Website Creations; Zenfolio For Business And Pleasure; A Do-It-Yourself Website Page 2

With two folders ready I signed up and was literally walked through the steps of creating a welcome or bio page and uploading to the galleries of the site. This seemed too easy, but as I worked I realized that every step of the way has many, many options that, in my case, I stepped back to choose after I had done the uploads. This included adding captions, keywords, copyright notices, setting up open or “protected” galleries (needing passwords from those you share them with rather than open to all), creating price lists and marketing approaches, and more.

You can do this to all images at once, select or individual images. The upload, by the way, is as simple as selecting the images in a browser and dragging and dropping them to the open gallery window. The speed of upload of course depends on your setup, but for me, with cable Internet on a wireless router, it took about 5-6 minutes for 55MB (about 89 files).

This is both a display site and a print ordering site, and you can choose PayPal as your payment option so you don’t have to mess with less convenient transactions. Zenfolio offers a number of providers for various services.

The options are myriad and layered, and every time you explore the options on the sidebars and hit Edit you usually have 5-10 check marks to peruse. This might seem obsessive but in the end it turns what could be a very complicated and convoluted task to a fairly easy one that you can do in your own time. When you first open the infrastructure it is deceptively simple, but don’t be fooled—there are many, many options and all are, once you get used to how the program works, very accessible.

If you use Lightroom or Aperture as your image organizer you can download the plug-ins for these programs and use them in conjunction with your site.

Conclusion
I must say that Zenfolio has made the complex simple and has brought numerous options to the table for a very reasonable price. It is as if a group of folks very experienced on the web got together and created a site for photographers by listening to what photographers might want, and realizing that learning about the ins and outs of digital photography and HTML was just too much to ask.

If you already work with a sophisticated organizing/editing program like Lightroom or Aperture you can opt for a plug-in uploader and you can even download Zenfolio’s Downloader so you can access images you have stored on the site anywhere and anytime, a nice backup and an even better feature for those who are often on the road and need access to their work.

While the infrastructure is easy to work with I must say that it does take time and patience to learn, at least if you want to exploit all the features. My advice is to build the site slowly and let it unfold itself as you go, and even then you might be surprised at what you learn. There’s no way to take it all in right away, so give it time.

You might find that the max file size of 24MB does not meet your needs all the time. If you are dealing with clients who require larger file sizes you should turn to an FTP uploader or check to see if your client has same. Also, having to process PSD and Raw files to TIFFs or JPEGs, though understandable, is a bit of a pain, especially if you are using part of the site for storage. It would be nice to be able to stash those files in a private area and not have to convert them for upload.

In all, for the price, Zenfolio is an excellent resource for photographers who want to establish a professional web presence for their work. There are so many options that you may even find new avenues for revenue and new ways to share your work. To learn more, visit www.zenfolio.com.

To check out the test site created for this article, visit http://gschaub.zenfolio.com. To see the private portfolio, click on All My Photos.

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