Upload & Sell: Off
My wifes photography website (Adoria Photography) was developed via the wordpress template customisation route.
Unfortunately I can't offer you the Wordpress template due to the ip development cost and lack of support, but I can share some of the experiences I had getting it customised.
I started out purchasing a few themeforest themes which looked slick but didn't have much besides a nice front page. I wanted more in the way of gallery management features for handling hundreds or thousands of images at a time, Especially for client photo proofing and I wanted to also include an integrated shopping cart for photo sales. At this point I was prepared to go with Smugmug but didnt due to lack of support for Australian printing and also the ongoing costs (annual fees and fee per photo sale).
In the end I selected a Woothemes theme and use the free woocommerce shopping cart plugin for the features that allow product pricing to be defined for various images sizes and file types. It also offers payment featues via PayPal, check, or bank deposit. I decided to use a 3rd party plugin (nextgen) for photo gallery management as it is easier to bulk upload and manage hundreds of photos at a time.
The hardest part was getting the proofing gallery and photo order and payment features working the way I wanted.
f.y.i. here is a sample proof gallery page that is not password protected.
There is a lot of custom php and style sheet mods to convert the nextgen gallery into a layout I wanted and integrate payment buttons for different image print options, and allow the customer to nominate how they would like each image cropped and printed. This involved extending the products in woothemes to capturing additional custom information for each image that can be ordered. So additional form customisation was required for the shopping cart products (images) to allow capturing details such as image filename, size, orientation and cropping dimensions so this information could be saved to the shopping cart and displayed on the order details.
Some additional licenced plugins did need to be purchased for some of the features like gravity forms, AusPost shipping pricing etc.
It was a lot more work than I anticipated, as this was my first time doing any wordpress or php customisation. The downsides of this approach are:
1. Initial development effort is high
2. Too much code customisation makes it very hard to upgrade to newer versions of frameworks and plugins.
A lot of it was learn as I go. In hindsight paying for a smugmug account would have been a whole lot easier but I am happy with the results and like the fact that I can have more control over how the web site can be customised and evolve. My wife can also retain 100% of the profit on all images sold on the site going forward without having to pay a percent of sale fee to a hosting company.
I also like that I can have greater control over the SEO of the site - something not easy to achieve when the website portfolio, blog, preview gallery and ordering systems are distributed across several 3rd party sites.
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