Talking Shop: Jeff Z and His Website

jeffzsite

What made you go with the Tumblr layout?
“I dropped my first site like five years ago and eventually I decided to not renew the fees to keep it up because I felt like it was out-dated—that was about two years ago. Since then I’ve wanted to do a new site, but the thought of editing my images down and figuring out what exactly I wanted to do site wise was daunting so I just put it off. Eventually, Ryan Fudger started his Tumblr and I immediately liked the format. But I was still debating between a traditional website (one with categories like “action”, “portrait”, “lifestyle” or whatever) and a Tumblr for a like a month or two. During that time I talked with Francis Delapena, who I was planning on having build my new site if I took that route. He and I discussed what I wanted and I told him how I was debating between the two and he told me that he could help tweak the HTML in the Tumblr to make it exactly what I was looking for. In the end, I love how with the Tumblr all the images are on one continuous page and I can post a seemingly unlimited amount. Originally I wanted each image to fill the page because I always want the photo to be as big possible, but I quickly realized that with the 234 images that I wanted to post, it would take forever to scroll through, so I opted for three columns instead, with the option to click on the photo to go big. Having three columns was fun because it gave me a chance to pair images in little sets, either by rider, subject, location, etc. The only challenge was that since I was posting images shot with a variety of different format cameras the columns wouldn’t always line up evenly. I figured out a way around that for the most part, but towards the bottom the images don’t line up correctly and a step pattern begins. Although that wasn’t what I wanted, it doesn’t really throw a wrench in things too bad, so I can live with it. Overall, I’m really happy with the look and operation of the site and I will definitely be adding more images to it soon.”

Do you take any measures to not have your work pirated/stolen and played off as someone elses?
“No, I figure that I post hundreds of photos on the Ride site each month, too, and for the most part, brands/people just don’t grab the photos off the site and post them on their team page or embed them into a rider interview or something like that. On the otherhand, having an image reblogged is obviously great—as long as they plug the source. As for having an image played off as someone elses, I’m sure that does happens, but I have never heard of that happening to anyone I know. I just pity the person who would do something that lame.”

Have you ever had a photo stolen online?
“Not that I can recall.”

Would you ever watermark your photos online?
“No, I don’t think it’s worth it. No matter how small, translucent, or sweet looking a watermark might be, I think they look terrible on photos and ruin them for me. I’d rather risk having someone steal an image than make all of my images have some annoying logo on them.”

What kind of sharpening do you do for web images?
“It depends, most of the film scans have previously run in Ride, so they were drum scanned and sharpened, so I just resized those for web. The digital shots were sharpened using the unsharp mask filter in Photoshop, amount 45-65 (depending on the image), radius 1, threshold 0.”

Do you have business cards? Say when people ask if you have a website, what do you tell/give them? (Especially for us with hard-to-pronounce and spell last names, it could be difficult)…
“I don’t have a business card for my personal or freelance work, only a RideBMX business card with all of my magazine contact info. However, it’s funny you should mention the hard to pronounce last name, because that’s how/why I’m usually referred to simply as “Jeff Z.” as opposed to my full name. “Zielinski” just doesn’t roll off the tongue easily and it’s easy to misspell, so I’ve pretty much adopted the abridged version—but whenever I introduce myself to someone I still say my full name. I even went with jeffzphoto as the URL for my last site because it’s short, easy to remember, and you can’t mess it up. But when working on the new one, I decided to go with jeffzielinskiphoto because I figured it’s about time I get my work associated with my full name.”

Do you do any search engine optimization, meta keywords and all that?
“Yes, I tagged all of the photos on my site with a few of the same key words and some more pertinent ones to each specific image.”

Do you have a printed portfolio as well?
“Yes, I share it with two of the most dialed photographers in the game, Keith Mulligan and Ryan Fudger, we call it RideBMX magazine and it’s available nine times a year.”

Thanks for reading. Here’s a treat for sticking around–

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