Proof & Print Services-- Which one do you use?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by William Petruzzo, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    I'm wondering what services you guys use for proof and prints. I'm trying to make my choice a wise one. I've heard good things about Smugmug, and it appears the price is right. What do you think? What's your favorite and why?
     
  2. NateS

    NateS TPF Noob!

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    I currently use Exposure Manager but am thinking about changing for one reason. While their quality is excellent and probably the best I've used, they seem slow to ship. I placed my order last Thursday and got notification today that it is shipping out today. That's a pretty long turnaround. Granted there were quite a few larger prints from 8x10 all the way up to 16x20, I still don't think that 1 day shy of a full week is appropriate.

    Smugmug is popular but if you want to set your own pricing it will cost you $150/year which is very high I think. Zenfolio is also very popular and much cheaper I think....it's probably what I'll try next ,though I don't know much of their quality of printing.
     
  3. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    150/year only comes out to about $12.50 a month, which isn't actually too bad compared to what you stand to earn. But they also take a chunk for commission which can add up quick, I hear.
     
  4. NateS

    NateS TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, I guess you have a good point there, just it's much more expensive than zenfolio or exposure manager.....though I've only used EM so I can't comment on the other's. EM works really well and aside from the slow turnaround time this time, I've been happy with them.....the layout and stuff is pretty limiting as well though, which is another reason I'm thinking of switching.
     
  5. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    Well, if you think it's worth checking out the others, then I will. I mean, there's no sense in spending more money if something cheaper can supply for all of my needs.
     
  6. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

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    Check out PhotoCart,
    You run it on your own website, you set it up how you like, and you print the images where you want.

    It is a bit expensive (Around $300) but that is it, there is no monthly fee.
    YOu set your own Pricing and shipping charges, but you have to have the images printed and ship them out yourself. Some do not like this, but I think it is good quality control, you get to see every image you are going to ship.

    I installed it and it paid for itself in 2 weeks.

    It works with several online payment option I use paypal, but your customer does not need to have a paypal account.

    I would highly recomend it!
     
  7. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    Thanks SpeedTrap. That was one of the other options I was considering. I like the quality control aspect of it, but I was thinking of starting out with a more comprehensive service, simply because it would demand less of me on the front end, and with a lower initial investment I would be able to see what kind of turn around I could expect. In my market, if I'm not going to make to much directly from print sales, I think I'd prefer to keep it simple.
     
  8. NateS

    NateS TPF Noob!

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    Honestly....I think that every single one of the ones I mentioned, (Exposure Manager, Zenfolio, and Smugmug) all have free trials. If you have the time, I'd suggest trying out the free trials to see what you think. I noticed on Zenfolio that you can choose the option to have your photos printed by MPIX which is great quality and fast service from my experiences. Try each of them and decide which you like best.
     
  9. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, time is of the essence. I've got a handful of work coming up that would be made much easier (and more profitable) if I can run a streamlined proof-and-print service.

    I was looking into Exposure Manager and it seems like they really have a whole lot to offer. Their galleries don't look quite as pretty as Zenfolio or Smugmug, but it seems that they might make up for that in features.

    What I really ought to do is make a list of my must-have features and pick the best one based on that. Just trying to compare these services, frankly is a bit dizzying.
     
  10. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    I signed up for the trial with EM. Their backend control is impeccable. I'm really not a big fan of gimmicky design, which Smugmug seems full of. But I'm concerned about your comment about their slow shipping. Was it only on a very large print? What were your other experiences with them?
     
  11. Mike30D

    Mike30D TPF Noob!

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    Collages.net gets my vote. Here's some others...

    Online Proofing Options:

    Picture Proofs No set up fee, unlimited uploads, flat 5% commission on gross sales, use your own lab Welcome to Picture Proofs! ~Proofing Made Simple~*

    OrderPicture.com No set up fee, unlimited uploads, flat 12% commission calculated after lab cost, use their lab OrderPicture.com - The most complete professional online photo service

    InstaProofs No set up fee, unlimited uploads, flat 15% commission, choose your own lab* Instaproofs.com: Online photograph sales and proofing

    PhotoReflect No set up fee, unlimited uploads, graduated commission beginning at 18%, labs available or use your own PhotoReflect

    Phototool No set up fee, unlimited uploads, $50.00 per month, no commission, choose your own lab Sell images OnLine. Online Proofing. Commercial, event, wedding, portrait and stock photographers. Making more money with photography.

    PhotoShelter Leveled packages, one time $50.00 set up fee, $9.99 per month, 10% transaction fee PhotoShelter™ - Archive, Buy, Sell Photographs

    Collage.net Leveled pacakges, middle package $70.00 per month; 15% commission on all orders Collages.net: Total Workflow and Printing Solution for Professional Photographers

    SmugMug No set up fee, unlimited uploads, $149.00 per year, customizable pricing, catalogs, galleries and user interface SmugMug - The ultimate in photo sharing. Online photo albums, photo sharing, photo hosting and photo storage.

    Eventpix Fairly complex per-event pricing. eventpix.com: Maximizing Your Exposure

    Exposure Manager* $99.95 / yr for unlimited storage or $12.95 / month.* Self fulfilled or use one of their selected pro labs. ExposureManager - Focus on Sales

    Shutterfly $99.95 / yr for 5GB storage; $199 / yr for unlimited storage.* Fulfilled by Shutterfly. Shutterfly | Professional Photography Ideas | Pro Gallery Storefront

    MorePhotos:* $200.00 set up fee, 25,000 images, $49.00 per month Online Photo Proofing and Sales- Photographer Site Web - Photography - MorePhotos.com : E-commerce Software for Professional Photographers

    PhotoBiz: $100.00 set up fee, 7200 images, $80.00 per month PhotoBiz - Online Proofing Solutions for Photographers

    Pictage $150.00 set up fee, $99.00 per month, unlimited uploads Pictage.com

    Skoots Kart Currently $1200.00 fee, regular $1500.00, don't know if that is one time or annual; a different league than others listed here, I think. Can't quite understand everything on the site. Used by Jeff Ascough. Online Proofing Solution For Photographers - Allow Clients to View Print Proofing Online - Skooks Kart

    Software for your website:

    Photo Cart: Create your own shop to run on your website. $279 one time fee; choose your own lab; create your own catalogs Photography Shopping Cart | Photocart | Photographer Flash Websites - Pictures Pro
     
  12. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    Mike, thanks for that list. It's pretty comprehensive and frankly, something I was looking for on google but couldn't seem to find one. Someone should add some keywords to this thread.
     

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