I use PASS for my gallery systems. I use it because it’s pretty on both the computer and on mobile devices, something that Smugmug and Zenfolio sometimes fail on. The system is pretty expensive ($30 per gallery), and gets a lot of criticism for completely hustling photographers over with their print system and prices. To top it off, Pass creator has had his share of controversy. Introducing Pixieset, everything that PASS SHOULD be, and at a reasonable price.
I was introduced by Pixieset from a friend, after showing my frustration with the PASS system, and not allowing my clients to download a zip of the files without first paying Pass $30. Introduced just a couple months ago, Pixieset looks to bring beautiful gallery systems for weddings and events at affordable prices. At as low as $8 a month (limited free options available), Pixieset allows you to build a beautiful free flowing gallery system and allows you to add featured images, set print prices, and even add categories that will display beautifully into a menu system for your images.
The gallery system on Pixieset is similar in style to the familiar PASS systems, with some unique really special features. The first one is that you’re able to add collections to your galleries, and they’ll be places in a simple but intuitive menu system. This allows for better organization, and allows you to build wedding galleries organized by the event and time of day (Setup, ceremony, reception, etc). While PASS has this feature, its buried into the menu system that often goes overlooked by clients.
Aside from that, you also have a feature image that works like a header for the gallery. So you’re able to customize your galleries to your clients, and give them something far more unique than just a set of photos.
From there, each of your clients are able to download all the images from their gallery with a single click. To help prevent strangers from downloading high resolution images from the set, they have a pin system that allows only those with the 4 digit pin to download the images. This feature can also be turned off at any time on any gallery, allowing you to pick and choose which galleries you want downloadable, and which ones you do not.
Much like PASS, Pixieset also offers plenty of social integration into their system. All the major systems are integrated into the system, allowing for your images and sets shared with ease, and increase the possibilities of going viral.
Perhaps the biggest advantage with Pixieset is that they don’t have a print system, but a billing system for prints. This means you’re able to use your own print lab if you choose, and oversee the entire process. You set your prices, when someone orders, the money is deposited into your bank account (minus a 8-15% fee from Pixieset), and then you’re able to process your print order from your standard print lab.
This feature is so imperative to me, as I often will have headshot clients come in and look for an easy way to order prints. The digital files I deliver to them don’t contain their name, SAG representation, or agency info -- however, their printed headshots do. So by overseeing the operation, I’m able to assure that the prints are up to my standard, and are processed how I want them. Fear not though, Pixieset promises to add additional print options in the upcoming months for those who want to take a hands off approach.
While Pixieset is cheaper in the long run compared to PASS, it still isn't the cheapest option. Their prices are listed below, and you’ll find yourself eating up the 10GB from the basic package pretty quick, especially if you’re uploading higher resolution files for your clients. $24 a month is nothing too unreasonable though, especially for those wedding photographers who are looking to up their presentation in digital media.
Perhaps my biggest gripe with PASS is that it can be painfully slow at times. Using their Desktop app seems to slow the entire uploading process down. Even when uploading 900px long edge files for proof galleries, I can sometimes wait over an hour for 200 photos to upload. Pixieset uses a proven standard with their basic upload dialog within their admin panel on their website. For that reason, uploading seems noticeably faster, as it's not going through Adobe's sometimes cumbersome Adobe AIR System. With Pixieset, you just click upload. You're not hit with random dialog after dialog asking for your client's email address and pricing forms. It's simply upload, and you're done.
What I've been most impressed with is the support that Pixieset has been able to offer me. Using the natural male mentality of "Don't bother reading instructions" I went into Pixieset blindly. I didn't know what I was doing the majority of the time, and just clicking away. Contacting their support was simple, and the responses were always quick and very polite. You can tell this is a company eager to help people with their problems, and if I asked about a feature they didn't have, they showed interest in adding it to their system soon.
One of the nicest features in PASS is their stats. With a single click, you’re able to view the amount of views your gallery is getting (Though the accuracy of those numbers is highly questionable) and where those views are coming from. At this point in time, Pixieset does not offer a service like this. They do promise to add functionality soon though, once they work out the kinks in inaccurate server side readings.
What I Like
The Galleries are Beautiful
Ability to Download Galleries With Ease
Fast, Simple Interface
Great Customer Support
No Expiration on Galleries
À la Carte Print System With Full Customability
What Could Use Improvements
Stats System to see Views & Other General Info
From my initial and limited time with Pixieset, it is everything I've wanted from an online gallery system. The whole system is easy to use and beautiful, and certainly raises the bar in terms of functionality within a gallery system. If you’re looking for a better gallery system to give to your clients, I highly suggest you check out Pixieset. The only thing they don’t have going for them, is there fluffy name.
If you're still not sold, I recommend you checking out the Examples on their website to really see the beauty in their system.