Like a lot of photographers, I had several different websites. A main website, several portfolio websites and a blog. All different designs and different navigation with overlapping functionality. The problem was that each product had its own purpose and none of them offered full integrated functionality. I didn’t think much of it until I visited some other photographer’s websites and found the experiences to be confusing and even frustrating. I would visit a website, click the blog and now it’s a completely different website. Wait, how do I get back to the website? Where’d the photos link go? Argh! I realized my website visitors must be thinking the same thing.
So, recently I decided to start evaluating different photography website products. Ideally, what I wanted was a WordPress blog based procurement system. Something that offered a full range of capabilities. One website with consistent design and navigation. Integrated website content management, portfolio management, online ordering, blog, stock licensing downloads, and print fulfillment. And no Flash. I love Flash animation because it can do some amazing things. But when I visit a website and am forced to sit through a Flash introduction before I can get into the website it’s really annoying.
During my evaluation what I found were mostly specialized offerings that didn’t provide a single integrated system. More of the same. A blog with rudimentary portfolio and procurement options. Or a portfolio system that lacked integrated blog functionality and had basic procurement. I didn’t want to custom develop a system.
A while back I had switched my portfolio system to Photoshelter. It offered most of the functionality I wanted but was still a hair shy of the full integration I was after. But that changed recently. Photoshelter teamed up with Graph Paper Press to use Graph Paper Press WordPress blog themes. So the front end is Graph Paper Press, the blog is WordPress and the backend is Photoshelter. The sales pitch was a fully integrated and advanced photo procurement system based on WordPress. Bingo! But after doing some research it seemed like some photographers were having problems making Photoshelter and Graph Paper Press work together. I visited some of the example sites and they still weren’t totally integrated. Close but kinda clunky.
So I decided to dive in and give it a try with the Graph Paper Press Albedo theme. I changed my WordPress blog to use the Graph Paper Press theme and did some configuration. I then configured the Photoshelter system to use the Graph Paper Press Albedo theme and added my blog URL. After a few hours of experimenting with changes to WordPress, Graph Paper Press and Photoshelter, I am happy to report the result is a fully integrated system with consistent design, navigation and procurement.Yayyyyyyy!!!!!
This is Version 1.0. The basics are there and it’s probably a bit rough but there’s a lot of room for changes. And I’m sure I’ll find some kinks along the way but this seems to be a huge step in the right direction.