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Archive 2012 · Event Printing SOFTWARE
  
 
Dave_EP
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Event Printing SOFTWARE


Hi Guys,

I'm looking for some help on event printing - i.e. ON-SITE. I've pretty much settled on the Dye-Sub printers I'm going for (Mitsubishi double deck), so this is not a printer question, it's more about the software.

The software versions I've looked at seem really complicated, not just for setup for also for operation. I don't need reports, I don't need quickbooks integration, I don't need it to produce sales commissions for individual sales people, I want SIMPLE, something that's intuitive for clients to be able to browse photos without needing 10 mins training on the terminal!

I'm looking for something that can see photos arrive in a watch folder, ad them to the library, make them available as thumbnails, allow the thumbnail to be clicked on, maybe allow some simple adjustments like rotation, a little brightness etc, but nothing fancy, then the customer to say "I like THIS one, and maybe THAT one", make them for me.

It would be nice to have the option to control the print queue, and to have it just auto print every photo that arrives, but after that, I'm not to worried about bells and whistles.

If I can't find something I'm gonna have to write it!

Any suggestions on products I should be looking at?




Aug 11, 2012 at 09:42 AM
Hammy
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Event Printing SOFTWARE


From what I understand and have seen in action (many years ago), Express Digital may be what you're looking for.

Are you looking for the customer to select the image AND do the 'editing', or just selection with staff to take care of the details of getting it to print? Either way, ED can do alot of simple stuff, really easy.



Aug 11, 2012 at 03:37 PM
P Alesse
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Event Printing SOFTWARE


ED is really more program than what you need. Sounds like you are looking for a simple solution. ED is not simple and based on the needs you detailed, you'd probably only tap into about 5% of what it can do. Quite ironically, for as good and as complete as ED is, it sucks for on-site sales. The thumbnail loading drags and the program aint cheap. For a 10 station viewstation setup, you're looking at about $8000.

If you want simple... look at breezebrowser or the like. John Cheng has been using it for years to much success. If you're looking at a little more beef... the next level is 5 minute photo or Photo Parata.



Aug 11, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Dave_EP
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Event Printing SOFTWARE


P Alesse wrote:
ED is really more program than what you need. Sounds like you are looking for a simple solution. ED is not simple and based on the needs you detailed, you'd probably only tap into about 5% of what it can do. Quite ironically, for as good and as complete as ED is, it sucks for on-site sales.


That's about it in a nutshell. It seems way too complicated and you have to visit too many tabs / screens in order to get a print. I don't want more than view, zoom, crop, buy/print. I certainly don't want to upload to a lab, nor use their web service.

The thumbnail loading drags and the program aint cheap. For a 10 station viewstation setup, you're looking at about $8000.

The good news is I don't think I'll need 10, but I can see us needing 2 or 3. Of course being able to have some one walk down the queue with an iPad to do the order taking would be nice too. It's really not that hard folks.

If you want simple... look at breezebrowser or the like. John Cheng has been using it for years to much success. If you're looking at a little more beef... the next level is 5 minute photo or Photo Parata.


The problem I have with 5 minute photo is their web site sucks big time - there are no real demos of the software and no trial versions that I can see. They love to talk about new features - but don't 'show' you anything.

BreezeBrowser - had a quick look and dismissed it - maybe I need to look again.

Photo Parata - again - no real demos, seems awfully complicated for what it needs to be.

Am I the ONLY ONE who wants simple to use, basic corrections (view, crop, print)?

The thing all these web sites miss is the "client experience". They all seem geared around how easy (or hard!) it is to set up this all-things-to-all-people ten million options software and forget to show how the client actually uses it on the day. Show me how EASY it is for the client to view their images and select the one(s) they want to buy without needing a 10 minute tutorial on how to use the terminal.

Seriously, I spent 20 years in software development, making user interfaces that were intuitive, and NONE of these get my vote, or even half a vote!

My motto in life is if you want to find the easiest way to do something - give it to the laziest person you know - because they will find the easier way to do something by a long long way. Clearly these guys didn't do that. Doh! Arrghhh! and other expletives come to mind!

Thanks again for the replies so far. Keep'em coming please.



Aug 11, 2012 at 11:13 PM
P Alesse
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Event Printing SOFTWARE


You're right... it's a tough find to do exactly what you want to do.


Aug 12, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Hammy
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Event Printing SOFTWARE


Dave,

I agree with your sentiments. I think that the biggest issue is that most programmers aren't photographers (opposite sides of the brain and all ).

And if somebody did come up with what they wanted (wrote or had somebody write software for them), then it did exactly what they needed it to do. Now, to make more money, they pawn it off as their workflow.

When I was looking 10 years ago, there was ED and another... can't remember and they are gone now, I think. So we wrote our own - highly automated, very simple to use from camera to customer to cashier.

However, from there, we do the editing and printing. We though about giving simple options to the customer, but the truth of the matter: They aren't photographers, we are. What do they know about editing. They want to buy a photo. Even as simple as you may make it, there will be some that don't get it - that ties up a person and that station for as long as it takes to teach them how to print there photo. Depending on your market and your events, you may or may not have the luxury of extra staff and time at stations to commit to teaching customers how to use software.

In our case, we have over 100 viewstations, but well over 1000 customers per hour to service. What we've learned for our fast paced events is that selling onsite is the key, not printing (we used to print onsite for two years, after stopping, we noticed no difference in sales, just less costs). There are plenty of others who would counter that printing onsite is their key ingredient - which I believe would work for events that have time to mingle and customers show off their purchase, but there are usually significantly higher costs with more staff onsite... but if you can pull it off without those expenses, then I'd say go for it... that was what our original business plan had designed.

You're right to keep it very simple for the customer, but I think printing options will be foreign to most and cause more issues than you hope to solve.



Aug 12, 2012 at 03:27 AM
P Alesse
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Event Printing SOFTWARE


BTW... what sport and type of events are we talking about here?


Aug 12, 2012 at 06:08 AM
Acephotoguys
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Event Printing SOFTWARE


I'm in the same boat as you are Dave!!

Here's my 2 cents---Your going to need 2 software programs.
1st--One to organize and do all the work for you--(5min photo does this)
2nd--ED is used by a lot of people as the "Printing" software.

I've talked to the guy at 5min photo and it's pretty simple---Pay the money and it's a turn key system. Works on a ton of PC systems. They have the "Loader" where you download your memory cards to it and the "Viewers" are just viewing stations. Customer picks out the photo number on the "viewing station" they want and bingo then you print that photo using the ED software where it will let you crop in on the photo and will let you add text for names and event locations, and logos.

The ED software is set up to do "Group" or "Packages" Say you want to sell 2-5x7's for 20bucks that would be package 1. Package 2 could be 2 5x7's and an 8x10 for 40. This is more of Prom/Dance events that the software is good for.

If you were to use both these systems together you only need one copy of ED for your main printing computer and one copy of 5min photo software--I think you can run it on up to 7 machines at the same time.

Like I said I have talked to both companies and they both work great together but there is nothing on the market that does both.

There are demo version of 5min photo software as well I think you have to send an email to them requesting the version you want. They sent me a link for both the older version 5 and the newer version 6. It's a 30min demo....fully unlocked.

You could use an Iphone/IPAD with the Intuit Gopayment Mobile Credit card reader and take payments at events also!!! It's FREE Too!! and you get a free card reader. You can have multiple readers and users linked to your account so if you wanted to set up 2 or 3 locations at an event.

Would be nice if someone out there could put these 2 features into one turnkey system!!

Good luck



Aug 14, 2012 at 06:39 AM
luketrot
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Event Printing SOFTWARE


Hammy
selling onsite is the key, not printing


This is an interesting concept Hammy, I would have thought printing onsite was beneficial.



Aug 14, 2012 at 02:12 PM
 

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John Patrick
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Event Printing SOFTWARE


(In my best Rocky the Squirrel voice) "Not again!"



Aug 14, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Hammy
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Event Printing SOFTWARE


luketrot wrote:
This is an interesting concept Hammy, I would have thought printing onsite was beneficial.






Aug 14, 2012 at 08:40 PM
FotoMikeT
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Event Printing SOFTWARE


Stay away from 5 Minute Photo!!!! The owner will rip you off!!! When he does finally offer you a refund, you will get a check in the mail, then when you deposit it into your bank account you will think that is great, I finally have my money back. The bad news is, a few days later, you will get the check in the mail again, this time it will be from your bank and it will have NSF stamped on the front. You will try to call 5 Minute Photo, but they will not answer your calls or return your emails.

After knowing this, if you still decide to purchase 5 Minute Photo, do not say that you were not warned!!!



Nov 03, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Jeff Napier
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Event Printing SOFTWARE


FotoMike,
Did the software not work as advertised for you? Just curious. I have used both 5Min. and PP they both do a decent job for what thier intened purpose is.And both owners have always been great to deal with.Maybe things have changed in the last couple of years.



Nov 03, 2012 at 09:43 PM
FotoMikeT
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Event Printing SOFTWARE


I ordered systems with the software. It took longer than I was told it would and I told them I had a deadline, but they did not get my systems completed on time. When I asked for a refund, I was told they do not give refunds on custom systems. We argued for several weeks, then they decided to give me a partial refund and the check bounced. I am waiting on a court date now to try and get my money back that way.



Nov 04, 2012 at 12:31 AM
wbulr
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Event Printing SOFTWARE


Dave

I purchased the 5 minute software just over a year ago. It works as advertised and the owner, David has been great to work with. He also prints posters for me and delivers outstanding customer service. Feel free to PM me or call if you have detailed questions.

Marvin



Nov 06, 2012 at 03:31 AM
rrphotoz
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Event Printing SOFTWARE


I posted this somewhere else but this seems to be the right place.

I have been doing event portrait photography for 5 years now and I am looking to streamline my workflow. My specialty is Martial Arts, here are some samples if you wish to check them out: http://rrphotoz.com/galleries/martial-arts-3/

I shoot tethered (Canon 40D to EOS utility)
All photos go to a folder on my SERVER (my laptop)
I have 4 WORKSTATIONS (Laptops)
On the WORKSTATIONS I use “FastStone Image Viewer 4.6” for the clients to view their photos.
I have an assistant who helps the clients when they get to a “viewing station” (Workstation) scroll to their photos and the client then picks the image(s) that they want to purchase.
I am pretty happy with the workflow up to this point.
Here is where I need some help (or if you see where I can improve I am always open)
The client will then fill out a paper form with their information:
Name, address, email, image number choice(s) and if they want a custom background, sign a release and pay (cash or cc via Paypal here on an iPhone – the assistant handles and collects the payment and paper)
I am looking for a solution to make that process digital. I want to avoid potential problems such as sometimes reading their writing is tough. I am always concerned that I will lose their paperwork (although I never have). Etc.
My thought is that after the client views and picks their photos they can enter their information on some kind of form on the laptop viewing station (the same one that they viewed their photos on). That data is then stored on the SERVER in some sort of database or even an excel sheet. Then the assistant will process the payment and give them a receipt
After the event I will process the photos, improve color and give custom background if they order one. I do not print on site.
I was hoping there was a solution that was not online based (I sometimes do not have internet access) that I can use to turn the paper process digital and have the client enter all of their own information and choices (as I do realize that I can enter all of the paperwork after the event – but I REALLY don’t want to do that)

Thank you in advance.



Jan 25, 2013 at 03:31 AM
Anthony Labbe
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Event Printing SOFTWARE


If you want really simple (lacks client adjustment or way to sya "I want this one" through the system, you could use a computer with jalbum installed.
I have photos (once checked for crap) copied to intake folder and jabum can "make changes (either in 2 clicks or can be automated to "watch" source folder.
Makes a web page that you can have view stations browser connect to (I have them set to kiosk mode to make it simpler at view station)
Notice in header tells client to note the number (paper and pens accessible / or many note on phone).
They take the tp person at print station, and operator gets photo ready (tweak levels etc..) and prints.
Maybe too simple, but I'm a simple person :-)



Jan 26, 2013 at 03:10 AM
mikeBrescio
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Event Printing SOFTWARE


I also use 5Minute Photo. I really had no complaints and just added 5 more viewing stations two weeks ago. I did have an issue with the addition of the new stations, but dave called me and I had to reset the router. Just this past Saturday during an event the loader was running slower, called dave and he fixed the problem.. It was my fault my hard drive was nearly full. I would recommend this system.


Feb 19, 2013 at 06:44 PM





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