Candid Letter to Squarespace From a Professional Photographer

Candid Letter to Squarespace From a Professional Photographer

While many of us have grown to love the services offered by the web giant Squarespace, their e-commerce options have been seriously lacking one important feature needed for professional photographers. In this candid letter to Squarespace, I pose a couple of questions that I feel the company may not be listening to.

Dearest Squarespace,

The last several years have been special. We’ve shared some great moments and you’ve helped me to be a better person (or so it may seem online). You’ve helped me to appear more professional and you’ve never let me down. That is until recently.

My fondest Squarespace, I must admit to you that I’ve been using another service. One that I know you’re familiar with (I’ve seen it referenced in your support section many times). You see, while you’ve helped my business appear more professional and streamline, there’s been something missing from day one; something huge to me as a professional photographer and I admit that I’ve been getting it from another service that's been costing me significantly.

You may be wondering what it is that’s been missing by now, but I’m afraid you already know. Your e-commerce options are pretty great, but they’re lacking some of the basic tools that I as a professional photographer need, such as an acceptable client proofing gallery option.

Combing through your support section over the years has led me to believe that you’re aware of this need. Squarespace, it hurts my feelers when you don’t listen to what I’m we are saying. During my busiest time of year, I find myself paying an additional $30 per month so my clients can view their images in a third-party proof gallery instead of on my own website that I speak so highly of.

With all of that said, I pose a few questions for you to chew on.

Would it be so hard to improve the image galleries for your most common templates for photographers in a way that allows our clients to select their favorite images from said gallery instead of linking to some other third-party service?

Would it be impossible to update your e-commerce options so they’re more appropriate for the photographers you advertise to? By this I mean hooking up with some of the major print labs to offer an option for clients to purchase prints from the above mentioned gallery?

While maybe it’s me (us) and not you, I feel that we could both benefit in many ways if you listened to the requests made in this letter and explored options that lead to making it happen while wasting no time exploring excuses supporting why you don’t.

Love always,

Professional Photographer

There are many client proofing options out there. My personal experience with three or four of the most popular options has led me to utilize Pixieset in recent years. While Pixieset offers client proofing galleries and e-commerce options that are nearly exactly what I’m looking for, there’s something lacking in terms of design features — features which are abundant with Squarespace. Plus, the whole process of linking to another services is cumbersome. 

It is my hope that eventually Squarespace will offer some of those same options for professional photographers that sites like Pixieset do (I'd happily pay for this). Until that time, I'll continue to jump through the hoops required to make the process a little bit easier for my clients to make purchases.

How do you create and share client proof galleries, and are you happy with the process?

Dusty Wooddell's picture

Dusty Wooddell is a professional photographer based in the Southwestern United States. Self-proclaimed thinker, opportunity seeker, picky eater, observer of things.

Log in or register to post comments
22 Comments Self hosting option with, proofing, in-person sales, booking calendar, billing and they have some more stuff. I think it's like 329 and you can customize the way you like. there are no recurring monthly payments.

That looks like an interesting option Should have all of this, I can't say for sure how it compares to squarspace / pixieset, as that is the combo that I'm using right now as well. Wish i would have found Format first...

Yeah, jumping ship is a big move and their templates looks VERY similar to the first squarespace templates I can remember. I would get the warm and fuzzy feeling I'm after if SS would just up their game for photogs

I was on the phone with a PE at ESPN one day, and she was trying to reference an image on my site for a potential assignment... We were both having issues connecting to my site (I was using Format), so I checked Formats twitter feed, and they had just announced all sites were down due to server issues. Needless to say the conversation got kind of awkward. I cancelled my format account that day and switched to Squarespace.

I am afraid to tell you that this happened also a few times with Squarespace (and multiple other companies like Spotify, Netflix....). They also suffer from some DDoS attacks in the past months like many others.

I run and maintain dozens of Squarespace sites. Happens all the time with them as well. :-/

You can check it here:

I can only recall my SS site ever going down once... and it was my fault (CC on file expired and I ignored the notifications like a dummy). Not to say that it hasn't happened and no one has noticed though

I have Squarespace and Photoshelter accounts so I'm in the same boat. Beyond your specific problem mentioned, I've noticed that SEO seems to be so much better through Photoshelter than SS. My highest traffic is driven through gallery images on Photoshelter and rarely do I see anything pull up through SS even though I regularly send the web crawlers to both sites.

renaming some of your images may help

hmmm...never had to worry about that with photo shelter. PS uses key-wording quite well where I guess SS does not.

Instaproofs is by far the best proofing/selection/sales site for photographers in my opinion.

I myself use photoshelter for all of my needs

My only beef with PhotoShelter is, as I understand it, if someone makes a digital purchase, PhotoShelter still takes a commission up to 9 percent? That's absurd to me. Am I misreading their terms?

Yes, they charge for any transactions that occur on their platform. It's my understanding that you're paying for the eCommerce functionality broadly and the ability to conduct transactions in your own "store" with your brand, etc. Some services have higher transaction fees and others charge you more for the shopping cart functionality with no fees -- but then you end up paying more whether or not you make a sale.

im in the SAME Boat ugh lol

I use the exact same setup as you. I have my websites on Squarespace and I use Pixieset for my client galleries. It sucks having two options but in my opinion Squarespace is hands down the best option for me with my website needs. I really hope they consider your suggestions. I know all squarespace photographers (and there are a lot of them) would pay to have features like Pixieset has. Hell, even partner with them and make pixieset embed in our website somehow if nothing else! Adding client gallery features would pretty much eliminate all other options that photographers have currently in my opinion.

If you got adobe plan you can get a free portfolio online ! no one is using this? its free when you can a adobe plan for photoshop etc... is the way to go for client proofing, ordering, and online galleries. I say this because as a portrait photographer I have used squarespace, pixieset, and instaproofs. So far I have generated more revenue from instaproofs than any other. Once you learn how to utilize instaproofs you realize the power available in their system to drive sales.

I have to thank the BizGuide written by J. Canlas

I use Squarespace and
German company based in Berlin. Their layout seems a little outdated but they overhaul it in February 2017.
But still I am pretty happy with them. And my clients are happy as well.
Only drawback: the mobile version is a little bit cumbersome. But that will be fixed in February as well.

My gripe with Squarespace's e-commerce system is actually not related to proofs, but to the issue of not being able to directly take a payment for a user-specified amount using Stripe. One of the simplest possible functions that could possibly be created and they don't have a way to do it. I have a JotForm right now that serves this purpose but want to integrate it directly with my Squarespace site for uniformity.

(Excuse my English) None of the above and under links comes near as when it comes to only wanting clients to choose their picks. Its a Lightroom gallery plugin. You choose the pics you want to upload, press Upload and bang, its online on your webhost in a newly created folder, you send the link to your client, he chooses, you receive an email with the file numbers, you copy the line and paste it in lightroom, you tag the selection and bingo. No monthly fees

Yes please!! I'm on the same boat as well. I love how clean my Squarespace website is but I have to use Pixieset for client proofing. I which I could keep my clients on my website rather than having to send them to another service.. Squarespace? You're listening?