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Photoshelter the review is finally here

Photoshelter the review is finally here

I’ve been using photoshelter for sometime now. You would have noticed that I’ve mentioned it a ton of times in posts but I’ve never sat down to write a dedicated review on the product that has probably saved me the most amount of time. Photoshelter users may have received an email a week or so ago about a feedback survey, hope you did it because it will help them make the product even better. It’s that survey that sparked me to write this review.

What is Photoshelter?

Photoshelter is a web service that makes your life as a photographer easier. Actually it makes it a lot easier. It provides a single console to control your portfolio site, social networking sites, client delivery and sales. The days of resizing images for client delivery, and various websites are over because Photoshelter does it all for you. Just think about that for a minute. How long do you spend preparing images for your site, blog and Facebook for example.

The good?

Ok so you’ve thought about how long you prepare your images for delivery. Photoshelter eliminates all of that, but now let’s get stuck into some more of the features.

First up i’ll start with the portfolio site. You automatically get one of these and there are a variety of themes to choose from. For the more web savvy you can actually build a complete custom theme if you feel like it. What I’m using is the Induro theme with just some basic custom css code.

The beauty of Photoshelter is that they make SEO (search engine optimisation) easy, I’m in the process of measuring the results of their seo recommendations, and i’ll report soon. However from my web experience I can tell you that if you take their advice you should see some improvements within your site traffic.

For those of you who are into selling prints, the new photoshelter e-commerce tools are great. Up until two weeks ago we handled all prints manually because it just wasn’t easy enough to use an online solution. Since the release of the new e-commerce features we have inbuilt into our website so all customers and clients can order prints and have them delivered straight from their gallery.

Something else that I have touched on a few times is the Photoshelter published documents. They are great free pdf files on various topics for photographers. I actually have just finished reading their Online Marketing Blueprint and we are busy implementing some of the recommendations and ideas at the moment. There is a great little forum community that I must get involved more with, and for those that need extra help or advice. Send them an email, you’ll actually hear back from someone who cares. Sounds like an insurance advert :D seriously they are their to help and if they can they well. I’ve had great discussions with @photoshelter on all things from general marketing to account setup.

My recommendations to Photoshelter

These aren’t really bad things they are more observations that I have come across.

My only recommendations are with the supplied themes for the portfolio site. I know there is the option to build a custom theme and that’s great, I know there is the easy to use Graph Paper Press wordpress theme integration which is really handy and works very well. However sometimes you just want the easy option. The supplied themes I feel require a bit of a freshen up, more colour options and the code that controls them to be updated to newer versions. I’d also like to see a move to a html/javascript sideshow options for those not wanting to use the flash version. Along with these updated themes maybe the designed wordpress themes that suit, so people don’t have to build up their own blog design to match their profile.

My last point would be on the custom pages. Their are only 2 custom pages available. Originally I never used them however since starting the Photoshelter Challenge I’m finding that two pages is just too limiting.

Who is Photoshelter for?

Well I would say all photographers. Their class leading SEO is a major draw card. Their constant involvement in the industry and their willingness to help out are giant pluses that I never expected.

My recommendations aren’t drawbacks they are simply my observations as having an intermit knowledge of how the web works. If my recommendations make the products just that little bit better than that is great for everyone.

If you take me for example, I’m completely capable of developing my own website from the ground up with all the bells and whistles, however I choose to use Photoshelter. I can see the value in their product, it saves me so much time and makes things just that much easier.

I recommend that if you are serious about the business of photography then check out Photoshelter, send them an email I’m sure they will answer any questions you may have. Worst comes to worse you can always ask me :) If you have a photoshelter site then send me your address, I would love to check it out.

19 comments
tvh13
tvh13

Beware! I could not cancel my account with Photoshelter online I had to call them to cancel. I twice went through the process of canceling my account online and both times Photoshelter continued to charge me a monthly fee. When I called to speak with one of their representatives I was told that they would not refund a charge after it went though. I asked them to email me confirmation of closing the account and it has still not come through. Use at your own risk. 

Steve Rees
Steve Rees

Hi Tristan, I have my own website built which isn't yet published to the web yet, as I'm just setting up my photography business. When my site goes live on the web, will I be able to link up with Photoshelter, aswell as having a portfolio site with them?

Joseph Martin
Joseph Martin

"So the upfront transaction cost isn't to much of a hassle" But what about paying back the monthly commission. Is that not very messy and worrying by credit card. I have asked photoshelter about being able to pay it back by paypal and they said they might look into this (i wont hold my breath though). id love to be able to do my own prints as well, as i used to work in an E6 pro lab.

Joseph Martin
Joseph Martin

I would go with Photoshelter except for one main problem, which is the way you've to pay back monthly fees using a credit card. If you make any sales in a month most other websites deduct their transaction fees before they give you your profits. For instance if (by a miracle) i make $10,000 in sales in 1 month then i would have to find a way of paying $1000 in fees by credit card

Rick
Rick

Hi, thanks for the review. I have my own website but it's in flash and not seo friendly at all. Still, I love the look so can I use it with Photoshelter or is it a package kind of thing best suited to a complete makeover?

Jack Chauvel
Jack Chauvel

It looks good to me.. the main thing for me is the integration with my current blog setup.. as I really dont want to have to dive into the midst of re customizing a solution I spent a while on getting just right for me. Sure it might only be a $40 USD Worpdress theme but I spent a good 3 months finding and testing out themes until I found the right one. One of my biggest questions is what is the quality like? And shipping for those Australian customers that buy prints? :)

John Dunne
John Dunne

I think you've hit most of the points on the head where PS is concerned Tristan. I've been with them now for over a year and while there are always opportunities to make improvement they consistently seem to be pursuing them.

Andy Eager
Andy Eager

My main issue is image size,I upload tiffs because that's the format my print partner (Spectrum) works with so on average each image is around 120MB yet the archived size max appears to be 80MB, I've contacted Photoshelter and it's something they say they are sorting out.

Curtis Brandt
Curtis Brandt

One of the great things I'd add about PhotoShelter is the frequent, useful upgrades. They're totally responsive, sometime fixing problems before I've even realized it's an issue. One example is the newly refined cart functionality - I've had several customers ask with questions about use of the cart, and the new upgrades appear to address all of those issues. PhotoShelter are a fantastically proactive company!

tristanjud
tristanjud

Hi Steve, yeah you will. I've found photoshelter is the easiest way to organise my portolio, it very fast and cuts down on extra image processing to display on your site. I have recently been testing the latest and greatest wordpress themes for photographers and I still think Photoshelter is the best solution. It really does save a lot of time and integrating it into your site can be as simple or as complicated as you like.

tristanjud
tristanjud

No it's so small that I don't really notice it., and then the rest of the payment comes through so it all works out. Would be a different story if I sold $10,000 in one day though lol. The paypal option would be good, but i'm more interested in them updating their current theme offerings and getting rid of all the flash based controls. I know they now have slideshows which are made from jquery which is a great step forward.

tristanjud
tristanjud

That's how I originally thought it would be like. However I can say it actually works out well, and the added bonus of being able to decide exactly how you want to deliver the prints works in Photoshelter's favor. I use self fulfillment where the order is sent to my own designated film lab and printed there. I get to check to the print for quality and send it out to the purchaser. The automated options are of course a lot easier but I like the fact that I get to see it before it's shipped out. This method get's a little hectic when you have quite a busy period but it allows you to place in any other promotional material you might want to add. So the upfront transaction cost isn't to much of a hassle.

tristanjud
tristanjud

Hey Rick, I have been able to incorporate Photoshelter into many different designs and site structures. Just checked out your site and I can't see any reason why you wouldn't be able to integrate it into your current site and get all the benefits that Photoshelter offers. If you run into any problems flick me an email or the Photoshelter guys are pretty helpful when it comes to customising.

tristanjud
tristanjud

The Photoshelter WP plugin actually makes it pretty easy to integrate it into your current theme. The beauty is that the printing is done via all different companies such as adoramapix etc.. Also you can recommend local printers there are australian ones already in the system. So from a printing perspective it's quite flexible.

tristanjud
tristanjud

Have to agree with you. Even the short time i've been with them i've noticed many improvements to their system.

tristanjud
tristanjud

I haven\'t heard of or come across that problem before but I\'m sure if they said they are working on it a solution will be available soon

ricky
ricky

In the past i have to deal with unknown web programming to upload my pictures, is a very painful and time consuming process, less mention is not cheap! However after discovering Photoshelter, dealing with PS webpage layout is not difficult at all, even one doesn't know how to use it, there's an active forum that constantly sharing tips and tricks about it. With the support of PS feature, i can bring my business to the next level.

tristanjud
tristanjud

I agree entirely with what your saying Curtis.

tristanjud
tristanjud

Yeah the forum is amazing. I've only recently started checking it out but I can see some great value in it. Everyone seems to eager to help out

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