Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Quest for the Perfect Photo Gallery/Site/Store

I have been looking for the ideal solution for my pictorial sharing ambitions, the problem is, there is no one service or product that will satisfy them all. The main reason is that I want to share my photos with others in many different capacities. I'll list the main categories below with their desired primary attributes for ease of future discussion.
  1. Family/Close Friends: Event Sorted, Login Protected, Album Browsing, Easy download-all feature
  2. Friends: Donate via paypal feature, Event Sorted, Album Browsing, Reduced size, Pay for download-all and full quality
  3. Prints/Merchandise: T-shirts, Prints, etc - no/minimal profit
  4. Professional: Profit making, Tiered pricing, Finished/professional appearance

A few of the original services that I looked at were:

  • Picasa
  • Flikr
  • SmugMug
  • Cafepress
  • KodakAlbums

The problem is, they're all expensive and not nearly as customizable as I would like. Picasa is probably the easiest to use of the above services, as far as image-to-gallery effort, because of the Picasa desktop program that you can use as a portal. All of the others are far too cumbersome.

Enter the D-link DNS-323 NAS (Network attached storage). I'm currently working on getting a customizable web-based HTML front end created by a program called JAlbum to work on on the server. This is a program that runs in the background on the server which creates template based albums from photos that I simply place (upload) onto the server from anywhere in the world. I have also read about additional features such as direct download and paypal abilities which would satisfy a couple of my desired functions. There is a downside to such a great utility, there's a huge learning curve and it involves using linux (link to future post on linux).

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