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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 26 Apr 2018 (Thursday) 11:21
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Mare333
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Apr 26, 2018 11:21 |  #1

Hello everyone,
Marianne here with a question. I am in the process of looking for a provider for my photography website and I am wondering what providers do you use? The industry leaders seem to be wix and squarespace, but there are also website providers that are SPECIFICALLY for photographers such as for example "Format". I am looking, as I am sure all photographers do, to display my portfolio, but some providers also offer online store which may or may not be helpful with the process of actually selling the digital images and prints. So from your experience which providers are best? Thank you very much for your help,
Marianne




  
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-Duck-
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Apr 26, 2018 13:21 |  #2

Hi Marianne, I too am looking for options. I am currently using SmugMug but am getting progressively disgruntled by their service.

For a hobbyist photographer, SmugMug may be adequate but as a pro I am finding it has a lot of limitations. First let me describe what I love about SmugMug;

  • Price - For one, their price point. As an image hosting site with unlimited space for uploading images, they probably lead the pack in this respect.
  • Fulfilment - With a few image processing companies to choose from, getting prints to customers is super easy. Set your profit margin and they take care of the rest.
  • Personal URL - Their mid tier and up price point allows you to have your own personal URL.
  • Templates and interface - While the majority of their templates are similar, the underlying structure of site editing is simple (once you get past the learning curve). Layout is created with compartmented modules. Need text, add a text block. Need and image, add an image block, etc.


Now for the things I don't like that I find are limiting to running a professional website;
  • Template and interface - Yes, I am repeating. Though relatively simple, that simplicity doesn't allow for more creative layout of content. But that's easy to overlook. Their online editor, though, is archaic and oversimplified. You can't add tables, bullet or numbered lists and paste and copy is crude, destroying any formatting done elsewhere.
  • Dated templates - While simple, the templates are starting to look dated. No parallax scrolling, no multi-content front page. No graphs, icon links, no Font Awesome integration.
  • Dated and limited image support - We are entering a multimedia world. My studio does 360° products I can't showcase. There is limited video integration. No virtual video support.
  • Limited file support - While their fulfilment service customarily takes JPGs, there are no allowances for delivering other file formats. Many of my clients prefer TIF format or even PSD. Can't share those through SmugMug. Likewise with PFD files if you're looking to add e-books to your service.


Many of these items are things I never thought I would need when I initially signed up for their service. Now, in hindsight, I wish someone had mentioned them to me. Hope this sheds a little light and maybe someone knows of a service that resolves some of these issues as well.

"If you didn't learn something new today, you wasted a day."
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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Apr 26, 2018 15:23 |  #3

I use to do quite a bit of web development but haven't kept up with it too much lately. It sounds like you have ruled out hiring a professional, but if you havent already, I would suggest you at least find some local recommended professionals and go visit with them. Be honest with them that you are considering trying to do it on your own but have not decided anything yet.

Find out their strengths and preferred development environment. See if you like them. Maybe even get a written estimate if initial discussions seem to be going the right way.

The main thing you should have in the back of your mind is "what the heck are you going to do if you spend a couple of weeks building it and get stuck?"

Or

"What the heck am I going to do in a year when my goals expand and I need a pile of more features?"

Or

"Dang, supposedly there is this new hot technology that can be integrated with my web platform, but I have no idea and no time to deal with it?"


If you have considered your local talents, you will have a good back up with the knowledge and experience to help you out.

I would stick with Square Space or WordPress.

Check this out: https://www.stylefacto​ryproductions.com …e-vs-wordpress?format=amp (external link)


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
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Mare333
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Apr 26, 2018 16:13 |  #4

-Duck- wrote in post #18614037 (external link)
Hi Marianne, I too am looking for options. I am currently using SmugMug but am getting progressively disgruntled by their service.

For a hobbyist photographer, SmugMug may be adequate but as a pro I am finding it has a lot of limitations. First let me describe what I love about SmugMug;
  • Price - For one, their price point. As an image hosting site with unlimited space for uploading images, they probably lead the pack in this respect.
  • Fulfilment - With a few image processing companies to choose from, getting prints to customers is super easy. Set your profit margin and they take care of the rest.
  • Personal URL - Their mid tier and up price point allows you to have your own personal URL.
  • Templates and interface - While the majority of their templates are similar, the underlying structure of site editing is simple (once you get past the learning curve). Layout is created with compartmented modules. Need text, add a text block. Need and image, add an image block, etc.


Now for the things I don't like that I find are limiting to running a professional website;
  • Template and interface - Yes, I am repeating. Though relatively simple, that simplicity doesn't allow for more creative layout of content. But that's easy to overlook. Their online editor, though, is archaic and oversimplified. You can't add tables, bullet or numbered lists and paste and copy is crude, destroying any formatting done elsewhere.
  • Dated templates - While simple, the templates are starting to look dated. No parallax scrolling, no multi-content front page. No graphs, icon links, no Font Awesome integration.
  • Dated and limited image support - We are entering a multimedia world. My studio does 360° products I can't showcase. There is limited video integration. No virtual video support.
  • Limited file support - While their fulfilment service customarily takes JPGs, there are no allowances for delivering other file formats. Many of my clients prefer TIF format or even PSD. Can't share those through SmugMug. Likewise with PFD files if you're looking to add e-books to your service.


Many of these items are things I never thought I would need when I initially signed up for their service. Now, in hindsight, I wish someone had mentioned them to me. Hope this sheds a little light and maybe someone knows of a service that resolves some of these issues as well.

Thank you for your insight. I have read many similar reports about SmugMug so I've pretty much ruled it out. I am considering squarespace or this site I found for creative professionals called Format. they let you create your portfolio and also proofing and sales directly to customers.




  
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Mare333
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Apr 26, 2018 16:14 |  #5

Left Handed Brisket wrote in post #18614134 (external link)
I use to do quite a bit of web development but haven't kept up with it too much lately. It sounds like you have ruled out hiring a professional, but if you havent already, I would suggest you at least find some local recommended professionals and go visit with them. Be honest with them that you are considering trying to do it on your own but have not decided anything yet.

Find out their strengths and preferred development environment. See if you like them. Maybe even get a written estimate if initial discussions seem to be going the right way.

The main thing you should have in the back of your mind is "what the heck are you going to do if you spend a couple of weeks building it and get stuck?"

Or

"What the heck am I going to do in a year when my goals expand and I need a pile of more features?"

Or

"Dang, supposedly there is this new hot technology that can be integrated with my web platform, but I have no idea and no time to deal with it?"


If you have considered your local talents, you will have a good back up with the knowledge and experience to help you out.

I would stick with Square Space or WordPress.

Check this out: https://www.stylefacto​ryproductions.com …e-vs-wordpress?format=amp (external link)

Thank you very much for your advice




  
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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
That's my line!
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Location: The Uwharrie Mts, NC
     
Apr 26, 2018 16:18 |  #6

Anothe option: https://www.photobiz.c​om (external link)


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
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Mare333
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Apr 26, 2018 16:20 |  #7

Left Handed Brisket wrote in post #18614173 (external link)
Anothe option: https://www.photobiz.c​om (external link)

Thank you, I will look into it.




  
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archfotos
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Post edited 18 days ago by archfotos.
     
May 08, 2018 13:32 |  #8

"some providers also offer online store which may or may not be helpful with the process of actually selling the digital images and prints."

I had Photoshelter for many years with some very salable stock images of DC, anytime anyone ever wanted to license an image they contact me directly instead of using the online check out system so they could try and negotiate a better price. This was even true when Photoshelter themselves wanted to license one of my images for marketing purposes. Contacted me directly and paid with a check verses their own check out system. Granted YMMV but I'm a bit jaded on the costs of having a checkout system integrated into the website for me it's not worth the expense. If you were doing events / weddings where private galleries sold individual images to multiple people and the price/hassle was in their spectrum I could see it working.

As for the web providers, I will keep my opinions to myself as I've never been extremely happy. In fact over the years I've gone through some horrible experiences. One of the worst use to be one of the best web hosts for photographers - not only did ASMP recommend them highly years later when things went bad ASMP issued a warning to all of it's members. And I lost a good chunk of sleep and cell phone minutes.

What I'm getting at is you should look for a couple of features and I'm sure others on this site can give better insights. Does the provider have a phone number, call it - talk to someone! Where are the servers located, no good if a hurricane or snow storm takes out power, yes this did happen, how do you truly know your site is live 24/7? DO NOT register your custom URL with the web host Years of web experience has taught me this painfully again and again you will be changing web hosts don't let them hold your URL hostage. If it's a perk then have two URLs.

Having played with a lot of them your first impression is most likely the best. If you like the templates in the demo then that's what you are going to get don't try and fool yourself into thinking you are going to be able to customize your site that much differently than their canned examples if so write your own html or hire a designer.

Hope this helps a bit


DC Photographer (external link)

  
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Nethawked
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Location: Virginia, USA
     
May 09, 2018 11:42 |  #9

I spent probably way too much time evaluating most of the built hosting sites and finally decided that as a control freak none of them would do. I jumped into WordPress with no prior knowledge or interest in website development (although I am an IT professional) and it's been a long road with many speed bumps but I have no regrets as to my decision.




  
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01Ryan10
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Location: OC, California
     
May 17, 2018 15:40 |  #10

As an occasional paid hobbyist, I have no issue with SquareSpace. There is a lot of customization you can do with SquareSpace actually. If you're making some good money, then get a developer.


http://RyanLunaPhotogr​aphy.com (external link)
IG: @01ryanluna10 (external link)

  
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