This guide is designed to help you achieve two things, in an efficient manner:
We've worked very hard to build a product we are proud of, a solution to real-life needs. But we also recognize that we can't be everything to everyone, each solution has benefits and drawbacks, and more importantly, everyone has different needs. We don't want to waste your time.
This guide will help you focus first on what really counts, in order to get a working solution that effectively supports your business in as little time as possible, without compromising potential future improvements and customization.
So with both objectives in mind, the approach we recommend is one of progressive iterations. For example, if you are looking for an integrated portfolio and proofing solution, you should not spend days customizing the design before even setting up the proofing part. This is also the approach we used when building PhotoDeck.
We recommend you follow the steps outlined in this guide, but you can safely skip some to back to them later.
Remember that everything in PhotoDeck can be changed or refined at a later stage.
Please let us know if you have comments or suggestions to improve this guide!
Important note: changes can take a few minutes to appear on your website.
Head over to My Website / Setup / Name & URL.
Don't jump into the website design/style just yet, it won't be practical until you add some images...
In this section, you will create your first galleries in such a way that they match the purpose(s) of your website and provide a solid foundation for the long term.
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.
With PhotoDeck, it is possible to create up to 1000 subgalleries under any gallery, including the root gallery.
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
Here are a few important examples - you don't need to create them all at once:
Note that when a gallery is empty, it is not visible on your website.
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).
|Preset||Display style||Access settings|
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.|
After you have set up the basic structure for your galleries, you are ready to create your first "real" gallery, with images/videos.
Open the top-level gallery that is most important for your website (Portfolio, Client proofing...), then click on New subgallery. This will nest the new gallery under that top-level gallery.
Name it (e.g. "Portfolio 1", "X+Y Wedding"...) and choose a preset.
When the gallery is created, you are finally ready to upload images or videos into it! Upload via the Upload to gallerybutton.
At this point, only upload a few test images. A watermark will be applied to images when they are uploaded, and it cannot be easily changed without re-uploading.
You can also customize the watermark already now, from the upload window.
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.
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.
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.
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).
At this point, you have created galleries and uploaded images to at least one gallery. Time to go look at how your website looks!
Click on the top-right corner button with your website name on it. This will open your website in a new window.
For the time being, you will most likely see only a thumbnail for the top-level gallery you have created that contains images, and clicking on it, it will show you another thumbnail for the actual gallery that contains images.
Feel free to create a couple more galleries if you wish -- or move on to the next step.
In this section, we will start customizing the website design so that it matches more closely your brand, and so that you get an understanding of the customization possibilities offered within the system.
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.
Each theme includes the following default display styles:
|Style||What for?||What it does|
|Portfolio||To showcase your work with as little visual distraction as possible||Aesthetics first: large images, no distracting action buttons or metadata (so it's not suitable for ecommerce or proofing galleries), automatic slideshow, no search box.|
|Proofing||Usability first: best user interface for a client to select images.||Uncropped thumbnails with hover preview, easy access to proofing features and image information.|
|Standard||Simple ecommerce and search||Somewhere between the Portfolio and Proofing styles, good compromise between usability and aesthetics.|
|Blog||Blog index and blog posts||Displays a gallery like a blog: big previews on the same page, image descriptions readily visible as text, ...|
The display style customization screen is made of 3 main sections:
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.
It is also in this section that you can adjust the size / quality of the images and videos displayed on your website.
Image quality on a website is always a compromise between:
- displayed size on screen
- 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.
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".
A notable option here is the Click on gallery cover opens parameter. This will dictate if visitors see a large image / slideshow or thumbnails when they first enter a gallery.
Use this section to customize the way thumbnails are displayed. 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.
Hide components in this gallery style
This allows you to hide parts of your design in the galleries that use this gallery style.
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:
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!
Frontpage slideshow with multiple images and taking the text from the image titles
The size and layout of the slideshow within the page will be directly based on your 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...
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, ...
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.
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:
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.
Head over to My Website / Desktop/Tablet Website and explore the base themes. First, look for a theme that has the layout you like most. Then, select the color variant that is closest to what you'd like.
Once you've found the base theme that is closest to what you wish, click on Commit & apply to live website. This will apply the theme to your website.
Preset themes are just starting point for your customization.
To use your own logo:
You can also quickly adjust the colors and fonts used on your website, still under My Website / Desktop/Tablet Website
It is possible to go further in customizing your design, via the Advanced tab of the Design editor, as well as by customizing the gallery Display Styles.
Note that this can be a time-consuming task without direct impact to your business. Unless you are only building a simple portfolio website, we recommend that at this point in this guide, you move on to populating your website and setup ecommerce and/or proofing features.
You can safely skip this section if you are not interested in using PhotoDeck to sell images.
In this section, we will see how to price images/videos and/or full galleries.
To get started, create your first "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.
Go to My Business / E-Commerce / Products & prices to create a new pricing profile: use one of our example templates, then adjust to taste the options and prices. Start with only a few options initially.
Once your pricing profile is defined, go to My Images & Videos, select the images you wish to sell under that pricing profile, and in the right-hand-side panel, attach the new pricing profile to these images.
On your website, pricing options will then appear for these images.
At this point, we strongly recommend you test the system, putting yourself in the role of a client, to better understand how it works. For clarity, remember to use a different email address for the test client than the one you use to access your PhotoDeck account!
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.
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.
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.
With a pricing profile defined, you can delve deeper into setting up a shipping profile, if you sell physical goods, as well as a tax profile to compute taxes at checkout based on the location of your clients.
In addition, you will probably want to connect to a payment solution provider, like for example PayPal, or offer a solution for offline payments.
You will find help with these topics on their respective pages in your admin interface. You can also perform these steps later on.
In this section, we will see how to create your first client galleries for two common assignment cases: private consumers as clients (for social photographers), and editorial/commercial proofing with professional clients.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
By now, you should have a fully working website, and a pretty good understanding of PhotoDeck's overall capabilities.
Our objective is to offer a simple interface for the most important tasks, but provide you with extended control at the same time, via advanced options. There is plenty to be customized and many, many options, so if you have a special need, either in terms of design or in terms of functionality, feel free to explore further!