Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Pro Business Discussion => Topic started by: Bullfrog on September 08, 2013, 12:32:03 PM

Title: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: Bullfrog on September 08, 2013, 12:32:03 PM
I'm looking for website hosting services that can provide me with basic photography site requirements.  I print my own prints so I don't require a web service that offers fulfillment.

I'm wondering if a simple WordPress website would be enough. 

Beyond uploading images for display in galleries I think the basic feature I require is to prevent right-click save of files (yes I know people can scan your image anyway but at least it doesn't make it so easy to steal) - this is the one feature of word-press that I thought was unavailable.

I found these web hosters and would appreciate if anyone has experience with them and/or opinions on them.  If there are other options out there that people recommend, I would be happy to know.

Bluehost
http://www.bluehost.com/

Sitewelder

http://www.sitewelder.com/

Zenfolio  (I know it has a back-end fulfillment option but I believe you can use the web service without using their fulfillment partners)

http://www.zenfolio.com/

Yola
https://www.yola.com/


Here's a photographer's website that I quite like - no idea what they used as a solution but offer as an example of something that I think works well

http://bobshullphotography.com/
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: ftbt on September 08, 2013, 03:28:38 PM
You may want to look at Photocrati. They basically have themes or templates geared to photo professionals. The themes or templates are canned graphical users interfaces that ride on top of Word Press. There is room for customization and a built in shopping cart that uses PayPal. With all of that said, you will have to find your own hosting. Photocrati has several recommendations for hosting. I used Photocrati to build a little site for an exhibition that I am having at the end of the month in Italy. Here is the link.

www.visionsfromlamorra.com

Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: Bullfrog on September 09, 2013, 08:15:05 AM
Thanks for your reply.  That is an option with Blue Host and one worth exploring. 
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: kaelaria on September 09, 2013, 08:29:22 AM
Wordpress can be anything you want it to be, it's just a framework.  Use what theme and plugins you wish to create your site.  There is ZERO point to try and protect any content right click or not.  Yes there are plugins for it but it's still 100% pointless.  If you really don't want something stolen, don't put it online PERIOD.

bobshull uses wordpress just FYI alone with many others.  So do I and I love the platform, I have made dozens of sites with it for myself and clients.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: Bullfrog on September 09, 2013, 08:55:24 AM
There is ZERO point to try and protect any content right click or not.  Yes there are plugins for it but it's still 100% pointless.  If you really don't want something stolen, don't put it online PERIOD.
I dunno.  Isn't it like saying don't lock a door because anyone can break in so you might as well leave it open.
 
Anyway, I am coming round to the idea that Wordpress is all I need and have been on their site exploring their formats.  I see they have quite a choice and wonder why pay more (Sitewelder is for example very expensive in comparison)  I actually have to devote some time to watching their demos because a few of the templates charge a nominal fee ($80) which I hope is just a one time charge and you don't get to test drive these things.

Thanks for your post.  PS: Bob Shull has prevented right-click enablement on his site.   ;)
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: kaelaria on September 09, 2013, 09:07:19 AM
You don't get it at all.

Right click on his background.  View page source.  OH LOOK, all his pics.  That's just one quick way of grabbing anything.  100% pointless.  Anyone that wants something and is going to copy it knows how to get it.  It takes no effort.

Also you are confusing wordpress.com - the basic, crappy hosted option, with using wordpress.org software - and doing it yourself.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: john beardsworth on September 09, 2013, 10:00:33 AM
I agree with the point about the futility of interfering with right click. Don't post images so large that it's worth saving them, and add a watermark big enough to deter anyone, while not so big that you look paranoid.

How much do you want to do/learn yourself? WordPress means lower cost, more control, but more effort and more for you to understand. Services like LiveBooks or ZenFolio are more costly, but take away much of the need to know what you're doing.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: afx on September 09, 2013, 11:13:27 AM
I use http://smugmug.com for image hosting (the power user version with a custom domain link).
If you mainly need galleries, this is easier than anything wordpress based.
But if you want it more blog like, then this is probably not the right way of doing it.

cheers
afx

(If you like it, you might want to use this discount code:  otXC5kHuzE0bw).
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: Bullfrog on September 09, 2013, 01:52:56 PM
I agree with the point about the futility of interfering with right click. Don't post images so large that it's worth saving them, and add a watermark big enough to deter anyone, while not so big that you look paranoid.

How much do you want to do/learn yourself? WordPress means lower cost, more control, but more effort and more for you to understand. Services like LiveBooks or ZenFolio are more costly, but take away much of the need to know what you're doing.

I don't want to code.  I don't want to develop in CSS.  I don't need fulfilment partners but yes, I understand you have to pay for features you may not need because its a package deal.  So ZenFolio is one option I have heard of, (Live books is new to me).  

At this point I do not want a website where the user can easily access the back-door (ie view code) which is an increased exposure not only because the person can take your files, but a hacker can add malicious content and actually take control of your site .  When I clicked on Bob Shulls site (which btw, I thought was very well done, and great images so apologies for calling him out as an example) - anyway, as the person has now pointed out to me, the entire debugging code and code editor is available .

Putting everything else that is positive about this set-up aside, this is not something I want.    

If this applies to both word press "crappy" or word press.org - I'll pass.  It would be helpful if someone can be specific and post a specific template or site if they know if a template within word press which affords a better front end.

It goes without saying I'm "confused" on what word press options are available, because if I knew, I wouldn't be asking.

As far as right click enablement (I'm specifically referring to the ability to right click on an image and save it to your desktop):  I tend to view right click enablement as intent:  while anyone determined to take your image can, giving people the choice to save and download is saying "take me, I'm yours" .   Its my analogy on the door of the house: while anyone can break in if they are really determined, leaving the door open because you have a fatalist approach that you will be invaded anyway, so why bother, is inviting problems.  

When I stated I didn't want right click enablement, I assumed that this would be in addition to having a platform where back-door access would not be so easily accessed.  

The question I have is:  what will it cost to get these things and who provides it.  I THINK Sitewelder does.  I THINK Zen Folio does.  I'm now working on the understanding that Wordpress (org or crap) does not.  I'm not sure about others.

So, accepting these are my requirements, again, does anyone have any recommendations.  Thanks

Last add: I would rather have a site where the platform host is not advertised, ie "powered by ...."  which is my 3rd requirement.  
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: john beardsworth on September 09, 2013, 02:26:35 PM
OK, from all you say, I would recommend you don't think any more about WordPress and focus your energy on deciding which service works best for you. ZenFolio would be a good start - they let you use your own domain name and aren't too pricey.

John
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: Bullfrog on September 09, 2013, 03:22:58 PM
OK, from all you say, I would recommend you don't think any more about WordPress and focus your energy on deciding which service works best for you. ZenFolio would be a good start - they let you use your own domain name and aren't too pricey.

John

Thanks for clearing that up.  I will investigate ZenFolio to see what they offer and what it costs.

Here's a website from Sitewelder which I think is exceptional.  Not only images, but design, format and presentation.  In my view first class.

http://www.aaronshipper.com/index.html

Also, after reading a thousand different "about" pages, I gotta say, this one really made me smile .  Here it is for those who are like me, (right click inhibited :-)

Quote: Aaron Shipper lives in New Orleans. His diverse photographs are part of the permanent collection on exhibit throughout his home. His photographs have been praised by his father, among others.

 :)

Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: kaelaria on September 09, 2013, 09:43:20 PM
Honestly, you are SO confused on basic fundamentals of WHAT the internet is, how webpages and browsers even work...just pay a web developer to make you a simple site, it should only run you a couple hundred bucks. 

"At this point I do not want a website where the user can easily access the back-door (ie view code) " is a good example...just...not even in left field, out of the ballpark and in the next county.

EVERY webpage is based on the same html code.  EVERY page can be viewed as source, that's HOW it gets transmitted and displayed by your browser.  It's not a back door, it's nothing nefarious, it's just the way things work.  That's like complaining about not wanting air in tires.  Even flash, which is like code baked in to a jpg, can be easily reveresed.  There is ZERO point trying to hide or protect ANYTHING.  I said it already, DON'T put it online if you absolutely need it protected.

That being said, lighten up, just don't put up huge images that are of any use to anyone and don't pretend like your images are so great everyone else will get rich off them ;)
Title: I second the rec of Zenfolio for you.
Post by: KirbyKrieger on September 09, 2013, 10:36:45 PM
I second the rec of Zenfolio for you.  But don't think anything is easy.  Building and maintaining any custom site is laborious.

As for security: if I can see it on my computer, I have _already_ downloaded it.  This is true for everyone.  The minute you put something online, you give it away.  As stated: if you don't want to give it away, don't put it on-line.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: MarkM on September 09, 2013, 11:21:51 PM
kaelaria is right on all counts.

Disabling right clicks only annoys honest users. I right click to open links in a new tab constantly. If I get a nagging popup every time I do it I just leave the site. All of Aaron Shipper's images are trivial to download. The Safari web inspector will show them in a convenient list where you can just copy them. Alternatively if you disable javascript, all the links on his site open the image file in the raw where you can just drag it to the desktop. All the inconvenience of security without any of the actual protection.

Having said that, sitewelder looks pretty nice, but it's a bit expensive in my opinion. If I am going to pay that much for hosting, I would bite the bullet and use http://aphotofolio.com which is a favorite among professional photographers. The setup fee is steep, but the customer service is world class.

If you don't want to spend that much, Squarespace has some nice templates for photographers these days: http://www.squarespace.com/tour/photographers/

In my experience, people who don't want to look at code often get frustrated with wordpress. Although installing templates is not difficult, making trivial changes sometimes requires understanding not just css and html, but also wordpress and the template internals as well. If you can find an off-the-shelf template that's perfect, it *might* be a good solution, but in my experience running a wordpress site requires an investment of time and the desire to get your hands dirty.

I've used Zenfolio for delivering photoshoots edits and it works pretty well, but I've never felt like I could make a convincing website design without a lot of work. I've seen a lot of them that all look the same. This suggests to me that it's not really easy to make a great looking zenfolio site.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: Bullfrog on September 10, 2013, 08:04:49 AM
I appreciate all the feedback.   Keep it coming!

Since this keeps coming up, I feel I need to restate one more time in the event anyone is confused about my expectations:   I'm FULLY AWARE that ANYONE can steal ANYTHING if they want to.

I agree that pop up message is annoying (On Sitewelder) but you can opt to disable it - or I presume tell the hosting service to ensure it isn't (they offer set-up).   I agree Sitewelder is more expensive which is what is keeping me from just hopping on board without looking further.

I just don't want the work of Wordpress.  So at this stage, that is my last alternative.

However, these alternative hosting solutions are really appreciated.  

I tend to think a website should be simple - and the more it prevents a user from making a mistake, the better. Whether that is possible - I don't know.  

 I am just hoping to get input from people on what WEB HOSTING services are available, so that I can explore them myself and also, if people are using them, what they like and dislike about them.  

I don't wish to build from scratch.  

And yes, I have found costs are all over the place, so now I'm trying to figure out if I can afford it and whether its worth it based on feature /benefit comparisons.  

I have investigated a custom solution and its very expensive, so at this point, I'm somewhere in between using a free template like Wordpress or Yola and having something customized.
Thanks


ETA:  Quote:  Having said that, sitewelder looks pretty nice, but it's a bit expensive in my opinion. If I am going to pay that much for hosting, I would bite the bullet and use http://aphotofolio.com which is a favorite among professional photographers. The setup fee is steep, but the customer service is world class.  Unquote

This is really helpful.  Now I have some means to compare services and costs.  Yes, that site looks very expensive to set up - not sure I can do it this year.  But its really helpful to have these options provided because it provides a range of services and their costs which I can then inquire about .
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: Bullfrog on September 10, 2013, 09:00:06 AM

In my experience, people who don't want to look at code often get frustrated with wordpress. Although installing templates is not difficult, making trivial changes sometimes requires understanding not just css and html, but also wordpress and the template internals as well. If you can find an off-the-shelf template that's perfect, it *might* be a good solution, but in my experience running a wordpress site requires an investment of time and the desire to get your hands dirty.

I've used Zenfolio for delivering photoshoots edits and it works pretty well, but I've never felt like I could make a convincing website design without a lot of work. I've seen a lot of them that all look the same. This suggests to me that it's not really easy to make a great looking zenfolio site.


This is very helpful.  Thanks.  I'm realizing paying more = less work for me which is really the trade off I have to consider.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: Bullfrog on September 10, 2013, 09:21:59 AM

Disabling right clicks only annoys honest users. I right click to open links in a new tab constantly. If I get a nagging popup every time I do it I just leave the site. All of Aaron Shipper's images are trivial to download. The Safari web inspector will show them in a convenient list where you can just copy them. Alternatively if you disable javascript, all the links on his site open the image file in the raw where you can just drag it to the desktop. All the inconvenience of security without any of the actual protection.


This is good to know.  Nagging pop-ups and superficial security aside, its still a visually and functionally impressive site in my opinion.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: markadams99 on September 11, 2013, 06:35:08 PM
MarkM's summary is excellent.

Forget Wordpress - fun, admirable, but geeky and high maintenance to deal with separate hosting for wordpress.org + hackability + poorly maintained plug-ins + constant updates + temptation to customize themes which leads to maintenance overhead and incompatibilities.

Options are Zenfolio, Smugmug and Squarespace.

I use Zenfolio - thelightcavalry.zenfolio.com (http://thelightcavalry.zenfolio.com) - and am satisfied. It's rather customizable, has an integrated blog, takes videos, and is pending a serious update in the next few weeks.

Smugmug has just been updated with attractive themes and has somewhat leapfrogged Zenfolio, but that may be very temporary. No integrated blog.

Squarespace is decent, but not as intuitive as they think it is and surprisingly constraining in its gallery templates. Still if you like their layouts, it's worth a good look. Matt Kloskowski is a fan.

Honestly the money involved for Zenfolio, Smugmug or Squarespace is trivial compared to the time and frustration of getting involved with something complex but unsuitable. I see no reason to host your galleries separately.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: Bullfrog on September 11, 2013, 06:43:02 PM
Thanks. I liked Mark's summary very much and your comments solidify .  I don't want a Word Press - its just not for me.
I need to reflect on your other ideas and Marks.  I did some research yesterday and I'm starting to realize the options (feature/benefits) are really similar at the same price point - so it comes down to what I am prepared to spend and then once I've made that decision, narrowing the field.

I don't want that high end product (the one for $1000 set up fee) - its too much money for me - but its nice to look through for ideas and always learn something.

Thank you for posting.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: markadams99 on September 11, 2013, 06:52:43 PM
I forgot to mention Weebly (http://www.weebly.com). Simple, elegant, free, fit for most purposes.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: Bullfrog on September 11, 2013, 08:10:07 PM
weebly is news to me - thanks again.  This thread has really provided options at a range of price points and its really appreciated.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: jjj on September 14, 2013, 09:42:20 AM
Whatever site design you choose make sure it scales well across all platforms. i.e. looks good on both a 30" monitor and a smartphone, as well as all sizes inbetween.
Mobile platforms are being increasingly used for browsing these days and it's quite annoying to try and navigate a website designed for the desktop when using your phone.
A content management system [CMS] at back of website to be able to output images at right size and sharpness for the screen size is a must. A good CMS should make uploading images/updating galleries much easier too. Some will even be manageable from within say Lightroom, which makes life a lot easier.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: ripgriffith on September 14, 2013, 03:41:31 PM
Honestly, you are SO confused on basic fundamentals of WHAT the internet is, how webpages and browsers even work...just pay a web developer to make you a simple site, it should only run you a couple hundred bucks. 

"At this point I do not want a website where the user can easily access the back-door (ie view code) " is a good example...just...not even in left field, out of the ballpark and in the next county.

EVERY webpage is based on the same html code.  EVERY page can be viewed as source, that's HOW it gets transmitted and displayed by your browser.  It's not a back door, it's nothing nefarious, it's just the way things work.  That's like complaining about not wanting air in tires.  Even flash, which is like code baked in to a jpg, can be easily reveresed.  There is ZERO point trying to hide or protect ANYTHING.  I said it already, DON'T put it online if you absolutely need it protected.

That being said, lighten up, just don't put up huge images that are of any use to anyone and don't pretend like your images are so great everyone else will get rich off them ;)
I believe it is you who need to "lighten up", and ENOUGH with the yelling!
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: Bullfrog on September 18, 2013, 06:35:56 AM
I believe it is you who need to "lighten up", and ENOUGH with the yelling!

Yep. 

Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: Remo Nonaz on September 23, 2013, 07:36:38 AM
Mark:

Do you know anything more about Zenfolio's pending updates? I have a subscription with them now, http://homershannon.zenfolio.com (http://homershannon.zenfolio.com), but I'm very unhappy with their slideshows - they are very soft, almost out of focus looking. I looked at your site and I see the same issue. You have some nice images there.

I've tried all the settings for image size and output sharpening, nothing helps. The same images on Smugmug or Flikr look great - nice and sharp.

I'm torn between the work it would take to move off of Zenfolio and the better quality of other sites. Also, Zenfolio is a little less expensive and they have occasional sales that reduce the cost to upgrade your site.

Any more information you have would be helpful.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: jjj on September 23, 2013, 08:15:24 AM
If Zenfolio cannot even display images sharply, then move on.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: KirbyKrieger on September 23, 2013, 08:22:27 AM
Do you know anything more about Zenfolio's pending updates? I have a subscription with them now, http://homershannon.zenfolio.com (http://homershannon.zenfolio.com), but I'm very unhappy with their slideshows - they are very soft, almost out of focus looking.
Have you contacted Zenfolio?  I did not have any problems with soft slideshows.  Zenfolio always got back to me within one business day with any questions I had (and they are likely to want to know of this issue).
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: jjj on September 23, 2013, 08:45:19 AM
Have you contacted Zenfolio?  I did not have any problems with soft slideshows.  
Remo, if Kirby isn't having issues, how big are the images you are uploading? As if being shown full screen they need to be at least the same size as a big screen.  Shrinking big images down for a smaller screen is not a problem [if correct sharpening is then applied], but enlarging images to fit a big screen usually is.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: Remo Nonaz on September 23, 2013, 08:55:07 AM
Yes. I contacted Zen and their support was quick to get back, which I appreciated. However, their recommendation, which was to use XX-Large Access Control, was not of any help. I'm convinced the issue is with their slideshow software. For some reason it really softens images. If you look at a double-clicked thumbnail, it looks fine. But switch to slideshow and you will see the difference.

I ran a bunch of tests using screen size, Zen recommendations and full images with standard and high Lr output sharpening. All are soft in slideshow mode, though I would say that screen size with high output sharpening showed some improvement. Zen customer support has said that they change the image size to improve compression and loading time. I suspect that they modify the images for ideal expanded thumbnail viewing but then use the same image for the slideshow, which is then over expanded.

Overall, I'm quite happy with Zenfolio and I'd like to stay with them, but I do wish their slideshow software presented a sharper image. What's the point of going through post processing to get perfect images only to have them muddied up when presented?
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: KirbyKrieger on September 23, 2013, 09:17:55 AM
Overall, I'm quite happy with Zenfolio and I'd like to stay with them, but I do wish their slideshow software presented a sharper image. What's the point of going through post processing to get perfect images only to have them muddied up when presented?

Is your site the one you mentioned above: http://homershannon.zenfolio.com

I looked at the set of images in your Essex Bay Massachusetts gallery.  On my monitor (15" Apple Retina) I don't see a difference in sharpness between any of the views of the images (full-screen, regular, and in the slideshow).
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: MarkM on September 23, 2013, 05:27:46 PM
Remo,

I also haven't noticed the muddled images either on zenfolio or my site (which isn't on zenfolio).

Like everyone, I imagine my standards are higher than average, but it's possible you just expect more from the web than others. Jpeg and flash compression are a fact of life for websites and sadly there is inverse correlation between quality and compression. As screen resolutions continue to increase websites heavy in photographs have a harder time balancing speed and quality and we often have to sacrifice a little snap in the images in order to keep impatient viewers from giving up.

It's also possible it's your browser. Like a lot of sites that display full-screen images, my site scales images on the client side. This is a compromise because you end up sending larger images than many users need so they can be scaled down to the appropriate size. But it's one of the easier solutions because, without relying on javascript, you can't get the window size on the sever side when the request is made. In modern browsers this isn't a problem because they do a really nice job down sampling. Older browsers—especially internet explorer—could really mess this up.

My site enforces a maximum size to (in theory) you shouldn't be able to scale past the native size of the image. It's possible zenfolio doesn't do this and you are seeing images that are being resampled up, which is less than ideal.

Maybe you could let us know what browser and screen resolution you're using.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: jjj on September 23, 2013, 05:46:08 PM
Is your site the one you mentioned above: http://homershannon.zenfolio.com

I looked at the set of images in your Essex Bay Massachusetts gallery.  On my monitor (15" Apple Retina) I don't see a difference in sharpness between any of the views of the images (full-screen, regular, and in the slideshow).
Slideshow looked soft to me on my 26" NECs. Just as if it was a smaller file resampled to fit a bigger screen.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: MarkM on September 23, 2013, 05:59:40 PM
Slideshow looked soft to me on my 26" NECs. Just as if it was a smaller file resampled to fit a bigger screen.

That's interesting. On a 24" monitor here, the normal html display is serving images in 1000 pixel range. The last image (the sailboats) is 1082x850. This is about the same size they are in the flash slide show here. They look the same to me in terms of sharpness.

The slide show for the collection 'Sandy Bay and Straitsmouth Lighthouse' shows the images at edge-to-edge full screen. These look like they have been up-resed and look softer than the regular display.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: jjj on September 24, 2013, 06:52:21 AM
Is your site the one you mentioned above: http://homershannon.zenfolio.com

I looked at the set of images in your Essex Bay Massachusetts gallery.  On my monitor (15" Apple Retina) I don't see a difference in sharpness between any of the views of the images (full-screen, regular, and in the slideshow).
Ah, just went back and looked at the exact same gallery. I happen to have looked at a couple of other ones.
Now that gallery looks fine sharpness wise, but those images do not expand to fill the screen like on the other slideshows I looked at. A horizontal shot takes up less than half he horizontal space and a third of the vertical space. If all the shots on site are a similar size then no wonder they look soft when filling the screen - as they are no longer 1:1 pixel mapped.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: Remo Nonaz on September 24, 2013, 03:07:52 PM
The shots in the Rockport, Straitsmouth Island collection were uploaded at 1550x960, 96DPI, which is Zenfolio's recommendation. It's not full screen for a 24" monitor, but with the frame, its probably close.

What I've noticed is that the expanded thumbnails are very sharp. They stay sharp when you click the 'lights out' button and they expand a little more. It is only when you go to the full slideshow that things get soft and this applies to all upload sizes.

What I think is happening is that Zenfolio is creating a screen image sized and sharpened for the standard view, which looks fine. They then take that same image and expand it into the slideshow view, which is not sharp because it is an over 100% projection. It would be better if they created the slideshow from a re-size of the original image. 

I looked at Smugmug and Flikr, both of which have much clearer slideshows. At this point, I think I'm going to stay with Zenfolio and hope that they make some changes in the future.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: rgs on September 28, 2013, 12:30:44 PM
I used to use Miller's pay per order service then they decided to migrate everyone to Zen Folio's most expensive subscription. That's when I found ShootProof (http://www.shootproof.com/). You can have a free account (limited number of images) or several layers of paid accounts. Mine is $40 per year. You can have orders fulfilled by one of their labs (Black River, ProDPI, or Bay Photo), self fulfill, offer digital downloads of various sizes, or just use the site as an online portfolio or photo sharing site. Unlike ZenFolio, SmugMug and most to the others, they take no commission. The only fees other than your subscription are credit card processing and lab fees.

I still order from Miller's and can self-fulfill from Miller's if needed. I recommend ShootProof. It's a good service and a simple, clean interface. Feel free to visit mine: order.myrsphoto.com (http://order.myrsphoto.com).

My site http://www.myrsphoto.com (http://www.myrsphoto.com) is a simple Drupal site (but WordPress would also work) that links to other services where sales are made. Feel free to visit. It's hosted by BlueHost which has been a good hosting service. Hope that helps.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: Weldon Brewster on October 13, 2013, 11:05:45 AM
Another option is Photodeck.  http://www.photodeck.com/  They have some great designs and the interface is really easy to work with.  You can sell prints or stock and they don't take a commission like some of the other sites.  Here's a code for 50 percent off your first month:  [email protected]
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: jjj on October 15, 2013, 06:32:55 AM
I just had a look at Photodeck and they use this as one of their selling points...

Auto-scaling images - Your images can scale to fill the available screen space.

Which is true but seeing as that is exactly what they do the end result is simply awful. Images should not be scaled, they need to be rendered out to match the screen size image is being viewed on from a high quality master image. Looking at this example of theirs (http://www.maion.com/-/galleries/portfolio/-/medias/244cf384-35a1-11df-a236-eb6b2f6f901d-horse-riding-on-sea-shore) on my 26" screen and it looks like garbage. Not only that until I tried fullscreen display mode I didn't even realise that particular image was a panorama - browser was already full width of screen, so it wasn't as if full screen mode got much extra horizontal space as it just removed browser clutter, so Photodeck does not even display images correctly.

Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: MarkM on October 15, 2013, 01:26:01 PM
I just had a look at Photodeck and they use this as one of their selling points...

Auto-scaling images - Your images can scale to fill the available screen space.

Which is true but seeing as that is exactly what they do the end result is simply awful. Images should not be scaled, they need to be rendered out to match the screen size image is being viewed on from a high quality master image. Looking at this example of theirs (http://www.maion.com/-/galleries/portfolio/-/medias/244cf384-35a1-11df-a236-eb6b2f6f901d-horse-riding-on-sea-shore) on my 26" screen and it looks like garbage.


Agreed, they look pretty bad on a large screen. But it's because the images are scaled up more than they should be. If they want clean full-screen photos they need to use larger files. Browsers do a pretty decent job scaling images, but you are still mostly limited to downsampling. There's no free lunch to increase the size beyond its native resolution.

Having said that, rendering images to specific screen sizes is easier said than done. Have you ever tried to implement this?

Here's the problem: the server doesn't know your screen size when the request is made. There is no window-size or resolution HTTP header or anything similar. In order to discover the window size of the user you must use javascript. This means that you can't even begin sending the image until the browser has received the page, processed the javascript and made another request to the server. At this point the server not only needs to send an image, it also needs to process the image and resize it.  

This is a recipe for a slow, complicated site that is entirely dependent on javascript and demands a lot of resources from the server to not only serve pages, but also process images on the fly. I'm sure if you're resourceful you can find a way to use cookies and caches to speed things up, but this comes at the expense of complexity.

Add to this user behavior: what happens when you've rendered a page and then the user resizes their screen? Do you need to go back to the server to get a new image at the appropriate size? And when do you request the newly resized image? Javascript has an resize event that you can listen to, but it fires continually as the user resizes the window. To use this effectively you would need to determine when the user is *finished* resizing. The way you do this is normally with a timeout, but this makes the site feel laggy.

Custom-sized images on the fly sounds great, but the difficulty in implementing it is why you don't see it. Given time we may see an html solution that allows us to specify different images for different resolutions right in the code. See here: http://picture.responsiveimages.org. If this ever makes into the browsers a lot of these problems will go away.




Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: jjj on October 16, 2013, 08:15:09 AM
Having said that, rendering images to specific screen sizes is easier said than done. Have you ever tried to implement this?
Yes. (http://www.futtfuttfuttphotography.com/#id=album-42&num=content-1439)
Original images are 2000x1400px in size and still look sharp on my phone.  :) There's sometimes a few secs pause with first page, but rarely after that, unless you resize browser.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: MarkM on October 16, 2013, 02:35:45 PM
Yes. (http://www.futtfuttfuttphotography.com/#id=album-42&num=content-1439)
Original images are 2000x1400px in size and still look sharp on my phone.  :) There's sometimes a few secs pause with first page, but rarely after that, unless you resize browser.

When I view in Safari, I am seeing a Flash website at that link. This, of course, is a different set of solutions and problems. For instance if Flash is disabled (which is increasingly common) you just get a blank white page. Same is true if javascript is disabled. In general, you want these things to fail a little more gracefully. The minimum is a notice that Flash and javascript is required. A blank white page is not a good solution. Also, it's worth looking at Google's cache (http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:vn6KYaVRcHoJ:www.futtfuttfuttphotography.com/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us) to see what it sees at your site. The cached page of your front page is an XML error.

Also I don't see the site scaling images to match my browser unless I enter the site with a large window. If I go to the link with a small window and decide to resize after the image loads, the images never grow to match my window. See the screen shot. Both Safari and Firefox show this behavior.

It seems you are serving an HTML gallery to the phone. I got the server to send the html gallery to my desktop to see if you were in fact scaling images on the back end in the html gallery. You're not. They look good on the phone because the screen is tiny. The server is sending 1200 pixel images (at least the one I saw) which then get scaled larger to match the screen. Worse, the 140 pixel thumbnails on the front page are getting stretched to about 500 pixels on my screen with obvious consequences.

None of this is to say the site is bad, just that you haven't solved the problem I was talking about.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: jjj on October 16, 2013, 04:13:04 PM
That's odd, whenever I tested site before when changing page size it worked fine, though if you make site fullscreen, it resizes to bigger images, which is probably the only resizing people are going to do whilst actively viewing. Though I do make some web pages smaller to improve readability of text [like on LuLa's old design and current forum design], as fluid width sites with no size restrictions make for difficult reading of text.
I have to say, I hate the front page element of my site when it's does the HTML thang on the phone and is partly why I'm looking for a better way of doing my site.
 
Thinking about it, with high res screens you get on phones now, they are liable to be quite large images. I know the images I do for portfolios on my phone/tablet are probably the same size as  my desktop monitor at 1:1.

Well if you disable flash, then you're going to get a lot of blank pages on many photographer's sites. Flash is a really useful design tool, but because of Job's irrational hatred of it it been sidelined in favour of HTML despite the fact that HTML is way inferior to Flash for some task/reasons so a huge step backwards for the web killing it off. Though because Flash allowed people to sideline Apple's gated money pit that meant it would have been shut out anyway. Safari runs Flash really, really badly, but then it's a crap browser anyway so that's not surprising.

In fact what I'm looking for is a site with functionality something like yours. I recall looking at it a while back and admiring the [nice big] photos.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: MarkM on October 16, 2013, 05:24:12 PM
In fact what I'm looking for is a site with functionality something like yours. I recall looking at it a while back and admiring the [nice big] photos.

I appreciate that. Fair warning: I also don't solve the problem of resizing on the fly. My 'solution' is to send much larger images than most people will need and then limit the max size they can scale. This means each page is quite a bit heavier than it should be in an ideal world. I try to ease the pain a bit by preloading images and using a CDN for static content, but it's still a compromise.

Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: jjj on October 16, 2013, 07:19:28 PM
It's usually a case of choosing your compromises. :-/
There's a CMS at back of my website with large pics but which when a page asks for smaller images, it will resize and most importantly sharpen to suit to suit and then caches them, so after viewing on different sized pages then subsequent delivery is theoretically faster. But then again I have 100Mbs broadband and it doesn't seem any faster than dial up did.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: Justinr on October 17, 2013, 06:14:54 AM
That's odd, whenever I tested site before when changing page size it worked fine, though if you make site fullscreen, it resizes to bigger images, which is probably the only resizing people are going to do whilst actively viewing. Though I do make some web pages smaller to improve readability of text [like on LuLa's old design and current forum design], as fluid width sites with no size restrictions make for difficult reading of text.
I have to say, I hate the front page element of my site when it's does the HTML thang on the phone and is partly why I'm looking for a better way of doing my site.
 
Thinking about it, with high res screens you get on phones now, they are liable to be quite large images. I know the images I do for portfolios on my phone/tablet are probably the same size as  my desktop monitor at 1:1.

Well if you disable flash, then you're going to get a lot of blank pages on many photographer's sites. Flash is a really useful design tool, but because of Job's irrational hatred of it it been sidelined in favour of HTML despite the fact that HTML is way inferior to Flash for some task/reasons so a huge step backwards for the web killing it off. Though because Flash allowed people to sideline Apple's gated money pit that meant it would have been shut out anyway. Safari runs Flash really, really badly, but then it's a crap browser anyway so that's not surprising.

In fact what I'm looking for is a site with functionality something like yours. I recall looking at it a while back and admiring the [nice big] photos.

I'm not wanting to get involved in another poo throwing contest but I'd like to suggest that the main problem with flash was that search engines were blind to any content within it. Another objection was that it could take a long time to download but that is probably of less importance nowdays with the faster broadband speeds.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: jjj on October 17, 2013, 02:06:27 PM
I'm not wanting to get involved in another poo throwing contest but I'd like to suggest that the main problem with flash was that search engines were blind to any content within it. Another objection was that it could take a long time to download but that is probably of less importance nowdays with the faster broadband speeds.
Flash was made searchable many years back, but people still went on about that being a problem with Flash along with other inaccurate myths. Such as being slow to download in fact.

The problem with faster broadband speeds being made more common is that website designers it would seem, don't bother to try and be lean anymore. So despite my having a silly fast connection, websites can still be painfully slow loading and things seem no faster than when I first moved from dial up to 512k.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: Lightsmith on December 20, 2013, 11:42:20 AM
I use http://smugmug.com for image hosting (the power user version with a custom domain link).
If you mainly need galleries, this is easier than anything wordpress based.
But if you want it more blog like, then this is probably not the right way of doing it.

cheers
afx

(If you like it, you might want to use this discount code:  otXC5kHuzE0bw).

Smugmug forces you to use a domain registered with Godaddy. If you have an existing domain with another register you cannot use Smugmug.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: HSakols on December 23, 2013, 11:14:13 AM
I'd encourage you to build your own from scratch.  I built my site using Softpress Freeway Pro which does not require knowledge of html (however, later you can make html changes if you like).  This way you will get a your own signature look.  I use the photo portfolios from LR, however, there are some real slick ones out there to choose.  Living in an area that has pretty lame DSL, I prefer to post html galleries as opposed to flash. 
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: Graham Clark on December 31, 2013, 03:21:42 PM
I'd recommend bluehost.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: jjj on February 14, 2014, 07:33:35 AM
Living in an area that has pretty lame DSL, I prefer to post html galleries as opposed to flash. 
HTML is not per se faster than Flash. That is myth. How a site is constructed is the key to speed.
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: afx on February 14, 2014, 09:11:17 AM
Smugmug forces you to use a domain registered with Godaddy. If you have an existing domain with another register you cannot use Smugmug.
Nonsense.
Godaddy is not involved in what I use.

cheers
afx
Title: Re: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website
Post by: LesPalenik on February 15, 2014, 07:02:37 AM
There is a new kid in town - Symbiostock. It's a wordpress theme, the basic version is free, and you can link and be linked to other photographers. You'll run your own website and can place it on Bluehost or any other server.

Originally developed for stock photographers, it is quite flexible, and you can use it also for search and display of your individual images, group images by categories, and even organize them into collections. The theme has also provision for blogging. Recently, I posted a related article about Symbiostock on my blogsite - www.advantica.wordpress.com (http://www.advantica.wordpress.com)

There is a wealth of information about Symbiostock on their main websites at www.symbiostock.info (http://www.symbiostock.info) and http://www.symbiostock.org (http://www.symbiostock.org)