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u_loco_local
21st of March 2011 (Mon), 17:06
I'm on the fence between Zenfolio and Photoshelter. I'm moving from photoreflect, and need something that's easy to use, and easy to enter my own prices.

Zenfolio is 250 for the business and PS is around 300 for the standard package.

I understand it can be a matter of preference, but does anyone have any opinions about either one to help me make my decision?

Here's what I'm looking for:



simple to make my own prices for prints
can use for image licensing
easy and quick to create galleries.
able to separate commercial and portrait work for easy organization
These are just a few things I'm looking for.

I'm just wondering if I should splurge and go with photoshelter.

Any opinions are appreciated.

cameraperson
21st of March 2011 (Mon), 17:54
will smugmug work for you?

u_loco_local
21st of March 2011 (Mon), 18:10
Hi Cameraperson, I am using the trial on smugmug right now, but I'm not sold on it yet. It seems to take a while configuring the galleries and the controls are a little complicated. Maybe they are more simpler after using them for a while.

jbjet45
21st of March 2011 (Mon), 18:18
loco - I use Zenfolio and I love it. I really wonder if you could get along with the Premium plan. I already had the Premium when they offered the other but I did not see any need to upgrade. I only pay $100 a year and that includes alot for the money. It is very, very easy to make galleries and share on facebook and all kinds of neat things. They have a trial for the premium package. If you decide to try it I have a code u can use to save $10 or something like that. It also credits me something but not sure what.

u_loco_local
21st of March 2011 (Mon), 19:44
What I like about PS is that it automatically determines the cost for licensing.

Does either smugmug or zenfolio do that?

Then I like the idea of zenfolio using mpix for prints since I use mpixpro now and am happy with how my prints look.

100 bucks isn't that bad for pricing either.

jbjet45
21st of March 2011 (Mon), 22:21
I guess I don't know what kind of licensing you are talking about - I am not a pro - LOL

Dan-o
21st of March 2011 (Mon), 23:26
Loco, I'm currently using the trial of PS and there are two things that will probably be a deal breaker. One is you can only have galleries within a collection and that is it.

Like for instance with my current service, Exposure Manager, I can put as many galleries within galleries. I'm shooting a three day cycling event this weekend with 10 or more categories each day. With EM I can organize this very well putting each category, into each day, into the race gallery, into my 2011 Cycling gallery, into my main gallery. With PS you only have two tiers. Not the end of the world but I like the endless tiers that EM provides.

The other thing is PayPal check out. This is the major deal breaker for me and see lots of complaints about it on their forums. They say they are working on going to a new cart system but until they do I'm sticking with EM.

Never used Zen so can't help you there.

Ryan Marko
4th of June 2011 (Sat), 15:00
I have zenfolio, and it's really easy to use and way cheaper. I wanted to like Smugmug (they try so hard to get your business) but designing the site was just so darn complicated. With photoshelter you need to use your credit card just to try out the trial.

I've had a lot of compliments on my site, check it out if you like. I have a referral code on one of the pages, which give you a 10% off. For the business premium if would be 225$ with the discount. When you sign up, you get a referral code. If you refer other clients who then sign up, you get a credit towards next years membership. You can easily get next year's membership free if you do this.

www.ryanmarko.zenfolio.com

DanThoman
4th of June 2011 (Sat), 15:36
I looked at most of the hosting sites and decided on zenfolio. I'm using the premium package at $100 per year. Been very pleased with everything including ease of use for me and my customers.

banquetbear
4th of June 2011 (Sat), 23:51
...as a New Zealand user I settled on Photoshelter after a year searching for the right proofing system. I have been looking for a system that was easy to set up, could deal with NZ currency, low capital investment, could manage licences, and was a stable long-term company. Eventually I will be moving to my own hosting system using a system such as photocart, but I don't have the cashflow or the time to set it up right now.

One of the things that "pushed me over the top" with photoshelter was that one of the top local print labs was in the printer network. I contacted them and although they were not being inundated with photoshelter orders, they were set up and things seemed to be working fine. None of the other proofing options (zenfolio, smugmug, fotomoto, instaproofs, etc) were anywhere as close to being "international friendly", so photoshelter got the vote from me.

CanonDad
17th of June 2011 (Fri), 17:48
I have been with Photoshelter for a couple of months now and am always on the lookout for an alternative (not because of PS, just becasue im like that), and am currently trialling Zenfolio.
TBH im going to stick with PS. The look of it is just superb and the design trounces Zenfolio in every department.
Small things such as not having a watermark on the homepage images and having separate galleries on the homepage is something that makes PS better.
1 thing i have an issue with is that i can only have 2 custom pages, when i really need 1 more, but thats the only issue.
Zenfolio is extremely customisable, but doesnt look as good as PS (IMO)

twolittlestarfish
7th of March 2012 (Wed), 05:41
Banquetbear...I am also in NZ. Which local print lab do you use for New Zealand through photoshelter?

FlyingPhotog
7th of March 2012 (Wed), 05:43
Unfortunately, Zenfolio does not offer anything like photo quote on PS.

Beyond that, I've been very happy with Zen. My site is linked below.

Staszek
7th of March 2012 (Wed), 05:49
Photoshelter has been awesome to me and does everything the OP desired (I recognize this is an old thread). The built in Photo Quote is great because it allows me to license editorial photos without ever having to be in contact with the magazine or newspaper editor.

You can save up to $30 off Photoshelter if you sign up here! (http://www.photoshelter.com/referral/ST5XL3Q534)

banquetbear
7th of March 2012 (Wed), 06:31
Banquetbear...I am also in NZ. Which local print lab do you use for New Zealand through photoshelter?

...Imagelab. Wellington based, and a very simple process when I've used it. The prints are more expensive though, so you have to think about your pricing carefully, and make sure you account for all the other costs like paypal and GST etc, when you work out your sell cost. You can also self fulfill: which also works very well.

Just a quick note on Photoshelter: on the 24th of March they are starting the first of what is planned to be a year long upgrade of the entire photoshelter site: the changes include a simplified image inter face system (yeah!) and nested galleries.

flapsmcgee
7th of March 2012 (Wed), 06:47
I use Photoshelter and I love it for the main reason that I can have my own front end which needs to be quick to load and easy to navigate also search is great and best of all you can customize rights manged prices and personal use prices
Clicl link...http://www.procarlos.com/gallery-list

facedodge
7th of March 2012 (Wed), 14:49
I am in the trial period with smugmug and zenfolio. So far, I like smugmug's usibility and organization. I feel like zenfolio is not intuitive and has hard to find editing options. However, I like how zenfolio allows you to add a dollar amount and then a percentage. With smugmug, you can only use percentage, so if you pick 200% or something, you only get a few pennies for a 5x7 vs sixty dollars for a canvas print. I end up having to change the percentages to each of their hundred or so print options.

Ahtz
7th of March 2012 (Wed), 15:22
I am in the trial period with smugmug and zenfolio. So far, I like smugmug's usibility and organization. I feel like zenfolio is not intuitive and has hard to find editing options. However, I like how zenfolio allows you to add a dollar amount and then a percentage. With smugmug, you can only use percentage, so if you pick 200% or something, you only get a few pennies for a 5x7 vs sixty dollars for a canvas print. I end up having to change the percentages to each of their hundred or so print options.

Quit spreading false information. You can set the price of each individual print separate from each other if you want.

facedodge
7th of March 2012 (Wed), 15:32
Quit spreading false information. You can set the price of each individual print separate from each other if you want.

That's exactly what I said. I am not spreading false information like some jerk with a agenda. You have two options; use one percentage or many different ones. I would rather add 5 bucks then a smaller percentage to the price. That way, I'm not selling the small prints too cheep and the large prints too expensively. Does it make sense to charge 50 cents for a 4x6 then 150 bucks for a 8 x 10 canvas print? I'd rather charge 5 bucks for a 4x6 and 20 bucks for a canvas print. With Zenfolio, I can do that with two clicks and all the prices in between just fall in line. With Smugmug, I have to spend half the day adjusting every line item manually.

alisontoon
14th of January 2014 (Tue), 17:01
Hi, I use Zenfolio today for http://alisontoon.com but I'm actively considering moving to PhotoShelter... for the SEO. No matter what I try--and no matter how often I pester the Zenfolio support guys--I *cannot* get my images indexed by Google or Bing at the image level. Zenfolio sitemaps only to the gallery level--NOT to individual image pages, but PhotoShelter says it does issue sitemaps to the individual image pages. (Zenfolio don't seem to recognize this as an issue and just refer back to search engines rather than addressing it on their side).

This is frustrating; as an editorial stock photographer, I can't sell photos if no-one can find them, no matter how nice the rest of the functionality is. And Zenfolio really is nice to use!

Tigerkn
15th of January 2014 (Wed), 18:57
Hi, I use Zenfolio today for http://alisontoon.com but I'm actively considering moving to PhotoShelter... for the SEO. No matter what I try--and no matter how often I pester the Zenfolio support guys--I *cannot* get my images indexed by Google or Bing at the image level. Zenfolio sitemaps only to the gallery level--NOT to individual image pages, but PhotoShelter says it does issue sitemaps to the individual image pages. (Zenfolio don't seem to recognize this as an issue and just refer back to search engines rather than addressing it on their side).

This is frustrating; as an editorial stock photographer, I can't sell photos if no-one can find them, no matter how nice the rest of the functionality is. And Zenfolio really is nice to use!
That is great to know. I didn't even know about it. Thanks for sharing Alison!

dgoakill
16th of January 2014 (Thu), 00:26
Hi, I use Zenfolio today for http://alisontoon.com but I'm actively considering moving to PhotoShelter... for the SEO. No matter what I try--and no matter how often I pester the Zenfolio support guys--I *cannot* get my images indexed by Google or Bing at the image level. Zenfolio sitemaps only to the gallery level--NOT to individual image pages, but PhotoShelter says it does issue sitemaps to the individual image pages. (Zenfolio don't seem to recognize this as an issue and just refer back to search engines rather than addressing it on their side).

This is frustrating; as an editorial stock photographer, I can't sell photos if no-one can find them, no matter how nice the rest of the functionality is. And Zenfolio really is nice to use!

I have both a Photoshelter (PS) site and Zenfolio (zen). I've had zen since 2008 and PS since June 2013. I started the PS site halfway through my current zen subscription for two reasons.

1. the site templates were terrible at zen. 2. SEO was non existent at zen

I'm renewing my zen account in a few days and will not be renewing the PS account when it is due in June.

(disclaimer: I don't know a lot about SEO, but have read and researched the sites and why people have issues with them).

The reason I've seen the most is that no all-in-one hosted site seems to be very good when it comes to SEO. All have complaints in this area from users. In order to make the sites functional they have to set the pages and domains up in a way that is counter productive for true SEO. What is in place is completely in the hands of the hosting service.

In my experience, the best way to take advantage of SEO is to have your own site on a server out in the wild. all the services: smug, zen, PS, etc. have issues with this. since when hosting with them is almost like being on a closed circuit in a way. I still get more hits and traffic from a wordpress blog hosted through 1and1 internet, that I set up in 2010 and is no longer updated, then I do with both the zen and ps sites combined. keep in mind, I was not paying attention in any way to SEO back then. the reason for the hits has more to do with straight forward domains and backlinks than anything else. all most all of my images were stripped of meta data from that time period.

most people who know about SEO will have a separate custom site (even if it's just a wordpress site) and use one of these services for the backend only. In my experience, I didn't see any uptick in hits with PS over zen. it all comes down to marketing and the work you put in. setting up a site at any of these services and expecting google and bing etc. to do the work just isn't going to happen.

ps is not an agent like Alamy or Getty. Most pros seem to use it because of the selling features after they've made the sale.........which is to say the site itself had nothing to do with generating the sale, but simply makes it easier to business with digital downloads, licensing, lite boxes, etc. From the data I read, it's not often people come to photoshelter to search for images. It happens, just not that much.

So since the SEO wasn't measurably different and now that zen released some new templates the past few weeks, I'm saving some money and sticking with zen. my domain currently points to my PS site which I'll switch back to pointing at zen in a few months.

Mark-B
18th of January 2014 (Sat), 16:52
Hi, I use Zenfolio today for http://alisontoon.com but I'm actively considering moving to PhotoShelter... for the SEO. No matter what I try--and no matter how often I pester the Zenfolio support guys--I *cannot* get my images indexed by Google or Bing at the image level.

I have a friend who uses Photoshelter and shoots similar subject matter. I just went to his site, picked a handful of images, and did Google & Bing searches based on his keywords. I got pretty mixed results on this with only his showing for some, only mine showing for others, and both of ours showing for a few.

Although I have done my share of complaining about Zenfolio's SEO over the past 7 years, I have to admit that some things do get indexed. For example, a Google image search of "Horace Wilkinson Bridge Baton Rouge" shows 23 of my pictures in the first 60 thumbnails. The same search on Bing showed 17 in the first 70 results.

Also something to consider is that when I switch those searches from "Images" to "Web", my photo pages and blog entries show up but none of his Photoshelter pages are in there.

The other thing I noticed is that Flickr is very well indexed and those pictures almost always show up in the search results - more so than Photoshelter or Zenfolio.

If you are not doing it already, filling out the fields for title, caption, keywords, alt text, and even the custom URL are pretty critical on Zenfolio. It also doesn't hurt to use the blog feature with lots of good text.

ryanshoots
20th of January 2014 (Mon), 18:10
I have a friend who uses Photoshelter and shoots similar subject matter. I just went to his site, picked a handful of images, and did Google & Bing searches based on his keywords. I got pretty mixed results on this with only his showing for some, only mine showing for others, and both of ours showing for a few.

Although I have done my share of complaining about Zenfolio's SEO over the past 7 years, I have to admit that some things do get indexed. For example, a Google image search of "Horace Wilkinson Bridge Baton Rouge" shows 23 of my pictures in the first 60 thumbnails. The same search on Bing showed 17 in the first 70 results.

Also something to consider is that when I switch those searches from "Images" to "Web", my photo pages and blog entries show up but none of his Photoshelter pages are in there.

The other thing I noticed is that Flickr is very well indexed and those pictures almost always show up in the search results - more so than Photoshelter or Zenfolio.

If you are not doing it already, filling out the fields for title, caption, keywords, alt text, and even the custom URL are pretty critical on Zenfolio. It also doesn't hurt to use the blog feature with lots of good text.

If you rely on search engine results to sell photos, you're doing it wrong. If you are doing it right, you could block google from crawling your photo selling site and still make a living. So pick whichever one meets your needs for selling and forget about SEO. You need to push your buyers to those your photo selling site without search engines. If you can do that you make a living. I'll bet 90 percent of the punters using google image search are wanting a free image anyway.