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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gadget Bag: Get Your Images Online

Instead of paying to have a website custom-made from scratch, try one of these powerful, easy-to-use options designed for photographers like you

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PageScene (www.pagescene.com) from SimplePhoto allows you to quickly set up a website with unlimited galleries, slideshows and pages of your photos. The design of the web template is customizable, and you can add music and links to blogs, forums and other websites. The service includes free search engine optimization and access to SimplePhoto’s consulting support team. The annual fee is $299, which includes hosting and a free trial of SimplePhoto’s e-commerce software, which provides a simple solution for photographers to sell images directly to customers.

Some of the world’s top photographers are putting liveBooks (www.livebooks.com) to use, and with good reason. First and foremost, liveBooks provides you with the ability to create a stunning display for your photographic images with an elegant user experience. When you visit a site created with liveBooks, you’ll probably have a difficult time believing it was created with online tools. At only $39 per month, liveBooks offers a very affordable way to create an attractive photography website. liveBooks also has partnered with Pictage to enable the sale of prints directly through your site. You can try liveBooks free for 14 days to see what’s possible.

Think of it as an online tool for creating your own boutique stock agency. PhotoShelter (www.photoshelter.com) offers tools for organizing your photos, creating and customizing a website to share those photos, tools for promoting your site and integrated options for selling prints or digital downloads. You pay a 10% commission on sales to PhotoShelter (deducted automatically at the time of sale), in addition to your monthly fee, which ranges from $9.99 to $49.99. You can sign up for only $1 for the first 14 days to test any of the plans, or try the feature-limited Starter plan for free.

SmugMug (www.smugmug.com) has long been a popular solution for many amateur and professional photographers to share their images online with a wide audience. Over time, SmugMug has continually added to the range of features available through the site, to the point that you can use SmugMug to create a completely customized online gallery with the ability to share and sell your photos. Recognizing that in many cases you need to share images only with the client, SmugMug also includes the ability to apply privacy settings to individual photos or galleries, or to the entire site. The combination of features makes SmugMug a great solution for photographers who need to promote their images to a large audience, as well as selectively share images only with specific clients. Prices range from $39.95 to $149.95 for an entire year.


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