By the end of September, Pictage, a service you may have either used or have heard of, will be dead. If you banked on storing all your high resolution photographs on their servers, you may want to start downloading them now and backing them up.
Are there alternatives to Pictage? Yes, there are. But the one I depend on is ShootProof. I have enjoyed using ShootProof so much that I signed up to be an affiliate partner. So, yes, I make a small commission for promoting them, but I do so from the perspective of an actual user.
Photography Storage & Archive
ShootProof‘s business model is different from any other company’s out there. Most want you to pay a monthly fee and then make some more off of you if you sell a print. ShootProof, instead, gives you the option of choosing a plan based on the number of photographs you have in your active galleries. You could start with a small plan of 1,500 photographs and pay just $10 a month. Or, you could be that busy wedding studio and have an unlimited plan for just $60 a month. ShootProof also lets you test the waters and upload 100 photographs for $0 per month.
Now, any gallery you move to an archive – that is, out of the gallery and into a “storage” area – is charged a modest sum of $.04 cents per gigabyte per month.
I don’t know about you, but when I create photographs for my clients, my end goal is that they place an order. In that regard, ShootProof gives you the option of having your prints printed at either Bay Photo, Black River Imaging or ProDPI (my top choice). The integration is seamless. ShootProof pulls the base prices from these professional labs into their system and gives you an opportunity to mark them up (as you should to reflect the time, skill and effort you have put into creating that work of art for your clients).
With my lab, ProDPI, for instance, I can either approve the order manually as it comes in or have it automatically shipped from Denver to my client’s home without it ever coming to my home studio first. This is a huge time saver in those instances when my client does not live in the same town as I do. Read all about the ShootProof lab integration here.
One of the things I always wanted in an online proofing site is some control over who sees what and for how long. Thankfully, I can set those limits within ShootProof quite easily. I can create a custom link, using the event name or client’s last name, for instance. So, instead of a string of numbers, your clients will see their own recognizable name in the link. You can set expiration dates for the galleries. So, if you give your clients a deadline to order prints, they will see that deadline when they log in. You might still need to remind them, but at least you have given them the information from the get go!
Some of my business clients expect downloads. For the longest time, I used Dropbox to transfer files over to them. That worked to an extent, but ShootProof allows me to create an option at the top of the gallery to download all of their images in one go. So cool!
Customizing The Gallery
I’ve already mentioned how you can create a custom domain for your galleries, but the customization goes beyond that with ShootProof. You are able to set the colors of background for your galleries, upload and display your logo in all the obvious places. The user interface is intuitive and easy on the eyes. Everything is where it should be and there is no second-guessing where certain features are placed.
Creating A Workflow For Your Photography Business
Whether you are a wedding or portrait photographer, I would recommend you create a gallery for your clients ahead of the event or the session. Are you wondering why? Here’s an awesome little feature in ShootProof that I love – you are able to essentially pre-register all the guests who are interested in seeing your photography BEFORE the gallery is released to the public. Whoever registers at the gallery gets first dibs at seeing your work. Plus, you have just legally captured their email address. Imagine that you can contact them before a national holiday letting them know about your other services or special sales on the photographs you created at an event they visited. Huge win, if you ask me!
One other reason you should create a gallery in advance is because it makes it easier for you to upload finished images from a folder on your computer or directly from Lightroom, via a plugin.
Sharing Is Caring
Lastly, you can share your galleries and photographs via social media. You can enable this or disable this feature but why wouldn’t you want to have your photographs go viral online? Plus, there is the free ShootProof iPhone app that gives you the ability to share a gallery with your clients who in turn can share it with their friends and family. You can customize this free app with your studio logo and every time your client shares the gallery with someone they know, your company branding goes along with it. Quick and easy marketing, right?
Back to using the online gallery, did you know ShootProof works with Triple Scoop Music to bring you nearly 13,000 songs to use in your slideshows? If you have an unlimited plan, you can add up to 20 songs to any gallery or slideshow! Read more about this partnership here.
So, I hope I have given you enough reasons to move on from Pictage or any other online service and join ShootProof. I almost forgot to add that as a ShootProof user, you will have a say in the next features the company is working on. There is an active private Facebook group where each of us trades ideas, questions and suggestions on how to make ShootProof even better than it is right now.
Won’t you join me? Try ShootProof out right now. Upload those 100 images and play with the interface. If it is a good fit for you too, then great!