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Old Dec 13, 2006, 7:49 AM   #1
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I want to set up my own on-location portrait photography busines.

I want to make the photos available online for the customers to view and to be able to purchase.

Who should I choose to Host my website ?

My business will be in the UK.


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Old Dec 13, 2006, 11:33 AM   #2
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I have heard many good things about pbase.com, but I don't think they offer.

I assume you want:
- Be able to lock (with a password) specific galleries. So only the person who's portraits are in the gallery can see the shots
- Directly order prints from the web site, so you don't have to worry about making prints.

last I knew, pbase.com doesn't do those things. They do have a really nice gallery setup - very flexable and it works well. They are also very good about hot-linking and the price per Gigabyte of disk space was reasonable (last I knew.)

Snapfish.com might offer what you want, but I've never checked them out. I don't know if they can present a gallery with your branding on it, but still use them for printing.

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Old Dec 13, 2006, 11:52 AM   #3
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SmugMug does most of what you want http://smugmug.com/pro/
They are US based, not sure how they handle international accounts.

However this method of sales does not work very well for portraits & wedding type work.
To maximize sales it is best to bring in the client to do a viewing in person,
and to show the images at the size you want to sell. (A projector works well here)
Allowing them to compare large wall sized images projected full size and some smaller images lets people see what they can get and imagine it hanging in their homes. Human nature for some reason seems to to push towards ordering 1 size down from the bigest one you display.
It is also best to get the sales done in person while the emotion of the event is still high, once the heat of the moment wears off potential for large orders drops with it.

From the web sales usually end up being a small 8*10 print or smaller.

IMHO: what works best is to do the initial sales in person, then a month or so later post to a site like smugmug to try to catch any future re-orders potenital.
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Old Dec 13, 2006, 12:07 PM   #4
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I use smugmug for my business.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Some of the pros:
  • style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Top notch customer service - if I email a question or post one on their forum page I have an answer back within a couple hours.[/*]
  • style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"forums dedicated to helping you customize your web page, talk about business[/*]
  • style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"allow you to use your own watermark for pro tier accounts[/*]
  • style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"allow you to use your own URL for pro tier accounts[/*]
  • style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"allow you to set your own pricing - they take 15% of the profits[/*]
  • style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Reliable printing[/*]
  • style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"allow the ability to view different sizes - small, medium, large and original with the ability to disable original and/or large[/*]
  • style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"allow for download purchases (so you can sell the digital files if you choose)[/*]
  • style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"customizable web sites[/*]
  • style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"now offer customizable backprinting on photos so you can have your company or whatever printed on the backs.
style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Some of the cons:
  • style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"don't yet offer package pricing[/*]
  • style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"don't yet offer discount coupons[/*]
  • style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"the company that does their printing - ezprints.com is pretty good and the quality is good but the stock is a bit thin - maybe 66lbs
style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"They're worth a look.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Here's my site:: www.jagsportsphotos.com

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"
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Old Dec 13, 2006, 12:21 PM   #5
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Another option if you don't mind some codeing and leg work is to find an ISP that lets you load your own CGI's and use an open source package like Gallery 2 with the shopping cart module http://gallery.menalto.com/ or osCommerce http://www.oscommerce.com/ .

You then would need an account with a prolab to do your order fulfilment.
Search google for labs in your local area offering the Kodak ProShots or the ROES online ordering system.

Do your own packaging, and find a workable delivery method.

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Old Dec 13, 2006, 1:06 PM   #6
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Dazyou have a couple of other options to look at. There are pro galeries at http://www.photobox.co.uk/which are pretty good.

Personally I useFasthosts as ahost (obvious from the name really) and then useBreezeBrowser Pro to generate the HTML etc for the galleries. I then place orders with Photobox when someone places an order with me. This means that I don't have to upload a high quality shot for each one on the site so my 2Gb web space would mean I can have approx 40,000 shots on there if I were to use it all.

I guess it depends if you want to do a final edit on every photo you post so that it is good enough to print of if you just want to edit the ones that are ordered also if you want to keep all of the money you make or give profits to someone else. Another thing to look at is how well you understand html as you will need to do a very small amount (and I mean very small amount) of editing to personalise your pages. For this I use Dreamweaver as I know nothing about it LOL.

You can see the results at www.photographysmith.co.uk where the first 3 pages are made with the online programme that comes with Fasthosts and the galleries are BreezeBrowser Pro.

Let us know what you decide to do.

Best regards,

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