My photography website. Use a service, or develop it myself?

That's the question I had since the beginning when I launched my Photography website. (Having a technical background, the option to do so is available which explains the question.)

There are really numerous services to create your own website. Especially services for creatives. To me there are only a few that really make a difference. At least for photographers. Using such a service, which doesn't require the user to have any technical background, is of course a blessing for many. But if you do have this background, it itches to build something custom. At least in my case. Then again, there's the time factor which is the biggest issue here.

I used two services for a long time for my photography website. You can start with choosing a design you like, attach the service to your domain and you're all set. That is, not to forget that it might be time consuming to upload the selection of imagery you like to showcase.

That's how I did it to this date.

Every time I have photo's to present to my clients I find it a good user experience to have those photos made available in a client area of the same website. I really don't want to Wetransfer the photos. That's not an optimal way to present your work to your clients. By offering your clients such a client area, those images mostly also are taken into account within the plan you're subscribed to if you use a service. Which, of course, sounds very logical if you look at different pricing models lying around.

That's where I constantly got triggered to think about building a solution myself.

Now, a few years later I decided to do so. Of course not only the image count mentioned above made me jump in, but many other things I thought of where a factor of the final decision.

Now I have full control of what happens, which I like a lot. Of course it takes time to build some features, but the joy I get from building and offering those features is just so rewarding. Not to forget, the extra experience I get while building my own solution is priceless as well.

Now that I've build my own solution I am able to; 

  • offer clients access to their work, without constraints and restrictions. 
  • can count the number of client downloads
  • get notified instantly when and which images are downloaded
  • calculate the average color and even the color palette of an image for design purposes
  • show a really nice custom UI on the client area
  • give custom properties to photos to do all sorts of logic with them for the UI
  • and so forth...

It's an ongoing effort, but I see it as an "extra" towards my clients on top of the photography work I'm offering. The whole package must lead to a certain customer experience, and I'm convinced that this all helps towards this goal.

This experience will probably have a follow up. But so far, I'm psyched!

14 oktober 2018
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