Pattie [[Pattie May Photography]] 9:59pm, 31 March 2009
I'm looking to make a new photography website. I want to be able to have clients photos in a different secure area for them to view and order. I want it to be flash. Mainly I want to be able to have secure albums for clients to view and order from. I dont want anything too expensive. Any suggestions?
I know many have had issues with I have not. For every 3 complaints, I hear of a success....and I guess I was a success.

My site cost $100, plus $100 for a year of hosting and $100 for the client proofing section and shopping cart.

Total, $300.
Black Shadow Photography Posted 9 years ago. Edited by Black Shadow Photography (member) 9 years ago
My advice is to steer clear of flash!

If you want an easily customisable solution that allows secure albums and print sales I suggest you look at - why not sign up for the trial and see what you think. If you add sNEQjVK0ghMFv in the coupon code when you sign up you will receive a $5 discount.

The professional SM service is $150US/year - you can have your own domain name.

What I have done is set up my main page as a WordPress blog (which I have hosted with and my smugmug photo galleries are in a subdomain

The forums are full of information on setting up and customising your smugmug account and are very helpful.
Fisher_Photographics 9 years ago
Wow, at above, what a rip off, my hosting is 1/5 that, which includes domain name handling and while I don't currently have client shopping carts etc, I have plenty of space to implement it. Either code yourself (pretty easy) or find a friend who knows HTML, Python CGI and CSS inside out (again pretty easy in this day and age).

I use and use their home package at 18 quid per year, domain name registering is 5 quid per year and as my account has been active for a few years I keep the same low rate rather than the new inflated recession pricing many hosts are requesting. Full CSS, PHP, python, CGI and SQL support as well as a nice large 512Mb hosting capacity. The majority of my site is held off site so 512 is plenty for my academic documents and the website itself. After all the average HTML code is only a few Kb.
Shepherd PRO 9 years ago
I use a flash site for my info site (galleries, about, contact, etc) hosted on Linked to that site is my "client proofing" area. I use PicturesPro Photo Cart software which runs on the host site (went with bluehost because they offer unlimited space and unlimited FTP uploads). Photo Cart allows you to have private, public with password, or totally public, proofing areas for each client. It also is a built in shopping cart with customizable pricing for each client, keeps track of each order, allows for paypal & credit cards, and tracks daily, monthly, and yearly sales, along with a bunch of other features.

The good part is I don't pay any third party a percentage of my sales. Once you purchase the software, there are no other fees (you do have to have a credit card service which has their own monthly charges if you want to accept credit cards).

Check them out and I don't benefit from recommending them. I just think it is a great way for a small business to go to limit who gets a piece of the pie so to speak.
@ Fisher - you are paying for a service with smugmug but it's hardly a rip off. Sales soon pay for it - the price I was quoting was for the professional level - you can have an unlimited number of photos stored there, you set your own sale prices etc - I came to smugmug after looking at a heap of both paid and DIY services and smugmug came out as the best available (it's not perfect and neither is any other solution I have seen).

I shoot events - several per week so I need something that can be updated quickly and easily - which smugmug can be.

$150/year isn't expensive - the time I have saved by having a ready to go service that includes automated professional quality printing is worth a hell of a lot more than that to me.
uh, i think he may of been talking to the one above you. the one that paid $300.

Im not wanting an expensive one. Im a college student. haha.

but thanks for the advice guys!!
known glove [deleted] 9 years ago
portfoliozsites...something like that..
photobiz is another one
and you can check out prophotoblog
kindly arch [deleted] Posted 9 years ago. Edited by kindly arch (member) 9 years ago
"My advice is to steer clear of flash!..."

Check out the top photographers in nearly any market and you will see that they are using flash for their websites. Like most situations - perception is more important than reality.

If you want to be perceived in the same league as the best photographers that you are competing against - you need to have roughly the same professional "look". Not exactly the same website, but rather the same level of website.

Now there are some people who prefer an HTML site and/or are surfing the web on slow connections so we do have both - an HTML site and a FLASH site.

Our HTML site is a highly modified template from Yahoo Small Business Services. Yahoo provides free software that is very user friendly - simply drop and drag. We also host our site through Yahoo - $11.95 per month. Our flash site was purchased through It is also very user friendly and can be customized without having to use any programming skills.

You can see our sites here:

Almari Photography

"...Wow, at above, what a rip off,..."

$12.50 per month is too much? Most of us here probably spend more on coffee / tea / other beverage per week than that!

Smugmug is an extremely good value for the level of service that you get. We use Smugmug strictly for our print sales to wedding guests and family members (the bride and groom get a DVD-ROM and license to print with their package).

Even just selling to the friends and families of our wedding couples - we made literally thousands of dollars this past year through Smugmug. And the only "work" that we had to do was upload the images, set the prices that we want to charge, and deposit the checks every month.

Smugmug takes the orders, processes the credit cards, and gets the prints processed through an AWESOME pro lab (Bay Photo). Bay Photo ships the orders directly to the person who placed the order.

Here is our Smugmug site:

Almari Photography - Client Galleries
Mark Vancleave Posted 9 years ago. Edited by Mark Vancleave (member) 9 years ago
Yes, jumping icons and auto play music truly do wonders.

Eventually I would like to build my own flash-free site, maybe once I'm off school.

My site costs me $30 a year. I think that it is clean and professional.

For selling prints, most people I know use Smugmug and speak well of it.
Mark Vancleave 9 years ago
I can see how hosting your own ordering galleries would be good, but something also can be said for an established service when it comes to clients placing orders, especially when it comes to using credit cards.
josh.r 9 years ago
It's my belief that your answer shows a real lack of understanding.
You don't have to learn Flash as there are a few apps around that allow you to build easily and output to a .swf file. Coffeecup do one.
kindly arch [deleted] 9 years ago
"It's my belief that your answer shows a real lack of understanding."

You can believe whatever you want to believe - but I reached my conclusions after many discussions with actual customers who have hired us over the years as well as discussions with other professional photographers in my area.
okay well...that doenst help much. lol. I asked for any sites that were good for it, instead I get people jsut talking about theirs..hmmm..

ill just do my own search.

thanks to the first few people that did give me some ideas.
BlueEyedCat/Laura 9 years ago
kellyjomitchell 9 years ago
@ps photography - i am doing the same research right now. here's what i have settled on afer exhausting research...

bludomain for the site - i will choose a $400 site template and then host with godaddy since i hear negatives about hosting w/ blu

prophoto for blog - a little pricey but EVERYBLOG that i LOVE is theirs. it is NetRivet.

for online proofing i use black river imaging. it is FREE and their print quality is great. you can customize their "see my prints" to match your site and they will take orders, print, send to client. they also offer boutique packaging. they will send you a check each month. (i do client proofing and ordering myself, but this is great for friends and family, like almari said)

i hope that helps. i am only a half a step ahead of you, but my head has been spinning for a month researching it all!!!
That Pettigrew Girl 9 years ago
I use, but have also heard great things about Portfoliositez (linked above). If you want a blog, I suggest wordpress... you can host with them,, or host it yourself
josh.r 9 years ago
hmm, interesting. My understanding of web usability comes from 10 years experience as a designer plus art school. Probably not worth considering though.
Thanks, to the people who suggested good sites. Ive been looking at them today.
kindly arch [deleted] Posted 9 years ago. Edited by kindly arch (member) 9 years ago
"...My understanding of web usability comes from 10 years experience as a designer plus art school...."

If we were trying to market our photography services towards designers and art school majors, we would consider your opinion valuable.

But since we are marketing towards prospective brides, seniors, and families - we will hold their opinions in much higher regard than yours. (As do most of the professional photographers that we know in our market.)
Now Children, there is no need to argue.

josh.r 9 years ago
Like I said, probably not worth considering. Although it's also probably a good idea to keep in mind that causation does not equal correlation and perhaps if you gave people more they would like it just as much if not.. well more.
Silviano Carrillo 9 years ago
wHAT IS THIS 1987 ?!?!??!?!?
josh.r Posted 9 years ago. Edited by josh.r (member) 9 years ago
This probably won't work as a solution for the original poster but it may benefit someone. This site is using a shopping cart solution that appears easy to integrate into any website. I know nothing about them but it certainly looks intriguing.
CSD_Images 9 years ago
My best advice here if you know nothing about web design is contact a design firm. Yes it will cost more but they will take you through the minefield that's SEO, standards compliance (W3C), disabled/alternative device access (such as Windows Mobile, Blackberries, etc). Also they will deal with all the security issues that arise from coding this. Something you don't always get with templates (or hosting companies for that matter).

At present you have little clear idea of what you want apart from the lock down features which are fairly easy to implement.

If you don't want it to be a main site then Flash may be the right answer, but it's got a lot of baggage for people to use.
wonderful discussion [deleted] Posted 9 years ago. Edited by wonderful discussion (member) 9 years ago
I am a hobbyist (as I have not sold anything) but I host through yahoo business solutions - about 11- monthly - billed every three months. I created my site with Virtual Mechanics - (site spinner) and I host my photos at Zenfolio. My blogs are at Blogger and for color work I have used Colorschemer and found it great.

For a good inexpensive site with sales options - (good flash presentation)

For medium expensive (premium 30 monthly) (about the same) (can get expensive, depends on what all you want)

For expensive but good

Good Luck and happy browsing
Pam -
Eric Hamilton 9 years ago
f/3.2 Finally delivers on the OP's question. I thought I was going to have to do it.

About flash - most afluent people (photo buying audience) have broadband. Bandwith hasn't been a serious issue for a long time.

The real issue with flash is that sites that are 100% flash tend to break a lot of web UI standards, such as URL navigation, back/forward button functionality, and search engine accessibility.

Most of the very famous photographers I know of have TERRIBLE websites. You absolutely should aim a little higher.

What you want is a website with the depth and functionality that Chase Jarvis and Peter Lik offer their customers in combination with the native web-friendly features of oh, say - any half-decent modern CMS, such as WordPress.

That's what I'm trying to do with my website. I'm still looking for a good flash player that's easy to configure size / position, etc... Would be great if it were available as a WordPress Plugin, but I'm not that picky.

As for the online shopping cart solutions, PhotoShelter seems to be OK for rights managed licensing -- assuming you're marketing your personal stock library through your website, and your clients are familiar with photo licensing standards. I'm really just beginning the process of getting my library up on PhotoShelter, so I can't comment much yet -- except on the fact that I really don't know any other personal stock selling tool that can compete on functionality. If you do, I'd love to hear about it.

SmugMug seems like a much better solution than PhotoShelter for selling prints.

I personally hate LiveBooks sites. Most over rated photographer service ever.

Most photographers would do well on any reputable shared hosting provider - and plans start for less than $10/month. I personally don't trust GoDaddy. CIHost gave me decent dedicated server service for years, but that's overkill for most people. I'm currently hosting with LunarPages, but the experience hasn't been outstanding, so I hesitate to recommend them. Their customer service usually gets around to fixing issues within a day or two.

I think the future of hosting is cloud-based. If any of you know of a good cloud service, perhaps built on Amazon's web services platform, I'd love to hear about it. My site sometimes gets traffic spikes from media mentions that will overwhelm any shared or dedicated host.
solomodels 9 years ago
If you want something affordable and yet very flexible, these two solutions are worth looking at
ancient duck [deleted] 9 years ago
I am using as of last week and unlike all the reports I have heard from people saying the response from that company being slow or bad has not been the case with me.
I sent two separate email issues to them and was resolved within the day. I also bought the site on a Saturday, when they are closed for weekends, and was given access to build Sunday evening. I had it up live on Tuesday and everything has gone as I wished.
I am very happy with my experience and feel like I have a Professional website for the first time having used a couple other companies before this one. The site is fast loading and everything i wanted in it.
Yamangurl PRO 9 years ago
Check out - mine
It is still under construction but you will see enough.

I needed a template that didn't require ME to have knowledge of html codes. Plus, I can change the look at any time with a click.
I also customised the colors even though it was their template.
Easy, easy, easy.

I went with - LOVE them. Awesome customer service.
ancient duck [deleted] 9 years ago
I started out with Chloe and just now went to Samuel. Much happier with that setup... so once again I am up live. So excited about that site. I had no issues once again and any response had no delay to it. I am very happy with Blu Domain still. :-)
Mark Byerly PRO 9 years ago
if you want to display and sell with protected galleries try
ophelia_1960 Posted 9 years ago. Edited by ophelia_1960 (member) 9 years ago
I LOVE SmugMug! It is easy to use, easy to customize, fairly priced and the customer support is wonderful! You cannot call them. But if you have a problem and email them, they will get back immediatly, 24/7. And the thing I like the best about them is the quality of their prints. They make sure everything is perfect and then YOU get to okay your client's orders before they begin printing. That gives you a chance to check on cropping. I always recommend the 'lustre' print option.

I use GoDaddy as my official site. It is 'alright.' Seems slow, but I load my pictures too large? They do have a flash intro and I have put my pictures into a flash presentation that looks pretty good. I am not really happy with my website. Will either work with it and make it look better or try another host.

Also, check out Flash Slideshow Maker, wonderful flash program and you can use it for free!

I love your site. You are a wonderful photographer!
Have you seen this article by Alan Hutchison?

Handily - 'ten of the best website platforms for photographers'.

I used smugmug, and they've been quite good but I'm tempted by others.
Jay D. Kilgore 9 years ago
For my general busines site, I use

I host my own sites, so it's a simple matter of getting it, editing it and going from there.

To those saying don't do flash sites, photography is all bout the experience. A parent will buy more if they have a good experience, vs having amazing images and had a crappy time. If your site moves and has visuals, it will attract people.Motion is most attractive to vision.

As far as client sales, shopping carts and all that fun stuff, I never do that stuff online. Well...that's a lie lol. All initial sales are done via projection My goal is to tell the 20x30 and larger. If I put them online, I can lose the ability to control them downloading, making smaller sales (cause they think about it more) and control over the experience.

But that's just me.
macsfstop PRO 9 years ago
FYI, Exposure Manager's Premium package is now $250/yr or $25/mo. making it one of the most expensive. I'll likely go with SmugMug for a while, at least until I get better situated. Really good thread on all this...
josh.r Posted 9 years ago. Edited by josh.r (member) 9 years ago
I won't bite on the flash discussion... not this time. :).
karen*lani 9 years ago
Customizable and said to be the next BluDomain

Coupon Code: KARYON365
Gets you $10 your next website purchase!
Groups Beta