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Iowa City Photographers Guild

Events • Portraits • Seniors • Graduation • Wedding

Category: website

University of Iowa Website Incorporates Exceptional Engaging Photography

Website Photography Considerations

For websites to be engaging, they must include high quality photography that captivates the site visitor. The University of Iowa has recently moved toward a responsive website design that features a full width 1100×580 ‘slider’ (slideshow) featured image collection. Selected photos from 24 August 2014 are shown below. There are a few things to be pointed out about these images:

  • File Names. The photos themselves don’t have descriptive file names. That’s fine, although when images are copied it’s sometimes better to include some meta data in the file name such as a date, name of photographer, and description — as well as some SEO helpful keywords. Some information has been added to the repostings here.
  • Credit – Retroactive. The photos don’t include any retroactive credit or caption. This is actually helpful for websites with responsive design because you want the text to continue to be a readable size regardless of how the images are being sized. A retroactive credit is one where the photo itself doesn’t contain a credit, but the person using it will add a credit to the photo or in a caption under it.
  • Credit – Proactive. There’s a growing movement of photographers providing royalty free content to higher education and non-profit organizations. The benefit of not watermarking your name or commercial website on your photography is that it has broader use. Sometimes a photographer’s watermark, name, or copyright statement on a photo can be distracting from other content on the site, the site design, or detract from the photo itself. Often photos need to be cropped or constrained to certain dimensions and sizes. In this process, if your name is on the photo, in the lower right area for example, part of it may get cut off.

Photo Examples

Below are photo examples from the University of Iowa website. They are being used here non-commercially, in the spirit of fair use, for the purpose of promoting the University of Iowa, and for the purpose of driving traffic to the UIOWA website. If anyone has a concern about their use, feel free to contact us. The last photo of a sunset over the UIOWA Campus Recreation and Wellness Center is from the CRWC web page. Click any image for a larger gallery view.

On Iowa Video

Below is a video with glimpses into the On Iowa event.


What inspired the creation of the Iowa City Photographers Guild?


In helping others understand the goals and mission of the Iowa City Photographers Guild, I thought it would help to share the story behind its creation.

Over ten years ago, I created ResourcesForLife.com as a single website to serve as home for a variety of activities and interests; including my pro-bono photography work, mostly with an emphasis on travel photography, photography as art, and creating stock photos for use with web and print content.

For many years, it was adequate to keep my photography interests under the ResourcesForLife.com umbrella. While I do some professional / paid work, much of the photography I do is simply for the love of photography.

In 2010, as WordPress.com became a more formidable hosting service, I began using it for my website customers with great success. I also started launching independent websites for my various interests (computers, web design, photography, music, wellness, etc.). As a born collaborator with a desire to cooperate with and help others, I decided to launch some websites that would be broader than my own personal work and feature the works of others. These are separate from my own personal professional websites. Here are some examples:

  • inspiring-music-videos.com – Through this site I’ve made some really wonderful connections with other local and global musicians.
  • iowacitycomputersupport.com – Having met and worked with many of the local computer support providers, I decided to setup this site as a local directory and help line. I regularly take phone calls and respond to emails to help customers find a match for their support needs. It’s appreciated by customers as well as the support providers. Although I’m a computer support provider, 95 out of 100 calls that come in I typically forward on to someone else.
  • iowacityjewelry.com – With a desire to help promote downtown retail businesses, and having been impressed with the quality jewelry stores we have in downtown Iowa City, I setup this site.
  • iowacitywebsitedesigners.com – Through this website I’m happy to have established friendships with many of our local website developers.
  • supershrinkme.com – This website still has some growing to do, but the goal is to provide a website where people can share their wellness journeys through their own 120-day lifestyle transformations.

So, it’s in the spirit of these other sites that I launched the Iowa City Photographers Guild website. I’d already been attending local photo walks and meeting with local photographers. My belief was that a more formal organization could help facilitate greater collaboration in our area — and it has. To date, we’ve had many local photographers join the group and connect in some way.

With regard to collaboration, I’d been most inspired by the efforts of Valerie Duvick who began working with other startup photographers and helping promote their work. Photography can be a competitive business, but Valerie Duvick helped create an atmosphere of cooperation. We have some of her videos here on the ICGP website. These videos are an inspiring example of how when we work together, we can be more than if we work in competition with each other.

Since starting the ICGP, I’ve helped setup websites for many local photographers and helped promote their work. I’ve advertised for them here on the website and elsewhere. Most of this I’ve done without any charge. My passion has been to help promote lesser known photographers who might otherwise have a difficult time being discovered.

I hope you’ll join with the ICGP and support the spirit of collaboration and cooperation among photographers in the Iowa City area.

~ Greg Johnson

BQGallery.com – Iowa City Cedar Rapids Photographer Bashair Qasim

This past week I had the pleasure of assisting with the launch of a new photography website for Iowa City / Cedar Rapids Photographer Bashair Qasim, BQGallery.com.

As I work with people like Bashair who have exceptional artistic and visual talents, I find that I begin to feel like the one who is the student. It’s really a great learning experience and opportunity for me because I can learn from the aesthetic sense of someone who is visually gifted.

It’s funny, because as a website designer, I want to think that I’ve designed the websites I help launch. Yet, the truth is they are often the creative expression of the person I’m helping. I provide some technical expertise, yet the personal touches that make a site unique often come from the person I’m working with.

The layout and design that Bashair chose for her site are quite nice. I especially like the sunset photo she used as a background to the site.

I think of myself as a professional photographer, but I still feel that I have much to learn. It working with Bashair’s photography I was inspired to consider how I might be able to take my own photography to the next level. I really like how Bashair makes tasteful use of filters, effects, and framing that actually enhance pictures rather than detract from them.

If you need a photographer for a portrait, wedding, or special occasion, I would highly recommend Bashair Qasim.

~ Greg Johnson