PhotoShelter – is a comprehensive platform designed for professional photographers. It consists of several blended technologies that include a photo archive, storage facilities, and the website builder. If you simply need somewhere to store your images or share them with friends, you’d better look for a simpler option. This particular product will mainly serve dedicated photo gurus and niche experts.
The system comes with a bunch of instruments letting individuals make the most of a pretty powerful engine. You will have a chance to integrate eCommerce functionality to sell your photos as well as track the sales stats. Cloud-based archives and storage facilities ensure instant access to all your assets despite the location. As a result, we have an ultimate photographer web tool to share photos, get paid, store images, and promote yourself.
1. Ease of Use
PhotoShelter developers promise an easy-to-use platform that makes it possible to create websites in minutes. Well. Some of those claims are true. The website builder itself is very intuitive. It will take newbies from 10 to 30 minutes to figure out how it works. However, the ease of use ends when it comes to connecting your domain. The process is quite difficult unless you opt for the default one. First things first.
You need to sign in to get access to all of the PhotoShelter instruments. The process is the same as with other platforms. There is a free demo version available for 14 days only. It looks pretty short although it is still enough to understand if the system suits you. To get started with the free trial version, a user is asked to type in his or her first name and surname as well as indicate an email and set the password.
You will not need to confirm your password. However, a welcoming letter will still be sent to the email provided. At least, you know you have your account activated. By the way, no sign of social media integration when signing in, which is bad. Nevertheless, we can live with that.
Website Building and Customization
When you are done, the system will automatically transfer you to the control panel with all the website building tools on the left. There are not many of them. You will find some baseline options like template layouts, fonts, colors, page titles, and meta description box. Each page section consists of separate sections that can be managed. For example, you may choose an image or text for the logo section, add new galleries, edit block names, etc.
The same can be applied to other pages. By the way, each template comes with the predesigned layout that typically includes:
- A Homepage or main portfolio.
- About page where you may represent yourself.
- A Contact page with all required contact info.
- An Archive page with several ways to store and manage your photos.
It is not much you can do about the initial layout. The platform looks very limited in terms of web design. However, adding new photos is very simple. All you need is to create a new gallery, give it a name, and download images from the local folder.
The Admin Panel contains a list of general settings and website management tools. Users may edit website names, descriptions, download a new favicon, etc. The panel has the Statistic section where you may track your website visitors as well as connect Google Analytics and other tools.
The settings make it possible to fine-tune the photo archive as well as choose between the default domain that will contain the name of the platform or your custom one. You will find the guide on how to connect the domain in a relevant section. The process might be a bit tricky. So, make sure you read the guide carefully.
A default domain comes with an already integrated SSL certificate, which is a huge plus. It has the following look based on our example: superwebsitebuilders.photoshelter.com where “superwebsitebuilders” is the name you have indicated during the registration process.
Of course, it will not work out for a comprehensive SEO strategy. To promote your site and boost its SEO ranks, one will need a custom domain. In the situation with PhotoShelter, you will need to set up a CNAME. The good news is that the platform offers a detailed guide on how to connect the domain using the CNAME settings.
2. Features & Flexibility
PhotoShelter offers a solid pack of features that help not just to store photos or create a website. Photographers may integrate the eCommerce functionality to get paid directly from customers, manage prices, etc. In addition, you will have a chance to create private galleries with limited access, share images in high resolution, track stats, and more.
The system makes it possible to connect several payment options. It comes with support for PayPal and Stripe. Moreover, users can connect their Merchant Accounts to enable direct sales. PhotoShelter has an integrated shopping cart with no need to set it separately.
The stats depict total sales as well as pending transactions. You can set your own prices as well as distribute printed products featuring photos with watermarks.
Each website created with PhotoShelter has SSL encryption integrated by default. It will work well for the site SEO as well as for the overall reputation on the web. Additional security tools include Image Theft Guard that protects your works from stealing or getting into the wrong hands without your notice. Users can enable or disable the feature from the admin panel.
Photographers are free to apply their exclusive custom watermarks to protect the copyright. The feature comes with the watermark preview mode. In addition, general security settings let you indicate the maximum size of each image displayed on your website.
PhotoShelter delivers simple tools to manage your portfolio. They include easy portfolio search with detailed filters. Users may look up needed photos by keywords, date, pricing type, etc. Here you may also create a new Light Box, edit the customer area as well as the shopping cart.
A great option for those who already have a website or blog. You may not even use the website builder. The system will generate the code that can be embedded into an existing site letting your visitors access the portfolio directly. All you need is to copy the HTML piece and place it to the needed section on your own website.
3. Design & Templates
The platform does not spoil its users with a wide selection of ready-made layouts. It currently offers only 9 different templates. They all feature different layouts although the overall structure looks the same. All themes are mobile-friendly. However, there is no mobile preview mode to check how the site looks on smartphones or tablets.
As for the design tools, they are also pretty basic. Users may edit or set fonts for the header and other website sections. In addition, a color scheme function lets you change the color of the overall layout as well as its background. You may also set different colors for the logo, text content, links, and so forth.
4. Customer Support
There are several ways for PhotoShelter users to find answers to their questions. They include:
- Contact Us Section – a simple ticketing system where you may submit your question. The good thing about the feature is that it contains a direct phone number. In addition, you may type in your own number to let support customers contact you. The bad news is that support is available from Mondays to Fridays from 9am to 7pm.
- Support Center – the platform has a huge knowledge base with tons of guides and articles depicted in the Support Center. They include info on how to get started, how to share or store photos, how to sell, etc.
- Community Q&A – a kind of forum where users may create new topics or ask questions. The section contains special blocks representing industry discussions and other topics that may also come in handy.
All PhotoShelter subscribers are free to send product feedback with their claims and proposals. Summing up, the support looks decent despite the lack of the Live Chat feature.
5. Plans & Pricing
The system has a 14-day free trial. It is more than enough to understand if the product suits you. Then you will need to activate any of the three available paid plans. They are as follows:
- The basic plan starts at $10 per month with 4 GB of cloud storage.
- The standard plan costs $25 per month with 100 GB of storage in addition to the client proofing tool.
- Pro plan costs $45 per month and offers unlimited storage and all features form the two previous plans.
All packages come with a custom domain, unlimited access to all of the 9 templates, a custom mobile app, and more. So, the main difference in storage, which makes the pricing policy a bit strange.
6. Pros and Cons
PhotoShelter is a platform designed mainly for professional photographers who want to not just share or store, but also sell their works. The platform is not perfect and can be complicated in some places. However, it still serves the photographers; needs in a good way.
| ✔ eCommerce functionality.|
✔ Easy-to-use website builder.
✔ No coding skills required.
✔ Simple service integration.
✔ Cloud-based storage facilities.
| ✘ Limited free trial.|
✘ Plans are pretty the same.
✘ A bit strange pricing policy.
✘ It can be complicated to connect your own domain.
PhotoShelter is a good tool for professional photographers who want to grow their online presence as well as promote and sell their works. The platform offers several good-looking templates that are free to access despite the plan. Users will appreciate advanced portfolio and archive management tools as well as simple ways to integrate third-party services.
If you consider taking pictures as your hobby, you may need a simpler and cheaper software to store and share them via various channels. In this case, you should try some easier options such as Wix. It comes as an all-in-one solution with hosting and domain in the pack in addition to hundreds of responsive templates to meet your needs.