As photographers, we meet people that come from all over the world and that sometimes speak very exotic languages. This is great, and I absolutely love it. However, it sometimes is a problem. For example, I use to proof and deliver my images using a web gallery. I have tried many of them: SmugMug, Pass, Zenfolio, PhotoShelter, etc. Despite the simplicity of their design, some of my clients would just not understand how it works because they did not speak a single word of English apart from "hello". So I looked on the web for quite some time to find a solution, I finally found it a couple of months ago, it is called PhotoDeck.
What Does it Do?
PhotoDeck is one for those web service designed for photographers. Like most of its competitors, it has different subscription options. The most interesting one for photographers is priced at $29.99/month. At this price point, you get the possibility of creating a website with a proofing/ordering gallery or just the later to complement your already up and running website. The ordering system can even be linked to a lab of your choice for no additional cost, not even a single cent of commission on your clients orders.
In addition, you can pay what I find the most interesting about this web service, the multi-language option. It is available for an extra $6.99/month.
Create a Full Running Website
The interface for the clients is very polished and user-friendly. Even my parents can use it with no problems. There are about ten different themes to choose from. You can even customize them easily, especially if you know a little bit of HTML/CSS. If you do not know anything about those weird languages, do not worry, you can still change most options and customize the layout to your liking. If you are crazy about SEO, do not worry, the system does not use Flash. So you can still get a very decent ranking for your keywords.
I will not get into much more details about the user interface as PhotoDeck offers a variety of sample websites to browse from. To see them, only go to PhotoDeck's website by clicking here. This way you will be able to get an idea for yourself.
Proofing and Ordering Through the Gallery System
Then there is the gallery for ordering and proofing. Just like the website, it offers a lot of options as far as customization goes. As aforementioned you can also link your gallery to a lab so that clients can order from the gallery without any action on your part to make the order happen. The order processing is easy and supports different payment methods, including PayPal. While on the topic of ordering through a lab, you might ask yourself: "What if my preferred lab is not on their partners list?". Well, they have you covered. You can set up the gallery to send automatically an email to your lab with the details of your client orders and a link for them to download the files to print. When I saw this option, I was blown away. It is so simple but so few proofing systems offer it! Such a time saver!
Another very smart thing PhotoDeck implemented is the download option. You can customize in many different ways. Let's say you want to deliver a wedding to your bride and groom but do not wish to upload your files twice, once for the guests and the other on Dropbox for your clients. Well, with PhotoDeck you directly upload it and then either make the download available to everyone or by email. You can even pick which files can be downloaded and if people have to pay for the digital files.
If you are more into portraits or commercial photography, PhotoDeck also has a couple of great options for you regarding the download options. You can allow people to download low-resolution files so that they can proof it offline. Also, when uploading your file you can specify if this is a proofing or final file. This allows you to enable the download option only on final files. What does this mean in the real world? Let's say you just finished your portrait session, culled your files and wanted to send the proofs to your clients. Well, you can upload your JPEG to PhotoDeck specifying these are proofing files. Then if a customer tries to download them, you will get a note that these files have been requested to be retouched. Once your retouching is done, you can upload your final files and the client will be able to download them.
I must admit, it might sound very complicated by just reading this... But give it a try for yourself, this is very easy and once set up, it is a real time saver.
Multi-Language Photography Web Service
The last thing I want to talk very quickly about is the multi-language option. It is extra, but to me it has also been extra money for my business. Before having a multi-language proofing and ordering gallery, I would lose sales after a wedding because part of the bride's or groom's family would not understand a word of the gallery. Now, I can just give them the link and everything is translated in their language. Anyone can understand it. Anyone can order right from the gallery, and I do not have to do anything.
Some of the clients even use it in their native language making it easier for them to chose their pictures. This is a great thing. For the selling process, I do not want my clients to think of anything else but the pictures he or she wants. Having to understand the language of the website they are using is just a barrier to selling more.
What I liked
- Easy to setup, even for those that do not understand anything about website creating or hosting services
- Reasonable price for a website and proofing/ordering system
- Multi-Language possibility
- All HTML/CSS, no Flash
- Customer service very quick to answer emails and requests
- Ordering possible with almost any lab – as long as they take email orders
- Download speed for downloading files is excellent – most of the time better than Dropbox or GDrive in my experience
- Fully responsive design, even for the admin panel
- Possibility for clients to comment on pictures, so you can even proof albums
What Could be Improved
- It can be difficult to find a precise option in the admin panel
- It's a shame that the multi-language is not included in the price as this is one of the strong point of this system
- It would be great to have a price option for people that prefer using Wordpress or any other system for their website but PhotoDeck for the proofing/ordering gallery
Final Closing Thoughts
Just like the review I wrote on the RA Beauty Retouching Panel, I might get called out in the comments because I just wrote to many great things. What I can say, I love the system, and I honestly think this is amongst the best, if not the best, system currently available on the market. If you do not believe me, PhotoDeck offers a 14-day trial version.
PhotoDeck has most of the options other similar web services offer, but it also implemented small functionalities that others lacked. The differences are not all that big, but to me they make the difference by allowing me to sell more to more clients, and it is worth the price.
What do you use for your proofing and ordering system? Is the multi-language option something that you are missing on your current system?