Tag Archives: Photoshelter

Photoshelter vs Photodeck Review Update

Back in May of 2014 I did a fairly in-depth review of Photoshelter versus Photodeck. Both companies have made some changes since then that I thought were worth posting an update. And I’ve had over a year to learn more about both systems so I’ll share some thoughts. The original review is at http://photoblog.velgos.com/2014/05/photoshelter-vs-photodeck-photography-website-review

Recap

For you folks who don’t want to go back through the original review here’s a quick refresher. There are plenty of other website options out there but if you want a hosted website platform that provides functionality for complex Rights-Managed and Royalty-Free licensing, print fulfillment, and client management, the best options are Photodeck or Photoshelter. The result of that review was that both systems are decent website platforms for photographers. My thoughts were that Photodeck had a better mobile experience, video upload support, and no commission fees. Photoshelter had a public buyer portal, virtual agency option, and more print vendors.

So What’s Changed Photoshelter and Photodeck?

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Photoshelter vs. Photodeck Photography Website Review

Update: Photoshelter vs. Photodeck Review One Year Update

How do I feel after a year and half of using both? Read this review and then see the supplemental update at http://photoblog.velgos.com/2015/10/photoshelter-vs-photodeck-review-update

Photoshelter vs. Photodeck Backstory

This part covers why I switched. If you just want the comparison you should probably skip this section and go to Photoshelter vs. Photodeck.

First the disclaimer. I’m a photographer, not a professional reviewer. These are simply some of my notes and observations as a customer of both systems. And since I sell prints and stock photography the information here is slanted toward those offerings. Lastly while I try to be accurate I may have missed a thing or two.

I’ve had a Photoshelter website on their “classic” platform for a few years now. About a year ago I added a Graph Paper Press template to my Photoshelter website which I did a post about at http://photoblog.velgos.com/2012/12/new-photoshelter-graph-paper-press-website. Overall I’ve been satisfied with Photoshelter but a few things happened recently that made me start to look at other options.

The problems. I ran into another photographer and they asked to see some of my work. So I got out my iPhone and pulled up my website to try and show them some images. It was painful. I had to push, pull and pinch to get an image to display right. Then after all that maneuvering I clicked “next” and five seconds later the image came up and the push, pull and pinch started over again. I didn’t end up showing him much of anything. Later that month I got a call from a potential customer saying he’s trying to use my website to find an image using his phone and it was pretty difficult. “Not a huge deal” I thought. How many people really use a mobile device for serious website browsing? I checked Google Analytics maybe a year ago and mobile traffic was minimal. So I checked again. Wow! One-third of my traffic is from mobile devices. Of that, a little under half is IPhones and the other half is IPads with a small mix of other phones and tablets. So I then tried to use my website on my Ipad. The experience was better than on the IPhone but it was still pretty old school. Like on the IPhone I had to push, pinch and wait a few seconds for the next image to load. Yeech.

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New Photoshelter Graph Paper Press Website

Ahhhhhh. I finally have a fully integrated website. It has been years in the making. I went with Photoshelter and Graph Paper Press.

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.