Rub-a-Dub.
Wug Laku is an artist from Indianapolis, Indiana. "My art is about ideas and finding the purest, simplest ways of expressing them," he says. Pictured above: Earth Poems.
read more about Wug Laku
Stu Johnson specializes in Central Indiana subjects, from black and white shots
of architectural landmarks, to picture-postcard fall landscapes, to
prints of trucks and buses digitally enhanced with tie-dye colors.. Pictured above: The Ruins.
read more about Stu Johnson
Louisville, KY artist Susan Gorsen has exhibited her art in New Albany and served as Artist-Facilitator for ArtsWORK New Albany. Pictured above: Blue Moon.