Forums > Photography Talk > Smugmug replacement... own site

Photographer

Diana Jo

Posts: 787

Marysville, Washington, US

So, Smugmug announced that they're raising rates a while ago. I've been a paid subscriber for a while and well, haven't made back what I've paid since I'm not really an event photographer.

I've also switched web hosts and now have unlimited storage, so I'm looking for a self-hosted solution. Any suggestions? I would prefer not to lay out a bunch of cash, so opensource would be preferred. I figure I can dropship through my lab just as easily as SmugMug can.

Oct 07 12 05:59 pm Link

Photographer

Ken Fields Photography

Posts: 147

Wailuku, Hawaii, US

I use Zenfolio, but like you have been thinking of simply using my own website hosting service and have been looking at these two for the gallery:

http://gallery.menalto.com/

http://coppermine-gallery.net/

Check 'em out.....

Oct 07 12 06:12 pm Link

Photographer

Diana Jo

Posts: 787

Marysville, Washington, US

Thanks Ken. Glad to know I'm not the only one thinking this way. I'd seen coppermine before but couldn't find it again for the life of me. Gallery doesn't appear to have a cart plugin which would be annoying, since it's always nice to have the option for people to give you money... :-P

Coppermine, does have a cart plug-in (several, in fact...1.4x version) so I'll have to set it up and see what I can do with the layout. I like clean and simple, hopefully I can do something like that with Coppermine. Of course, I also want to make sure it's iphone compatible since I sometimes have to resort to showing people stuff on that.

I'm open to other things, of course...I have a few months before my subscription with Smug ends, but I know it's better if I get things going because otherwise I'll procrastinate until a week before...and that would be BAD and an expensive problem.

Oct 07 12 07:54 pm Link

Photographer

photoimager

Posts: 4906

Stoke-on-Trent, England, United Kingdom

If you are using PayPal you can use their coding to produce product / service payment pages with pull down options, cart etc.

Oct 07 12 10:31 pm Link

Photographer

Robert Jewett

Posts: 2462

al-Marsā, Tunis, Tunisia

I need a similar solution.  Thanks for posting this, I'll keep an eye on the suggestions.

Oct 07 12 11:46 pm Link

Photographer

Diana Jo

Posts: 787

Marysville, Washington, US

The Paypal buttons are great if you only have 1 size or a few products. It's a giant PITA to deal with a handful of size options and more than a few prints...

I've looked at a couple of the photo galleries that are add ins to Wordpress (my site is based on WP), but so far haven't found anything that is configurable enough, so switching to a standalone product seems the best option.

Oct 08 12 08:14 am Link

Photographer

2020 Photography

Posts: 440

Saint Petersburg, Florida, US

I think anyone who has ever picked up a camera has heard about Zenfolio and these two gallery sites seem interesting enough but it also seems that they add a lot of unnecessary complexity and effort into what needs to be a simply process.

If I am understanding the workings of these sites a photographer would load their images into the gallery site and then link, integrate, or sync the gallery site with their own web site?  That seems a lot more complicated than it needs to be with two sites to worry about going down or losing sync.

Like a lot of us I am looking for a lower option to SmugMug but I don't want to constantly worry about problems and with having to monitor two sites instead of one  and I can see problems aplenty.  If I have missed something here someone please let me know.  Thanks.

Oct 08 12 11:01 am Link

Photographer

DougBPhoto

Posts: 38589

Portland, Oregon, US

2020 Photography wrote:
I think anyone who has ever picked up a camera has heard about Zenfolio and these two gallery sites seem interesting enough but it also seems that they add a lot of unnecessary complexity and effort into what needs to be a simply process.

If I am understanding the workings of these sites a photographer would load their images into the gallery site and then link, integrate, or sync the gallery site with their own web site?  That seems a lot more complicated than it needs to be with two sites to worry about going down or losing sync.

Like a lot of us I am looking for a lower option to SmugMug but I don't want to constantly worry about problems and with having to monitor two sites instead of one  and I can see problems aplenty.  If I have missed something here someone please let me know.  Thanks.

You've missed something.  Missed it entirely.

For example, Zenfolio works just fine as a stand-alone site with absolutely no syncing...  I just upload what I want uploaded/for-sale on the site and I'm done.

It really is not complex at all.  I am sure people can make it more complex if they want it to be, but it can also be incredibly simple.

IMHO, Zenfolio is more of a stand-alone option, for the intent and purpose of avoiding the problems of what you're describing.

However, based on the OP's comments if he's committed to a self-spun site, then obviously one that is designed to be stand-alone isn't going to fit that criteria.

Oct 08 12 12:04 pm Link

Photographer

Diana Jo

Posts: 787

Marysville, Washington, US

Using Zenfolio or SmugMug seems an unnecessary outlay of cash. Initially when I subscribed to SmugMug my web host limited bandwidth and storage, I now have "unlimited" space so it makes sense to eliminate the bill...particularly since they've announced a rate increase.

I don't like Zenfolio because they widely publicize who their labs are and therefore your "cost" can easily be found by clients. I've had one "charming" experience explaining to a former client that while the paper cost $1.50 they're paying the rest for the skill/talent/vision that got put on the paper. Zenfolio's practices make that conversation more likely. I don't want to go there and they're not that much less expensive than Smugmug.

With unlimited hosting and the volume of print sales I do, I can just as easily dropship from my lab and save the overhead. With the added bonus of more of the money ending up in MY pocket.

So, I thought I'd ask around to see if others have stumbled onto a good image shopping cart...

Oh, and by the way OP is a woman.. ;-)

Diana

Oct 08 12 01:46 pm Link

Photographer

P O T T S

Posts: 5381

Lake City, Florida, US

The question is, how do you use it? For me, the use was simply as a preview gallery tool. The client selects the images to be retouched, then I retouch and print them to order. IT was silly to continue as a pro on smugmug based on those needs. I have almost no use for a gallery to let them order prints. I just do not have that type of work.

Oct 08 12 01:55 pm Link

Photographer

Paul Dempsey

Posts: 673

Atlantic City, New Jersey, US

smugmugs price increase is so insignificant I can't imagine how any serious photographer would be affected by this.  If I look at my cost of doing business a $100 increase a year is such an insignificant number.  I mean really, you're spending thousands on lenses, cameras, software, advertising, rent, utilities etc. and yet you are worrying about smugmugs teeny-tiny increase?

Oct 08 12 02:38 pm Link

Photographer

Adoria Photography

Posts: 26

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

As posted in another thread:
http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?threa … st17609819

I went the opensource DIY gallery route instead of using services like Smugmug or Zenfolio, mainly because Smugmug did not do printing locally in Australia. I also prefer to keep all proceeds from image sales rather than paying a commission to someone else.

Unfortunately IP licencing issues prevent me from passing it on to others, but hopefully it shows what can be possible if you are prepared to spend a lot of time customizing low-cost/free Wordpress templates and plugins.

You can access a sample gallery here:
https://adoriaphotography.com.au/wp1/pr … -310712-2/       (use password: fashion030)

Oct 08 12 03:23 pm Link

Photographer

Bob Helm Photography

Posts: 18213

Cherry Hill, New Jersey, US

Diana Jo wrote:
Using Zenfolio or SmugMug seems an unnecessary outlay of cash. Initially when I subscribed to SmugMug my web host limited bandwidth and storage, I now have "unlimited" space so it makes sense to eliminate the bill...particularly since they've announced a rate increase.

I don't like Zenfolio because they widely publicize who their labs are and therefore your "cost" can easily be found by clients. I've had one "charming" experience explaining to a former client that while the paper cost $1.50 they're paying the rest for the skill/talent/vision that got put on the paper. Zenfolio's practices make that conversation more likely. I don't want to go there and they're not that much less expensive than Smugmug.

With unlimited hosting and the volume of print sales I do, I can just as easily dropship from my lab and save the overhead. With the added bonus of more of the money ending up in MY pocket.

So, I thought I'd ask around to see if others have stumbled onto a good image shopping cart...

Oh, and by the way OP is a woman.. ;-)

Diana

That can happen with any customer. Most know what an 8x10 costs at their favorite printer and it is our job as photographers to explain that they are not paying for the paper but for the image. Look at a designer dress. What is the value of the cloth and zipper compared to the dress.

Now if that is a problem try explaining why the usage rights to a full page ad in a national ad is or why what they see as a "simple" shoot will take a full day and run a five figure amount + usage fee.

Oct 08 12 03:49 pm Link

Photographer

Diana Jo

Posts: 787

Marysville, Washington, US

The way I use the site it's simply NOT worth the couple of hundred dollars each year. Maybe you can afford to waste money on services you don't use, I cannot. I'm not an event photographer which is the primary use of SmugMug, as such it doesn't fit. I may have kept it around for a couple more years for the "backup" feature, an additional failsafe, but the price increase makes it harder to justify.

I haven't spent more than $50 on new equipment this year. I did get a lens repaired after an unfortunate failure of a zipper on my camera bag. I upgraded camera bodies 2 years ago.

I sell some work, I do very little "paid" photography work (where I'm hired to do a job), partly because of my market (Seattle area, most of the year...very, very saturated) and partly because I frankly don't enjoy most events.

However, this thread isn't about whether I should be able to eat the extra $100 SmugMug wants, but how to solve the shopping cart issue and leave them. However, if you're offering to pay for another year of service on SmugMug for me, I won't look a gift horse in the mouth. ;-)

Right now, I'd rather spend money on getting work submitted to juried shows, getting work framed and ready for showing.


Diana

Oct 08 12 03:54 pm Link

Photographer

Diana Jo

Posts: 787

Marysville, Washington, US

Robert Helm wrote:
That can happen with any customer. Most know what an 8x10 costs at their favorite printer and it is our job as photographers to explain that they are not paying for the paper but for the image. Look at a designer dress. What is the value of the cloth and zipper compared to the dress.

Now if that is a problem try explaining why the usage rights to a full page ad in a national ad is or why what they see as a "simple" shoot will take a full day and run a five figure amount + usage fee.

When it's necessary to explain the situation to a client, I'm happy to do so. Ditto with explaining the costs/realities of a shoot times and usage fees. However, there's no reason to 'advertise' that your actual outlay of cash is $x. We [photographers] know what the client is paying for, the client's even know what they're paying for, but some people will look for any opportunity to bitch and moan about costs, why give them more information than they need?

Even if Smugmug hadn't raised their rates I'd probably be ditching them. I don't get enough for what I'm paying as it is.

Oct 08 12 04:01 pm Link

Photographer

DougBPhoto

Posts: 38589

Portland, Oregon, US

I think you will find that most people go with those types of services, because unless someone is an IT or Web professional, they will most likely need to hire (and pay) someone to design and program such a site, and even then you will still need to pay your hosting and someone for payment processing.

Do those things exist, and can they be done?  Absolutely.

The thing is most people would spend far more time (and time is money) and possibly money to develop their own solution, therefore a majority of people find those types of sites/services worthwhile... of course, there ARE those for whom they decide other solutions are better.

The only additional thing I would mention is that I went through multiple web hosts who claimed unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth, they may claim they are unlimited but many of them still try to limit their "unlimited" plans.  You're forewarned.

Oct 08 12 04:53 pm Link

Photographer

Diana Jo

Posts: 787

Marysville, Washington, US

Thanks for your comments Doug. Fortunately, I've found something I think will work with Wordpress...recently updated (so I suspect it was missing something that last time I looked).

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/image-store/

I'm well aware that "unlimited" doesn't mean exactly what it says and I'll cross that bridge, if/when I get to it. If I end up going back to Smugmug or another service I can always do that.

I also have quite a bit of experience in the web design/programming field so I'm comfortable with the work that setting up and configuring a cart will take, while I'm not even remotely interested in programming a completely custom option.

eta: If I start doing events again, I'll likely look at using Instaproofs for the gallery hosting. The only reason I'm not using that option is I want my art prints to be available for more than 9 months, without re-uploading.

Oct 09 12 10:11 am Link

Photographer

realistgva

Posts: 441

Plan-les-Ouates, Geneva, Switzerland

I had been pondering the online sites. However most of my shootings are paid once and then used to share with clients or local sports clubs.

In the end I spend a little money on Pictures Pro Photocart http://www.picturespro.com/i/photo_cart/
I have literally only spend about 2hours installing and configuring.

I love the way it presents the images. I get statistics on visits, downloads, images views. And it can manage orders for me even If I only do this for high rest digital downloads right now.

Very easy upload with FTP into folders.

Oct 09 12 01:50 pm Link

Photographer

Woven Thought

Posts: 329

Petersburg, Virginia, US

I also use SmugMug as another backup of images.  For that alone I'd pay it.  For the ease of sales, which I do NOT want to deal with, I'll pay it.  If I email a question, I generally get a reply within a half hour.

Oct 09 12 02:08 pm Link

Photographer

The Sensual Eye

Posts: 1

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Be very careful with SmugMug.  I recently ran into an issue with their site security.

A private, unlisted, gallery was getting multiple views.   I reported it and their support was less than helpful.  Wouldn't provide IP's, denied there was an issue, etc. 

I urge all SmugMug clients to pay close attention to your view statistics and report any suspicious behavior.

I've taken my business elsewhere.

Nov 03 12 09:04 am Link