Have your own Photography Website
Start your own photo website? Well, in the old days the best way would have been to buy a book on HTML, take a couple of years to learn how to code and put it up on the web, which is what I did.
Now there are loads of places to start your gallery but which one to choose? I have looked at a few over the years and even used some myself, some are very basic, some are pretty good but, so far, I haven't seen any with better facilities and a better overall look than Zenfolio .
Having signed up for my 14 day free trial, which only required filling in a very simple form giving my username, password and email address, I was able to start uploading pictures straight away. There are two ways to do this, I chose the bulk upload and was quickly able to upload thirty pictures at once. I probably could have uploaded a lot more but that was all I had ready at the time. I uploaded them all to one gallery but you can put different types of pictures in different galleries if you want.
A neat feature is that you can restrict access to individual galleries as you choose. So you could have one or more galleries for the pictures that you want to sell, which would be open to all, a gallery for the family which you can restrict by email addresses, another gallery for an event you have photographed, a wedding for instance, which you might restrict by password, and a gallery for your personal stuff that only you can access. It really does cover all the bases.
The look of your gallery can be changed by choosing different themes. There are twenty themes to play with, providing something for everyone and they are all very good looking.
You have a guestbook where visitors can leave comments and also visitors can leave comments on each individual photo. You can,of course, edit or delete any comments you don't like.
If you want to sell prints of your pictures, there are excellent facilities available on the site. In conjunction with one of several photo labs you can offer a full range of print sizes at prices that you choose. If you want to just make your work available to family and friends you can just use the base prices or, if you want to make some money, you can set a simple formula which will give you a profit on each print sold and have the proceeds paid into your PayPal account or sent to you by check.
Zenfolio galleries are customizable in many ways, if you already have a website or want to create your own from scratch, you can specify your homepage as that of the gallery, then you can customize it any way you want. You can even point a domain name to your gallery so instead of being 'myname.zenfolio.com' I can make the gallery 'http://www.myownname.com', much more professional.
I won't go through every feature on the site but suffice to say that I couldn't see any feature that I thought would be necessary that was not already on offer. So you can rest assure that your gallery functionality can grow along with your needs. Zenfolio galleries are stylish, easy to use, expandable and, most of all, they work.
After an initial 14 day free trial, you are going to have to fork out some dough. There are three different plans, $25 a year gets you a basic package limited to 1Gb per year. So that's 1Gb in the first year, 2Gb in the second and so on. If you are just uploading family snaps for the family to look at, this will probably cover it. $40 per year gets you an unlimited account, so this is the one for serious photographers. $100 per year gets you a commercial account so you can sell pictures from all those weddings and car shows that you cover. Also you can sell posters of all those great landscapes you have. As one who runs a website, I can tell you these prices are very reasonable, getting this kind of functionality on your own would take lots of skill and knowledge and probably cost you more anyway.
So, you get on with the photography while Zenfolio look after your website.
I have tried Zenfolio, in the course of writing this article, but I have only scratched the surface of what it can do. However Kev Vincent, who is a very regular contributor to this site, has been using it for over a year. I asked him how things were going and he had this to say:-
"Yes, I think Zenfolio are definitely one of the better photo-host sites. About a year ago when I was looking for a good place to put my pics I demo'd about 7-8 different ones and they were the best of that bunch.
I've never had any issues with them. They always respond very quickly to any questions I email them (usually within a couple of hours) and the service very seldom ever goes down, except when they are upgrading the system, and they always give plenty of advance notice.
I pay $100 USD per year for the premium service which is unlimited upload space. Plus, I get to use my own domain name of course. So it's good value for money....one could never build/host a site like that on their own so cheap.
I haven't used the sales side (yet) simply coz I'm not ready to use that....until the fall, when I will sort out all my pics better and do that kind of 'indoorsy' stuff that I just never get around to during the summer simply coz I'm almost never inside.
They are always expanding their services on a regular basis and updating the system.....I also find it very user friendly/easy to use...compared with a
few of the other sites I checked out.
As well as print sales they have digital download image file service now so I can sell jpeg files direct, and also they have partner printing facilities in the UK/Europe and the rest of the world, as well as in USA/Canada.
I like them, and another bonus is that they are completely advert-free. There's nothing but the pics, it's clean visually, and only the info that one wants to show. There isn't even a Zenfolio logo, etc....just one tiny host link at the bottom of the page."
If you enjoyed this page you might
be interested in my eBook
Learn Photography with Geoff Lawrence
Other tutorials in this section
Printing your own and sending them out.
What to do with your masterpieces.
The world of microstock.
Have Your Own Photography Website.
Do it now before you lose all your photos.
What is it and what's in it for you?