Where to Go Instead of PS?

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9 comments

  • Allison Kendall

    Currently laying the groundwork for a likely switch to SmugMug, it meets most of my particular needs and appears to have modern tools throughout. That said, from talking to a lot of fellow photographers with different kinds of businesses and interests, there are several excellent options out there depending on what you need. Zenfolio, Format, even the built-in Portfolio and cloud storage with an Adobe Creative subscription seems to be a good fit for some people.

    It has taken me a while to reach this point, but if Photoshelter is truly abandoning its individual user-base in favour of pursuing bigger commercial clients, then almost ANYTHING will be better. Not thrilled about the migration process (still figuring that out) but I have a window of time to tackle it and I'm tired of putting up with Photoshelter's shortcomings.

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  • Deirdre Ryan

    Ugh this is just so disappointing! I have a Zenfolio account that has a lot of features that’s been grandfathered in. My plan basically doesn’t exist anymore. The migration out of PS is going to be extremely painful since I already migrated out of Zen to PS years ago.

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  • Joey McDermott

    I'm about to do the 14 day trial of shootproof.  I'm sure it is similar but it looks like this offers electronic contract signing.  I'll bring some info here once I see how it works out.

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  • Vincent Johnson

    Funny, I'm in the midst of doing a big switch from Zenfolio to Photoshelter. SmugMug is also in my view as well. 

    I will say, after 15 years of being with Zenfolio they have not really made any changes that were beneficial to photographers, unless it increased their bottom line. Not saying they needed to make changes that would lose them money, but it's like they are more focused on being the Uber of photography, where they just keep finding ways to take more of a cut out of your income year after year. 

    Currently I'm in love with the features that will make my photos more photo editor and SEO friendly, but I will say that PS is lacking in client friendliness for normal consumers. I do a lot of high school sports and the fact that there's no way to search for gallery names that I've found, so a school name search reveals thousands of images instead of just a handful of galleries is super bad UI.

    Going to try the 14 day Smugmug trial next, but I will say I'm super done with Zenofolio. They just added a $1 fee on every order, regardless of the sale price or size. So even if you're a business level account, they're taking $1 out of your pock on every order. I figure I easily get over 150 orders a year and that cost would be better spent on a PS account. 

    Also, very happy to see I had a personal download sale and the only cut I had to pay (2%) was to my credit card processor (paypal). Zenfolio would have taken 10% of that (plus $1).  

    So, be real careful of Zenfolio if you like your income.

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  • Vincent Johnson

    Also, was just checking out Smugmug and Shootproof. SM take s 15% cut of your profits and I can't believe this is real, but Shootproof only give your 30% of your sale. I've emailed them for clarification, but yeah, looks like they are trolling the bottom of the barrel for wanna be pro-photographers.

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  • Joey McDermott

    Depending on which membership you get from photoshelter they get 8-10% of your total sale.  My understanding is Shootproof is a subdomain so it couldn't take place of photoshelter.  They don't take a percentage of your sales but they do offer a store.  So if you sell a client a digital file they can buy prints or other photo products, and that is where they give you 30% off what they sell in their store.  You would get something from this as opposed if the person went to Walgreen's or Mpix which you would get no additional income from the image.

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  • Allison Kendall

    After a lot of consideration, I am making the move to Smugmug, for a few reasons listed below. The move of a decade's worth of digital photography from one platform to another is just as painful as you may think it would be. Nonetheless, I've given Photoshelter years to attend to customers like me, and these forum threads should be evidence enough that there's no changes on the horizon.

    Currently, my primary use for an online photo platform is as an offiste archival backup - Smugmug has RAW file support and reasonable unlimited storage plans for jpegs and video. I also need an online portfolio - Smugmug has modern template designs and a 'block' site builder which offers substantially more design control throughout the site. I need an occasional client delivery system - Smugmug client features appear to be very user-friendly, with a good printer selection, digital delivery and simple checkout interface. I do not have the time or interest to build a front-end Wordpress site to make up for Photoshelter's weak site design tools, though this seems to now be the recommended option if you stay with Photoshelter.***

    Bonus, Smugmug's Lightroom plugin is not only functional (unlike Photoshelter's) but it works very well and includes RAW files with the addition of their 'Source' service. Yes, more money, but this solves multiple workflow/backup issues I have been managing with a patchwork system and Photoshelter's dismal uploader. Obviously not everyone is using Lightroom, so this may not be a universal perk of switching, but for me it is a great fit.

    This is all to say, depending on your primary uses for a photo site, other services may absolutely be a better choice. For photographers with regular clients needing frequent downloads and prints, as for a school or sports photographer, Photoshelter's fees may be appealing, but be warned, the user experience has been notably terrible for years and no amount of feedback seems to help.

    I know several photographers whose primary photo website needs are mostly for portfolio presentations, and they are very satisfied with what Adobe provides free with a Creative Cloud subscription. For me, the need for an all-in-one backup and public-facing solution led to Smugmug. The cost is ultimately comparable to Photoshelter, but the product is actually something built with the current needs of photographers in mind. Photoshelter abandoned the individual photographer ages ago, unless you are a big name who looks good in their marketing content.

    ***As an aside, I should have seen this all coming ~6 years ago. I worked as a digital asset manager for a high-profile photographer whose site was with Photoshelter. They'd had a front-end website designed in Wordpress, and used Photoshelter for their extensive archives. In my role, I occasionally communicated with the folks at Photoshelter, and was once told by someone in senior leadership, when we raised the issue of some website tools not being up to snuff, that "it isn't meant to do everything." Which is interesting, because that is certainly how they had marketed the service when I signed up over a decade ago. Portfolio, storage, client interface, all in one was the promise. Technically those tools do exist, but the service as a whole is neglected and out of date, with no hope in sight. I guess they have been true to their word in that phone call, and I'm the idiot for not believing them the first time.

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  • Deirdre Ryan

    I don't do much in terms of sales on images. If I do, then I just bill the extras into the cost. However I've been using Cloudspot. It's super easy, and the clients I have that need additional products can do so. I found this to be much easier than Shootproof. My Zenfolio is just sitting there and I have it set up for my headshot site. A lot of places are nickel and dime-ing everyone, Zenfolio is a prime example of that. Bloom is another really cool option as well. I have an unlimited account grandfathered in sort of. I need to start looking into it again as it's a pretty powerful system, especially since the last time I used it, they've added some great features. It's marketed as a CRM, with galleries, invoicing, etc., for photographers. 

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  • Claus Birch

    I share my frustrations about PS with all of you, but can't find any real alternative. I am using the ftp upload directly from the camera to specific galleries for most customers for fast delivery. As I can see, only PS offer the possibility to ftp upload directly to a specific gallery. I tried PhotoDeck for testing, which is actually super cool. But the ftp upload is not into a given gallery, which is a show stopper for me.....

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