Photo Folio News

Before APhotoFolio you either worked with a programmer to create a one-off design that was locked and rigid or you bought a template that was locked and rigid. We created open and flexible sites that allow the user to adjust everything without extra cost and programmer nightmares.

We build custom websites where YOU can change everything yourself.

See for yourself, the thousands of top photographers and artists who’ve chosen the freedom of a custom site from us (click here).

 

Finally, we eliminated the hassle of trying to figure out how much space you needed, how much bandwidth (who would ever know that?), how many images you wanted in each portfolio and even how many portfolios. There is no limit.

I guess you could say we got tired of hearing people say “No, you can’t do that.” With APhotoFolio, you can.

 

We recently launched our new European Datacenter to better serve our customers on that side of the world. Existing customers were moved over at no cost. Initial feedback when viewing the sites in their new location was:

“Wicked Fast”

Visit these sites from Europe to see for yourself:

chrisdodduk.com

bipedpictures.com

guphoto.co.uk

danielogorman.com

office36.com

Now, when you sign up for a site with us you can choose between the European Datacenter (based in London) or the American Datacenter (centrally located in Texas).

Photo District News awarded 5 of our sites best website design for 2011. I couldn’t be more thrilled as an affirmation of the incredible product we’ve created but also because the tools allow photographers to make the sites their own.

Several of the award winning designs came from the exact same template except the photographers easily put their own stamp on each one to make it uniquely recognizable for an award.

PDN is a magazine about photography and really what our sites do better than anyone else is make looking at pictures enjoyable, so you don’t notice the design. In my book that’s what makes them award winning.

Congratulations to Dan Winters, Brian Smith, Brett Danton, Michael Clark and Erik Skaar.

 

I’m happy to announce the latest update to the mobile version of our websites. It’s available on all new sites and our current clients have been updated as well. With this version we lead the industry in mobile sites and here’s why:

  • Built from the ground up, our new mobile sites match the gravitas of our main sites
  • All of your outbound links work including snazzy icons for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Captions are supported and look fantastic
  • Images can be zoomed
  • Video is fully supported
  • You have total color control from within the APF admin
  • Works on all the new Android devices and of course the iPhone
  • Unlimited images, galleries, pages, videos and links

When we started building websites 3 years ago a mobile version was a nice add-on (most of our competition didn’t even have one) but not a deal breaker. Now, I’m certain that many of the all important first-impressions and even complete hiring decisions will happen on mobile devices (if they haven’t already) and so we built a site that will help you beat the competition. If you don’t believe me check out these numbers:

  • 101.2 million smart phones were sold in the 4th quarter of 2010 (Yes, that’s only 3 months of sales)
  • 22.3 million had Android running on them
  • 16.2 million were iPhones

Here’s a look at a few of the different screens:

Menu Screen:

photo1

Gallery:

photo16

Caption:

photo17

Text Pages:

photo6

Social Networking Icons:

photo10

Bio Page Image:

photo9

Video:

photo7

Video Playing:

photo8

Note: Everything works in both Landscape and Portrait mode (images, videos, pages, menu).

Phew! 2010 was an exciting year to be in the website business. The technology is evolving so fast we just keep the accelerator mashed to the floor to stay ahead of it.

The iPad release was by far the biggest story of the year and we were the first website company to release an iPad mirror site built in HTML5 and then the only company to update it and add more features. We think the iPad is an awesome device and see all kinds of tablets coming from other companies next year. Of course we will be working hard to update and enhance the iPad experience for our clients throughout 2011.

We saw a lot of changes from google this year as well and released an updated HTML5 mirror site to all of our users to take advantage of them. We continue to believe flash gives the best user experience on the desktop but we will continue to work hard in 2011 to make sure we have our HTML5 skills up to speed if any of that changes.

PDN gave us two awards for website design this year and I think we’ve got a pretty good chance to get a few more next year. We have some great new designs in the planning stages that adhere to our mantra of “building simple to use, big, clean, feature rich websites without fuss.”

At the beginning of the year we built APhotoClient, an image/shoot delivery tool that works seamlessly with our sites. I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews from the people using it for two simple reasons:

  1. You look like a buttoned-up pro when clients get their shoots delivered like this
  2. The clients don’t need an instruction manual to operate it.

Then, we just released an incredibly simple yet powerful PDF creator for all our clients to use.

Of course we plan to tinker with both of those next year. I keep a list of all the great ideas our clients come up with.

Finally, all year long we’ve done constant work under the hood on all these sites to improve our clients and their users experience.

So, what can you expect from us in 2011? I’ve already got 3 major projects set to launch in the first quarter of the year, but after that, well, just like in 2010 we plan to keep the pedal mashed to the floor and build whatever we need to continue to be the leader in innovation for portfolio websites.

Happy New Year.

Rob Haggart
APhotoFolio.com

We just added an awesome new feature to all the sites: a portfolio PDF creator. What makes this feature so great is that it’s 1000 times more useful than the PDF’s you will find on other portfolio websites. First off, I’m not going to take any credit for this thing besides recognizing a useful tool when I see it. One of our clients, photographer Timothy Devine has it on his site and I begged him to tell me where he got it (his brother made it and made a similar one for us). See it in action here:

http://www.georgekavanagh.com/pdf
http://barisonzi.com/pdf
http://jasondeweyphoto.com/pdf/
http://www.russandreyn.com/pdf
http://www.keithclouston.com/pdf
http://www.furmanfoto.com/pdf
http://www.jenniferrauphotography.com/pdf

What’s so awesome about this tool is how it allows your clients to make their own custom PDF of your work by selecting the images they want and the order they want them to appear in. This solves the two big problems with most portfolio PDF’s that make them universally useless:

  1. They’re usually too big and take forever to download
  2. They usually contain unwanted images

If you think about this from the clients prospective (which is all I really do) there’s no reason to download a pdf with a bunch of images you don’t like. If you’re sending it to your boss it will hurt your chances of hiring a photographer you want for a job. If you’re keeping it for reference it’s too unwieldy to keep around.

Finally, the simplicity and ease of use follows our design philosophy.

I can also see photographers using it themselves to make custom PDF’s to send to clients (you can change the cover page and adjust the size in a special settings area).

Enjoy.

pdfcreator

An important component to any Flash website is the HTML mirror site. We mirror our sites so search engines (google, bing, yahoo) can see inside them and index all the content. Google recommends doing this in their webmaster guidelines (here and here) and we’ve seen solid SEO results using this technique.

As a company we believe very strongly in evolving anything that we build, so I’m happy to announce an update to the HTML mirror of all our sites. With this update, our mirror now leads the industry in design and function.

Here are some of the changes we’ve made:

  • Easily crawlable, SEO-friendly URLs
  • Valid HTML5 pages
  • Unique browser titles and content for every single page
  • Support for redirects (improves link juice for your blog, facebook page, etc.)
  • Thorough use of image captions to improve SEO (make sure to caption your images in your admin)
  • Automatically detects the Flash Player and redirects users to your main APF site (if your /html/ site ranks well, visitors will still see your Flash site)
  • Also redirects to your iPad site when Mobile Safari is detected
  • Clean, simple interface for users without Flash installed

newhtml

Check out this fantastic video of Corey Miller talking about our websites at the PDN PhotoPlus Expo:

Thanks to John Harrington of Photo Business News and Forum for the video report.

We’ve been steadily making improvements to the iPad sites since we first launched them, but a couple key changes just happened that I think you may be interested in knowing about.

Smaller images being loaded. We decided to load a smaller image than the one used on the sites to improve the speed.

Improved swipe. The swipe just got 10 times better. I couldn’t be happier about that.

New admin area for changing colors and adding social networking to the contact page. All the iPad sites have an admin where you can change colors, switch to a custom designed white version (default is black) and add social networking links to your contact page.

Admin:

Picture 9

Change colors:

Picture 6

Add a custom designed white version:

Picture 7Add Social Networking links to your contact page:

Picture 4

Picture 5

One of the most impressive features of our websites is their ability to scale images to fill any size screen. And, if there was any feature that allows our sites go “one louder” it’s the ability to make the images go full screen within the browser (available on all designs). Many photographers like to use this feature on their landing page slideshow. http://kcarmstrong.net is a good example of that but that’s not the only place this unique feature can be applied. The other is throughout the portfolio. Photographer Erik Skaar has opted for this approach and you cannot deny that this takes the impact of his images to the next level:

skaar1

skaar2