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DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> Online Photo Proofing, what do you use?
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09/26/2009 10:37:48 PM · #1
Hi Everyone!

I have recently began an intense search for a photo proofing service that is affordable, and fits my needs. It has proven to be more difficult than I imagined and I would love to hear what you all use. I would ideally like a proofing service that I can embed in my website, but that isn't a requirement for me quite yet. I used KodakGallery for a long time but the image quality is pretty terrible and you can't disable printing. I have since migrated to Picasa Web Albums, but I'm not a huge fan of the format of it all. I know smugmug is popular but it is so expensive! Any thoughts?

Thanks!
Claire
09/26/2009 10:43:34 PM · #2
You already have a website therefore pay from server space. Are you going to offer printing or just the viewing of the proofs? You may consider a flash website that has proofing already built in. More info?
09/26/2009 11:14:28 PM · #3
I don't need to offer printing with proofs, I just want to have a place to show proofs from shoots. I am happy with my website and don't have the budget for a flash website, but ideally that's where I'd like to get eventually. Until then I would just like a site to post albums.

I am mainly curious about what most people are using, whether it would be the perfect fit right now or not.

Message edited by author 2009-09-26 23:15:56.
09/26/2009 11:19:54 PM · #4
K, here's my lessons learned from a few year of experience. I started with online proofing (and still use it on occasion for out of town family, etc).... however...

I found my sales increased markedly when I began proofing in person. I now have my clients come to me, watch their images previewed large and stunning via LCD projector so they can see how nice they would look huge and on a wall. I can talk to them and help them choose the best images. I can show them different framing options (and grouping options). I can help them choose their comp cards or headshots. I can help with - and encourage add-on sales. Sales improved so much that I now swear by in person proofing and wish to discourage online proofing to all photogs. There is a better way!!
09/26/2009 11:32:52 PM · #5
Thanks for the input! What do you do for location photoshoots? I don't have a permanent studio and I am often going all over the place and would hate to make people wait around while I upload everything. Do you use a system where they upload as you shoot?
09/26/2009 11:34:24 PM · #6
Cindi has a valid point and its probably the most effective. In the event you cannot conduct proof viewings in person, look at Flashpallette and the inexpensive templates they provide. I got my flash site from the for $88.00 USD and it has proofing built in. It also has pricing options through their various templates and it is EXTREMELY simple to customize. Furthermore, your proofs are embedded in flash so there is no worries about them pirating the proofs and the quality of the images dispalyed is fantastic. At the end of the day, I just give them CDs and they can do with it what they wish as I do not want to get involved with printing. That is another option but I do agree the personal touch Cindi suggests will definitely yield you more profit and potentially more work.

Hope that helps.

Message edited by author 2009-09-26 23:35:23.
09/26/2009 11:39:17 PM · #7
Originally posted by lovethelight:

Thanks for the input! What do you do for location photoshoots? I don't have a permanent studio and I am often going all over the place and would hate to make people wait around while I upload everything. Do you use a system where they upload as you shoot?


Nope. I tell them images can be viewed between this date and that date, please call the studio for an appointment to see them. When I did online proofing - everyone bought 4X6s, because that's the way they are used to seeing pictures. I intentionally sell my 4X6s very cheap so I can say "you can get this image for as little as $2". But I don't want them to buy the 4x6. A typical online sale used to run about $20.... that's 10 4X6s. Now that I proof in person (in my former dining room, now preview room), I never sell less than 8X10s - they run $29... so 10 of them... well you get the drift.

Granted for large events, I will post an online gallery a few weeks after the event for those who want reprints... but only after I think most of the sales have been made. Then the 4x6s are just gravy.
09/26/2009 11:45:47 PM · #8
If you already have pictures at Kodak, go over and check out their "Professional" site, currently officially still in beta ... prints are on higher-quality papers (Endura, metallic, true B&W) and I think they offer free (individualized) color-corrction if desired. I ran a bunch of test prints, mostly on the metallic-finish paer I'd never tried before, and for "appropriate" images it was pretty outstanding.

This image Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_415582.jpg (printed at 8x10) looked like it would "ding" if you tapped it with a coin.
09/27/2009 12:54:40 AM · #9
Originally posted by GeneralE:

If you already have pictures at Kodak, go over and check out their "Professional" site, currently officially still in beta ... prints are on higher-quality papers (Endura, metallic, true B&W) and I think they offer free (individualized) color-corrction if desired. I ran a bunch of test prints, mostly on the metallic-finish paer I'd never tried before, and for "appropriate" images it was pretty outstanding.

This image Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_415582.jpg (printed at 8x10) looked like it would "ding" if you tapped it with a coin.


Thanks for the tip. I am not so concerned with the printing quality as I am with the viewing quality. The pictures look grainy and strange when uploaded to the Kodak gallery and it makes me crazy. hmmm
09/27/2009 01:17:58 AM · #10
Well, I use my mac mobile me account gallery for simple stuff: put em into iPhoto, publish them to a password protected gallery specifically for the event, person, etc. I have just started with a smugmug pro account for printing services, but have not actually used it yet so cannot say anything about the quality (it was free with a workshop I took)

Oh, and HEY There, Claire :-)
09/27/2009 02:09:30 AM · #11
What about good ol' pBase? There's always an option to view the image full-sized, which should help resolve any "fuzziness" issues, and used to be really cheap. Not sure though if you can password-protect folders to limit access.

Oops -- servers are down right now, due to a power failure. First time I've seen this in years though ...

Message edited by author 2009-09-27 02:11:12.
09/27/2009 11:11:20 AM · #12
Originally posted by chromeydome:

Well, I use my mac mobile me account gallery for simple stuff: put em into iPhoto, publish them to a password protected gallery specifically for the event, person, etc. I have just started with a smugmug pro account for printing services, but have not actually used it yet so cannot say anything about the quality (it was free with a workshop I took)

Oh, and HEY There, Claire :-)


HEY! Mobile me that's a neat idea. I will look into it. I like doing lots of research before I make a move :).
09/27/2009 12:00:40 PM · #13
pBase has been down for days as a result of (a) a complete data centre power failure, and (b) the Oracle server failed to come up when eventually they did get power. Prior to that event, the database server seemed to be underpowered and serve times were agonizingly slow. I would not, at the moment, recommend pBase though I have been a client for several years now.
09/27/2009 05:04:52 PM · #14
Originally posted by pineapple:

pBase has been down for days as a result of (a) a complete data centre power failure, and (b) the Oracle server failed to come up when eventually they did get power. Prior to that event, the database server seemed to be underpowered and serve times were agonizingly slow. I would not, at the moment, recommend pBase though I have been a client for several years now.


:( Too bad, any other thoughts?
09/27/2009 05:14:15 PM · #15
I'm using the proofing system through bludomain and have also just set up photocart to do some of the bigger scale order handling. Neither are ideal but it's what I've got for now.

If you're looking for the cheapest route, maybe just generate galleries from Photoshop or Lightroom and upload those to your website?
09/27/2009 06:39:23 PM · #16
I just started using instaproofs. So far I like it....but its my first experience....
09/27/2009 07:57:39 PM · #17
If all you need is some sort of gallery software, and you already have your domain hosted somewhere, I'd say the following might fit the bill

coppermine
gallery
ZenPhoto (<-- awesome)

...unless web-based "proofing" means something different than what I assume??
09/27/2009 08:59:22 PM · #18
my flash website costs pennys JayAphoto
09/28/2009 08:19:51 AM · #19
Wish I did have some other thoughts as to what could replace pBase. I am a bit stuck. I do quite a lot of freeby photos for a school and an Origami group and use pBase to serve up free images for the participants to download. None of the others do what I want and all have too much advertising - Flickr, Deviantart... I looked into Photoshelter and I think that does what I want it to do in a fairly elegant manner. I'm not sure I like the price though - $329 / year for a "standard" package. But, unlike pBase, it does allow you to extend into selling prints... and some e-commerce.
09/28/2009 09:34:49 AM · #20
Wow this is some great stuff! Thanks everyone!
09/28/2009 09:39:38 AM · #21
Is pbase gone forever? or will it manage to come back?
09/28/2009 03:32:46 PM · #22
pBase is back up. At last!
09/28/2009 10:56:42 PM · #23
What do you consider affordable? Smugmug is less than $50 / yr (you do not need the pro level) and offers password protected albums, you can turn off printin and shows at decent quality. I used to have Pbase but gavve it up some time ago because of down time and slow access complaints. And it was not that much cheaper at the time.

Message edited by author 2009-09-28 22:56:54.
09/30/2009 06:30:50 PM · #24
Originally posted by david_c:

If all you need is some sort of gallery software, and you already have your domain hosted somewhere, I'd say the following might fit the bill

coppermine
gallery
ZenPhoto (<-- awesome)

...unless web-based "proofing" means something different than what I assume??


Zenphoto looks so awesome but I have had every form of issue trying to use it. I can't get it to setup on my server because I don't have the right php. I asked about that on the forums and was led to Mamp and I tried using that and only came up with more errors. Sadness. I just don't know enough about coding I guess.
09/30/2009 07:14:48 PM · #25
Originally posted by lovethelight:

I don't have the right php. I asked about that on the forums and was led to Mamp


I don't understand why you need Mamp. Are you trying to install ZenPhoto on your own computer? If so, are you using your computer as a web server or are you just trying to test ZenPhoto locally?
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