A Website As a Calling Card: Robert Gallagher Dishes on His Online Tools

By // May 19, 2015 // Posted in Photography, Portrait, Sponsored Post

Sponsored by Clickbooq

Robert Gallagher’s photography career is dynamic: One day he’s shooting a travel feature in Bora Bora for The Guardian; another day it’s the cofounder and CEO of the dating app, Tinder, for the cover of Forbes. When we connect over the phone, he’s brimming with excitement over a shoot in Los Angeles with singer, songwriter and musician John Lydon, who is best known by his former stage name as the Sex Pistols’ front man, Johnny Rotten. The shoot was a treat for the photographer, who having grown up in England in the 1970s, notes that it was “Margaret Thatcher vs. the Sex Pistols” in the spectrum of cultural iconography. He had the opportunity to get to know the family-man side of the infamous English punk rock singer when he gave him a ride home from the shoot. “That’s why I love my job,” he says. “You never know who you’re going to meet from one day to the next—I love those little vignettes of life.” But what really struck him about Lydon was that he showed up to the set with only a simple plastic bag full of his belongings. “He still a little bit anti-establishment,” Gallagher laughs.

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John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, on www.gallagherphoto.com / Photo by Robert Gallagher

Gallagher has a no-nonsense approach both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. In marketing his work, he believes his images should do the talking. That means he wants a website design “without all the unnecessary bells and whistles.” His site, he explains, is his “calling card” and a “marketing piece in itself,” so a clean design and a gallery that displays his images edge-to-edge is what gives the photographer’s work the most impact. “I have to get out of my own way and let the images do the selling for me,” he explains.


Billy Idol, photographed for Der Spiegel / Photo by Robert Gallagher

And sell his images do. Gallagher’s celebrity portraiture, travel editorial and personal surfing images have landed him jobs with top clients: from Vogue, Forbes and TIME to MTV, Apple and Nike. When the photographer isn’t on the road, he’s running the day-to-day aspects of his business. He doesn’t have a web designer, but having started his photography business before the digital era, he’s no stranger to adaptation. “I’ve had to learn how to think like a computer but I don’t want to spend all of my time learning a new program,” he explains.

Bora Bora with Andrew O'Hagan. Travel feature for The Guardian W

Bora Bora with Andrew O’Hagan. Travel feature for The Guardian / Photo by Robert Gallagher


Tinder cofounders Jonathan Badeen, Sean Rad and Justin Mateen. / Photo by Robert Gallagher

This is why he turned to Clickbooq when he wanted to build a website: The templates are user-friendly and intuitive so he doesn’t have to spend his time learning new technologies, and the new HTML5 sites are search engine optimized and fully responsive so he knows he’s on the cutting-edge of web design. Further, the highly-customizable Moderna template displays his portfolio in a grid-style that gives an overview of his work, but can also be expanded edge-to-edge, allowing portraits of icons like Lydon to shine. “I personally think [the grid] is what people look at—they want to see the general [portfolio] overview. I love how it repopulates based on the browser size,” he says. “It kicks butt.” He also notes his delight over the full-screen images that “show off” his web page. “I know it will have an impact.”

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“Tearsheets” thumbnail view on www.gallagherphoto.com

Gallagher is also enthusiastic about the possibilities of integrating his more recent motion work into his website; he recently added a video page in just a few minutes, describing the “user-friendly” process of embedding “video playboxes” as “genius.” Over the phone he asks me to refresh my screen to see if I prefer his videos in a larger format. “I just made that change while we’ve been talking,” he laughs. But on a more serious note, he says, “Clickbooq is genuine about wanting to make their websites better for photographers.” And for a photographer who is as forthright as Gallagher, that makes all the difference.

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