Photography Websites For Selling and Storing Pics

Which Photo Portfolio Website do You Use AND WHY?

  • Please choose one, and feel free to comment on strengths and weaknesses.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    2
  • Poll closed .

scottkinfw

Wildlife photography is my passion
Hi all.

This has been discussed before, but I'm still not sure. My subscription to Smugmug is about to expire and I haven't been that happy with it. It is clunky and a bit hard to manage. I would like a site to display my pics and perhaps, even to sell a few.

I am looking for a site that is fairly easy to manage, looks good, and has the back end to support selling pics.

Any insights, opinions, comments would be very welcomed and appreciated.

Thanks.

Scott
 

Mikehit

EOS 5D MK IV
Jul 28, 2015
3,209
395
I am looking at this myself just now - not for selling but building my own website.
From research the other day, Zenfolio is easier to use and takes half the commission on each sale but its blog function is not as friendly as Smugmug.
But Wix seems to be getting all the rave reviews, from useability to low (or is it zero?) commission on sales.
 

slclick

EOS 3
Dec 17, 2013
3,035
563
After using Smugmug and few others for years I have left the online shopping cart world behind and use a portfolio based web presence for both backup and gallery. If you wish to purchase am image you can do so by contacting me. Then, the transaction has a connection. If I had my druthers, you would still print off an 11 x 14 and put it in your Pina Zangaro.
 

Duade Paton

I'm New Here
Jul 15, 2012
15
0
www.duadepaton.com
I have been using Smugmug for years and have accumulated hundreds of bird species and thousands of photos at www.photos.duadepaton.com I find it an excellent piece of software for organising large numbers of photos. I do not currently sell photos through the platform but it has the option.

No doubt each option has its strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps start a free trial with Zenfolio and Wix and see how you like it. It is ultimately up to you on what features are important. I am too invested in Smugmug to change and I honestly have no reason to. Good luck.
 

gh4photos

EOS M50
Jul 31, 2014
45
12
I use Smugmug to display images but do not use it any longer to sell prints. For that, buyers can contact me. The reason why I currently don't sell prints via Smugmug or any other websites is because it costs a small fortune to use Google analytics to drive customers to your site and the sales simply did not justify the cost when I briefly sold prints on Smugmug years ago.
 
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cayenne

EOR R
Mar 28, 2012
1,907
104
I'm toying with the idea of starting a smug mug site to see if I can sell any wall art.

I looked at the pricing, and for a year, I figured I've had single night bar tabs that were close to that, so I figure it is worth the experiment.

I like that they handle the credit card, and a lab does the print, frame, shipping, etc.....seems worth it to me.

But I'm anxious to hear others on this that have experience.

Those that have dropped using smug mug and sell on their own to customers, having them email there, etc.....what makes that mode of selling better than the smug mug one?

What exactly drove you away from smug mug?

I'm anxious to know first hand experience stories....

TIA,

cayenne
 

gh4photos

EOS M50
Jul 31, 2014
45
12
To Cayenne:

I like Smugmug's hosting services and it is very convenient to have them process the credit card payments, print, matte, and frame images, etc., but the cost of using Google analytics to get your website to appear high in internet search results for terms like "nature photos" or "wildlife photos" is significant each month. It can easily run you a couple of hundred dollars per month just to drive eyeballs to your website. Depending on how you price your prints and what your margins are, that might require a lot of sales just to cover the Google analytics cost. I found that the conversion rate, i.e., the number of people who click on your website to view your images vs. the number of people who actually purchase prints, is generally pretty low if you're not a household name like, say, Art Wolfe. Your mileage may vary. Hope this was helpful.
 

cayenne

EOR R
Mar 28, 2012
1,907
104
To Cayenne:

I like Smugmug's hosting services and it is very convenient to have them process the credit card payments, print, matte, and frame images, etc., but the cost of using Google analytics to get your website to appear high in internet search results for terms like "nature photos" or "wildlife photos" is significant each month. It can easily run you a couple of hundred dollars per month just to drive eyeballs to your website. Depending on how you price your prints and what your margins are, that might require a lot of sales just to cover the Google analytics cost. I found that the conversion rate, i.e., the number of people who click on your website to view your images vs. the number of people who actually purchase prints, is generally pretty low if you're not a household name like, say, Art Wolfe. Your mileage may vary. Hope this was helpful.

Hm....interesting. But, what if you're not planning on just using google searches for your business, or at least not making it your main mode of driving traffic to your website?

And I don't know much about this aspect either....Google Analytics...that is where you buy key words for their searches?

Anyway, I was planning to use instagram or other social media to start, and also, just going in person locally to businesses, people, art shows, etc...

I would just be starting and it would not be my primary source of income....but just starting something for some hopeful side money, and working to grow it possibly into something more.

I know google searches are important, but there are other ways to get your non-paid results higher on google searches....key wording on images and content on your site is important, as are links to your site from other sites, and other forms of SEO (search engine optimization). I'm loosely familiar with those and when I get closer to ready to start my smug mug site, I plan to delve into this subject deeper and educate myself more on how to best position my site for web searches, but as much as possible without paying for it....

At least, those are my thoughts at this time.....

Thanks for the reply, definitely food for thought!!

cayenne
 

awair

EOS T7i
Jan 3, 2013
93
7
photo.awair.net
If you have the ability to host your own server (or VM) then this might be worth a trial...

I use Koken software to host a couple of my sites. This is (currently) free, but does not seem to be actively developed?

The interface (for admin) is similar to Lightroom, upload seems to be slow, but once it's running I believe it gives a simple-to-use interface for potential customers.

Up and running for free, I added the paid Add-ons for Password Protection, Shopping Cart & Watermarks (total $135), and this has been the only cost for the last 18 months. I'll continue until I can design a custom site that works better. For payment processing I use Stripe, who take a small cut. I only sell a personal-use digital license, so no printing/postage hassle.

Koken (koken.me) was bought out by NetObjects a couple of years ago, which coincides with the apparent lack of development or customer support. There is an independent support site (kokensupport.com) that has a very helpful admin, and most of the fixes needed.
 

cayenne

EOR R
Mar 28, 2012
1,907
104
Zenfolio is so much more easy to use. Their back-end system is great. If you haven't yet- set up trial.
Jumping back into this again.

I got busy with my real "day job' and it has been so grueling that I've not even had time much nor inspiration for my photography/videography interests.

I've been going back and forth on the Zenfolio vs Smugmug thing.

I like that you can get in on SmugMug and do what seems to be somewhat heavy customization of their website offerings, with custom HTML and CSS.
Zenfolio seems to offer little you can do to customize outside of their few templates you have choice from.

It appears zenfolio, has better blogging set up, AND...it appears they have built in email customer list management, and you can capture email addresses and use them from zeonfolio to send out coupons, ads, etc.

I got word from SmugMug with links showing how to hook your SM site into a services like MailChimp tho....


I like that Zenfolio takes less % fee off the top, but their annual fee is slightly higher.

Zenfolio appears to have abandoned cart management which I think would be a big plus.


And just reading blogs out there, some say that the SEO promotion from Zenfolio is superior to SmugMugs (I guess they arrange their site with better path naming, etc?).....I've not read how they came to those conclusions though.


So, I'm trying to figure which way to go. I have my domain I want to use, so I have that ready.

I watched a video the other day that mentioned having a good idea of what you want in a site look and organization before you start one....AND, that setting up the directory locally, with proper SEO encouraging naming of directories and files is a good thing to do...

This way, you can set up your site faster, and be ready to play with it right off to bat and mostly just be left tweaking things, rather that spending a lot of time upfront trying to figure things out.

Anyway...with these things in mind, can anyone comment here on my findings?

Any new thoughts on SM vs ZF.....or do you have a better suggestion?

I've seen other hosting and even sales cart site, but they all seem mostly to be self fulfilment, I want to have a lab behind me printing, mounting and shipping for me.


Thanks again in advance,

cayenne
 

cayenne

EOR R
Mar 28, 2012
1,907
104
Since no one mentioned 2 of the top photography web sites, I thought I'd mention Squarespace and Photoshelter.

They are a bit costly, but have all the features. I use smugmug mostly because its easy to generate a link of any size to post in forums. I haven't tried Squarespace or Photoshelter or Wix.

I'd been looking into Photoshelter...and while it did have some interesting things, my research is showing that many are considering it outdated that they haven't keep up with improvements, etc.

Squarespace is interesting, but is more general than a dedicated photo site.

I think right now, is between SmugMug and Zenfolio....I"m torn that the blogging is there for Zenfolio....which as I understand it is a good way for keeping traffic to your sight via SEO.

But I like the SM site builder and ability to use custom CSS, etc to tweak your site and that they have more templates to start with.

I definitely want to have labs working for me to print, mount and ship customer orders (lol, if I ever get something someone would want)...

I think you can do blogging on SmugMug, but sounds like you have to set up a separate WP site dedicated to blogging and then link that with SM via html, or something like that.

Anyway, still looking around, but I'm close at this point to narrowing it down between SM and ZF.....

Cayenne