Image Quality is king
Last month I made a big step to change my website provider. About two years ago I started my first website with Wix. The reviews I had read were all positive, the previews of some example sites looked amazing and most of all the ease of use to create your own site was like child's play. Everything was self intuitive, starting with a basic template with drag and drop building blocks to create your own design in just a few hours. I was impressed by my own work and proud of the achieved result. When I had a bit of spare time I worked on it a bit more and discovered new features. Specific design layout tool to switch between desktop and mobile device view, added language selections, blog and private client album option. They even offered the option for a store to sell selected prints. This last feature was available when you signed up to a premium plan, with the added bonus to have more storage space, and a private domain as well.
The basic subscription was the first plan I signed up for. Last year I had my first set of studio shoots lined up and this was the perfect opportunity to share my photographs with my clients for proofing. Setting up the first private album, I realised that Wix also offered selling prints directly from the albums, only a higher premium account was needed for this. As I was very content with Wix up to this point, I signed up for the more expensive plan and started sharing my first work. After uploading the pictures from my first shoot into a private album, I experienced the first problems. Some of the images were showing some degradation in the high contrast areas. The shoot was a low key portrait with a dark background, only after loading them to the private album, the dark background showed a lot of banding in the grey tones. The technical support from Wix was very helpful, checking different settings for the uploads, but even with 100% quality uploads, the images were still reduced and not acceptable to share with my clients.
Four months later, some more updates from Wix, but the problem still remained. Noticeably the issue only appeared on Private albums. The portfolio albums of the website do not have this problem. During the period I started searching for other options. Pixieset offered a similar service, but focused on photography. Startup as simple as with Wix, but with a little less flexibility in layout changes and some options like the possibility of multiple languages and design options for optimisation of layout on portable devices. A function that is automatically configured by Pixieset. However the main item, of being able to offer private albums for picture proofing and with direct ordering options without degradation in image quality, Pixieset scored 100%.
The choice was easily made, and within a few days my new site was up. Cancelling my premium account with Wix, also was set in motion. Again compliments to their support and services, who offered a full refund for my last upgraded premium plan. For Pixiset, I have started with the basic plan for just the website, which means selling images or prints through private albums will be subject to a commission fee. The basic plan, offers your own domain name and unlimited pictures to be added to your profile. It's all set and done now, just a little fine tuning and continue taking pictures. For just having a portfolio and branding web-site as photographer, Wix is just fine and will meet many of your requirements. But for proof sharing pictures with customers through private secured albums, it is missing the most important aspect for a photographer.
Image quality is king.