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Author Topic: Best way to set up your own photo website?  (Read 10962 times)

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« on: May 01, 2008, 21:18 »
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I am looking to make a professional looking website to display my photos and probably sell prints, of both custom work and general artistic photos.  I have my own url that I would like to use, so I was looking at various options since I am not that up on how to design my own website from scratch. I was thinking of going with a Smugmug pro account.  Smugmug seems to fit the bill and cost about $140 a year for a pro account and I get to use my own web address, except they don't do paypal and people on various forums have complained about their buggy copy protection that doesn't really work. Are there better alternatives out there for what I want to do?

I know I am not the first to ask about Smugmug on here, but no other alternatives have been discussed in the other two posts on here. So that is what I am curious about, if there are other alternative ways to conveniently set up a photo website out there.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2008, 21:23 by marcopolo »


« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2008, 05:37 »
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Mine is www.serendigital.co.uk

I set it up myself using a drop and drag program, iWeb for Mac.

I'm sure if you are a PC user there is something similar?

EDIT: Although I don't sell prints from that website, i do sell photos via email to clients, so it might not be exactly what you're after.  Smugmug seemed very expensive to me personally.

« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2008, 05:39 »
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I was about to post something asking the exact same thing - I've heard that Photoshelter allows you to use FTP to upload to other sites - do any of the others - smugmug / zen allow you to do this?

« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2008, 17:20 »
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Gallery is opensource php/javascript that's easy to set up -- it provides many ways to customize , and has ftp, watermarks, and several ways to link directly to print and poster services that dropship.

my site is http://pix-now.com/main.php -- i've offered to set up a separate album on my site for anyone who's interested in testing it out .  i run it thru 1and1.com for about $5/mo

steve

« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2008, 01:15 »
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I have looked at load of solutions, but could not find any that really fit the bill

I wanted something with a multi tier pricing structure per image

None of the links below are refferal urls so this advice is impartial with no gain to myself

A cheaper hosted solution $70 a year you could look at www.clickpic.com they have a 7 day free trial

these are standalone free or with a one off charge

The one I look at last was http://www.pixaria.com/
This is about $200, ecommerce and designed for photograpy, this came very close

An opensource FREE shopping solution I would look at http://www.magentocommerce.com/ you will need to be artistic, inventive and open minded to see how you can use it as a gallery, it has built in ecommerce, but no multiple price options per product, that is at the moment, this is a fairly young product that will evolve.

There are a number of Flash templates galleries out there these have a number of PayPal ready templates http://allwebcodesign.com/

My website www.adeptris.co.uk uses another opensource product called www.DotNetNuke.com, which allows me to plug in different modules create and edit pages online, need a database at the backend.

For my gallery I found and use a Flash Gallery product www.slideshowpro.net I purchased the flash solution and the director online image managment suite, total cost around $100, but you really need Adobe "flash 8" designer not player if you want to change it

It does not have PayPal as standard, but I have been designing a PayPal version which can be seen and the solution downloaded from my website.

WARNING
All these solution will require you to have some development skill and install and modify the solutions, if you have not done anything like this before, research the "how-to" and FAQ's or get some help, and there is always services like SmugMug to fall back on.

David 
« Last Edit: May 03, 2008, 01:33 by Adeptris »

« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2008, 01:37 »
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I have looked at load of solutions, but could not find any that really fit the bill

I wanted something with a multi tier pricing structure per image

None of the links below are refferal urls so this advice is impartial with no gain to myself

A cheaper hosted solution from $70 a year you could look at www.clickpic.com they have a 7 day free trial

these are standalone free or with a one off charge

The one I look at last was http://www.pixaria.com/
This is about $200, ecommerce and designed for photograpy, this came very close

An opensource FREE shopping solution I would look at http://www.magentocommerce.com/ you will need to be artistic, inventive and open minded to see how you can use it as a gallery, it has built in ecommerce, but no multiple price options per product, that is at the moment, this is a fairly young product that will evolve.

There are a number of Flash templates galleries out there these have a number of PayPal ready templates http://allwebcodesign.com/

My website www.adeptris.co.uk uses another opensource product called www.DotNetNuke.com, which allows me to plug in different modules create and edit pages online, need a database at the backend.

For my gallery I found and use a Flash Gallery product www.slideshowpro.net I purchased the flash solution and the director online image managment suite, total cost around $100, but you really need Adobe "flash 8" designer not player if you want to change it

It does not have PayPal as standard, but I have been designing a PayPal version which can be seen and the solution downloaded from my website.

WARNING
All these solution will require you to have some development skill and install and modify the solutions, if you have not done anything like this before, research the "how-to" and FAQ's or get some help, and there is always services like SmugMug to fall back on.

David 

« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2008, 02:50 »
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I'm setup my own... www.shock.co.ba  ... in background joomla CMS and zoom gallery. Wish to install some shopping cart system do allow people to download and pay images or orfer prints.

Regards,
BA

« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2008, 08:56 »
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i'm using BetterPhoto.com,   the ProBetterPholio .... does everything, even credit cards.... too much to list,  just take a peek at it and click on the compare of their various sites...   it's a little dear in price, $300 US for one years,  but it pretty much does everything you need business-wise. You can display 3,000 pix,  have private areas passworded for your clients to view what you shot for them.... 
   I guess it all depends on how hot and heavy you intend to be promoting and marketing yourself.

Of course, if I knew a lot more about html, flash, etc... I would prefer to build my own site from scratch.... but my knowledge is very limited in website construction.  Not to mention...  who has the time.  As it is,   my gallery is still infinitely small here and I have nothing set up for client use yet....   lots of work maintaining your own website/gallery.  Fortunately for me one of my daughters just completed school in web design and I'm con'ing her to do the work... LOL

the Pro is the biggest site they offer.. they do have 2 other levels at lower cost with fewer options.    No, I don't work for them.  :D

 8)=tom

« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2008, 09:54 »
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A free software for creating a gallery is http://jalbum.net/


« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2008, 12:56 »
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Of course, if I knew a lot more about html, flash, etc... I would prefer to build my own site from scratch.... but my knowledge is very limited in website construction.  Not to mention...  who has the time.  As it is,   my gallery is still infinitely small here and I have nothing set up for client use yet....   lots of work maintaining your own website/gallery. 


 
of all the recommendations here [lots of good choices tin the above messages], the ONLY solution i would NOT recommend is building from scratch! there's no way an individual could achieve anything like what's already available without spending way too much time.

i've been amazed at the opensource projcts that are avaialble - even more amazing is the support forums for these projects.  you do need some knowledge of web design and programming, but when i installed Gallery 2.0 i had never done any php programming and my javascript was minimal.  Most of the features you add and modify do not require any programming.

steve

« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2008, 06:24 »
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jalbum is a very versatile programme and has lots of skins, many with shopping carts, that you can download.  I just use it for galleries on my own site but would look first to it if I was selling prints automatically.

« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2008, 08:54 »
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So that is what I am curious about, if there are other alternative ways to conveniently set up a photo website out there.


I don't think there are that many 'convenient' ways to set up your own photo website, there as many different approaches as there are posts in this thread, but each of them involves plenty of hard work.

selling photos and prints can be done with gallery2 (which is open source / free) and and various other more expensive software but if you have never set-up a website before then go with something hosted like smugmug or you'll be in for a serious learning curve.

While less than $400 will set you up your own little microstock site, you will need to understand SEO, databases and backups, PHP and templates and how to find good web hosting.

Start with a self hosted blog using wordpress, joomla or something else as your CMS, and them move on from there (bluehost is a good place to start for cpanel hosting and then have a look at fantastico to install your chosen CMS. Be ready for the day you do something wrong and whole site turns into a 500 error - you'll learn lots through fixing things like that!

I wrote an overview of some of the CMSs related to setting up photo sites (but did not go into detail about how to set something custom up like joomla) at http://microstockinsider.com/guides/photo-cms-content-management-systems hopefully that will point anyone reading this thread in the right direction

« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2008, 10:35 »
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I used Squarspace for my site http://zanyzeus.ca  Fairly easy and painless for a good basic site. But there are features I wish it had.

Peter

« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2008, 12:09 »
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I'm setup my own... www.shock.co.ba  ... in background joomla CMS and zoom gallery. Wish to install some shopping cart system do allow people to download and pay images or orfer prints.


I use Joomla too for FlemishDreams. There are quite a few shopping cart plugins for Joomla. If you want to sell pictures, you can merge Joomla with Coppermine which has good plugins for photo download/sales.

For those wanting their own website as a pure showcase, you can use a free multiply account. The advantage is that it is partly a social site where you can team up with fellow photogs. I use it for my local Mindanao operation. If you want a real domain, make sure to separate hosting from domain registration so the hoster can't take you hostage. For domains, namecheap.com and godaddy.com are cool, and for hosting I use hostgator.com as it allows multiple domains so you can sell hosting yourself. I currently carry 8 domains on the same account, so the 9$ fee per month is totally covered.

« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2008, 21:00 »
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Jalbum is excellent!  Check out the chameleon skin which has a paypal module built into it as well as watermarking and other cool features.
Coppermine is also a nice open source software that works well for photo based websites.

AVAVA

« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2008, 21:07 »
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Hi Marco Polo,

 We built our own for about $100 american with the help of this company. Here is the link. http://www.winkletwebdesign.com/

 They have templets and we just mixed and matched to make one that was a bit different than their set templates. The owner is a very helpful person and they will even build it for you if that is not your thing for a small fee.

 Here is a link to our web site if you want to take a look at an example. Ours is over two years old so she might have some new stuff to choose from. Go to the site and check under the photographers section.

Here is our site as an example www.andersenross.com

Good Luck,
AVAVA

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2008, 22:48 »
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I was wondering about a website too but is it really worth having a site if you're only doing stock and not weddings, etc? Does anybody really sell anything significant through theirs?

So far I've looked at:

- Gallery2 and it's looking like you need to design the graphics specifically for it. No time for that.
- LicenseStream is a good idea, has tiered RF pricing and an RM calculator but it has fairly limited features overall. And the RM calculator seems pretty far off from other pricing models like Fotoquote.
- Photoshelter's E-Commerce looks really slick and is highly configurable. The Standard version that lets you seamlessly integrate their E-Commerce with your site starts at $30 P/M though. A good deal if you're actually selling anything.

Biggest problem I found is that most of these instant site models have horrendous Search Engine Optimization properties. Meaning, your individual image pages don't get indexed by search engines which really hinders traffic potential.

« Last Edit: December 02, 2008, 23:47 by PaulieWalnuts »

AVAVA

« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2008, 23:01 »
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Hi Paulie,

 I don't think it increases your sales but we are only stock and we use ours for a couple reasons we find very valuable.

 It creates credibility when approaching a location. They can see you are a professional and we get more acceptance about getting into places for trade-outs from showing our photos instead of having to pay for location. It easily has paid for itself on what we have not spent on locations and it is nice to be able to hand a model a card and say please just take a look at the site and if you are interested please contact us. We can pre-screen models through the site before wasting anyones time on work that probably won't sell due to the particular model applicants ability or looks.
  I am an older man and it is tough going up to a beautiful young woman sometimes without giving off the creep factor about your intentions. The site does all the talking and I just hand over the card and say please just take a look at our site I would love to work with you. Then run before they think I am after something else.

Best,
AVAVA

« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2008, 23:33 »
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Although this is a serious investment to some people $295.00 - for the "store version" and 300.00+ plus for the hosting version (start your own microstock agency) if you want the look and all the features of a regular microstock site check out http://www.ktools.net/ 

edit> ohh duhh Photohome lists this in his link - should have looked at it first - excellent article.

One thing to consider when developing your own site is does it provide a means to set up a secured private login area for specific clients to view, select, and buy downloads and or prints of a photo shoot -

I would highly recommend going the joomla route though to start, - there are plugins for slideshow-pro which now integrates with facebook, newsletter engines based on php list and literally thousands of other plugins - including, SEO optimization plugins that address - to some degree -  Pauliewalnuts valid point about individual image pages not being indexed - by making urls seo friendly, and allowing you complete control over the individual dynamic page meta-data information.  Combine that with a google analytics page, and a site-map and that issue seems to get resolved.


If you have never made a serious stab at a website before installing joomla can be a challenge - but in the short term its inmho a lesser challenge then trying to create one from scratch. - and now with the tons of templates available for the latest version by many companies who also are clients to the ms industry, you can quickly find a workable look and feel for your site without spending the time learning how to create your own snazzy template.  just look at the demo site for this one company http://www.joomlart.com/blogcategory/club_portfolio.html  there's some impressive design going on that has in my experience been easy to personalize.






« Last Edit: December 02, 2008, 23:39 by Artmyth »

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2008, 00:02 »
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Cool, my hosting comes with Joomla so I'll install and test it. The extensions sound kinda like Wordpress' plug-ins which would be great for SEO. Thanks Artmyth

« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2008, 09:32 »
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when in the extensions directory on the joomla site search for jed editors - scroll down and find sh404SEF - install it first thing after getting your site ready for content - even before other plugins  - if joomla can be installed from your websites control panel - you might also want to install eXtplorer - as you might run into file ownership issues when using joomlas extension installers.

« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2008, 18:01 »
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I saw this site long ago, looks quite attractive, lots of customization, selling tools.  Any experiences?

http://www.ifp3.com/

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2008, 19:29 »
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take a look at drupal cms it's more advance/powerful than joomla IMHO.


 

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