Cococello is Deb Pang Davis. Independent print and digital designer, educator and soon-to-be-author.


OlsonFarlow.com and PhotoShelter Integration Explained

First I want to say thanks for all the great feedback and shoutouts about Randy Olson and Melissa Farlow's site.

I also received several great leads inquiring about PhotoShelter integration and judging from the inquiries I feel I need to explain at what point PhotoShelter customization and integration begins and where it ends for OlsonFarlow.com. There seems to be some confusion.

At the moment, the bulk of OlsonFarlow.com is a static website hosted at BlueHost and crafted with html, css, javascript and jquery plugins. The home page, individual story grids and the single gallery pages that feature individual stories are static web pages. They are not powered by PhotoShelter.

Where PhotoShelter begins is with the Archives page. This is where I used the manual customization option to code the pages using css to look exactly like the static pages of OlsonFarlow.com. I guess it worked really well!


You'll notice that once you get to archives.olsonfarlow.com the browser address bar has the "/c/olsonfarlow" at the end of the url. This is generated by PhotoShelter so as a visitor starts to click on the sub-navigation or the Featured Galleries the url starts to change. This is especially noticeable when a user defines their search parameters and PhotoShelter displays their search results.

Most people won't notice the difference (which is great) and I felt compelled to explain this more because there seemed to be a lot of confusion about what seamless PhotoShelter integration means...

So to break this down:
Phase 1: Design OlsonFarlow.com. Establish overall look, feel, and determine overall structure. Advise on content. Code the site.

Phase 2: Integrate their PhotoShelter account to look and feel like all the other pages at OlsonFarlow.com. Make it seamless to keep brand consistency and increase value to the experience of visiting OlsonFarlow.com.

Phase 3: Migrate and integrate OlsonFarlow.com to Wordpress MU so they can update the content on those pages dynamically and add a blog to increase visibility and connect with their audience.

Ideally if you are interested in using PhotoShelter, you would have a "stand-alone" website where you will be able to create an experience for admirers, buyers and whoever else is your target audience. A custom website would be the way to really stand out from the crowd. Then, use PhotoShelter to allow your audience to buy, download and share your work.

Using PhotoShelter as your single solution also works and it is limited in the way one can present their work. It may work really well for some photographers and may not be enough for others. Again, this all comes down to your goals, the needs of your audience and your budget (very important :).

There are many ways to integrate PhotoShelter for your needs and there is no one "right" way.

In fact, another option is to really use a blog as the main portal and "attach" PhotoShelter to your blog. Blogs and websites are becoming one and the same, if not already so.

In the next few weeks, OlsonFarlow.com will be migrated and integrated to Wordpress. This will allow Randy and/or Melissa to update their various galleries and text at their leisure. I'm also hoping to integrate a blog for them too so check back for an announcement!

Hope this helps.

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