Tech, Gadgets, Photography, Social Media and Poor Spelling
I’ve covered a lot of miles including wondering if i should just use WordPress the platform for this blog as a location. However I eventually found zenfolio.com and am using this as the center for my photography as i move forward.
It’s not got the Social aspect which is the strength of the 500px.com website however i’m moving past that for this phase in the photography site. Zenfolio provides the complete photography experience and infrastructure needed to showcase your work.
It’s all about showing off your work on photography sites and this means the front page being able to display the photos and finding the content quickly and easily. Zenfolio has a a system where your sites home page is your portfolio as you can create groups or collections from your photo folders. There are various layouts which can be customised and moved around then you can drill down into a Thumbnail Gallery. Which you can again stick with the theme you have chosen and it’s default settings or play around and create your own thumbnail page layout.
As i said, i’m a believer that the photos are what you want to show off and the portfolio home page and thumbnails allow you to do this. There are links to purchasing photos and social media like Facebook and Twitter and fantastically Google+ as well.
I’ve chosen a darker theme however there are lighter ones available and everything on the page is customizable just about what you do and don’t show, where you show it how many photos per page, pricing on the left or right etc. Drilling down to the final photo display screen provides you with:
The user can share the photos, create some slide shows of favorite photos and again create a cart if you want to sell on line.
It’s no good having hundreds of photos on your site if you can’t find the ones you want and Zenfolio integrates a tagging system and search infrastructure out of the box. If like me you have a fair number of photos it does take a while going through each photos and naming it, adding a description creating tag items and tag groups. This may seem like a waste of time however as your collection gows this is an essential part of a site like this.
There is also a well thought out wizard which sets up Google analytics and gets you added to the Google search index and Bing search index. On many sites and systems like this you end up having to dig down into code and entering api strings into header of footer codes. With Zenfolio you really are walked though the setup with well thought out howto’s and a couple of boxes are provided to enter Google and Bing API keys.
One of the reasons for going down this route was to generate enough revenue off the site to be able to pay for the site next year (not sure how that’s going to do, time will tell) The sales infrastructure is built in and there are default price lists if your not sure how much to charge for your work and you can create custom Pricelists as well if your sure on what you can make. There is a good selection of prints, books and other items all of which are provided from reputable dealers
There are also a good selection of ways you can print these photos too some however depend on your uploaded resolutions
When you are paying for a service, you expect a level of support so I thought i’d try out what these guys are like, i dropped a mail about the Meetups just to find out if there were any in the UK and how to promote my Gallery and via Facebook on how to put the photos in Order of date newest first.
the mail was replied to in less than an hour with a well thought out response and the person responded with questions and a good level of feedback. Facebook just the same a link with a really well written howto guide on getting this sorted out. The site provides a lot of good well written documentation and videos covering setting up your site and how to get this all up and working.
There are also forums which have guidance, information and what appears to be a good community going on here.
This is what actually swayed part of my decision i’m just starting on this journey and real world support helps.
The iPad app has access to just about all of the features you will find on the webpage, with upload to get the photos from your iPad camera directly or via the Camera Connection Kit.
Once uploaded the app has the ability to download all your photos for off line viewing and you can choose the size of the photo’s you want to download as well. This speeds up the viewing of the photos and the larger size still downloads if you are online.
While the photos are uploaded you can tag them, name them, put them in the right folders etc as part of the upload process or after. And then setup the sharing as required to the three Social heavyweights G+, Facebook and Twitter.
The app is Free, well thought out and a nice way to show off your photos on the iPad 3’s retina display
One interesting feature i thought i’d mention is the ability to setup areas if you do a lot of photography work for payment like Weddings. you can setup areas where the prople paying you to do the photos can see them in the “Proofing stage” I like this idea.
You can upload an unlimited number of photos and organize them into galleries, groups, or collections. Your photos never expire, and are stored safely in geo-distributed data centers.
What we have here is a secure well thought out Photo infrastucture for displaying your photos to the world, it’s not free, it is however worth paying for. (And I can offer you a Referral Code:4KS-UHN-ZXE) I’m enjoying the service and iPad app a lot.