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22Slides: Effortlessly Create Brilliant Photography Portfolios

Despite all the doom and gloom you read in the paper, we at Slapstart are an optimistic bunch.  We think it’s a great time to be alive.  I mean, remember how hard it was to build a Web site, say, even a few years ago?  It was so grim, you actually had to hire someone to do it.  Imagine that.  Talk about the stone age…

And as avid viewers of this site can attest, more and more start-ups are creating rich, intuitive, user-friendly toolsets that enable you to build a brilliant Web site in minutes.  One of those is today’s feature, 22Slides, a powerful and affordable site that allows you to build a photography portfolio site in no time.

22Slides Home

Like any good photographer, 22Slides understands the power of a good image.  So rather than harp on its Web content or functionality, first things first: check out some samples.  They’re awesome.  I was specifically drawn to Cameron Rad’s portfolio (this may come as a shock, but I have a minor weakness towards attractive, tattooed women.)  The layout is crisp, clean, and with no distractions.  The navigation is simple, and social media tools are tastefully provided in the bottom left hand corner of the pages.

If this is what photographers with tight budgets and minimal Web design experience have to look forward to, then they’re good in shape.

So we’ve seen the final product, let’s step back and see how it came about.  On the home page, I clicked on the green “Try it Out” button.  I entered a website address, email, and password.  Next, I was taken to my home page.  The navigation bar up top included my home page’s subpages: “About,” “Galleries,” and “Flickr,” as well as “Settings” and “Help.”

There was another green button, Add New Image, which I clicked, and viola! It added a new image to my home page.  Eerily simple.  On the “About” page, I could, again, add an image as well as html-friendly content; on “Galleries,” I could – you guessed it – easily create and populate my own Galleries – and – well, you get the idea.  Did I mention it was simple?

In the Settings page, I could re-title my home page, add an SEO-friendly description, and most importantly, fiddle with the layout.  22Slides provides a “Design Editor” tool where you can further tweak photos – changing background images, positions, borders; the fun never ends.

So – if anyone’s keeping score out there – I created a baseline photography portfolio, in, like, 12 minutes.  And guess what?  It looks great.  (Makes me want to be a photographer; after all the written word is so…one-dimensional…)

22Slides Examples

Ultimately, 22Slides realizes that photographs – like any Web content – doesn’t exist in a vacuum.  I mean, think about a blog post; once you finish writing it, are you satisfied to just let it sit there, gathering e-dust, or would you rather blast it to the universe?  You’d rather blast it!  Photos, of course, are no different, and 22Slides has the tools to enable maximum blasting.  As previously noted, it’s social media-friendly.

It’s also specifically tailored for mobile devices, compatible with major Web browsers, SEO-attuned, and uses “cutting edge Web technology like HTML5, CSS3, and jQuery.”  My web development skills are a bit suspect at times so I can’t specifically attest to the cutting edge-ness of all of those.  But I can safely assume they enable teleportation and time travel (but only to the future; I eagerly await version 2.0.)

Here’s another thing.  All of these easy-to-use Web design tools are great, but not all tools are created equal.  That’s because results matter.  So, for example, if I’m starting a simple blog, any WordPress template would do just fine.  I mean, they’re generally interchangeable – almost commoditized – and ideally, people are going to come to the blog for the quality of the content, rather than the design.

But photography sites are different.  For these sites, the photos, naturally, are the main attraction, and if the design software doesn’t effectively compliment them – or, in a worst-case scenario – they actually distract from the work, then you’re in trouble. Big trouble.

So if you’re one of those masochists looking for trouble, be our guest.  Wander around a deserted parking lot with a bottle of booze at 2 a.m.  Start a romantic relationship with your best friend of 10 years.  And try to build your own photography site from scratch – or worse yet – spend your hard-earned cash on some stranger you found on CraigsList.

Or you can just try 22Slides.  Trouble-free, low-risk, totally awesome photography portfolios in mere minutes.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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