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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 04 Jun 2011 (Saturday) 18:44
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Needing to get away from Smugmug.

 
The ­ Framed ­ Life
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Jun 04, 2011 18:44 |  #1
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I'm looking for an alternative to smugmug, something that offers monthly payment for around the same price, but doesn't require so much coding and maintenance, something more straight forward for someone like me who doesn't have the time to troubleshoot and all the stuff I found I've been juggling around.

I've tried Zenfolio, and while I like the simple, clean, professional layouts (which I find are better than smugmug's) I don't like how there's a 150% price difference between Premium and Premium business, the only real difference being (at least that's of interest to me) that with Premium business you can have prints done in a US lab.

I'm opening a studio this summer with a photographer friend of mine, just a portrait studio, and the features we're looking for are:

-Custom domain emails
-Gallery Customization
-Lab print service with shipping to Canada
-Customizable Pricing
-Dedicated customer service

I really like Livebooks but I'm wondering if there's a bit of a cheaper alternative.


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ShotByTom
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Jun 05, 2011 00:33 |  #2

I don't understand the "coding and maintenance" issues you're having....what maintenance are you doing with smugmug? I doubt you'll find anything for less than the price of smugmug that handles everything for you the way they do...

Once you get it set up all you do is add photos...


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The ­ Framed ­ Life
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Jun 05, 2011 00:45 |  #3
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I mean the constant troubleshooting of coding and getting everything to work, I just want something clean, simple, out of the box and ready to go.


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Jun 05, 2011 00:58 |  #4

Since setting up a custom design is really just a one-shot deal, it sounds to me like you want everything for nothing. That's not how life works. You'll have to either put in the time if you don't want to pay or pay if you don't want to put in the time.


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ShotByTom
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Jun 05, 2011 00:59 |  #5

I guess I'm still at a loss...I know less than nothing about coding, so I wouldn't know how to troubleshoot if I needed to!

All I've ever done is cut/paste into the customization page of smugmug and have never looked back.

I looked in to have a stand alone website with galleries, unique domain names and a shopping cart. First it was a LOT more than $150 a year...and the maintenance on that was WAY over my head!

I don't see how it could be any easier or cheaper than smugmug!


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Jun 05, 2011 01:08 |  #6

ShotByTom wrote in post #12538229 (external link)
I don't understand the "coding and maintenance" issues you're having....what maintenance are you doing with smugmug? I doubt you'll find anything for less than the price of smugmug that handles everything for you the way they do...

Once you get it set up all you do is add photos...

I agree. What maintenance?


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The ­ Framed ­ Life
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Jun 05, 2011 01:52 |  #7
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I'm just finding that I have a lot of trial and error getting everything how I like it and don't have time for that, I'm not asking for a site with all customizable features, just something like livebooks but a bit less expensive.


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Jun 05, 2011 02:14 |  #8

Hire a designer or a coder who can put your design into action. No matter what direction you go you're going to have to put some effort into it.

It's called investing in your business and it's worth it.


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The ­ Framed ­ Life
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Jun 05, 2011 02:17 |  #9
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Found what I wanted, www.viewbook.com (external link).


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Jun 05, 2011 02:32 |  #10

That looks really good, but I see one bad thing about the "Pro" pack. 5,000 hi-res images.
I would burn through that in a heartbeat.
I love SmugMug because I use it for storing/backing up all my JPEGs and it's unlimited space. The way I work it with selling photos is I link client galleries on my flash site (I use Photobiz.com for that) over to the SmugMug gallery and they can view and print from there.
I do prefer though for clients to order prints through me as I get them from Millers or BRI for much cheaper thus turning more profit for prints than having SM fulfill it. However if they prefer to order through SM I let them and it's easy for them.
Congrats and best wishes on your new studio.




  
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The ­ Framed ­ Life
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Jun 05, 2011 02:33 |  #11
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Yeah, it's not for everyone, but it'll work for me until I know I have the income for livebooks. Thanks.


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Jun 05, 2011 03:33 |  #12

The Framed Life wrote in post #12538579 (external link)
Yeah, it's not for everyone, but it'll work for me until I know I have the income for livebooks. Thanks.

...I've used Viewbook as an interim solution while setting up my wordpress site, and they are really really good. They suited my initial goals of having an "online portfolio", and they had fantastic and personable customer service. They only failed to keep me as a customer because of where I live: they use fotomoto as image proofing preferred vendor and fotomoto weren't willing to offer conversions to NZ currency due to the low number of sales. But yeah, nothing wrong with Viewbooks, as long as they fit in with your business goals: I thought they were fantastic while I was with them.


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Jun 05, 2011 03:38 |  #13

Good luck, OP. I mean that sincerely. I hope they serve your needs.


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Picture ­ North ­ Carolina
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Jun 05, 2011 10:09 |  #14

The Framed Life wrote in post #12536792 (external link)
I'm looking for an alternative to smugmug, something that offers monthly payment for around the same price, but doesn't require so much coding and maintenance,

James,

You should also consider factors other than ease of maintenance. Exposure (SEO) is important, too. Theoretically, you can find the perfect display engine, but if your work is not found and viewed there, for what purpose is it being displayed?

I say this because I recently migrated to smugmug (external link). In the couple short weeks I've been there, I have found I'm getting more hits and referrals a day than other well-known galleries (such as pbase) provided in a month. The popularity of a gallery (its "usefulness" to you) should be strongly considered, too. Good luck.


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Jun 05, 2011 10:15 |  #15

View book is a very different model from smuggy.


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