New: limited use coupons and price display including taxes

Today’s e-commerce update brings often requested features

Limited use coupons

It is now possible to limit the number of times a coupon code can be used, so you don’t have to manually disable limited coupons anymore.

limited_coupons

For example, you can create a new coupon that can be used a single time, perfect to make sure a customer doesn’t abuse the great offer you’ve made him!

Display prices including taxes

PhotoDeck includes a Tax module that lets you separate your prices from the taxes you collect on behalf of your government. Since tax depends on the location of the customer, it can accurately be computed at checkout only when the customer provides an address.

Nonetheless, in Europe consumers expect to see prices including VAT. With this new option, your website determines where your customer is located based on his/her IP address, and includes the tax in the price shown on the pricing page, before the item is even added to the cart.

vat_included

This is a perfect solution especially if you’re VAT-registered and sell to consumers!

To enable this option, open your Tax Profile and head to the “Settings” tab:

prices_including_taxes


Posted in PhotoDeck News | Tagged , , , ,

New feature: advanced EU cookies law compliance

PhotoDeck turned 5 today! What better way to celebrate than introducing a great new feature?

The EU Cookie law requires that websites get consent from their visitors before using cookies. If you’re based in the EU and use Google Analytics or embed YouTube or Vimeo videos into your site, this applies to you.

The law is not new, and it is still subject to much interpretation. But as it becomes more and more accepted, now is a good time for us to provide you with good mechanisms to comply with it.

Mechanisms, in plural form? Indeed, compliance is not a black-and-white affair but rather a compromise between strict abidance and user experience (i.e. business). So we’re offering you several options, from the common simple Information bar all the way to an advanced Opt-in approach.

website_cookies

This feature includes:

  • – A cookies consent bar displayed at the bottom of the page, with buttons either to close it or to accept / decline cookies, depending on what compliance option you choose ;
  • – An automatically generated Cookies Policy page that is smart enough to know, for example, whether you’re using Google Analytics, and that also adapts to your compliance option choice ;
  • – The ability to block Analytics and embedded content for visitors that decline cookies or have not accepted them, depending — again — on your compliance option choice.

And of course, you can fully customize the message on the consent bar and use your own Cookies policy!

We’re quite happy with this new feature: it only takes a click for you to use, it goes far beyond what websites normally do in terms in compliance, while giving you full control if you want it.

You will find the new settings under My Website / Setup / Cookies consent, and guidance is here. Remember to upgrade your design to the latest version!


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Social network integrations reviewed, part I

We’ve got a nice update for all PhotoDeck websites today!

Beautiful links to your social channels

You’ll find a new Social Networks panel in your admin space (under My Website). There, you can easily add links to your social network profiles (Facebook pages, Instagram profiles, Twitter, etc…)

social_links

We’ve reviewed all designs to integrate these links and display them as beautiful icons, perfectly integrated with your website color palette. You can customize them under the Design panel in many ways: size, shape (from round to square), palette (character-like or badge), even the white space around the icons is customizable! Here are just two examples:

icons

badges

The links will be displayed as a separate component in your design (all you have to do is let your design update itself), or optionally, integrated into your existing menu.

Social accounts integration improved

Power-users know that they can connect their PhotoDeck account to their Facebook and Twitter accounts to share more easily images and galleries from their admin space (and even automatically when new images are added). Connecting your social network accounts also makes it easier to add the links to your website.

We’ve reviewed that part too, and added LinkedIn. It is now also possible to connect to multiple accounts of the same social networks (handy if you have multiple Twitter accounts, for example)!

social_accounts

To easily share a gallery on your social networks, simply head over to MORE > Share Link when viewing a gallery in your admin space!

More to come!

We’re now going to work on making it easier for your visitors and customers to share your work: “social sharing” is currently handled via the AddThis widget, and our goal is to replace it with a better integrated solution, closer to the images themselves — just like the current Info, Full Screen, and Pricing buttons.

Happy summer!


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Lightroom plugin update

We’ve just published a new version of the Lightroom plugin. The most important improvement is that the plugin now uses secure HTTPS connections, so the communication between Lightroom and our servers is fully encrypted.

Here is how to update:

  1. Download the updated plugin. If the downloaded files wasn’t automatically unzipped, do it now. You should end up with a file named PhotoDeck.lrplugin.
  2. In Lightroom, open the Publishing manager (see the + button next to the Publish Services dialog in the left-hand-side column).
  3. From there, open the Plugin Manager, and select the PhotoDeck plugin.

    medias_lightroom_plugin_manager_installed

  4. Click on “Show in Finder” (OSX), and replace the PhotoDeck.lrplugin file with the one you’ve just downloaded.
  5. Hit Reload plugin.
  6. Done! You should see the latest plugin version indicated (0.14).

Posted in PhotoDeck News | Tagged ,

FOLIO, the new PhotoDeck plan!

FOLIO : a high-end portfolio site at an affordable cost

PhotoDeck keeps getting better and faster! Over the past few months, we brought our members, among other improvements:

– a fully revamped user interface, easier and faster to use, optimized for mobile;

– a new Publish plugin for Lightroom, free of charge;

– refreshed designs;

Today, we’re introducing a new subscription plan: FOLIO, designed to offer to the discerning photographer a top-tier portfolio website at a minimal cost.

At half the price of the most popular PRO plan, the FOLIO plan foregoes e-commerce and private galleries, but offers everything a photographer needs in a premium portfolio, including a highly customizable, super-fast and mobile-responsive presentation, as well as custom domain name support.

Details of this new plan can be found on our Plans & pricing page.


Posted in PhotoDeck News |

New Lightroom plugin with Publish functionality!

We’re delighted to announce the availability of a new Lightroom-PhotoDeck plugin that is a significant step-up over the previous one.

The new PhotoDeck-Lightroom Publish plugin allows you to:

  1. Publish your images directly from Lightroom into galleries on your PhotoDeck site
  2. Create/delete/rename/move PhotoDeck galleries directly from Lightroom
  3. Update images metadata in Lightroom and re-publish to update them in PhotoDeck
  4. Redevelop photos in Lightroom and re-upload to PhotoDeck
  5. Synchronize your PhotoDeck site’s gallery structure in Lightroom (without existing images)
  6. Update your site’s gallery introductions and display styles directly from Lightroom

lightroom

The plugin is free of charge, so go ahead and check out the download and installation guide! Even if feedback so far has been good, the plugin is still officially in BETA, so please do let us know if you encounter issues.

A note of thanks

First, to Tim Armes who created the first commercial Lightroom-PhotoDeck export plugin.

And a big Thank You to Will Thames who gave us a good kick in the pants by independently starting the development of the new plugin, and keeping it open source so everybody could take it further. That allowed us to take what he started and build on it. The plugin being open source, any developer with an interest can keep improving it!


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Michael Freeman uses PhotoDeck also to edit his new book

Michael Freeman is a well-known photographer and book author, whom we’ve been honoured to count as a member for several years. Michael just shared with us a very cool use he’s making of his PhotoDeck site.

His new book is being edited by an international team, within his website, using a smart (and protected) gallery hierarchy.

freeman_book

Michael writes:

As an editorial photographer, I spend a lot of my working time nowadays on books, and this will be my 136th. The subject is fine teas, and so is focused very much on East Asia, with most of the shooting in China, Taiwan and Japan. I’ve completed 7 weeks from October to November, and will return for 10 weeks shooting in Spring (to catch the harvest in many locations).

This is a big illustrated book of the kind I’m very familiar with – 288 pages with about 300 photographs, and picture-led, as we say in publishing. Large format also, will probably weigh 2.5 kilos. Logistics and organisation are key in a project like this, especially because the deadline for delivery of material is the end of May, to
ensure a publishing date at the end of this year. This means that editorial work continues at the same time as I’m shooting and the text is being written (there are 5 authors, including me).

The commissioning client is Barclays Bank Asia and to ensure smooth and professional production I’ve brought in Quarto, a large UK publishing group whom I know well. This means we have people scattered around who need a central place to see how the text and images are evolving, and my PhotoDeck site is ideal for this.

Images and text are constantly being added, changed, re-ordered. Being on my website also means that I can exercise some extra degree of control in managing the project. The galleries are all private, hidden, with password for downloads.


Posted in PhotoDeck News |

IT’S HERE! Your PhotoDeck admin space, version 2

You’ve seen it coming if you follow our Twitter or Facebook feeds, and it’s finally here! The PhotoDeck member space got today a major overhaul.

What’s NOT changed

Everything works just like before, and beside a few minor exceptions, things are organized in the same way. This is a significant interface upgrade, but we’ve been careful to make sure current members still feel at home!

What’s changed

The submenus are now displayed as a column to the left-hand side

activity

Under the same main sections as before (“Dashboard”, “My Images & Videos”, “My Website” and “My Business”), the different panels are now also grouped so they’re easier to find. The grouping is new, and some panels got a different (clearer) title, but if you’ve gotten used to the interface you shouldn’t have any trouble.

Optimized for Mobile

mobile1mobile2

We’ve done a huge amount of work to make sure that everything on the site can be managed from a mobile phone, with an optimized and FAST interface. Uploading and/or managing images and galleries from your iPhone? Check. Viewing and delivering an order? Check. Adjusting something on your design (yes, even that!)? Check…

Better preview and smarter link to your live site

design

The design preview within your admin space is now improved to be fully navigable, and is now also used when editing pages!

In addition, the link to open your website (in the top-right corner) is now contextual, and will bring you directly to the gallery or the page you’re working on — no need to look for the “Visit gallery” button anymore.

Personal and billing preferences are now under the Dashboard

dashboard

What used to be the “Me” section (as well as the Logout link) is now under the Dashboard, to unclutter the main menu. The Dashboard also got a bit smarter…

Tell us what you think

After many months of work (and over 1000 code files updated!), we’re both very pleased and excited, but at the same time interface upgrades are always something to be nervous about. Let us know what you like and what you don’t!


Posted in PhotoDeck News | Tagged

Tips for an effective (portfolio) photography website

Zoe_WhishawZoe Whishaw is an independent commercial photography consultant and mentor. She works with photographers on a one-to-one basis and runs seminars and workshops in and around London.

Your website is your greatest marketing tool. It should be a reflection of your brand and your professionalism and should be a way for others to easily reach and interact with you.

As you will undoubtedly have experienced yourself, when you visit a website that is slow, visually or functionally over complicated or perhaps feels dated, your instinct is likely to be to move on and look for something else. Your website will frequently be the first occasion that a prospective client interacts with you and first impressions are crucially important, just as they are in face-to-face meetings. The last thing you want to do is be remembered for an irritating, slow, stagnant website.

The uncomfortable truth these days is that your imagery alone may not get you the jobs you want or deserve. The edit, design and navigation functionality of your website is vital when it comes to attracting and keeping the attention of a prospective client for long enough for them to be impressed by your offer.

From my years critiquing and helping photographers update and create effective websites, here are some essential considerations:

First things first: Establish what type of photographer you are – is it fine art, corporate, commercial, editorial, social, etc? Equally important is understanding your intended client base. If you struggle with this, think about the intersection of what you like to shoot, what you’re good at shooting and where the commercial opportunities lie for someone with your skills, interests and expertise.

These considerations are essential before you embark on marketing in any way as they will have implications on the messaging, design and gallery categories you will chose to emphasise and clarify your offer. You need to be able to ‘speak’ to your clients in a way they relate to, connect with and would expect.

So in essence, your website needs to be clear, fast and instantly give the right message as to what sort of photographer you are and provide an insight into your overall brand. Confusing a prospective client is tantamount to closing the door on an opportunity.

Images:

  1. Let’s talk about image size – it really does matter! Your website is an opportunity to celebrate your work. I come across too many sites where images are shown far too small, almost apologetically. Display them big – people are more easily drawn in. This applies to the individual image as well as thumbnails.
  2. Make sure individual images load quickly and transitions between images within a gallery are instant. Remember, art buyers/editors, reps, etc have very little time on their hands and will need to make decisions within very short time frames; their tolerance is very low.
  3. Rotating show reels personally put me off and I would much prefer to decide when to see a different image myself. I find that if I am talking to someone or contemplating an image it is both distracting in my peripheral vision and annoying if that image changes.
  4. Ensure large thumbnails are easy to access so the whole contents of a gallery can be seen at one go. Informed decisions can often be based on images at this scale as it can help to show your consistency over a gallery or project.
  5. While you may shoot different subject matter (such as food, travel, landscape and interiors) so long as these subject areas are your passion (and not just what you’ve been commissioned to shoot) and you have a similar, consistent visual style and identity across everything, it can still makes sense to place these different galleries on your website. If however, you shoot food and medical it may be that you need to make a choice as to which you really want to pursue as it would be difficult to reconcile these two very disparate areas in one website.
  6. Edit your pictures tightly; less is more. It is better to leave people wanting more than they grow tired and bored with what’s in a gallery. 20-30 images per gallery is about right with perhaps 2 to 3 themed galleries. More smaller series will also work if you shoot documentary stories.
  7. If you are a commercial photographer it is particularly important to name your galleries/categories so it is clear what they contain. For example ‘Food’, ‘Lifestyle’ and ‘Portraits’. For documentary work or fine art photography you can afford to be more inventive with the naming of your projects. Be sure that it is clear which gallery you are in at all times.
  8. While the page layout doesn’t need to look the same each time, be consistent with how you display your images. For example it’s fine to show parings of vertical images but don’t have the odd vertical image on its own or it may look as though the layout is somewhat random.
  9. Try not to repeat images in different sections. It makes it seem as though you are padding out the content.
  10. Get an objective professional eye to review the work you propose to have on your site.

Navigation:

  1. Make sure navigation between different image galleries is clear. While you might prefer to have a more minimal design, its crucial that finding your way around the site is unambiguous.
  2. Have as few clicks as possible from the home page (ideally no more than 3) to get to the finest level of detail.
  3. Make sure it’s clear which section/gallery you are in at all times.

General:

  1. Make sure you are able to regularly update your website yourself – you’ll want to refresh the contents several times a year. Returning visitors will want to see new work otherwise they will assume you’re not busy or experimenting with new ideas.
  2. If you have a blog ensure you update it regularly with inspiring and informative pieces.
  3. Use Google Ad words to elevate your website by using relevant keywords and expressions that are meaningful to the market you are targeting.
  4. Make sure your contact information is easy to find and immediately accessible. In some markets your location can enhance your chances of being hired so assess whether being specific is indeed a bonus in your circumstances.
  5. For your Bio/About section, please don’t give a long explanation about when you were first given a camera – this is a trap that so many photographers fall into. Clients really aren’t interested in this. What matters more is something about how you see the world and what inspires you to shoot. It doesn’t need to be a long essay – in fact a few sentences is perfectly adequate. It can take time to write this and an objective opinion can often help. I prefer it written in the first person rather than the third as it feels more personal and I like to see a photo of photographers themselves. Again, this is not essential, but personal preference.
  6. Don’t have music – personal taste varies and you don’t want someone to wish they’d never opened up your site in a busy office.
  7. Avoid contact forms. Instead make it as easy as possible to contact you: include your mobile phone number, your email address and social media preferences.
  8. Avoid black backgrounds. While this my personal view, experience tells me that it is only in exceptional circumstances that black shows off your pictures to their best.
  9. Check and check again for any typos; you need to show attention to detail in all areas to demonstrate your professionalism.

Posted in Photography business | Tagged , , , ,

Selling downloads / stock to EU consumers after Jan 1. 2015

On Jan 1, changes in the EU VAT law comes into effect: regardless of whether you are VAT-registered or not, for digital services (e.g. image/video downloads) sold to consumers, VAT applies and the VAT rate is the customer’s country’s rate. Previously, if you were VAT-registered, your own country’s VAT rate was the one to apply.

These changes don’t apply to sales within your own country, nor to sales of physical goods (e.g. prints).

UK members will find more information about this change on the HMRC site. The full details can be found on the EU website.

What should I do now?

If this change applies to you and you haven’t done so yet, it is important that you register to the Mini One-Stop Shop (MOSS) system, that allows you to report your EU VAT sales to a single portal in your country. If you don’t do that BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR, you’ll have to report sales to every country you’re selling to, which is obviously something you’ll want to avoid.

In addition, you should also create a new, separate tax profile for your downloads/stock sales (downloads and stock) to the EU, and apply it to the relevant pricing profiles when the year changes.

How does PhotoDeck help?

  1. We’ve created for you a new tax profile template with all current VAT rates pre-filled. You simply have to de-activate the VAT exemption for companies in your own country (as previously, companies with a valid EU VAT number shouldn’t have to pay VAT except if they are in the same country as you). If you’re not VAT-registered, you probably want to completely remove the VAT for your own country.
  2. As part of this law change, to avoid abuses the seller (the photographer) is required to keep 2 pieces of proof of the customer’s country, and these 2 pieces should agree. These 2 pieces can be the billing address, and the buyer’s IP address, which we’ve now added to your admin space for each order. Note that if these don’t agree, we don’t block the sale — you will simply have to followup with your customer to have him confirm his location.

PhotoDeck is not qualified to provide tax advice: for more information and to make sure you comply with the law, please contact your accountant or your local tax office!


Posted in PhotoDeck News, Photography business | Tagged , , ,