Dude, form follows function. As a multimedia developer I've learned that it's best to design the navigation first, then make it look cool. Too many times I've seen authors, including outside firms we've hired, get hung up on one particular effect or look, and center everything else around that. Unfortunately, the message (in your case the images) gets lost.
Provide a back button, menu, or site page so folks and get around -rather than dead-ended pages.
Also, when designing, test, test, test on the something like a 1024x768 screen size (!). Most clients don't have anything larger than 19", and most likely will default to 1024x768 out of the box, (three years ago it was 800x600!).
Never trust the advice of your closest friends and family in regards to the look and feel of the site. Mom will like the site no-matter what, and friends don't wish to offend.
I can understand your use of flash. It shows that your up with the latest tech, and that you can also protect your images from download. However, a small sized jpeg with a copyright will go a long way in terms of potential clients wishing to download comps or forwarding an image to a colleague.
Many folks also block flash and/or flash sites altogether. HTML is your best bet for the greatest audience.
That's my five-minute take. You asked for it.