Cloud Spot: Changing the Way Photographers Share Images

Cloud Spot was created by full-time photographers who were tired of the available options for photo delivery. Nothing before truly placed the photographer's brand first and cut precious time off of their workflow. The goal was to beautifully display images in a branded and modern gallery, be super fast and easy for the photographer to share, and allow clients to easily download images sent directly in an email and/or in the galleries. After using Cloud Spot for the past few months, I can say that they've succeeded.

cloudspot gallery entrance page photo

A Stand-Alone App That Saves You Time

Cloud Spot is a desktop application instead of a website, making it lightning fast and stable. No more server outages keeping you from getting your work done. The setup is intuitive and fast. Within a few minutes, my account was fully customized and I was uploading my first gallery. This system allows you to upload both from Dropbox as well as your computer, while maintaining the file structure of your gallery. This allows you to pre-sort your images into separate folders ahead of time and then drop them all into Cloud Spot at once. No more having to reorganize afterwards or open up multiple tabs just to upload all of your images at the same time. It's a major time saver.

cloudspot gallery backend photo

Delivering and Sharing Images

Sharing images is crazy fast. Once you're used to it, the process takes seconds. You can send one image, a selection of images, just a folder, or even an entire event. This is on-demand image delivery right to your client's inbox. The first step is dragging a photo over the event folder to create a featured image. This will be used in the email template and gallery landing page. You then have three options for how you want to share:

  1. Download Only (client gets a link to the download files)
  2. Online Gallery Only (client gets a link to view a gallery for the event)
  3. Download + Online Gallery (you send the event download links and the web gallery)

You then set the size and download permissions (Web, 4x6, 8x12, or Original) for those download links as well as select your options and permissions for the gallery that you're sharing. A rad feature unique to Cloud Spot is having the ability to add your watermark to any images and download links you send. This is an awesome feature to use when delivering images to vendors or marketing your business. Cloud Spot does the resizing and watermarking for you.

cloud spot gallery options

Create and Save Custom Email Templates

When the gallery or images are ready to send, you pick an email template. Cloud Spot comes with three templates out of the box, but you can create, customize, and save your own for later use. Before sending it out, you can modify the text even more and add your recipients. These have been awesome for sending images to clients, vendors, and wedding planners. There is also a template for sending straight to wedding blogs as a submission and Wedding Chicks has already endorsed it.

cloudspot email templates

Client Experience

The client receives an email with a great modern layout and the featured image. Right there in the email, they have a button to download their images and/or view the gallery. The link takes them to a beautiful gallery landing page, and we admit to staring at these a few times in awe. Once inside, the photos are displayed in a cascading arrangement that displays both vertical and horizontal images very nicely. It has a straightforward and easy layout for clients to view, favorite, share, and download the images. I can't tell you how many times we've received emails in the past from clients or their friends and family that couldn't figure out our gallery's functions. So glad that is over.

client email view Cloud Spot

You can create different galleries for each event depending on who you're sending the images to, including different image/download sizes, hiding folders, or passwords. Another great option for sending vendor images, you don't have to do a separate upload!

Cloud Spot gallery images client view

The print sales are straightforward, you can easily set what products are available and their pricing. Cloud Spot also has a custom mobile shopping cart view, so your clients can order on their mobile devices with ease. The current lab is WHCC, but more options are on the way including international options for those outside the United States. A huge plus for Cloud Spot is their print sale commission, or lack there of. Zero percent print commission is going to save me thousands of dollars per year.

Pricing

Here are the pricing options, with packages to fit many needs, including the option to try it for free. This will make it a great backup solution for delivered images, or you can keep only recent galleries up and get by at a competitive rate.

cloud spot pricing

What I Liked

  • Beautiful layout
  • Fast uploads
  • Sending direct image/event download links at different sizes with/without watermark
  • Customized email templates
  • Zero percent print sales commission

What Could Be Improved

  • Ability to collect email addresses from gallery viewers
  • Be able to schedule print sales
  • Add more print lab options

The Cloud Spot team has been incredible at listening to its early users and making improvements at a rapid pace. I don't think the list of cons will last for long.

Conclusion

I've gone through many different proofing systems, none of them were complete. I spent the past few years using a hybrid of two different offerings, one for gallery/print sales and the other for full gallery downloads. That meant uploading to two separate sites. I was never happy with the styling and the clients were just receiving text links in an email message at delivery. I saw new options hit the market that had a better design to the gallery, but had unsatisfactory store options. This is the first time I've seen a complete offering that I'm fully happy with. I'm also excited that the company is run by full-time photographers who are dealing with the same issues we are. They know how important image delivery is to a photographer and are dedicated to their product's success.

Go to CloudSpot.io to sign up for a free plan and give it a shot. You can use my discount code DylanH for 10% off your subscription.

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30 Comments

Kyle Ford's picture

I just moved over to cloud spot, really loving their service so far. Also the customer support is quick and super helpful. I agree 100% with your list of improvements.

Jason Vinson's picture

looks cool but nothing here that makes me want to move away from Zenfolio. Especially the lack of unlimited storage.

Scott Mosley's picture

And zenfolio has "photo moments" app that allow clients (after they login) to view, download various sizes and share pictures several ways. The built-in re-sizing is one of the best features of PhotoMoments because it preserves more quality than if a client tried to put a full-size image on Facebook (or other mobile/social site)

Jason Vinson's picture

ya its easy enough to export a folder of high res images and a folder of facebook friendly images. Then i dont have to worry about explaining to the client when and why they should download a different file size. they just know facebook folder is for facebook.

Paul Von Rieter's picture

Hia! Cloud Spot absolutely offers a unlimited storage plan. :-)

Jason Vinson's picture

ah thanks! i must have missed it first time through!

Chris Helton's picture

yeah. unlimited storage for $600 a year! vs Zenfolios $140 year.

Andrew Richardson's picture

Y'all should do a post compiling all of the sites in the past couple of years that you have advertised as "changing the way photographers share images". Would be an interesting read.

Joe Martinez's picture

Everything about Cloudspot looks great except the lack of digital download sales...I think I'll stick with Pixieset a little longer.

Bert McLendon's picture

Same here. I've gone through a lot of the online delivery systems, Pass, Zenfolio and have ended up liking Pixieset the most so far. They've added some nice updates in the past few months and it seems like they'll be adding more in the near future.

Paul Von Rieter's picture

Hi guys! We (Cloud Spot) will actually be rolling out digital download sales and selffufilment in a couple weeks. Stay tuned! And thank you for the feedback. :-)))

Joe Martinez's picture

Awesome. Thanks Paul.

Congratulations Paul. Cloud Spot appears to tick a lot of boxes and I'm looking forward to trying it out. One question; the pic sizes are in inches, yet only three countries use imperial measures (namely the United States, Liberia and Myanmar) the entire rest of the world is metric just like every one of your lenses, so why not re-label those to show both Imperial, and metric equivalents for the rest of us? Thanx.

Jared Lacey's picture

And whats this about not being able to set up a purchasing option coz im not in the US? The world is bigger then just the US guys!

Joshua Boldt's picture

It is not impossible to do certain business with people who are outside of the US, but it is extremely hard for a small company sometimes. They need the proper licensure to do business, move money, and collect taxes in your country as well as follow international trade laws, deal with banking issues, and all kinds of other things. The internet may be somewhat border ambiguous, but governments are sure not.

Mario Gonzalez's picture

looks good can't justify the cost though already paying for to much stuff

Karlis Kalnins's picture

Looks awesome but i missed the support for video files, i need them for my wedding slideshows and the pricing is a little bit overdrawn. Take a look at zenfolio, they support video files and have a good pricing – only the backend is awfull :-)

Jay Jay's picture

When you post what looks like ad copy from a press release with heavily praise over a product, using words like, "lighting fast", "crazy fast", "i don't think the cons will last for long", and loads of verbiage of glowing praise, not to mention their full pricing list and a code for a discount- all the while not mentioning any competing sites (it was even mentioned the author tried other companies, but declined to say which), i.e. Pixieset- in the interest in fair and honest journalism, don't you think you need to clarify this is paid product placement and biased writing? For the first time, i'm downright disappointed and embarrassed at fstoppers and in the author Dylan Howell, for lacking any sort of integrity. I'll know that any time i see his name on an article, i'll know to dismiss it - and him.

This was written by a biased photographer..not a journalist.

Jay Jay's picture

Funny, the photographer who authored the article down voted my post on him but didn't address a single point i had with his article.

McKinley Wiley's picture

cache removal option has me sold

Well, crap. So much for my idea of doing the same exact thing. Good work! Looks great!

Ian Johns's picture

Not sure what some people's beef is with this article -- biased, advertising or not, it enlightens us to another option that's out there. It's not a piece written to compare different photo sharing sites, it's simply highlighting a new one that's hit the scene. Take it at face value and move onto the next article if you're not interested.

Jay Jay's picture

The problem is that something is being sold that may or may not be the best value- that's why comparison shopping exists and the reason sites write articles about comparisons over the pros and cons of competing services in order to rank the best value and offerings. When you have an article that in essence says, that "this one product is the best there is in the market", with no factual basis behind it other than the author's own words (and being given discount codes to buy it)- you're not being guaranteed a fair and honest article.

At face value, this is nothing more than an ad. I wouldn't have a problem with it if the author disclosed a relationship with the vendor (as i've seen other authors do on Fstoppers in the past). It's not about "moving on to the next article if i'm not interested"- it's entirely about having integrity. Read up on the recent Brian Williams/NBC fiasco if you don't think integrity matters in journalism. :)

Checkout www.picdrop.de - a little bit different concerning the features but still the best cloudbased service I encountered until now. The service will be in english soon. And the servers are located in Germany which has very tight data privacy protection. I have no connection to the company. I just like their service.

As with others below, Zenfolio is still my preferred service. I also found cloud spot's website to be very slow for some reason, almost freezing in Firefox.

This is an interesting article regarding the domain extension they use. Will let you make your own judgements.

https://gigaom.com/2014/06/30/the-dark-side-of-io-how-the-u-k-is-making-...

hmm. Buggy. already encountered two errors so that I had to force close the app.
why didnt they they opt for a web service instead of an app?

Leo Caetano's picture

So... no custom domain? Thanks, I'll pass.

Karim Hesham's picture

Why should i change from Pixieset? I'm so happy with it and its cheaper and gives you all features!!

I started using the CloudSpot service after reading this article.The concept is really great and convenient, especially since there is an option for using it free. That being said, I was a little disappointed with the issues that I have been having when sometimes, the application doesn't respond. There are times when the photos won't enlarge when you expect them to and only an app restart makes things work. There are definitely some bugs with the app that need to be resolved.
But all in all, my workflow has definitely gotten more streamlined with CloudSpot!