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Author Topic: What are the best Web Hosting /blogger tools for photogrpahy website  (Read 28946 times)
Bullfrog
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« Reply #20 on: September 11, 2013, 07:10:07 PM »
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weebly is news to me - thanks again.  This thread has really provided options at a range of price points and its really appreciated.
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jjj
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« Reply #21 on: September 14, 2013, 08:42:20 AM »
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Whatever site design you choose make sure it scales well across all platforms. i.e. looks good on both a 30" monitor and a smartphone, as well as all sizes inbetween.
Mobile platforms are being increasingly used for browsing these days and it's quite annoying to try and navigate a website designed for the desktop when using your phone.
A content management system [CMS] at back of website to be able to output images at right size and sharpness for the screen size is a must. A good CMS should make uploading images/updating galleries much easier too. Some will even be manageable from within say Lightroom, which makes life a lot easier.
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ripgriffith
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« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2013, 02:41:31 PM »
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Honestly, you are SO confused on basic fundamentals of WHAT the internet is, how webpages and browsers even work...just pay a web developer to make you a simple site, it should only run you a couple hundred bucks. 

"At this point I do not want a website where the user can easily access the back-door (ie view code) " is a good example...just...not even in left field, out of the ballpark and in the next county.

EVERY webpage is based on the same html code.  EVERY page can be viewed as source, that's HOW it gets transmitted and displayed by your browser.  It's not a back door, it's nothing nefarious, it's just the way things work.  That's like complaining about not wanting air in tires.  Even flash, which is like code baked in to a jpg, can be easily reveresed.  There is ZERO point trying to hide or protect ANYTHING.  I said it already, DON'T put it online if you absolutely need it protected.

That being said, lighten up, just don't put up huge images that are of any use to anyone and don't pretend like your images are so great everyone else will get rich off them Wink
I believe it is you who need to "lighten up", and ENOUGH with the yelling!
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Bullfrog
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« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2013, 05:35:56 AM »
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I believe it is you who need to "lighten up", and ENOUGH with the yelling!

Yep. 

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Remo Nonaz
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« Reply #24 on: September 23, 2013, 06:36:38 AM »
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Mark:

Do you know anything more about Zenfolio's pending updates? I have a subscription with them now, http://homershannon.zenfolio.com, but I'm very unhappy with their slideshows - they are very soft, almost out of focus looking. I looked at your site and I see the same issue. You have some nice images there.

I've tried all the settings for image size and output sharpening, nothing helps. The same images on Smugmug or Flikr look great - nice and sharp.

I'm torn between the work it would take to move off of Zenfolio and the better quality of other sites. Also, Zenfolio is a little less expensive and they have occasional sales that reduce the cost to upgrade your site.

Any more information you have would be helpful.
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I really enjoy using old primes on my m4/3 camera. There's something about having to choose your aperture and actually focusing your camera that makes it so much more like... like... PHOTOGRAPHY!
jjj
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« Reply #25 on: September 23, 2013, 07:15:24 AM »
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If Zenfolio cannot even display images sharply, then move on.
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KirbyKrieger
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« Reply #26 on: September 23, 2013, 07:22:27 AM »
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Do you know anything more about Zenfolio's pending updates? I have a subscription with them now, http://homershannon.zenfolio.com, but I'm very unhappy with their slideshows - they are very soft, almost out of focus looking.
Have you contacted Zenfolio?  I did not have any problems with soft slideshows.  Zenfolio always got back to me within one business day with any questions I had (and they are likely to want to know of this issue).
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jjj
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« Reply #27 on: September 23, 2013, 07:45:19 AM »
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Have you contacted Zenfolio?  I did not have any problems with soft slideshows.  
Remo, if Kirby isn't having issues, how big are the images you are uploading? As if being shown full screen they need to be at least the same size as a big screen.  Shrinking big images down for a smaller screen is not a problem [if correct sharpening is then applied], but enlarging images to fit a big screen usually is.
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Remo Nonaz
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« Reply #28 on: September 23, 2013, 07:55:07 AM »
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Yes. I contacted Zen and their support was quick to get back, which I appreciated. However, their recommendation, which was to use XX-Large Access Control, was not of any help. I'm convinced the issue is with their slideshow software. For some reason it really softens images. If you look at a double-clicked thumbnail, it looks fine. But switch to slideshow and you will see the difference.

I ran a bunch of tests using screen size, Zen recommendations and full images with standard and high Lr output sharpening. All are soft in slideshow mode, though I would say that screen size with high output sharpening showed some improvement. Zen customer support has said that they change the image size to improve compression and loading time. I suspect that they modify the images for ideal expanded thumbnail viewing but then use the same image for the slideshow, which is then over expanded.

Overall, I'm quite happy with Zenfolio and I'd like to stay with them, but I do wish their slideshow software presented a sharper image. What's the point of going through post processing to get perfect images only to have them muddied up when presented?
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I really enjoy using old primes on my m4/3 camera. There's something about having to choose your aperture and actually focusing your camera that makes it so much more like... like... PHOTOGRAPHY!
KirbyKrieger
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« Reply #29 on: September 23, 2013, 08:17:55 AM »
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Overall, I'm quite happy with Zenfolio and I'd like to stay with them, but I do wish their slideshow software presented a sharper image. What's the point of going through post processing to get perfect images only to have them muddied up when presented?

Is your site the one you mentioned above: http://homershannon.zenfolio.com

I looked at the set of images in your Essex Bay Massachusetts gallery.  On my monitor (15" Apple Retina) I don't see a difference in sharpness between any of the views of the images (full-screen, regular, and in the slideshow).
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MarkM
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« Reply #30 on: September 23, 2013, 04:27:46 PM »
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Remo,

I also haven't noticed the muddled images either on zenfolio or my site (which isn't on zenfolio).

Like everyone, I imagine my standards are higher than average, but it's possible you just expect more from the web than others. Jpeg and flash compression are a fact of life for websites and sadly there is inverse correlation between quality and compression. As screen resolutions continue to increase websites heavy in photographs have a harder time balancing speed and quality and we often have to sacrifice a little snap in the images in order to keep impatient viewers from giving up.

It's also possible it's your browser. Like a lot of sites that display full-screen images, my site scales images on the client side. This is a compromise because you end up sending larger images than many users need so they can be scaled down to the appropriate size. But it's one of the easier solutions because, without relying on javascript, you can't get the window size on the sever side when the request is made. In modern browsers this isn't a problem because they do a really nice job down sampling. Older browsers—especially internet explorer—could really mess this up.

My site enforces a maximum size to (in theory) you shouldn't be able to scale past the native size of the image. It's possible zenfolio doesn't do this and you are seeing images that are being resampled up, which is less than ideal.

Maybe you could let us know what browser and screen resolution you're using.
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jjj
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« Reply #31 on: September 23, 2013, 04:46:08 PM »
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Is your site the one you mentioned above: http://homershannon.zenfolio.com

I looked at the set of images in your Essex Bay Massachusetts gallery.  On my monitor (15" Apple Retina) I don't see a difference in sharpness between any of the views of the images (full-screen, regular, and in the slideshow).
Slideshow looked soft to me on my 26" NECs. Just as if it was a smaller file resampled to fit a bigger screen.
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MarkM
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« Reply #32 on: September 23, 2013, 04:59:40 PM »
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Slideshow looked soft to me on my 26" NECs. Just as if it was a smaller file resampled to fit a bigger screen.

That's interesting. On a 24" monitor here, the normal html display is serving images in 1000 pixel range. The last image (the sailboats) is 1082x850. This is about the same size they are in the flash slide show here. They look the same to me in terms of sharpness.

The slide show for the collection 'Sandy Bay and Straitsmouth Lighthouse' shows the images at edge-to-edge full screen. These look like they have been up-resed and look softer than the regular display.
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jjj
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« Reply #33 on: September 24, 2013, 05:52:21 AM »
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Is your site the one you mentioned above: http://homershannon.zenfolio.com

I looked at the set of images in your Essex Bay Massachusetts gallery.  On my monitor (15" Apple Retina) I don't see a difference in sharpness between any of the views of the images (full-screen, regular, and in the slideshow).
Ah, just went back and looked at the exact same gallery. I happen to have looked at a couple of other ones.
Now that gallery looks fine sharpness wise, but those images do not expand to fill the screen like on the other slideshows I looked at. A horizontal shot takes up less than half he horizontal space and a third of the vertical space. If all the shots on site are a similar size then no wonder they look soft when filling the screen - as they are no longer 1:1 pixel mapped.
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Remo Nonaz
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« Reply #34 on: September 24, 2013, 02:07:52 PM »
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The shots in the Rockport, Straitsmouth Island collection were uploaded at 1550x960, 96DPI, which is Zenfolio's recommendation. It's not full screen for a 24" monitor, but with the frame, its probably close.

What I've noticed is that the expanded thumbnails are very sharp. They stay sharp when you click the 'lights out' button and they expand a little more. It is only when you go to the full slideshow that things get soft and this applies to all upload sizes.

What I think is happening is that Zenfolio is creating a screen image sized and sharpened for the standard view, which looks fine. They then take that same image and expand it into the slideshow view, which is not sharp because it is an over 100% projection. It would be better if they created the slideshow from a re-size of the original image. 

I looked at Smugmug and Flikr, both of which have much clearer slideshows. At this point, I think I'm going to stay with Zenfolio and hope that they make some changes in the future.
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I really enjoy using old primes on my m4/3 camera. There's something about having to choose your aperture and actually focusing your camera that makes it so much more like... like... PHOTOGRAPHY!
rgs
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« Reply #35 on: September 28, 2013, 11:30:44 AM »
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I used to use Miller's pay per order service then they decided to migrate everyone to Zen Folio's most expensive subscription. That's when I found ShootProof (http://www.shootproof.com/). You can have a free account (limited number of images) or several layers of paid accounts. Mine is $40 per year. You can have orders fulfilled by one of their labs (Black River, ProDPI, or Bay Photo), self fulfill, offer digital downloads of various sizes, or just use the site as an online portfolio or photo sharing site. Unlike ZenFolio, SmugMug and most to the others, they take no commission. The only fees other than your subscription are credit card processing and lab fees.

I still order from Miller's and can self-fulfill from Miller's if needed. I recommend ShootProof. It's a good service and a simple, clean interface. Feel free to visit mine: order.myrsphoto.com.

My site http://www.myrsphoto.com is a simple Drupal site (but WordPress would also work) that links to other services where sales are made. Feel free to visit. It's hosted by BlueHost which has been a good hosting service. Hope that helps.
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Weldon Brewster
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« Reply #36 on: October 13, 2013, 10:05:45 AM »
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Another option is Photodeck.  http://www.photodeck.com/  They have some great designs and the interface is really easy to work with.  You can sell prints or stock and they don't take a commission like some of the other sites.  Here's a code for 50 percent off your first month:  YG@UDDFEN
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jjj
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« Reply #37 on: October 15, 2013, 05:32:55 AM »
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I just had a look at Photodeck and they use this as one of their selling points...

Auto-scaling images - Your images can scale to fill the available screen space.

Which is true but seeing as that is exactly what they do the end result is simply awful. Images should not be scaled, they need to be rendered out to match the screen size image is being viewed on from a high quality master image. Looking at this example of theirs on my 26" screen and it looks like garbage. Not only that until I tried fullscreen display mode I didn't even realise that particular image was a panorama - browser was already full width of screen, so it wasn't as if full screen mode got much extra horizontal space as it just removed browser clutter, so Photodeck does not even display images correctly.

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MarkM
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« Reply #38 on: October 15, 2013, 12:26:01 PM »
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I just had a look at Photodeck and they use this as one of their selling points...

Auto-scaling images - Your images can scale to fill the available screen space.

Which is true but seeing as that is exactly what they do the end result is simply awful. Images should not be scaled, they need to be rendered out to match the screen size image is being viewed on from a high quality master image. Looking at this example of theirs on my 26" screen and it looks like garbage.


Agreed, they look pretty bad on a large screen. But it's because the images are scaled up more than they should be. If they want clean full-screen photos they need to use larger files. Browsers do a pretty decent job scaling images, but you are still mostly limited to downsampling. There's no free lunch to increase the size beyond its native resolution.

Having said that, rendering images to specific screen sizes is easier said than done. Have you ever tried to implement this?

Here's the problem: the server doesn't know your screen size when the request is made. There is no window-size or resolution HTTP header or anything similar. In order to discover the window size of the user you must use javascript. This means that you can't even begin sending the image until the browser has received the page, processed the javascript and made another request to the server. At this point the server not only needs to send an image, it also needs to process the image and resize it.  

This is a recipe for a slow, complicated site that is entirely dependent on javascript and demands a lot of resources from the server to not only serve pages, but also process images on the fly. I'm sure if you're resourceful you can find a way to use cookies and caches to speed things up, but this comes at the expense of complexity.

Add to this user behavior: what happens when you've rendered a page and then the user resizes their screen? Do you need to go back to the server to get a new image at the appropriate size? And when do you request the newly resized image? Javascript has an resize event that you can listen to, but it fires continually as the user resizes the window. To use this effectively you would need to determine when the user is *finished* resizing. The way you do this is normally with a timeout, but this makes the site feel laggy.

Custom-sized images on the fly sounds great, but the difficulty in implementing it is why you don't see it. Given time we may see an html solution that allows us to specify different images for different resolutions right in the code. See here: http://picture.responsiveimages.org. If this ever makes into the browsers a lot of these problems will go away.




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jjj
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« Reply #39 on: October 16, 2013, 07:15:09 AM »
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Having said that, rendering images to specific screen sizes is easier said than done. Have you ever tried to implement this?
Yes.
Original images are 2000x1400px in size and still look sharp on my phone.  Smiley There's sometimes a few secs pause with first page, but rarely after that, unless you resize browser.
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