While I am not a photographer, I am an avid photography enthusiast. I take on a small number of clients for paid portraiture for their families, and also create images for sale in commercial advertising and stock imagery. I used to have a photo site that I loved, but it went out of business. I moved to another site, and was not satisfied by the features it provided. It wasn’t easy to password protect my images. The quality of the printing was not fantastic. It was just a “B-”, where I really wanted an “A” for both my personal and professional printing needs.
I learned about White House Custom Colour from a friend that is a professional photographer. She told me that they are the gold standard for printing images for clients. In fact, after the suggestion, I realized that my prints from my daughter’s infancy were printed at WHCC by my prior photographer. Two trusted sources reporting thumbs up? I was in.
A few weeks later, I found out that WHCC had partnered with SmugMug. This was HUGE. I immediately knew that I needed to make the switch. Here is why:
- This partnership makes it possible to store my images for direct sale to my clients. SmugMug sends me a check when orders are placed, and WHCC sends them directly from their labs to the clients. Custom packaging can also be made available!
- SmugMug is a well-known and highly-trusted site for photographers to display their images to their clients and the world. I know several people that used it in the past and have never heard a negative word about it. The site has connections with several photo printing labs (including WHCC). This diversity in options to their users, and strategic distribution of vendor dependence, creates a feeling of stability. This is rare in this industry where photo-sites often go out of business due to lacking business strategies that fail under economic pressure.
- The sites can be fully customized to reflect the photographer’s brand! Check out the screenshot of my site below and see how well I was able to match wickedkate.com! While I’m not a professional photographer, I know that this will be instrumental in the ability to fully brand businesses for them in the future.
- Password protection for both my personal files (and those of my very few clients) empower me to post photographs without worrying about making them fully exposed to the world (pun intended).
- Customizable homepages, file-sharing groups, and the ability to organize my photographs made my inner designer smile, and my type-a-ness giggle just a little.
- The ability to upload HD video is important to me because now I can remove my family videos from YouTube and place them behind password protection in chronological albums with the photographs of events around them.
- Each of the files uploaded have the ability to attach description/journaling information. This makes it possible for me to use this site as a blog for my family, to keep friends/family updated on what is going on with us, and to reduce the time that it will take me down the road to create custom published photo-and-story books (like scrapbooks except flat pages professionally bound and printed by the pros!).
It took me a little over a week to organize my files and move them all to the new site. It took me another week to customize the site using the advanced custom coding functions and cascading style sheets to reflect my brand. I still have to move the videos to the site, but I am excited to say that I consolidated my family blog with my wickedkate brand by adding a “friends & family only” link to a password protected division in my storage.
This is a big move for me. It marks the start of a new relationship with a great pair of printer, and a trusted photography storage site. If you are interested in learning more about how a site like this can help take your photography business to the next level, or need assistance altering your SmugMug site to better reflect your brand, let me know!