Client: Take the Moment
Creating a custom website for selling photos from equestrian events.
Jan Sutherland is an accomplished equestrian photographer. In 2006, Jan was looking for someone to build a website that would allow her to display and sell photos from equestrian events.
Jan wanted a site that was easy to use, especially for rural users on slow connections and people not used to buying online. She wanted riders to be able to search each event for their own photos.
The site was powered by a heavily customised version of Gallery for managing photos and orders. Jan added information to each photo and uploaded them in batches for each event with FileZilla (free software for transferring files). Gallery’s search was customised to allow people to search by the rider’s name.
Redesign and rebuild
By 2017, Gallery was no longer being maintained and the site was looking dated and in need of a visual refresh. Many more people were using the site on smartphones and tablets and so the site needed to be responsive (looking good on a range of devices from mobile to desktop).
Cloud based web service versus custom website
Cloud based web platforms were becoming more common, but came with a lot of unnecessary features and a subscription cost and/or percentage of sales. Jan chose to go with a custom site because the one-off investment would give her a unique site that would be tailored for her needs and would carry on working for years.
The site was rebuilt using CakePHP (a web development framework) with a new custom system for managing photos and orders. The key features that set Jan apart from other photographers were retained, in particular being able to search by a rider’s name.
The site has a shopping cart and checkout, but to save on transaction costs there is no payment processing — customers pay via internet banking.
“In 2006 when I first decided to start my photography business it was a rather daunting challenge especially when I struggle with technical things. I made the decision to have my own website which I had a plan for but no clue how to do it. Mike was quite simply amazing and all the way through the design process he was incredibly patient with my lack of technical skills. Probably best of all though he was prepared to listen and implement my ideas and he would also explain why something wasn’t a good plan and shouldn’t be done. Not just a ‘you can’t do that’.
When I look back on those days I sometimes wonder how he put up with all my questions and demands and still always remained unruffled. The end result was a website I am very, very proud of.
Recently the site was upgraded to cater for the rapidly changing ways we access our digital information. Same me, still technically challenged, same Mike, always unruffled. I am forever grateful for Mike’s help and advice over the years not just for the website design but the ongoing help and support.”