Complete reference manual

Use CONTROL-F (COMMAND-F on a Mac) to search the document.

See also our Step-by-Step Setup Guide!


What is a Gallery?

Galleries are groups of images shown on your website. (Services and applications other than PhotoDeck might also call them "albums", "folders" or "categories").

Images must be published in galleries to be visible on the website. You can publish an image to multiple galleries.

Like folders on a hard disk, Galleries are hierarchical: you can create as many levels of sub-galleries as you wish.

Creating the basic gallery structure

For maximum flexibility and ease of management, you should organize your galleries like you would organize folders on your computer, creating a "category" of galleries for each type of galleries you will create.

Even if you can change the structure later on, it is advisable to do it right initially, especially if search engines (Google) are important to you: changing the structure might affect individual galleries' URLs.

If you plan to use PhotoDeck for a single purpose (for example, portfolio display or stock), you can skip this step. But if you feel you even might use PhotoDeck for multiple purposes in the future (e.g. public galleries AND protected client galleries), we recommend to create the proper structure upfront.

Gallery structure illustration

Create the first-level galleries on your site

Here are a few important examples - you don't need to create them all at once:

  • Portfolio (use the Portfolio preset)
  • Client galleries (use the Private gallery preset. This section will be hidden on your website.)
  • Archive / Stock / Fine-art prints... (use the Public archive/ecommerce gallery preset)
  • Blog (use the Blog preset)

Note that when a gallery is empty, it is not visible on your website.

Gallery Presets

A key promise of PhotoDeck is that your website can be multipurpose. You can combine a portfolio, a client proofing area, ecommerce archives, and even a blog on the same website. Naturally, the presentation of the images and features vary depending on the purpose.

So when you create a new gallery, we present you with a few presets to speed up your workflow. Pick the preset closest to what you need, and if required, you can subsequently adjust the settings once the gallery is created. (You can change all settings at any time).

PresetDisplay styleAccess settings
Portfolio gallery

Public gallery with Portfolio display style. Ideal for portfolio displays.

“Portfolio” display style.The gallery is NOT hidden, no free download allowed.
Public archive or ecommerce gallery

For standard, public galleries that balance functionality with aesthetics (e.g. public archive, ecommerce galleries or stock)

“Standard” display style.The gallery is NOT hidden, no free download allowed.
Private gallery with general password

Same as archive/ecommerce gallery, but with a general password. Ideal for private ecommerce galleries.

“Standard” display style.General password required. No free download allowed.
Protected gallery for professional clients

Perfect to send high-res images to a client

“Proofing” display style.The gallery is hidden. You need to give individual clients access to the gallery via the gallery’s access settings or the Send by email panel.
Protected proof-retouch-deliver gallery

Recommended when working with professional clients, and when the client must select images before their final versions can be prepared and delivered.

“Proofing” display style.The gallery is hidden. The client can order high-res images for free but not download them until you set the files in FINAL state and deliver the order. You need to give individual clients access to the gallery via the gallery’s access settings or the Send by email panel.

Display Styles: controlling how images are displayed

Gallery display styles make it easy to change the way galleries are displayed on your website, from full-screen autoscaling slideshows to mosaic tile walls.

A gallery style applies to all galleries using that style.

Gallery styles also allow you to display images and galleries in a different way, according to each gallery's purpose.

To change the Display Style used by a gallery, open that gallery under My Images & Videos, then click on the link displaying the current display style in use, located right below the gallery title.

Default gallery styles

Each theme includes the following default display styles:

StyleWhat for?What it does
PortfolioTo showcase your work with as little visual distraction as possibleAesthetics first: large images, no distracting action buttons or metadata (so it's not suitable for ecommerce or proofing galleries), automatic slideshow, no search box.
ProofingUsability first: best user interface for a client to select images.Uncropped thumbnails with hover preview, easy access to proofing features and image information.
StandardSimple ecommerce and searchSomewhere between the Portfolio and Proofing styles, good compromise between usability and aesthetics.
BlogBlog index and blog postsDisplays a gallery like a blog: big previews on the same page, image descriptions readily visible as text, ...

Customizing gallery styles

To edit a display style, simply click on it in the top menu. When the popover window opens, select Customize display styles. You’ll be presented with 3 main sections:

Thumbnails pages

This section controls the gallery index pages (i.e. the pages where the images/videos thumbnails for a gallery are displayed). For example, you will find here the option to either split long galleries onto multiple pages, or to display them as a long page with "endless scrolling".

Gallery cover thumbnails

Use this section to customize the way thumbnails are displayed. Most notable here is the Gallery opens to parameter. This will dictate if visitors see a large image / slideshow or thumbnails when they first enter a gallery.

Image/Video thumbnails

Change the way thumbnails are displayed within galleries. Choose from great presets such as the magic mosaic wall tile, or edit small details like whether or not to display download icons on the thumbnails.

Enlarged images and videos

This section gives you complete control over how opened images and videos appear in your galleries. This is also the place to adjust slideshow behavior for full-screen autoscaling slideshows using, for example, the Portfolio style.

Image quality on a website is always a compromise between:
- displayed size on screen
- quality
- loading time (its importance is too often overlooked)

You can adjust various settings in the gallery display styles to maximize quality:
- use a higher size - this will result in longer loading times
- turn upsizing off in the auto-scale settings
- reduce the allowed crop
Also make sure that you upload files that are at least 3000px wide.

You can also create your own display styles by using the Duplicate this style button at the bottom of the page.

Moving a gallery

To re-order galleries, drag-and-drop their cover thumbnails to their new position (My Images & Videos panel).

Galleries can be nested within each-other without limitation. To move a gallery under a new "parent gallery", drag-drop its cover thumbnail to their new parent in the left-hand side column.

Alternatively, open the Name and main settings dialog for that gallery, and type the name of the new "parent gallery" under the Goes under... section.

Images order within a gallery

To re-order images within a gallery, simply drag-and-drop the thumbnails to their new position. You might need to change the number of thumbnails displayed per page, via the Settings icon displayed in the thumbnails panel top-right corner.

Alternatively, you will find a series a automatic order options under the Basic Settings dialog for that gallery.

A gallery introduction, what for?

The gallery introduction is a piece of free text that is displayed on your website, on the gallery page, between the title and the thumbnails.

Use it to provide more information about the gallery or the blog post, instructions to your clients, etc...

HTML is allowed, so you can use this to embed videos from You Tube, Vimeo, Animoto...

Understanding authorizations

PhotoDeck offers a very flexible way to control who can access your galleries, and who can download "for free".

To open the authorization panel for a gallery, click on the link above the thumbnails that indicates whether the gallery is public or private (by default for public galleries, "public, visible").

The authorizations table

The first row (Anyone) applies to anybody who is not specifically listed on another row. When you add authorizations for a specific client, the Anyone row applies to everybody except that client (and others previously listed).

You can add authorizations for specific clients. They will need to login to be identified. You can add an authorization even for clients who have not registered on your website yet: they will gain access once they register with the same email address you have specified.

We recommend you don't use on the same gallery both a general password and client-specific login access. While it is possible, it can be confusing for your customers.

Can enter gallery indicates whether access to the gallery (seeing its content) it allowed. For Anybody, you can optionally indicate a password: anyone knowing the password, logged in or not, will then gain access to the gallery.

Low-res download indicates whether a button is displayed to easily download preview images. The preview images are 800x800px, and are watermarked if you used a watermark upon initial upload. Note that savvy users will always be able to extract the preview images displayed on your site, whether you enable this or not, via a screen capture or other means. So this feature is really for your clients convenience, and you must make sure that you have a proper watermark in place if preview theft is a concern.

Originals download indicates whether FREE download of the originals is allowed. The originals are the very same files you have initially uploaded, without any modification. This column has additional options: 1-click download makes it very easy for clients to immediately download files. 1-click download, FINALS only only allows immediate download for images/videos which state is FINAL (the state of a file is part of its editable metadata). Via cart requires the client to submit an order, which will give you the opportunity to retouch/replace images before they are delivered for files that are not in the FINAL state.

When original downloads are enabled, a "Download all" button is displayed if the gallery contains less than 500 images.

Originals downloads are meant to deliver files to assignment clients. They bypass any download pricing profile you might have attached to the images/videos in the gallery!

Authorizing a new client

To give access to the gallery and/or to download capabilities to a specific client, click Add authorizations and enter the client's email address. You can add a client's email address even if he is not registered on your website yet. Tick the boxes corresponding to the access rights you wish to provide him.

Alternatively, you can also open the Send by email panel to send the gallery to a client by email and give him the proper access rights in a single step!

Subgalleries automatically inherit from their parent...

... except if they define authorizations of their own.

For clarity and to avoid errors, if you set new authorizations for a subgallery, it will NOT inherit authorizations from its parents anymore, so you need to define all authorizations for that subgallery.

If you want a gallery to inherit from the same authorizations as its parent gallery, simply make sure you remove all its authorizations.

Hiding a gallery

When you Hide gallery, it removes the gallery from the thumbnail navigation. A hidden gallery is therefore not be visible anymore in the gallery index (or as a subgallery of its parent).

NOTE that if you include a hidden gallery in a menu, it will in effect become visible to casual visitors, regardless of this setting.

The Include images in public search option lets you control whether to include a gallery's content in the public search on your website and on search engines (e.g. Google). (Search within the hidden gallery will always be possible).

Allowing comments and ratings

Comments and ratings are a great way to interact with clients on a private gallery.


To prevent Spam comments if you allow commenting on a public gallery, it is highly recommended you do not allow anonymous commenting, and preferably you require commenters to have an account.

To delete comments on your website, log onto your website with the same credentials you use to access your PhotoDeck admin space. Open the page with the comment to remove: you will notice a Delete button next to the comments.


Ratings are useful to help a client make his selection of images, as there are shortcuts to add 5-star images to a lightbox, to download them, etc...

The last rating on an image or video overrides the previous one, so it is usually not a good idea to allow ratings on public galleries.

Creating a blog on PhotoDeck

PhotoDeck's blog facility is meant for photographers who want a simple way to promote new work, under the same roof as their website.

How does it work?

A PhotoDeck blog is simply a gallery, with subgalleries as individual posts, all styled like on a standard blog.

A blog is a gallery, a post is a subgallery

This way, a PhotoDeck blog integrates perfectly with your normal workflow and with the rest of the website. All gallery features can also be used: images can be priced, downloadable, comment-able, etc...

The gallery introduction for a post/gallery becomes the main piece of text for the post. The title and description of included images or videos are also displayed and integrate with the post.

A blog post

And naturally, videos can be included in the very same way as images.


The blog facility is not meant to be as full-featured as a dedicated blogging platform (see our WordPress integration if you really need a full bloging platform).

It is designed for busy members who favor simplicity, and prefer not to maintain multiple platforms.

With this in mind, it is for example not possible to:

  • Display a full blog post on the blog index page (only the cover image is displayed with an excerpt of the introduction) ;
  • Add calendars, track-back pings and other blog-specific features ;

Creating the blog

  1. Create a new private gallery called "Blog". Creating it as a private gallery means it won't show as a thumbnail in your gallery navigation ;
  2. Click on the link indicating that the gallery is Hidden, and under Include images in public search, set the search indexing to Always (as the gallery is hidden, its images are otherwise not included in the search results).
  3. Enable the comments if you wish that your visitors can comment on individual images (More / Comments and star rating) ;
  4. Set the display style to Blog ;
  5. Edit your website menu to add a link to the Blog gallery (My Website / Menu). If you wish, you can perform this step only once you have content in your blog ;
  6. Ready for your first post!

Creating your first post

  1. Under My Images & Videos, select the Blog gallery, then click on New post ;
  2. Enter a title for your post, select the Public gallery preset, then click on Create ;
  3. Change the display style to Blog ;
  4. Optionally, edit the date of the post, and add an introduction via the Edit blog post link ;
  5. Publish images to your post in the same way as for any other gallery. Add titles and descriptions to the images and videos as appropriate ;
  6. Optional: share your new post on Twitter, Facebook or other services via the Share link in the gallery options ;
  7. Done! To create new posts, simply use the preset that copies your first post settings.

RSS Feed

Like any gallery on your website, your blog has its own RSS feed, e.g.


  • You can edit the Blog style like any other Gallery Style, to customize the way posts are displayed.

    Example: Reduced gallery thumbnail size = blog index displayed as a grid
  • All gallery features are applicable to blog posts: password/login protection, download, etc...
  • You can create multiple blogs on your website.
  • The blog style can be applied to any gallery. In fact, it is trendy for portfolio galleries too.

Galleries for private clients: events, portraits, weddings

Here is a recommended way of setting up galleries when working with private individuals, where privacy and simplicity are key.

Once you have set up a first gallery, it will be easy to reuse the same settings for other clients.

  1. Create a new gallery, ideally nested under a common "Client Area" gallery. Use the Private Gallery preset. The gallery will use the standard Gallery Style, which is a good balance between aesthetics and proofing functionality. The gallery will be hidden, i.e. not visible in the thumbnail navigation for maximum privacy.
  2. Click on the Private, hidden link to open the access settings. Set a password to access the gallery. Setting a general password will not provide you with as much detail as to who exactly accesses the gallery, but it will be very simple for your clients. Save.
  3. Optionally, you can allow commenting on images and/or star-rating (More / Comments and star rating).
  4. Upload the images into the gallery.
  5. If the images are for sale, attach the proper pricing profile(s) to all images in the gallery.
  6. Done! All you now have to do is send the link to your clients, with the password. You can do that under the Send by email panel. Don't forget to indicate the gallery password in the message!

Allowing free high-res downloads to consumers

In some cases, you might want to allow your clients to download high-res files. This can be done by adding new authorizations to the access options.

Note that you can allow only specific clients, based on their email, to download the images. This has two benefits: you get a better control and view over who downloads what, and you can allow a wide group of people to purchase from the gallery (say wedding guests) while allowing a subset (e.g. groom and bride) to download high-res files for free. The drawback is that it requires your clients to create a login on your website in order to access the free downloads.

Alternatively, you can allow anybody with access to the gallery to download for free. This of course, will override any download pricing profile set for the individual images and won't provide you information on who downloads images.

Please refer to the help on authorizations for further help!

Proofing and delivery for professional clients

Here are two recommended ways of setting up galleries when working with professional clients, where security, accountability and effectiveness are key.

Once you have set up a first gallery, it will be easy to reuse the same settings for other clients.

Simple case: making high-res files available for quick download

  1. Create a new gallery, ideally nested under a common "Client Area" gallery. Use the Protected gallery for professional clients preset. The gallery will use the Proofing Gallery Style, which focuses on proofing functionality. The gallery will be hidden, i.e. not visible in the thumbnail navigation for maximum privacy.
  2. Upload images into the gallery.
  3. Open the Send by email panel and add your client(s) email addresses as well as the download authorizations. Hit Send.
  4. Done! You can always check/edit the client permissions under the authorization panel accessible via the Protected access link above the thumbnails.

Professional assignment proofing and delivery

This section will show you how to let a client order a selection of images or videos out of an unprocessed shoot, so you can process/retouch ordered images and delivery them, in a professional and integrated way.

  1. Create a new gallery, ideally nested under a common "Client Area" gallery. Use the Protected proof-retouch-deliver gallery preset. The gallery will use the Proofing Gallery Style, which focuses on proofing functionality over aesthetics. The gallery will be hidden, i.e. not visible in the thumbnail navigation for maximum privacy.
  2. Upload the "proof" images/videos into the gallery.
  3. Open the Send by email panel and add your client(s) email addresses as well as the download authorizations. Hit Send.
  4. Done! Your clients are now able to order a selection of images as downloads.

Typical settings for a full assignment proofing gallery.

When your client has made a selection and placed an order, you will be notified by email. When you receive the order:

  1. If needed, reprocess/retouch the images/videos on your computer. Upload them into the gallery making sure you use the same filenames as for the proof images, and using the Replace image option. This will replace the proof images with the final ones. In the upload form, also set the status of the new uploads as Final, which indicates to the system that the files are ready for delivery.
  2. When all (or part of) the images have been replaced with their Final version, open the order, and click on Deliver PENDING downloadable items now. This will trigger the delivery of the FINAL images to the client. You can do this in several iterations, as this button will only deliver images that have not been delivered yet.

Image delivery on the order page.

To get familiar with the process from a client's perspective, try it yourself with a "test client" email address! For clarity, make sure it is different from your PhotoDeck login.

Images and Videos

What kind of files should I upload?

We recommend you upload full-resolution images/videos to benefit most from what PhotoDeck has to offer, as the system automatically generates the preview images on your website. If you are not planning to deliver the images digitally (e.g. if only for portfolio display), and if you don't wish to upload high-res files, uploading 3000px-wide images will you the best long-term flexibility.

Supported formats

  • Images: JPG, TIFF, PNG and GIF (including animated GIFs) ;
  • Videos: all common video encodings ;
  • Documents: PDF

The max image file size allowed with your plan is indicated in the upload window.


Images are best left not sharpened (or only very slightly sharpened as part of e.g. the RAW conversion process), so that your clients keep full flexibility in the printing process.

To save on disk space and upload times, we find that high-quality JPGs (rather than TIFF images) are suitable for most applications.

What image size do you provide to my clients?

In most cases, images are resized automatically. For license purchases that specify a size in pixels or a file size (e.g. Royalty-Free, Rights Managed Web uses), the buyer gets an image exactly the size purchased. For low-res downloads, we deliver an 800x800 pixel image that has your watermark applied, if it was applied upon upload.

In all other cases where a digital file has to be delivered, we deliver the high-resolution image you have uploaded, without modification.

Image color profiles

All preview images are converted to the sRGB color space, so you can safely upload high-resolution images in the space of your choice (e.g. AdobeRGB), as long as you embed the profile.

Note that for performance reasons (page display speed), the sRGB profile is not embedded in the thumbnails, so the color will be accurate only on the larger previews (assuming the viewer's browser is properly color-managed).

Uploading video

You can upload video clips in the same way as still images. We support all common video formats.

For display on your website, your clip will be converted into various formats that browsers can display.

E-commerce: You are able to define what format(s) the clips are to be delivered in, both in the pricing profiles settings or when answering a quotation request.

Proofing galleries: as for stills, for "high-res delivery" via proofing galleries, we deliver the original file.

IMPORTANT: MPEG-LA license requirements for H264-encoded formats

H.264 is currently the leading video encoding format. It is unfortunately a proprietary format for which multiple companies hold patents, jointly licensed by MPEG LA.

It is our understanding that when delivering video clips encoded with H.264 technology, MPEG LA requires content providers (you) to hold a license for both:

  • the "Internet broadcast" of images for free (i.e. showing video clips on your website)
  • the sale and/or delivery of content

PhotoDeck uses H.264 technology to display videos on your website in the cases where the browser does not support and prioritize WebM standard encoding (WebM is a free standard with growing support).

H.264 technology is also used in the delivery of downloaded clips, depending on the format chosen.

Since PhotoDeck provides only the technology and is not a party in your content distribution, it is your responsibility to clear possible licensing issues.

The license should be free of royalty payments in most cases.

Our attempt to obtain from MPEG-LA clearer and more concrete guidance for video producers have unfortunately not been successful.

Please contact directly MPEG-LA if in doubt!

This article on is also informative.

Uploading and synchronizing via Lightroom

The PhotoDeck-Lightroom Publish plugin allows you to:

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

Installing the plugin into Lightroom

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

  4. From there, open the Plugin Manager, and click on Add:

  5. Select the plugin file you've downloaded and hit Done.
  6. Congratulations! The plugin is now installed: you can configure it with your PhotoDeck login credentials, and you can import the gallery structure from your PhotoDeck site:

Updating the plugin with a new version

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

  4. From there, open the Plugin Manager, and select the PhotoDeck plugin.

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

Folders and Galleries

Lightroom allows to create two different kind of collections :

  • A "Folder" or
  • a "Gallery"

In PhotoDeck, both are galleries. In Lightroom, a folder can only contain sub-galleries, not images. A Lightroom gallery can contain images, but not sub-galleries.

Therefore, to create from Lightroom a gallery that will contain subgalleries, create a new "Folder".

About Gallery synchronization

Gallery synchronization doesn't match existing images in PhotoDeck with your Lightroom catalog, as there is no reliable way to achieve this: only images uploaded through this plugin will be visible in Lightroom.

Gallery synchronization is optional: when you create a gallery in Lightroom, a new PhotoDeck gallery is created only if no gallery with the same name and parent is found on your site. You can therefore simply add in Lightroom the PhotoDeck galleries you need to manage, without synchronizing the whole structure.

Gallery synchronization can be performed at any time from the PhotoDeck publish service settings.

Re-publishing images

When an image in Lightroom image is changed (metadata updated or image redeveloped), Lightroom will mark the image as needing a re-publish. Going through the corresponding gallery and hitting the "Re-publish" button will, by default, only update the metadata and not re-upload the image, as LR can't tell whether the actual pixels have changed.

If you need to re-upload the image, go to Lightroom's PhotoDeck publish service settings and check the corresponding setting. Don't forget to uncheck afterwards it if this is a one-time need!

Export only

This plugin also allows simple one-time exports, without having to publish in a gallery.

Exported images will show up in PhotoDeck under All my files (they will not be visible on your website until you publish them from My Images & Videos in PhotoDeck).

Note to developers

This plugin is open source so any developer can keep improving it. The code is hosted on Github.

Uploading via Photo Mechanic

You can upload images directly from within Photo Mechanic. The PhotoDeck uploader is included with Photo Mechanic starting with version 4.6.6 BUT MUST BE UPGRADED (latest version is v1.5) if you have an older version (compatible with PM5 only).

  1. Download the PhotoDeck uploader template
  2. Open Photo Mechanic and go to "Photo Mechanic / Preferences / Files / Location of user Uploader templates" to choose the folder where you store uploader templates on your computer. You can create a new folder if you wish, for example under your Library folder if you are on a Mac.
  3. Unzip the archive into that folder (or move the unzipped PhotoDeck folder if your browser automatically unzipped the downloaded file) and restart Photo Mechanic
  4. Done! When you choose "Upload" in Photo Mechanic, the PhotoDeck option should now appear along with the latest version number.

FTP upload

To upload images to your FTP account, connect using the settings indicated on the Upload page.

FTP folders are scanned once per hour for new images, which are then moved to your PhotoDeck account (if you don't want to wait, you can force an immediate import from the Upload page).

You will receive a confirmation email after each successful import from your FTP folder.

Please note:

  • Keep your folder name secret, provide it only to people you want to allow uploading for: anybody who knows your folder name will be able to upload images to your account. If in doubt, you may change it at any time.
  • For security reasons, folders are hidden: you should point your FTP client directly to your own folder.
  • Files in unrecognized formats will be deleted.
  • Files are automatically removed once they are imported to your PhotoDeck account
  • You may only list and upload files to your inbox. Creating directories, renaming, deleting or downloading files is not possible.
  • Only 3 concurrent uploads are possible. You may add as many files as you wish in a batch, but max 3 batches are possible at the same time.

Example settings: Cyberduck

Example settings: FireFTP (free client for Firefox)

Can I send you a disk?

For large data transfers, you can send in a hard disk with your images, directly to Amazon, our cloud storage provider.

The uploading of a hard disk is subject to a 1-time disk import fee of US $200 / €140 (+VAT).

To upload a hard disk, simply:

  1. Prepare your hard disk
  2. Pay the disk import fee
  3. Finalize the package and ship to the address provided
  4. Relax and wait for the images to be uploaded, and your disk returned!

Detailed step-by-step instructions

Sending a hard disk is simple, but you must follow carefully these instructions. CHARGES WILL OCCUR IN FULL EVEN IF THE UPLOAD FAILS. The upload process is fully automated by Amazon, no manual intervention is possible.

  1. Please read carefully all instructions and contact support for clarifications if needed ;
  2. Load your images onto your hard disk:
    • See the supported devices list below. NOTE that if the hard disk is in an external enclosure (e.g. external USB disk), it must support US power specifications (120Volts @60Hertz), with a US power plug (or adapter if needed) ;
    • Optional: if you create a folder structure on your disk, images will be assigned to Collections based on your folder structure ;
    • Make sure your quotas are adequate prior to the import (available disk space, file size limit, number of videos)!
      You can check your quotas under My Account / My features and quotas)
  3. Create a Custom service quotation request. Copy-paste and fill the following information:

    Device type and interface:
    Device Serial ID# (must be visible on device):
    Total size to upload (GB):
    Number of videos:
    Return address:
    Phone number:

    If shipping from outside the US, also add the following for customs upon return:

    Description of data contained (e.g. "Digital images"):
    Country where the device was manufactured (e.g. "Taiwan"):
    Device value (USD):

  4. Upon payment, we will create an "upload job" with Amazon, including the return information, and we will send you:
    • A file named "SIGNATURE" that you must copy to the root of your hard disk. This file uniquely identifies your disk and tells the Amazon system what to do with it ;
    • A PDF packing slip that you must print and include in the package with the hard disk. Your hard disk will not be uploaded if the packing slip is missing or incomplete. ;
    • A shipping address to send the package to, including: hard disk, complete with power supply and adapters if needed, as well as the return packing slip. The shipping address must include Amazon's "Job ID". ;
    • NOTE that at this point, Amazon must receive your hard disk within 30 days. If your package is received after that limit, it will be sent back, unopened, to the return address mentioned on the package, and fees will still apply ;
  5. Once Amazon receives your disk, your images will loaded onto the storage cloud. After that, PhotoDeck will retrieve and process your images to add them to your PhotoDeck library. The upload-processing steps can take several days ;
  6. Amazon will ship back the hard disk after the images have been loaded onto the storage cloud. Return shipping costs are covered by the disk import fee ;

Files with names starting with a dot will be ignored, as well as Trashes/Recycling bins.

Supported devices

Item Requirement
Power for External Devices
  • US wall socket plug (include adapter if required)
  • 120Volts @60Hertz
  • Max Power Consumption 2,000Watts
  • (USB-powered external hard disks are accepted)
Interface Type
  • eSATA
  • USB 2.0
  • 2.5 inch and 3.5 inch internal SATA hard drives
  • The maximum device size is 14 inches high by 19 inches wide by 36 inches deep (8Us in a standard 19 inch rack).
  • The maximum device weight is 50 pounds.
File System Type
  • NTFS
  • ext2, ext3
  • FAT32
  • NOTE: Mac OS file system is not officially supported yet. If you use a Mac, make sure your disk is formatted in FAT32 format (called "MS-DOS File System" in OS X Disk Utility's "Erase" tab). Amazon will soon lift this limitation.
Device Capacity
  • Max 8TB

(For performance and reliability reasons, we recommend internal SATA units, especially if you are located outside the US.)

All about metadata

Image metadata is very important for Search Engines to properly index your website. Embedded IPTC metadata is carried over when uploading images.

Image metadata also includes your own star ratings and the File state (PROOF or FINAL) that is used when offering free downloads to professional clients.


The image title (sometimes also called "Headline") is used in several places:

  • on the image page, below the image as a "h1" page title
  • in the image page browser bar title
  • in the image page URL
  • within the HTML code that displays the image both on the image page and on the thumbnail pages.

If your existing image collection has embedded IPTC Description fields but no Title fields, no worry: for each image that has a Description but no Title, on your website we display the Description in place of the Title - until you define the image Title.


The Description allows you to provide to your visitors more information about the image. It is used only below the image (except when you have a Description but no Title: in that case, the Description replaces the Title).

Upon upload, we import the IPTC Description / Caption field as the description.


The keywords help Search Engines know what your image is about - and it allows them to index keyword searches. There is no penalty for having many keywords, but they should be relevant. 20-25 keywords per image is a good target, answering the usual "Who, What, Where, Why, When" questions.

Location, City, State, Country, Region

These work like additional keywords, but are displayed separately for your clients' convenience.

Author and Copyright Notice

The Author (called in some applications "Creator" or "Photographer" or "By-line author") and Copyright Notice fields are also imported upon upload and displayed on the image page if present.

Metadata mapping upon upload

PhotoDeck fieldImported from embedded XMP, IPTC or EXIF metadata field (highest priority first)
Title[XMP] Headline - [IPTC] Headline - [XMP] Title - [IPTC] ObjectName
Description[XMP] Description - [IPTC] Caption-Abstract
Keywords[XMP] Subject - [IPTC] Keywords
Location[XMP] Location - [IPTC] Sub-location
City[XMP] City - [IPTC] City
State[XMP] State - [IPTC] Province-State
Country[XMP] Country - [IPTC] Country-PrimaryLocationName
Author[XMP] Creator - [IPTC] By-line
Copyright[XMP] Rights - [IPTC] CopyrightNotice
Artist rating[XMP] Rating
Date created[XMP] DateTimeOriginal - [XMP] DateTimeDigitized - [XMP] DateTimeCreated - [EXIF] DateTimeOriginal - [EXIF] CreateDate

Self-editing and Artist's picks

You can rate your own images:

  • for editing and sorting your collection
  • to indicate to your clients what are your own "selects", via the Artist's Pick star (5 stars) - useful when you upload a shoot to a private gallery for a client to proof.

Ratings are automatically imported from the image metadata upon upload, so if you're already rating your images with Lightroom or other similar software that follows the same standard, the rating will carry over. In any case, a single click allows you to add/change/remove a rating (enable the rating display on the thumbnails via the search box options under My Images & Videos). You can also batch-edit ratings, and also search for images by rating.

You can sort your collection by rating, and similarly you can re-order images in galleries by rating, to put your best images first.

A 5-star rating means "Artist's pick" and PhotoDeck automatically adds a star on your website next to these images, so your clients know what images you recommend.

Your own ratings are independent from your clients rating, if you have enabled them for a given gallery.

How does the search work?

The search on both your website and on the admin space look into all of your images' metadata (keywords, caption, location...), but they work in different ways.

Search in the admin space ("internal search")

When you search for images within your admin space (My Images & Videos), the system looks for exact matches. For example, a search for cats will not return and image with the keyword "cat". Partial matching and wildcards are not supported.

Tip: to look for an image, enter its ID. The ID of an image is its filename, without the .jpg/.tif extension.

You can limit the search to look only at keywords instead of the whole metadata by using the keywords search field.

You can also save a search as a Smart Collection. The internal admin search is also used by the automation features.

The search is NOT case-sensitive. It looks at the following metadata: image ID (filename minus its .jpg/.tif extension), title, description, location, city, country, state, region, keywords, author.

Search on your website ("public search")

On your website, the search looks at the same metadata fields, but is much more sophisticated. For example, it knows plurals, so a search for cats will return images with the keyword "cat". It relies on a separate image search index, that is updated separately.

As a consequence, it can take a couple of hours before new images / new keywords appear in the search on your public website.

Multi-word searches

This applies to both the search in the admin space and the search on your website.

Boolean operators help you or your visitor refine their search. For instance:

  • Apple Orange or Apple AND Orange will return all images that have both words in their metadata ;
  • Apple OR Orange will return images that have either the "Apple" word or the "Orange" word in their metadata. Note that the OR operator must be in capital letters ;
  • "black cat" will return images that match the exact phrase "black cat" ;
  • Kid OR Child AND Male will return images of boys (the "AND" is optional) ;

Grouping search results by gallery on your website

When your galleries contain very similar images, you can group results by galleries via My Website / Setup / Advanced settings.

This way, when performing a search, your client gets the list of galleries having images that match, along with the number of results of matches per gallery.

Displaying search box on a custom page or on another website

You can display a search box on any website (or on a custom page on your PhotoDeck website via the HTML button in the editor) by adjusting and pasting the following piece of HTML code (replace YOUR-PHOTODECK-URL-HERE by your own website URL):

<form accept-charset="UTF-8" action="///YOUR-PHOTODECK-URL-HERE" id="custom_medias_searchform" method="get">
<div style="margin:0;padding:0;display:inline"><input name="utf8" type="hidden" value="✓"></div>
<input id="search" name="search" placeholder="Image search" type="search">
<input id="submit_search" class="submit_small" name="commit" type="submit" value="Go">

All about watermarks

A watermark is the only real protection against image theft and screen captures.

Watermarks and their settings are accessible via the Upload window. You can use multiple watermarks, and choose for each upload what watermark should be applied.

Watermarks are embedded directly into the previews

To offer a robust protection, watermarks are embedded directly into the preview images (or videos) displayed on your website. The watermark is therefore applied upon initial upload.

Watermarks don't know about galleries: if an image or video is present in multiple galleries, the same watermark will be visible in all the galleries.

Changing the default watermark

The default watermark is used when importing images through FTP, LightRoom and Photo Mechanics. It is preselected when opening the upload window.

Behind the scenes, it is also used when generating missing preview formats for use on your website (for example in some cases when you change the size of the displayed images in the Gallery Display Style settings).

To change the default watermark, open the watermark in the image upload window, and click on the "Use as default watermark" checkbox.

Customizing your watermark

You can either use the tools provided by PhotoDeck to create and customize a text watermark, or for best branding and flexibility (depending on your subscription level), use your own watermark image.

If you use your own watermark image, for best results use a PNG format with transparent background, and upload it in a large size (500 to 2000 pixels wide depending on how wide the watermark will be displayed).

My watermark appears cropped (or doesn't appear) on my images!

The gallery display styles include an option to automatically crop preview images so that they appear bigger on the screen, especially for the Portfolio styles (for example for a full-bleed effect).

Depending on the purpose of the gallery in question, you can either reduce the amount of cropping allowed (via the corresponding gallery style settings) and keep the watermark (recommended for client and ecommerce galleries), or not use a watermark (recommended for Portfolio galleries). Alternatively, you can also center your watermark on the image.

Applying a new/updated watermark to previously uploaded images

To apply a new watermark, the preview images must be regenerated. If needed, a watermark can be applied to all your images at once:

  1. Prepare your new watermark, and test it by uploading multiple images, on light and dark textured backgrounds.
  2. Make sure the watermark is set as default.
  3. Contact support to ask to have all your images reprocessed, and confirming that you have performed the first 2 steps. This is a computer-intensive operation that might take time depending on the number of images in your collection.
  4. When the preview images are regenerated, clear your browser cache to refresh the images it displays!

Collections and Smart Collections

What are collections for?

Collections are groups of images, just like galleries, but they are never published on your website.

They are therefore suitable for your own library management purposes, like lightboxes for your admin space.

They can also be used to automate actions, for example automatically pricing images based on their metadata.

Unlike galleries, collections cannot be nested.

Using automation features

Galleries and collections can be associated with a series of actions to automate your workflow.

Automatically assigning images to a Collection or a Gallery

In the collection’s or gallery's More / Automation settings, you can choose to automatically import images to the collection based on their metadata.

For example, you can create a collection named "Landscapes", and use the Automatically import feature so that all images that match the keyword search "landscape" will be assigned to the collection.

Matching for images and videos occurs in the very same way as for the internal search in your library. Refer to the help on the internal search for more details!

Note: By default, Images are checked for automatic import upon upload or keyword changes. Check the box Rescan whole library and import matching images to check at once all images in your collection against the keyword search criteria.

Automatically applying pricing profiles or metadata to images

The following example automatically completes keywords and location metadata for images matching the search criteria "Manhattan", and publishes them to dedicated gallery:

  1. Create a new collection ;
  2. Set the collection to automatically import images matching the search criteria "Manhattan" ;
  3. Set the collection to set the images’ Location to "Manhattan", City to "New York", and Country to "USA" ;
  4. Set the collection to add the keywords "city, megalopolis, metropolitan area" ;
  5. Set the collection to publish the images to a gallery named "Manhattan" ;
  6. Done! New images, or images with updated keywords, will be automatically considered for processing.

What are smart collections for?

Smart collections are saved, dynamic searches. They allow you to quickly reuse searches and filters across your collection.

For example, you can create smart collections to quickly see what images are not published, what images have a certain keyword attached, what images have been uploaded in the past day, etc...

Website basic customization

Using my own domain: step-by-step guide

You can set up your PhotoDeck website under the URL (domain name) of your choice. For example, or When properly set up, your whole website will be under your custom domain, and the domain will not appear at all.

No domain transfer is usually required. You will merely point your existing DNS configuration to PhotoDeck servers for your website.

Since PhotoDeck does normally not have access to the configuration for your domain, you need to configure it with the company that manages your domain (e.g. GoDaddy, Moniker, Network Solutions, etc...). It is usually the same company you have purchased the domain from.

STEP 0: Purchase or get control over your domain

If you don't own a domain name yet, purchase one from an independent provider. We recommend GoDaddy is also a popular alternative.

If you already own a domain purchased from the same company that provided your previous website, you must transfer your domain to a neutral domain name provider. We recommend (PhotoDeck does not offer domain hosting, and we consider it a better practice to host your domain separately from your website).

When your domain is under your account with a neutral domain name provider, you're good to go!

PhotoDeck does not provide email services. If you wish to use email with your domain, the company that hosts your domain name is likely to offer such service.

STEP 1: configuring your domain

This first step allows a visitor's browser to find out where on the Internet your website is: on PhotoDeck servers.

  1. Log onto the administration panel provided by the company that manages your DNS
  2. Look for the "DNS records" page, sometimes also called "Advanced DNS", "DNS zone", "zone records" or "zone file"
  3. Edit the "host" (also called "subdomain" or "record") of your choice, or create a new one if needed: for example host "www" for "". The record must be of type "CNAME" (if the record already exists but is of type "A", you might need to delete it first).
    As a value for the CNAME record (sometimes labeled "points to hostname" or "other host"), enter: "". (Some DNS hosts require you to add a dot, i.e.
    Do NOT set the CNAME directly on the @ record (the @ record is the root of your domain, e.g. ""), as this would break email!
    (Optional: if there is a TTL setting, enter "3600")

    NOTE: Do not redirect directly to your own personal PhotoDeck URL - it won't work properly !!!

  4. Optional: if your DNS host allows it, add a web redirect from your domain root (e.g. "") to the hostname you have just configured (""), using a "visible" redirection. This way, visitors not typing in the "www" part will still be properly directed to your website. Different DNS hosts offer this feature in different ways, please contact your DNS host support if you need help!
Too complicated? You can:
  • Contact your domain provider's support team with the following instructions:
    Configure the "www" record as a CNAME to and set the domain root (@) as a web redirect (301, visible) to "www".
  • or alternatively, hire us to do it for you.

First step is complete. It might take a few hours to be effective. Once your URL points to PhotoDeck servers, you will see the front page of your website, or alternatively a PhotoDeck "website not found" error page. In both cases, proceed to step 2 to properly link the URL to your own website.

Q: What is your server's IP address?

A: You shouldn't need it, unless your domain host does not offer the basic options we recommend using (in which case changing host might be a good idea). Our primary IP addresses might change at any time without notice -- that is why it is important that you stay as close as possible to our recommendations.

If you really don't have a choice, you can find the current IP addresses for here, for example.

Example: OVH

  1. Find the DNS settings for your domain in the OVH admin space
  2. Under DNS Zone, delete the row and recreate it with a CNAME type (notice the dot at the end of

  3. OVH special: remove any TXT row for as they otherwise will interfere with your configuration
  4. Under Redirection, have redirect to

Example: 123-reg

See also:

For further help with this step, please contact the support of the company that manages your DNS.

STEP 2: configuring your PhotoDeck website

When Step 1 is complete, your URL will redirect to PhotoDeck, but it will not yet work properly with your website.

This second step is to tell PhotoDeck what your website custom URL is, so that when a visitor's browser comes to our servers asking for your website, the system knows that it is your website that is being requested.

  1. Log in to your PhotoDeck account, and go to: My Website / Setup / Name & URL
  2. Activate the option to use your own domain
  3. Enter your website URL, for example:
  4. Check that your DNS settings are correct, via the Check DNS settings button
  5. Click on "Save"
  6. Done! Your own URL is now connected to your PhotoDeck website, and it replaces your default URL.

STEP 3: updating manual links

This applies only if you have links in custom pages, for example, if you have build a custom splash page with an ENTER link.

Links on custom pages are created manually, and therefore not automatically updated. If you have created custom pages, make sure the links work, and update them if necessary.

Changing my website's language(s)

Your PhotoDeck website is a language freak! Not only can you change your website's language, you can also have it support multiple languages via the Multi-language add-on.

Languages other than English

All messages that PhotoDeck displays on your website have been translated into multiple languages. We have also translated the default menus for the major languages.

Once you have changed your website language, you might still need to translate your own menus, and naturally, your own content (pages, metadata, pricing profiles names...).

Multiple languages

Choosing supported languages in the Website Settings

With the Multi-language add-on, your website can work in several languages:

  • The primary language is the default language, it is the one used when going directly to your website (e.g.
  • Secondary language(s) are accessible via their own URL. For example: for Spanish, or for German.

When your website supports multiple languages, we recommend you add the "Language switcher" Component in your website design, to make it easy for your visitors to switch language.

Then, all your content can be edited in the various languages your website support.

A menu item in English and French.

Multilingual support includes image/video metadata

Note: your website automatically notifies Search Engines of the various languages available for each page. This way, Google will automatically direct visitors to the most appropriate language version of your website, depending on their location and language choice.

Using my own Terms and Conditions

Your own Terms and Conditions, if defined, must be accepted by your clients upon ordering and registering.

These terms, as well as a list of ordered images and their use description, are also delivered to your clients as a pdf file along with ordered images.

PhotoDeck terms are also included on the website, when registering or submitting an order, as the clients data is stored and processed by the PhotoDeck service. They cannot be removed.

E-commerce integration with an existing archive

How do I link images on my other website to PhotoDeck pricing and checkout?

On your other website image pages, place 'Buy' links that point to:

  • http://[your PhotoDeckURL]/media/302348fe-41ac-11df-8124-002219dda2c0/price: link to the pricing page for image whose PhotoDeck ID is 302348fe-41ac-11df-8124-002219dda2c0. Use our CSV export feature on the Images/Manage page (at the very bottom) to get the list of your images and corresponding PhotoDeck IDs. This is the safest and best-performing method
  • http://[your PhotoDeckURL]/media/IMG_1234/price: link to the pricing page for the image whose original file name starts with IMG_1234
  • http://[your PhotoDeckURL]/media/IMG_1234.JPG/price: same, using the full original image file name
  • http://[your PhotoDeckURL]/media/IMG_1234/price/rm: link to the Rights Managed pricing page for that image

Changing your website's frontpage

The front page ("home") is what visitors first see when they go to your website URL. It can be changed under My Website / Front Page.

The front page can be:

  • The index of all top-level galleries, displayed as thumbnails. This is the default. Hidden galleries are excluded.
  • A specific gallery. For example, you can display a portfolio gallery with a selection of your most unique shots (see below to create an impressive frontpage slideshow).
    Alternatively, if you have organized your galleries by categories (e.g. "Portfolio", "Archive", ...), you can also put the most important top-level gallery/category as the frontpage. The index (thumbnails) of subgalleries under it will then be displayed.
  • A custom page, if you prefer to have a free-form page on your frontpage. Note that the mobile theme will revert to the gallery index as the frontpage.

If you set a specific gallery as the frontpage, you will need to make sure that the other galleries are accessible via links in your menu. Refer to the section on menus for further help!

On mobile devices, custom pages can't be set as the frontpage for usability reasons. The gallery index will be shown instead.

TUTORIAL 1: displaying a full-bleed background or slideshow on your frontpage

Frontpage slideshow with multiple images and taking the text from the image titles

  1. Create a new custom page under My Website / Pages. Uncheck the box to add the page to the menu ;
  2. Leave the page content blank, and head directly to the Slideshow / Background tab ;
  3. Select the Background template, optionally add the text that will be displayed over the slideshow, and hit the Create button  ;
  4. Select the gallery you want to take the slideshow image(s) from. Alternatively, select to hand-pick images, save, and add the image(s) via My Images & Videos 
  5. Adjust the settings under the Text section to taste. If you display several images, instead of (or in addition to) a fixed text, you can also use the images titles to have the text change with each image. You can also adjust the slideshow luminosity and text color for legibility ;
  6. Under the page's Settings tab, set the page as the website frontpage.

TUTORIAL 2: Displaying an auto-scaling slideshow on your frontpage

  1. Set your frontpage to be a specific gallery, one that contains the images you want to display (see above). It can one of your existing galleries, or a new gallery created for that purpose.
  2. Make sure that gallery uses the default 'Portfolio' display style. (You can also use a different gallery style, but it must be set to open galleries to their first image, with both auto-scaling and slideshow enabled.)
  3. If needed, adjust the slideshow timer, loop type, transition style and maximum image crop by editing the display style. You will also be able to hide the Lightbox and e-commerce buttons if appropriate.
  4. Optional: if you wish, you can also hide the gallery so that it doesn't appear in the galleries thumbnails index.

The size and layout of the slideshow within the page will be directly based on your design.

What is a custom page?

A custom page is a page of free-form content, mostly useful for information pages.

Custom pages are independent from the galleries but, like galleries, are displayed within the global website design.

Note that custom pages do not appear in the menus displayed on your website unless you add them!

Using the rich text editor

To add your logo

  1. (Upload the logo into the Graphics Library if you have not done it already)
  2. Click on the Insert/edit image button
  3. Pick your logo image in the Image list menu (you must have uploaded the logo to the Graphics Library first)
  4. Click Insert

To add an image

  1. Open the My Images & Videos panel in a new window and select the image
  2. In the right-hand size panel, under Share image, click on Embed
  3. Select the desired size
  4. Copy the image URL
  5. In the rich text editor, click on the Insert/edit image button
  6. Paste the image URL
  7. Click Insert

To insert a link to a gallery

  1. Write and select the text on the link
  2. Click the Insert/edit link button
  3. In the Link list menu, choose the gallery
  4. Click Insert

To limit the width of the text

  1. Click on the HTML button to open the text's HTML code
  2. At the very beginning, enter <div style="max-width:600px;"> (replace 600px by the width of your choice). At the very end, enter </div>. Click Update.

What is a menu?

A menu is a set of links, displayed on your website.

Links can point to any part of your website, or to any external website (for example, your Twitter or Facebook page).

A menu is displayed within a Menu Component in your website design. There must therefore be a Menu Component in your design for each menu you wish to display. The position and style of the displayed menu is defined by the Menu Component in the design tool.

PhotoDeck base themes include a single menu. To add a new menu, you must both create a new menu (set of links) and the corresponding Menu Component in your design.

Managing a menu's links

To add a new link, use the Add a new link button and choose the kind of link you wish to add. A number of options allow you to easily link to specific parts of your website, for example to specific galleries, to the cart, etc... Use External website / full URL to link to an external page, or a page you want to provide the full URL of.

To re-order the links within the menu, simply drag and drop them into their new position.

You can also add separators to split your menu into groups. The separators have their content and style defined via the design panel, as part of the Menu Component options.

Creating a submenu

A submenu (drop down menu) allows you to nest up to 15 submenu items under a single menu item.

A submenu creates a new top-level menu item under which you can then add more submenu items. Existing menu items can’t be used as submenus, so you’ll have to set up new ones.

To create a submenu, use the Add a submenu button at the bottom of the menu editor. Once you’ve named your submenu, you can proceed to add links by clicking on the Add a new link button directly under your newly created submenu.

You can reorder submenu items just like any other menu - simply drag and drop the items into the desired order. Using separators is also possible.

Custom slideshows and page backgrounds

These custom slideshows are designed to enhance a page or a gallery overview. They can be located:

  • As the background for your website on that page. In this case, the website design will automatically adjust to display as much of the image as possible, and to unify the text color ;

    Background with splash text
  • Above the page content, showing either images in their normal proportions or a banner ;

    Banner with fixed text and image captions

To showcase a full gallery by itself in slideshow mode, use for example the Portfolio gallery style on the gallery instead of a custom slideshow.

Creating a new slideshow

To create a new custom slideshow for a gallery, open that gallery's More / Custom slideshow dialog, and and choose a template.

To create a new custom slideshow for a custom page, open that custom page in your admin space (My Website / Pages), and choose a template under the Slideshow / Background tab.

Banner above gallery index

Adding images to a slideshow

The simplest is to add images taken automatically from a gallery.

You can also hand-pick images, to remove some of them from the slideshow (e.g. images in portrait orientation), and to add images from different galleries. To add an image , open it under My Images and Videos, click on the Add to custom slideshow button in the right-hand side column, and select the slideshow. The Add to custom slideshow button will only be visible if you have a custom slideshow with hand-picked content.

The quality of the images is the same as when the images are displayed by themselves (i.e. determined by the gallery display style).

Slideshow layout

These options allow you to position the slideshow either above the content, or as a background for the page.

The Max height setting is important when you display the slideshow above the content: regardless of the size of the viewer's display, it allows to always display some of the content below the slideshow. This can be useful to constrain the slideshow to a banner format (e.g. max 40% of the window height), or to make it more obvious without scrolling that there is more content on the page than the slideshow (e.g. max 90%).

It is normally not a good idea to constrain the slideshow height if you display it as the page background!

To be able to nicely fill the whole space allocated to the slideshow, the images are cropped. The Max cropping options allow you to limit the cropping to avoid having important parts of images cut out.

Adding text to the slideshow

When adding overlaid text, it is even more important than usually to test the result also on a smartphone.

Optional slideshow text include:

  • Free text common to all the slideshow images. It can be displayed as an overlay for maximum effect, or below the slideshow.
  • Image-specific text, that will therefore change with each image. The slideshow pulls the title and/or the description of each image, which you can modify under My Images and Videos.

Slideshow using images' captions, and highly lightened

Text color and legibility

When displaying text over a slideshow (or a slideshow as a page background), it is important that the overlaid text stays highly legible. To that avail, you can change the Color of overlaid text setting. In addition, the Images luminosity option can come in handy to dim/lighten the slideshow and ensure that the text stands out.

How can I get my site (ranking well) in Google?

Your PhotoDeck website is optimized for search engines, which means that we make sure it is easy for search engines to understand how the site is structured and to discover images. We also automatically submit to search engines a sitemap of your site, including links to images, when they index your site.

To get your website in Google, you must have links from other websites pointing to your own site, preferably with your website name in the link text. You can start with links from your Facebook/Twitter/... profile

How well your site ranks on Google for specific searches depends on many factors, and the most important ones relate to how popular Google thinks your site is, based for example on the number of links coming from other websites, and how fresh the content is.

For a full guide on Search Engine Optimization, please download our Photographer's SEO Pyramid PDF.

SEO customization with PhotoDeck

If you wish to fine-tune the way search engines index your website, you can adjust a number of settings.

Main Keyword

Someone looking for photos of New York might type in a search engine "New York photos", "New York pictures" or "New York images".
Your website cannot rank high on all search terms, so pick your main keyword meaning "photograph". That word is displayed in many places throughout your website, for example below the images.

Text in Browser bar

It is a key element in how your website is indexed by search engines (also called HTML Title Tag). It usually appears as the website title on Search Engines result pages.

On galleries' pages, the browser bar text is based on the gallery name (e.g. "San Francisco"). You can add text before and/or after the gallery name.

On pages that feature a single image (or video), the browser bar text is based on the image title (e.g. "Woman on the beach"). You can add text before and/or after the image title.

HTML Meta tags

The Meta tags are embedded in the HTML code of each page, but not displayed. They are sometimes used by Search Engines.

The Meta Description sets the content of the Description Meta tag of your website. (Google sometimes uses it in Search Result pages, but not to index or rank websites).

The Meta Keywords fill the Keywords Meta tag on every page of your website. (Google does not make use of it).

Cookies Consent: what option to use and how to customize

The European Union law requires that a website shall get user consent before setting cookies. These cookies include tracking cookies used by analytics services (like Google Analytics) and by embedded content providers (Vimeo, Youtube, Facebook widgets, etc...). Purely technical, short-lived cookies such as those set by PhotoDeck are exempted.

DISCLAIMER: PhotoDeck does not offer legal advise nor qualified recommendations. If in doubt, please consult with your attorney or local government body.

Compliance is not a black-and-white thing however, and two risks must be balanced:

  • the risk of not complying with applicable regulations,
  • the business risk of alienating customers through worsened user experience on your website.

PhotoDeck provides you with several options to help you achieve the balance that is right for you.

Consent mode options

  • Don't request consent
    This option does not display any information bar about cookies, and does not prevent any cookies to be set. This is probably the best option if the EU law does not apply to you.
  • Info bar only
    This option displays an information bar to let your visitors know that your website uses cookies. Your visitors can close the information bar but cannot decline cookies. This approach is used by most large commercial websites at the time of writing (Sept 2015) but is clearly not strictly compliant with the EU law.
  • Opt-Out
    This option initially assumes that your visitors accept cookies, but displays an information bar with ACCEPT / DECLINE options. Cookies are set (tracking services and embedded third-party content are enabled), until the visitors indicates that he/she declines cookies. When cookies are declined, existing cookies are deleted when technically possible (PhotoDeck cannot delete all cookies set by embedded third-party content providers). When cookies are declined, analytics services are disabled and embedded content is also replaced by a message indicating that cookies must be accepted. This option is only slightly more taxing for the visitor than the previous one, but offers higher compliance with the EU law.
  • Opt-In
    This option disables Google Analytics and similar services, and replaces all embedded third-party content with a message indicating that cookies must be accepted. The information bar offers ACCEPT and DECLINE options. When cookies are accepted, tracking services and embedded third-party content are activated. This option offers the best legal compliance of all options, but is also the worse in terms of website usability.

Automatically generated "Cookies policy" page

PhotoDeck automatically generates for you a cookies policy page based on your chosen option for cookies consent.

This policy is linked from the default cookies consent bar on your website, and you can also add it to your website menu via its dedicated link type.

The full URL for this page is http://YOUR-SITE-URL/cookies-policy.

Customizing the cookies consent bar and the cookies policy

You can easily change the message displayed on the cookies consent bar. In this case, the link to the default generated policy is also removed, so you can either:

  • Manually add the link to the default policy into your custom message, using HTML code. For example:
    <a href="/cookies-policy">Learn more</a>
  • Create your own Cookies policy page (as a normal custom page), and add a link in your message using HTML code. For example:
    <a href="/PAGE-URL-FRAGMENT">Learn more</a> (The page URL fragment is defined as part of the custom page settings. See screenshot for full example)

Customizing the website design

Customizing my website design

A design in PhotoDeck is only concerned with the overall layout and the style of your website. Designs are like "skins", the same features are always available regardless of your design. Your website has 2 designs, one for desktop computers, laptops and tablets, and the other, optimized for mobiles.

Within any design, it is also possible to greatly customize the way the images and galleries are displayed (via the Gallery Styles), what is shown on the front page when a visitor comes to your site, etc...

The Desktop/Tablet Website and Mobile Website panels

This is where you choose and customize the overall "skin" for your website, both for the desktop/tablet and for the mobile versions. What is done on this panel applies to all pages of your website.

This is where you customize the items that form the layout of your website: logo, menus, colors, fonts, ...

  • The main panel allows you to easily access each component's settings and content.
  • The Customize theme tab opens the customization tool

Preview - Commit - Revert

You can preview a work-in-progress design via the Preview button (top-right corner of the screen), without it affecting your live website. If you are unhappy with the changes you have made, hit the Revert button to reset the work-in-progress design to what you have on the live website.

Click on Commit & apply to live website once you are happy with the changes. After that point, there is no going back to a previous design.

The customization tool

Changing the global colors allow to easily create a professional-looking and unique color palette, when the individual components' colors are automatically computed:

The options follow a hierarchy: what is customized at the global level applies to any individual component, except if that component defines its own customization. Hovering with the mouse over an option group shows what components are affected by these options:

Similarly, clicking on the "filter" icon on a component (for example your social networks icons) will bring up all relevant customization options:

Every setting has a "switch" which allows to activate or deactivate its customization:

Customized individual colors (left) vs colors automatically computed from main colors (right)

Gallery Display Styles

The gallery Display Styles allow you to customize how images are displayed, based on the purpose of the gallery they are in. Please refer to the section on Gallery Display Styles for further help.

PhotoDeck websites are designed to adapt automatically to small displays like tablets. When you change your design, it is therefore important that you make sure your website still looks great on tablets. If you don't have a tablet, simply progressively make your browser window smaller until it is approximately half the width of a standard laptop display, and you will get a good feel on how it will behave on small tablets.

Using my own logo

To use your own logo:

  1. Prepare your logo in the size and format it will be displayed on your website. If it is meant to be displayed in a side column, it is best not to go over 130-150px of width, depending on the theme. We recommend saving the logo as a PNG file, with transparency if appropriate.
  2. Go to My Website / Graphics Library and upload your logo.
  3. Go to My Website / Desktop/Tablet Website / Customize theme and open the Logo dialog. Click on the logo you've just uploaded, and hit Apply.
  4. Your logo is now visible in the preview window. Once you are happy with it, click on Commit & apply to live website.

Choosing fonts

Google fonts

Choose your font on the Google font repository. Then simply type its name in the PhotoDeck panel to select and use it!

It is best to restrict yourself to a maximum total of one or two fonts in your design, and/or a couple of font weights. This way your site will stay clean-looking, and will keep loading fast.

Clean fonts we like: Lato, Open Sans, Source Sans Pro, Roboto, Raleway, Montserrat, Vollkorn, Klara.

Typekit integration

Typekit is a leading commercial webfont provider.

  1. Enter your Typekit kit ID under My Website / Desktop/Tablet Website / Customize theme / Main site font. Your Typekit kit ID is provided on the Typekit interface:

  2. Under the Typekit interface, pick a font. Under the "Selector" option enter #ws_page to apply the font to the whole design, then hit "Publish".
    Make sure you keep the default typeset in your Typekit Kit settings. "Subsetting" will not work.

  3. The Typekit font will be visible on your website after a few minutes.

Note: If you wish to apply a font to a single component of your design, you will need to use a webpage inspector (e.g. Firebug or Chrome/Safari built-in developer tool) to identify the proper CSS selector. CSS selectors examples: #ws_page for the whole design, #ws_page .block .title for page titles, #ws_page #component_xxxxx for a given component... Note that selectors must always include #ws_page.

Standard HTML fonts

This font map shows how different font families render on standard Windows and Mac browsers.

(For each pair listed, we use additional similar-looking fallback fonts for systems where either font is not installed).

Integrating a WordPress site

Once you have completed the design of your PhotoDeck website, you can export it as a WordPress theme. This way, your blog will appear to be completely integrated into your website.

The resulting WordPress theme is based on WordPress' default Twenty-Ten theme, which is part of WordPress 3.0 (and above) distributions. If the Twenty-Ten theme is already installed (which is normally the case), all you need to do is install onto WordPress the custom PhotoDeck theme (zip file).

The theme has multiple widget areas, so it is easy to customize it with blog archives, linkrolls, tag clouds and any other WordPress widget.

Note that for best results, the block that normally contains the images on your website should be at least 950px wide.

How to install your theme on your WordPress blog

Once you have downloaded your custom WordPress theme, log onto your WordPress blog as an admin and go to: "Appearance / Install Theme / Upload".

WordPress limitation: if you want to update a former custom WordPress theme, you will have to delete it first. (If it is active, you have to switch to another theme before being able to delete it).

NOTE: does not allow the installation of custom themes. Most website hosting services offer full-fledged WordPress blogs, though.

Note to Safari users when downloading your custom theme

By default, Safari automatically opens downloaded zip files, whereas WordPress requires the theme zip file. To work around this, you have 2 options:

  • Re-create a zip archive of the downloaded folder ("PhotoDeck-WP")
  • or change Safari's behavior so that it does not open the downloaded file: Safari > preferences > General > uncheck "Open safe files after downloading"

Working with your clients

How do clients accounts work?

Regular clients can log on your website to access advanced client features, via the Client Access page.

Your visitors also have the possibility to create a Client Account. (A new Client Account is automatically created every time a visitor places an order on a PhotoDeck website, unless the email address used is already associated to an account.)

Client accounts work across all PhotoDeck websites. But when a client logs onto your website, he "stays" on your website.

When a client creates a Client Account, he receives an email and must click on a link to activate the account.

Does my client need an account?

No, it is not a requirement. At PhotoDeck we believe in making your client's life as easy as possible. A visitor can manage a lightbox and place orders without an account.

But an account offers more possibilities: a logged-in client can easily save and manage multiple lightboxes, does not need to re-enter address information upon purchase, can view past orders, etc...

How do I create an account for my client?

If your client does not already have a Client account and you wish to open one for him, follow the same steps your client would follow:

  1. go to your website's Client Login page, then Register
  2. enter your client's name and e-mail address
  3. Your client will then receive an email with the password and a link to activate his account.

Galleries for private clients: events, portraits, weddings

Here is a recommended way of setting up galleries when working with private individuals, where privacy and simplicity are key.

Once you have set up a first gallery, it will be easy to reuse the same settings for other clients.

  1. Create a new gallery, ideally nested under a common "Client Area" gallery. Use the Private Gallery preset. The gallery will use the standard Gallery Style, which is a good balance between aesthetics and proofing functionality. The gallery will be hidden, i.e. not visible in the thumbnail navigation for maximum privacy.
  2. Click on the Private, hidden link to open the access settings. Set a password to access the gallery. Setting a general password will not provide you with as much detail as to who exactly accesses the gallery, but it will be very simple for your clients. Save.
  3. Optionally, you can allow commenting on images and/or star-rating (More / Comments and star rating).
  4. Upload the images into the gallery.
  5. If the images are for sale, attach the proper pricing profile(s) to all images in the gallery.
  6. Done! All you now have to do is send the link to your clients, with the password. You can do that under the Send by email panel. Don't forget to indicate the gallery password in the message!

Allowing free high-res downloads to consumers

In some cases, you might want to allow your clients to download high-res files. This can be done by adding new authorizations to the access options.

Note that you can allow only specific clients, based on their email, to download the images. This has two benefits: you get a better control and view over who downloads what, and you can allow a wide group of people to purchase from the gallery (say wedding guests) while allowing a subset (e.g. groom and bride) to download high-res files for free. The drawback is that it requires your clients to create a login on your website in order to access the free downloads.

Alternatively, you can allow anybody with access to the gallery to download for free. This of course, will override any download pricing profile set for the individual images and won't provide you information on who downloads images.

Please refer to the help on authorizations for further help!

Proofing and delivery for professional clients

Here are two recommended ways of setting up galleries when working with professional clients, where security, accountability and effectiveness are key.

Once you have set up a first gallery, it will be easy to reuse the same settings for other clients.

Simple case: making high-res files available for quick download

  1. Create a new gallery, ideally nested under a common "Client Area" gallery. Use the Protected gallery for professional clients preset. The gallery will use the Proofing Gallery Style, which focuses on proofing functionality. The gallery will be hidden, i.e. not visible in the thumbnail navigation for maximum privacy.
  2. Upload images into the gallery.
  3. Open the Send by email panel and add your client(s) email addresses as well as the download authorizations. Hit Send.
  4. Done! You can always check/edit the client permissions under the authorization panel accessible via the Protected access link above the thumbnails.

Professional assignment proofing and delivery

This section will show you how to let a client order a selection of images or videos out of an unprocessed shoot, so you can process/retouch ordered images and delivery them, in a professional and integrated way.

  1. Create a new gallery, ideally nested under a common "Client Area" gallery. Use the Protected proof-retouch-deliver gallery preset. The gallery will use the Proofing Gallery Style, which focuses on proofing functionality over aesthetics. The gallery will be hidden, i.e. not visible in the thumbnail navigation for maximum privacy.
  2. Upload the "proof" images/videos into the gallery.
  3. Open the Send by email panel and add your client(s) email addresses as well as the download authorizations. Hit Send.
  4. Done! Your clients are now able to order a selection of images as downloads.

Typical settings for a full assignment proofing gallery.

When your client has made a selection and placed an order, you will be notified by email. When you receive the order:

  1. If needed, reprocess/retouch the images/videos on your computer. Upload them into the gallery making sure you use the same filenames as for the proof images, and using the Replace image option. This will replace the proof images with the final ones. In the upload form, also set the status of the new uploads as Final, which indicates to the system that the files are ready for delivery.
  2. When all (or part of) the images have been replaced with their Final version, open the order, and click on Deliver PENDING downloadable items now. This will trigger the delivery of the FINAL images to the client. You can do this in several iterations, as this button will only deliver images that have not been delivered yet.

Image delivery on the order page.

To get familiar with the process from a client's perspective, try it yourself with a "test client" email address! For clarity, make sure it is different from your PhotoDeck login.

Using the mailing facility

Perhaps one of the best ways to reach your clients is to use PhotoDeck’s built-in mailing facility. From rich text emails to client groups, it’s fully featured to make it easy to spread the word about your business.

To start, you’ll need to access the mailing facility via the My Business / Mailings tab. Use the Create a new mailing button: the rich text editor allows you to beautifully format your mailing, including images, tables, and more. When you’re ready, use the Save Draft button and double check everything before you send. It’s a good idea to try sending the email just to yourself at first to see it in action.

Email software vary tremendously in their ability to display complex pages. We recommend you keep your mailing layout as simple as possible!

When your message is ready, proceed to add email addresses. This is also a great place to easily add new contacts to your mailing list. Additionally, you can use client groups to effectively target different groups that you have set up.


What is a pricing profile?

A pricing profile is a set of prices that is applied to individual images (to sell a whole gallery, see the gallery's options instead).

It can be a simple price list, or a much complex structure for which the final price depends on a number of options -- PhotoDeck gives you extreme control over your offering and your prices.

To show prices on your website for an image or video clip, you must attach one or several pricing profiles to the image / video clip.

Defining several pricing profiles allows you to split your collection into different pricing tiers, and/or sell different kinds of products.

There are multiple pricing profile templates available to sell downloads, prints, stock photography, videos and documents, and all can be deeply customized.

Automated print fulfillment via a partner lab

Setting up automatic fulfillment through a leading pro lab is as easy as creating a pricing profile.

You retain all the powerful customization options and full control over pricing, taxes, and the scope of products you want to offer. In addition, you also keep a direct relationship with the lab.

Selling prints fulfilled by a partner lab

  1. To get started, simply create a partner lab pricing profile under My Business / E-Commerce / Products & Prices.

  2. Then, customize the product catalog and the prices to your preference (see dedicated help topic). You will be able to easily check estimated costs for each size/option, as well as define your own markup.
  3. Connect the profile to your account with the lab:

    Le lab will bill you directly for each fulfilled order.

    Some partner labs, like WHCC or One Vision Imaging, require a customer account with them, and it must be connected your PhotoDeck account.

    Connect a pricing profile to your account with a partner lab via the pricing profile's Lab Connection tab.

  4. Under the Taxes and Shipping tab, select the tax profile to use, and select the shipping methods to offer to your customers (see dedicated help topic). Opening the shipping profile will show estimated costs, and will also allow you to take a margin on shipping.

  5. Attach the pricing profiles to the images you wish to sell.
  6. Done! When a customer purchases a product from this pricing profile, a fulfillment order will be automatically sent to the lab.

Fulfillment options

The Automatically submit orders to this lab, on my behalf option activates the automated fulfillment. When enabled, as soon as an order on your website containing items linked to this pricing profile is paid (or manually marked as such), or when you manually trigger the delivery of such an order, PhotoDeck will order the corresponding fulfillment to the lab, on your behalf.

Alternatively, when the option is unchecked, you will have to manually trigger the lab order. In addition, when the option is unchecked, and for lab orders sent to you (i.e. not directly to your customers), you also have the option to allow lab orders to be grouped. If you frequently fulfill orders within a short timeframe that are all sent to you, this can help you save on shipping costs.

Monitoring and managing lab orders

To view all lab orders, submitted or pending submission, go to My Business / Orders / Orders to Labs. Each order placed on your website also links to the corresponding lab order(s).

Who do I contact if I need help?

PhotoDeck's role is to automatically submit orders on your behalf to the lab of your choice.

PhotoDeck's job is completed when an order is submitted to a lab: lab order follow-up must be done directly with the lab. Each lab order carries an order ID, known to the lab.

Customizing a partner lab's catalog

When you have created a pricing profile connected to a partner lab, you can customize what products to offer to your customers, and their price.

Product list

A partner pricing profile includes all the products that can be offered through this lab. The first step is to determine what products you wish to sell for your images, within this pricing profile. You can add/remove products from your pricing profile at will. Once a product has been removed, it can be re-added later on.

Don't overwhelm your customers with too wide a choice: make it easy for them, only offer a few options.

You can also change the names of the products shown to your customers, as well as their description: once you add a product to your pricing profile, the description field is pre-filled with information about the product. You can also supplement this information with your own description, and even add your own images.

The price table

For each product, its price list defines what options are available to your customers, and at what price.

The column on green background defines the "base price". Each option in the table carries its own additional price.

You can elect to simplify a product by removing options: simply keep the corresponding cells empty, and the option will not be offered to your customers.

Estimated costs

Estimated fulfillment costs for each option, provided by the lab, can be displayed via the Display estimated costs checkbox.

The system allows you to sell below estimated cost. A red background will appear for all prices that are below estimated costs.

To see the price table in action, use the Check prices facility at the bottom of the screen.

Resetting all prices based on your own markup

Prices can be reset all at once at any time via the Reset prices checkbox. This allows you to easily define prices based on your margin preferences and cost estimates provided by the partner lab. The exact formula is:

price = image price + print cost x (1 + markup on print / 100) + options cost x (1 + markup on options / 100)

The prices are then rounded according to your rounding preferences, set under the Settings tab.

Cropping, and sizes not shown on your website

Sizes that don't approximately match an image's ratio will not be shown to your customers for that image. If some cropping is still required, it will be done automatically by the lab.

Customizing Download / Royalty-Free price lists

These pricing profiles types are simple pricing lists, easy to customize, and easy for your clients to use.

You can re-order the list by simply drag-dropping rows in the list table.

When an image is delivered to your client, it is automatically resized in the size you define in the Delivery Specifications column.

Note that PhotoDeck does not display prices for sizes that are bigger than the uploaded image file.

For example, if you upload an 11 Mpixels image and if you have defined a price for 12 Mpixels, that price will not be displayed (PhotoDeck does not upsize at delivery).

Customizing Rights-Managed profiles

Rights-Managed pricing profiles are extremely customizable. To make the most of this ability, please note the following:

  • you can add/create/invent as many pricing options and sub-options as you wish
  • a pricing option can be based on a custom list of values, or it can depend on further sub-options
  • you must define a base price (and optionally a minimum price) for each group of options at the top level
  • the base price corresponds to a specific set of sub-options.
  • sub-options are ultimately based on choice lists. Lists include price ratios:

Price ratios

Price ratios answer the following question: "how much more expensive is this option compared to the base price option?"

Consider the following example:

  • the base price for an image is $100, corresponding to an A4 image size
  • in the image size value list, the following ratios are defined:
    • A4: 200
    • A3: 300

The price for an A3 image would then be: $100 * (300/200) = $150

Image delivery for Rights-Managed prices

The image is delivered in its original size and format, unless for web uses where a pixel size is defined. In that case, the image is resized to the corresponding size.

Selling a gallery as individual images, or as a single product

The images/videos in a gallery can be sold independently (as separate items), or a gallery can be sold in full (in this case all files are sold to the customer under a single price, regardless of the gallery size).

To access the pricing options for a gallery, open the gallery under and open the Prices popup.

Selling individual images

This section attaches pre-defined pricing profiles to all files in the gallery. It simply automates the process of selecting one or more images or videos and attaching/detaching pricing profiles. Please refer to the pricing profiles documentation for more information about pricing profiles.

Selling a whole gallery

This allows you to sell a gallery as a whole and deliver all files under a single price. Just like for individual images, it is possible to sell the original files downloads and/or also to sell lower-resolution downloads.

In addition, it is also possible to sell the gallery as an "offline" product, i.e. a product that you will deliver outside of the system (e.g. physical product).

Multiple options to sell a full gallery

The "Buy" button will appear on the gallery (thumbnails pages) if and only if the gallery display style used by the gallery doens't hide the gallery-wide "action buttons". In addition, this feature is only available for galleries of 500 files or less.

Downloads and stock: defining delivery format

For digital sales (stock or downloads), when defining a price value, you can indicate that the purchased image or video must be delivered in a certain format (the Description does not matter).


You can define a size in KB/MB, in which case the image will be resized to exactly your specifications (1 Mpixel = 3 MB).

Alternatively, you can define a pixel size, as well as whether the delivered image should fit within that size, or should be just big enough so that the defined size can be cropped without resizing.

For generic web/email use, considering that a standard computer display is around 1500 pixel wide, 800 pixel-wide images are usually a good compromise.

For example, if your original image width/height ratio is 3:2:

  • 100x100 px (min) will deliver an image of dimensions 150x100px
  • 100x100 px (max) will deliver an image of dimensions 100x67px

Note that PhotoDeck does not display prices for sizes that are bigger than the uploaded image file.

PPI (or DPI): a confusing figure

PPI (pixel per inch) is a figure that indicates to a printer what physical size the image should be printed to based on its pixel size. It is just a metadata figure, that has no one-to-one relation with the size or quality of an image. For example, a "300 ppi file" (commonly called "300 dpi file"), says nothing about the quality unless a size is associated with it -- a tiny 30x30 pixel image can be printed at 300 ppi, it will just come out as a 0.1 x 0.1" print.

What really matters is the pixel size!

Note that we indicate, for your clients convenience, how big a specific image size would print if it where to be printed at a "standard" 300 ppi resolution, but it doesn't mean anything more than that.


Similarly, video pricing profiles allow to define options for delivered sizes, as well as encoding format.

Prints fulfillment via your local lab

This type of automated fulfillment is meant for local and flexible pro labs, and in case our off-the-shelf partner lab integration does not suit you.

You can work with any lab for automated print fulfillment, as long as they are able to receive orders via email.

If automated fulfillment is enabled for one or more items ordered on your website, the system will automatically email an order to the lab(s) in question, on your behalf, to print and ship these items.

An order email to a lab includes:

  • The information you will have specified when connecting your account to the lab: your contact and billing information, printing and shipping preferences, special instructions, etc...
  • A delivery address, either yours or your client´s, depending on your preferences and the lab´s drop-ship capabilities ;
  • The detail of the ordered items to print (as shown in the order placed by your client, i.e. as you have specified them in their pricing profile). Your sales prices are excluded, as well as items not fulfilled by the lab ;
  • A link for the lab to download the original high-res files required for printing. No resizing or other changes will be applied.

You will receive a copy of all orders emailed to your lab(s).

Is my lab supported?

Any lab that is able to accept orders by email is supported. A lab does not need to do anything to receive orders via PhotoDeck. The lab will bill you directly.

Feel free to send your lab more information about receiving orders via PhotoDeck.

You keep a direct relationship with the labs you use. PhotoDeck´s role is merely to forward orders for fulfillment purposes on your behalf, it is therefore your responsibility to ensure that no unnecessary order is sent to a lab! You also need to make sure that the lab can work with the descriptions you use in your pricing profiles and your additional instructions.

How do I enable fulfillment by a lab?

The connection happens in your pricing profiles. For every Print pricing profile, you can associate a lab for fulfillment. This way, you can chose to have some products fulfilled by a lab, and others (using a different pricing profile) by another lab, automatically.

You can also associate a pricing profile with a lab for fulfillment without having orders automatically emailed to the lab. In this case, you will have to send the order manually via a dedicated button on the client´s order page in your admin space.

Step-by-step setup

  1. Open the pricing profile for your prints under My Business / E-Commerce / Products & Prices, and click on Lab Connection ;
  2. Activate the checkbox Products in this pricing profile are fulfilled by a third-party lab ;
  3. Configure a new lab:
    • Enter the email address of the lab where orders will be sent, and a name for the lab (for your own use) ;
    • Enter your Account number with the lab (optional) ;
    • If you wish to send the orders to the lab manually via the dedicated button on each relevant order´s page, uncheck the Automatically submit orders to this lab, on my behalf box ;
    • Fill in the instructions that will be sent with every order. For example, invoicing/billing instructions -- but don´t include confidential information! (You will be able to reuse this lab connection of other pricing profiles). You can also provide additional instructions specific to the products in the pricing profile, if needed. For example, paper and margin choice.
    • Click on the Create button.

  4. Hit Save. Done!

Make sure that the lab is able to fulfill your orders as specified !!!


To charge to shipping, select a shipping profile under the Shipping & Taxes tab. You might need to create a shipping profile first. Once the shipping profile is associated, you can define in the shipping profile settings whether you would like the lab to ship directly to your clients, or to you.

If no shipping profile is associated to the pricing profile, shipping will be free to your customers, and the lab will be instructed to ship directly to them.

Fulfillment for Packages

A lab can also be used in connection with a Package pricing profile. In that case:

  • Only the Print items will be ordered from the lab (packages can contain both prints and digital downloads) ;
  • You can also exclude items in the package from being fulfilled by the lab, via the Prices table where the package items are defined.

Grouping orders to save on shipping

To automatically group multiple client orders into a single order to the lab:

  1. Open the settings for the lab connection ;
  2. Uncheck the Automatically submit orders to this lab, on my behalf box ;
  3. Check the Group multiple customer orders into single lab orders box.

When new customer orders are ready to be delivered (e.g. when they are paid), they will be combined into a single order to the lab, until you manually send that grouped order to the lab (via the dedicated button from any relevant customer order page).

Discount coupons

Coupon codes are a great way to promote your products and reach new customers. It's a familiar concept with online shoppers, and setting one up for your own clients is fast and easy.

  1. Navigate to My Business / E-Commerce / Coupons and click on Create a new coupon. The first thing you'll want to do is give your coupon an informative name to help you keep track of it. For example, you could name it "30% Discount" or name it after a client group you want to use the coupon, such as "Repeat customers". Note that your customers won't see this name.

  2. Next, enter a code that you will give to your clients. This can be anything you like, so be creative! If you're setting the coupon up for a single customer, this would be a great opportunity to make them feel unique by including their name in the code, for example.
  3. Now you're ready to set up the actual discount. This can be a set amount or a percentage. You can also set up a minimum order requirement - a good idea especially to incentivize customers to purchase more. If you only want the discount to apply to a specific product, you can assign it to a pricing profile directly.

If you're giving a global discount, be careful to not apply additional discount rules for individual pricing profiles. The discounts will be added together, and you may end up giving a much bigger discount than intended.

Your clients may have only one coupon in their carts. A coupon can only be applied to items attached to the same taxes.

What is a shipping profile?

A shipping profile defines a method of shipping and its associated prices.

Shipping profiles must be attached to the pricing profiles they correspond to (you can reuse the same shipping profile for different pricing profiles).

You can also create and attach multiple shipping profiles to the same pricing profile, to offer various shipping options to your clients: "standard shipping", "overnight delivery"...

Shipping options for partner lab fulfillment

When using a partner lab to fulfill print orders, shipping profiles specific to the lab are available and must be used.

Partner labs can either ship products directly to your customer ("drop-ship"), or to you.

To enable/disable a shipping method, simply check/uncheck the corresponding box under the pricing profile's Tax & Shipping.

Lab shipping directly to the customer

When the lab ships directly to your customers, the shipping options and prices are directly linked to what the lab will actually charge you. You can optionally also define a markup on the estimated costs.

Shipping directly to your customers is by far the simplest option.

Lab shipping to yourself

When the lab ships to you, you can create a fully customized shipping profile to define your own prices. Note that you must then aim to recover both the shipping costs charged by the lab when sending products to you, and the costs of forwarding to your customers.

This option is useful when you must review the products before forwarding to your customers, or when your customers can physically pick-up the products from you.

This option can also be handy to ship to destinations not covered by the lab, or when the lab's drop-ship prices are prohibitive.

How do custom shipping profiles work?

When a client purchases an item on your website, the system looks for Shipping Profiles attached to this item (based on its Pricing Profile).

If there are several shipping profiles available for that item, they are displayed as options, and the client can choose upon checkout. (A client can therefore split an order into different shipping methods). To offer multiple shipping options, you must create a shipping profile for each option.

Ordered items are then grouped by Shipping Profile. If the items are in different Shipping Tiers, the price for the Shipping Tier with highest Priority (usually the most expensive) is used. Shipping tiers are used to offer different prices based on size and weight (see below for details).


You have defined 2 shipping methods (ie. you've created two shipping profiles), "Standard Mail" and "Expedited delivery", and associated them to your Pricing Profile for Prints.

For both Shipping Profiles, you have defined 2 shipping tiers, "small items" and "large items".

A client purchases the following:

  • 1 large, framed print with Standard Delivery
  • 4 small-size prints with Standard Delivery
  • 2 small-size prints with Expedited Delivery

The shipping costs to your clients will be the sum of:

  • price for "large items" in the "Standard Delivery" Shipping Profile
  • price for "small items" in the "Expedited Delivery" Shipping Profile

Shipping Tiers

Shipping tiers are used to define what price to apply, within a shipping profile, based on the size/weight of items. (Shipping tiers are invisible to your clients. To offer multiple shipping options, you must instead create a shipping profile for each option.)

It is a good idea to align Shipping Tiers as closely as possible to the Shipping Tiers used by your Shipping carrier. For example "Small items under 1 pound" would be a good shipping tier if the shipping carrier for that Shipping Profile has defined such a tier.

Shipping Tier Priority

When multiple items of different sizes are purchased, the underlying idea is that the biggest item(s) define the shipping cost.

To that avail, the Priority defines what tier should be used when multiple items are purchased, with different Shipping Tiers.

For example, when a client purchases items in a "large items" Shipping Tier, and items in a "small items" Shipping Tier, the Shipping price will be the one corresponding to the Shipping Tier with highest priority (normally the most expensive).

Note that the number of items purchased does not affect the price.

Attaching Shipping Profiles to Pricing Profiles

For each Pricing Profile, you can offer several shipping options, by linking the Pricing Profile to several Shipping Profiles.

When attaching a Shipping Profile to a Pricing Profile, you will define the default Shipping Tier to be used. For example, if you sell mostly small prints, the default Shipping Tier for a Shipping Profile would be the one corresponding to small items.

Then, for each option in the Pricing Profile, you can define a new Shipping Tier that will override the default. For example, if the default Shipping Tier is for small items, you can specify that for large prints, the Shipping Tier be changed to one for bigger items.

Step-by-step shipping setup

  1. Create a new Shipping Profile based on the template of your choice (one Shipping Profile corresponds to one shipping carrier/option) ;
  2. Customize the Shipping Profile with a proper description, and chose what Tax Profile, if any, should be applied to the shipping costs ;
  3. Check the shipping tiers your shipping carrier uses, based on package weight and/or size ;
  4. Define your own Shipping Tiers based on your carrier's shipping tiers. Keep in mind that the quantity of items purchased will not affect the price, and that for any order, only 1 tier per Shipping Profile will be used. Create the shipping tiers in the Shipping Profile, and assign them priorities (the more expensive the Shipping Tier, the higher the priority) ;
  5. Adjust your prices for each shipping tier / destination combination, adding/removing destination territories at will ("Default" territory applies for destinations not otherwise specified)
  6. For each Pricing Profile that should have Shipping and Handling costs attached:
    1. Attach the new Shipping Profile to the Pricing Profile, under the Pricing Profile settings, and specify the default Shipping Tier to use (the most common based on the Pricing Profile offer) ;
    2. For items in the Pricing Profile requiring a different Shipping Tier, indicate the Shipping Tier to use;
  7. Repeat from Step 1 if you wish to offer different shipping options to your clients ;
  8. Done!

How do custom quotations work?

The Quotations system allows you to handle price requests and negotiations with the same level of automation and professionalism as with standard sales.

Your clients can request a quotation for single images, or for the images in a lightbox (and it works with video clips, too).

When you receive a quotation request, you can access it via your PhotoDeck account (under My Business / Orders / Quotations) to handle it: set the description (it will be used in the final receipt to the client) and price for each item. Then, send the quotation to the client.

The client can then get back to you if needed, and ultimately, add the quotation to her cart and complete the checkout in the same way as for standard stock sales. If you have allowed it, the images will be automatically delivered upon payment. For video clips, you can also specify the delivery format.

Sending a new custom quote to a client

To create a new quote for a client who has not requested it via your website, go to your website and copy their request as a new Quotation Request, on their behalf, using their name and email address!

This will create a new quotation in your admin space (your client will not be notified upon the initial creation), which you can then process as if the client had made a quotation request through your site.

Integrating with Credit Card Payment Providers

I already have a merchant account with XXX, can I use it?

It is only possible to use the providers we have integrated with: the payment integrations are complex, as the system must be notified when payments have been made (for example, to automatically deliver digital purchases). It is not possible to easily add new payment providers.

Paypal integration

For Paypal, all you need is inputting the email address you use to access your Paypal account. Don't forget to disable Paypal's shipping and tax calculations if you have used them in the past and now prefer to use PhotoDeck's!

Stripe integration

  1. Open an account with Stripe if you don't already have one, and sign-in;
  2. Activate your Stripe account according to their instructions. Keep your account in TEST mode to start with;
  3. Open the API panel;
  4. In a new window, open your PhotoDeck admin space, and under My Business / E-Commerce / Payments, configure your Stripe integration by copy-pasting the 2 test API keys provided by Stripe (secret and publishable);
  5. Copy-paste the webhook URL shown in the PhotoDeck admin space to your Stripe account configuration under API / Webhooks
  6. Run a quick test on your site: place an order, and pay via Stripe using test card number 4242 4242 4242 4242, a future expiry date and random CVC number;

  7. Once successfully tested, you can replace the test API keys by the live keys, and put your Stripe account into LIVE mode.

SOFORT and iDEAL via Stripe

To add SOFORT or iDEAL as a payment method on your website, activate it first on your Stripe account (Payments / Settings), then create the new payment processor in PhotoDeck.

The new payment processor can then be configured in your PhotoDeck panel just like for the standard Stripe payments (see previous paragraph).


You need an account with Authorize.Net to access their Server Integration Method (SIM) service. Note that Authorize.Net serves only US clients and only supports US dollars.

  1. Login to your Merchant Account with Authorize.Net
  2. Under Account / Transaction Format Settings / Response/Receipt URLs, add to the Default Relay Response URLs the following URLs: http://[your website URL]/payment/notify and http://[your website URL]/m/payment/notify, for example: and
  3. Under Account / General Security Settings, set the MD5-Hash value to a random string of characters of your choice
  4. Under Account / General Security Settings, note your API Login ID. You should have also received from Authorize.Net a Transaction Key.
  5. In your PhotoDeck admin panel, under Checkout settings, configure your Authorize.Net payment integration by copying your API Login ID, your Transaction Key and your MD5-Hash.
  6. Activate the payment processor in your PhotoDeck admin panel
  7. Do a test purchase and verify that the purchase is automatically marked as Paid in your PhotoDeck panel
  8. Done!

Moneybookers (Skrill)

  1. Connect to your Moneybookers account. Under My Account / Merchant Tools, set your Secret Word to a random string of characters of your choice. This is necessary to make sure that payments are automatically marked as paid on your PhotoDeck website. (If you didn't use the link above to register and don't find the Secret Word option, e-mail to request Merchant Tools to be enabled)
  2. Under My Account on the Moneybookers website, note your Customer ID.
  3. In your PhotoDeck admin panel, under My Business / E-Commerce / Payments, configure your Moneybookers payment integration by copying your Moneybookers login (email address), Customer ID and Secret Word.
  4. Activate the payment processor in your PhotoDeck admin panel
  5. Do a test purchase and verify that the purchase is automatically marked as Paid in your PhotoDeck panel
  6. Done!

Accepting other forms of payment

You can accept any form of payment outside of the system, by using an "offline payment" payment processor as an alternative for checkout. See this example:

Example payment page with 2 alternatives. The descriptive text and the buttons are customizable.

Your offline payment instructions. The photographer is notified when the client clicks on "Accept".

Once an offline payment is received, a single click on Mark order as paid in your admin space will initiate the automated delivery of any licensed image file present in the order.

What happens when a client orders digital images or video clips?

  1. After the client enters his address in the checkout flow, a new order is recorded in the database, and you are notified by email.
  2. If you have enabled manual validation for all orders, the client is notified that the order will be processed offline and that you will get back to him.
  3. Otherwise, the client is directed to the payment page: if you have enabled credit card payment, there will be a "secure payment" button on the page that will take the client to the credit card processor. If you have not configured a credit card processor, no payment button will be displayed, only your payment instructions (or a default "contact us" text if you have not specified instructions either).
  4. When the order for a license is paid (by the client via credit card, or if you click on Mark order as paid on the order page in case of off-line payment), the image is automatically delivered to the client. You can also force the delivery of the digital files even if no payment has been made.

How are digital images/videos delivered?

PhotoDeck sends the client an email with links to download the images. The images are resized to the purchased size for RF uses, as well as for those RM uses where a pixel size is defined. The images are sent in the same format they have been uploaded in (JPG or TIF), and all the metadata present at upload is preserved.

If the order contains many images, a zip archive download is offered.

A PDF copy of your own Terms and Conditions is also included if you have specified them (under My Website / Setup / Advanced Settings).

Alternatively, the client can download the images via your website, from his secure area.


What is a lightbox?

A lightbox is a selection of images from your website.

Lightboxes allow your clients to select images, save that selection, and share it with others, along with comments.

When this feature is enabled, you will find the lightboxes created on your site under My Images & Videos / Lightboxes.

Lightboxes for new / anonymous visitors

A new lightbox is created as soon as a visitor clicks for the first time on an Add to lightbox button. To be able to access the lightbox later on, a client must save it to his account (i.e. create an account on your site if needed).

Once a lightbox is saved, it receives a unique URL and can be shared.

Lightboxes for logged-in clients

Clients with a PhotoDeck Client account can save and manage multiple lightboxes. From the lightbox page on your website, they can switch easily between lightboxes they have created, and lightboxes that you (or other visitors) have shared with them by email.

When a logged-in client shares a lightbox, the recipient must log in to edit the lightbox (everyone with the link can view the lightbox).

Read-only lightboxes

When sharing a lightbox, a logged-in client can choose to keep the lightbox "read-only". This way, the person with whom the lightbox is shared can view but not modify the lightbox.

Controling the lightbox access

Click on Authorizations to open the access control panel. You can add new clients to the access list, and indicate whether they are allowed to modify the lightbox content.

Sending a lightbox to customers

  1. Create the lightbox in your administration space under My Images & Videos ;
  2. Select files from your galleries, and drag-drop them into the lightbox, or use the Add to lightbox button in the right-hand side column ;
  3. Open the Authorizations panel, add your customer(s) email address(es) ;
  4. Check the Notify box for each client to send a email to, add a message, and save.

An email will be sent to all selected customers, guiding them through the account creation process when needed.

If you don't want customers to have to log in, you can also leave the lightbox in public access, and email separately the direct link to the lightbox on your website. You can edit the lightboxes access rights at any time via the lightbox authorization panel.

If the images are not in any gallery, or if you want the customer to be able to make his own sub-selections, it is preferable to create a client gallery instead of a lightbox.

Website Activity tracking

Understanding the Statistics

Your own visits to your website are included in the stats.

Latest Visitors and Latest Searches

The Date is displayed in your local timezone (adjustable via ME / My Profile).

Origin is the estimated location of the visitor. It is based on the IP address. Note that advanced Internet users can easily spoof their location.

Pages is the number of pages viewed during that visit.

Latest Price Views

Views is the number of time the pricing page was accessed or refreshed. If the pricing profile is a multi-option profile (with drop-downs), every change in selection in a drop-down triggers a new calculation and adds to this number.

Why do I get different results with Google Analytics?

It is normal to see significantly less visits reported via Google Analytics or StatCounter.

Google Analytics uses Javascript for tracking, so visitors need to have Javascript enabled for their visits to be recorded. In addition, it is easy for visitors to forbid Google Analytics tracking.

On the other hand, PhotoDeck stats are based on server-side access logs, and that may include visits by automated robots (although we don't include in the stats the robots we know about).

Suspicious-looking activity

I noticed a large number of pageviews from a certain location. Should I be worried?

PhotoDeck logs include these automated robots we don't know about. Having one's site crawled by automated robots is normal and is not necessarily an indicator of suspicious activity -- after all, the Internet is public. If image theft is a concern, make sure you have an adequate watermark on your images. Your private galleries and high-res files are always protected.

Can I block visits from country X?

No. It is not possible to reliably know where a visitor is located, and IP-address based filters only give a false sense of security. It is easy to spoof one's IP address / location, for example using a virtual private network (VPN), which is nowadays commonplace.

Account and billing

Managing your subscription

Access your account and billing preferences via ME / My Account. From this page you can renew & upgrade your account, purchase additional options such as expanded storage, as well as set up auto-renewal.

Please see this page for all the details on the different plans and optional add-ons.

Renewing your account

From the My Account page, you can easily renew your subscription in 1, 3, and 12 month intervals (3 and 12 months for the LITE plan and the add-ons). If you have purchased optional add-ons, the system will also renew them if possible.

Setting up auto-renewal

You can make your life a little easier by setting up auto-renewal via the Billing preferences section. Auto-renewal kicks in 1 week before the expiry of a subscription, and also includes other subscriptions (e.g. add-ons) set to expire before the end of the new subscription. Of course, you can cancel auto-renewal at any time from this section as well.


You will receive a simple payment receipt by email for every purchase. For proper book-keeping purposes, invoices in PDF format can be found under ME / My Orders.

Purchasing Add-ons

Use the Purchase options button to add additional features to your cart. These include for example expanded storage and the multi-language option.

Note that the same add-on cannot be purchased multiple times. For example, if you already have subscribed to a 40GB extension add-on, you cannot purchase a second one, you must pick the 100GB add-on instead (and let the 40GB add-on expire).

Canceling an add-on

To cancel a subscription to an add-on:

  1. Disable auto-renewal if it is enabled
  2. Renew manually your subscription (without the add-on) until the add-on expires
  3. Once the add-on has expired, you can re-enable auto-renewal.

Upgrading/downgrading your subscription

You can upgrade/downgrade your subscription at any time using the All plans button. Note that changes are immediate when you switch to a different plan. If you downgrade, please do make sure you understand what features and customization you will be losing!

Closing a PhotoDeck account

Simply make sure that auto-renewal is disabled and let your subscription expire. Your website and images will be automatically and permanently deleted after expiry. We're sad to see you go, please let us how PhotoDeck could have served you better!

Tell-your-Friends program

With the "Tell-your-Friends" program, you get rewarded for helping the PhotoDeck community grow, all while helping your friends save some money.

Here is what your coupon code is about:

  • The code gives your friends a 50% discount on their first month with PhotoDeck!
  • Every time a new member uses your code, we immediately add 1 full month to your own PhotoDeck subscription

(Your coupon code is displayed on your dashboard. You must have previously purchased a subscription to be eligible.)

How to promote your coupon

Here are a few ideas:

  1. email your photographer friends to tell them why you like PhotoDeck, and that with your coupon they get 50% off their first month
  2. put it on your blog or website
  3. share your coupon code on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, ...
  4. blog about it
  5. share with your local photographer community or camera club

Have more ideas? Share them on our Facebook page!

Important notes

  • Like you, we don't like spam: please be considerate in how you promote your coupon
  • The overall idea of the program is to reward members that actively promote PhotoDeck: your code must not appear on PhotoDeck pages or coupon-sharing sites... In case of abuse, your code will be de-activated without notice, and reward subscriptions will be canceled.
  • Any aspect of this program, including rewards and discount, might change at any time