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WEB site creation
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01-04-2009, 09:51 AM Russ Shugart
I've decided to try my hand at creating a WEB site for my photography with the ultimate goal of paying for this hobby and then see where it takes me. I have registered a domain name, AlpineGalleria.com, where I have a starter page setup. I'm not sure what else I should do at this point other than possibly registering a business name that matches the domain name. I would like to ask for any and all advice from the group concerning things like recommended hosting sites, templates or do it yourself HTML, secure e-commerce options. That's a little of what I know that I don't know and I'm sure there are plenty of things I haven't even thought of yet. Any advice on how folks got started, experiences, recommendations and warnings would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Russ
01-05-2009, 10:55 AM James Hager
Hi Russ. Developing a website from scratch is complex. Even though I do web site development for complex database driven sites (see Avanti Web House), I opted for a third party gallery solution for my photography site instead of reinventing the wheel. Plus I wanted to outsource printing for my web orders, and it's nice to have a fully coupled gallery and shopping cart out of the box.

If you use a third party for your gallery, it's possible to do everything through them --- you don't need any hosting yourself. If you'd like a more sophisticated site, then it's possible to combine pages that you host yourself (and this will let you use an email address with your domain name) with gallery pages that are hosted by a third party.

Here's some information about two of the leading online image galleries.

Smugmug

Advantages of Smugmug:
  • Easy gallery creation and image upload.
  • Good order fulfillment (printing) and an option to print your own images.
  • Keywords are read from the EXIF data, and you can display them with the image which will help with search engines.

Disadvantages of Smugmug:
  • You only upload one file per images. It gets used for printing at any size your customer wants (say 20x30) all the way down to web display. Smugmug resamples the file for web display, but it will not be optimum.
  • It is impossible to customize the look of the shopping cart --- it will look like a standard Smugmug site.

Exposure Manager

Advantages of Exposure Manager:
  • Easy gallery creation and image upload.
  • Easy to set the look and feel for all pages, including the shopping cart.
  • Good order fulfillment (printing) and an option to print your own images.
  • It's possible to use different image files for display and each print size to obtain the highest possible image quality.

Disadvantages of Exposure Manager:
  • Keywords aren't read from the EXIF data (you have to enter them yourself), and they cannot be displayed with the image. They can only be used to search for images within Exposure Manager.

Jan Forseth (see Images Of Colorado) uses Smugmug for her galleries and will be able to provide additional information and help for a fee.

I use Exposure Manager for my galleries (see James Hager Photography) and have worked with Smugmug too. I will be glad to help you set up your site for a fee.

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