Building your FLASH Web Site – The Easy Way


Professional Web Sites have been getting more and more Flash Based, and more producers of Templates for Photographers and Studios are popping up every month at sites like Template Monster or Flash Mint.   The ease of developing and maintaining these sites can become a nightmare and the expense of maintaining some of these sites can be very costly with having to invest in Adobe Flash or other Flash Development tools.   Then there is the cost of hiring a programmer who has the expertise to develop and build your high end photographers Flash Web Site.  This can result in more overhead and additional burdens on the part of the photographer.   Scheduling the swapping of images and refreshing your web content has move from extremely painful, to being a major time consuming project not worth looking forward too.

The Plus Side of Flash Sites

With the more recent introduction of photography studio oriented Template based Flash Web Sites, photographer’s studio sites have become much more appealing both in visitors participation and ease of site maneuverability.  Another big plus for template base Adobe Flash Web Sites is that it presents the photographers work in a graphically more professional presentation.

Flash Templates designed by Photographers for Photographers.

Today, major factor in Flash Template Based Web Sites is the overall cost of development and maintenance.    Most of the newer Flash Templates are so configurable that today’s photographers can development and maintain the sites them self or have an assistant maintain the site with little or no web site experience.   The expense of having to hire a web developer and build and design your site has become a thing of the past and the yearly cost of building and maintaining an average professional photographers site could run as little as $500.00 a year or more depending on your design and the cost of the template that your purchase.    Or better yet, have a hosting company do all of your work for you on your site maintenance and updates.  This gives you more time for photography.

Maintenance Free Web Sites, well almost, you still need to provide the images and background information like prices, background about you and other vital marketing information.  But yes there are Flash Template providers that will not only sell you the template, they setup your site and host it for you.  All you need to do and refresh the images from time to time.

Lets look at the most popular options that are available to photographer and studios today.

Logical Design and a Video How Too Tutorials to Boot.

The first company that I will profile is one that is growing a large base of user in the photography community.  Flash Palette Inc. was founded in 2006 by a group of professionals – both photographers and software engineers and is based out of Herndon, Virginia.  When owner of Flash Palette started the company, their primary goal was to help visual artists easily build and maintain professional websites without the need to learn new programming skills.   The group at Flash Palette Inc. developed a very easy-to-use solution that does not require any technical knowledge.   But they also wanted to give the photographers and studios a simple means to customization a site that would give the photographers or studio a look that’s not like everybody else, a static online brochure.    Their approach was a simple menu based tool that the photographer would use to craft his website, from the menus to the introduction screen, music and backgrounds.   The tool will even guide you to the dimensions of the images that you will need to the galleries and other supporting pages.   And  some of the templates even come with a BASIC shopping cart and client proofing option to make them great starter websites.
And best of all, you control the web content without or with very little knowledge of any web language.   But this is very important, before investing into a Flash Palette Template, make sure you already have a internet host provider, and a domain setup.  Then contact your host provider and find out if he can accommodate your new Flash Based Web site.  Most likely they can.

Flash Palette Inc. Templates range in cost from $45. U.S. to $200.U.S., depending on the style of the template design.   Flash Palette Inc. can be contacted via the web and offer a free trial on all of their templates with no time limits on the free trial period.   http://flashpalette.com/website/

Their Sister Company offers even  more flexibility.

Flash Palettes  sister company Deco Imaging offers their templates with more flexible and offer even more options when it comes to having something unique to your market.    Deco Imaging in fact raises the bar for photographer and studios to custom build their Flash Web Sites.    The offer two very flexible products that will definitely give your web site the Wow factor.

Deco Book is an easy way to make online digital books.  It can be used to create online brochures, digital albums, pricing books or any kind of digital book or magazine that you can imagine.

Deco Book is designed so that any one can easily create an online digital book.  The  software tool that you down load will run on your computer and is both Window and Mac compatible.     There are three versions of this software:  Deco Book Lite for $50, Deco Book Premium for $150 and Deco Magazine for $300.00  All three versions give you a WYSWYG Desktop Tool Kit and of the three versions of Deco Book software, Deco Book Lite will only contain images while Deco Book Premium can have text and label and will allow any font type on your computer to be used in your design.  The label elements in Deco Premium can link to any book page to external website.   The results are simply amazing.  See Demo

Deco Book Premium also allow elements in background, such as full screen background image.   Deco Magazine support all elements, including gallery, audio, video, contact form, etc. It also provides advanced layout control, so that the book size can auto-fit different monitors.

Be your own Master in Wed Design.

A second product Deco Imaging Deco Image Morph will give you the ability to build your own templates.   As part of the learning process, deco imaging provides you with two templates to learn from and understand the tool pallet that they give you for developing your templates.  And the best part, you can sell your templates without worry of pay a royalty to Deco Imaging.    The tool is not free but Deco Imaging does provide you with pricing.   But just like with all of the product from Flash Palette and Deco Imaging, also have full support, that happens even before you purchase, and the free trails are fully functioning.  You can laterally build your website and test it online before you commit to purchase, plus. there is no time limits to the free trail period.

Deco Imaging can be found on the web here:  www.decoimaging.com

Templates plus Hosting extra.

Blu Domain based out of Denver Colorado is also a Flash Template provider to Photographer and Photo Studios.  Their Templates are grouped by pricing at $50, $100, or $400.  And for an extra $100.00 a year you can also get hosted.  THE differences in the $50 and the $100 sites are, the $50 sites – are simple sites. No shopping cart, dual portal, client proofing or video options available on these sites.
$100 and $400 sites-or at least majority of these sites including current latest releases and some include shopping cart, dual portal, client proofing or video options.

They do all of the work on your site once you select what template you want to use.  But if there are changes that need to be made to say a Font, that will cost you a $20.00 fee per change.  So make sure your site is correct from the very beginning.

Other maintenance is studio controlled such as music, galleries text, colors videos and navigating buttons.  This allows you the ability to update your site on an ongoing basis.

To Contact Blu Domain in the Web:   http://bludomain.com/

Hosting with Benefits

Not all photographer have their own dedicated web site and many do not want to go through the trouble of hassle of setting up the web site and contracting with an Internet Service Host Provider.   So a solution to this dilemma is provided by a group call Photo Identities.   Photo Identities offers five different solutions for a photo studio when it comes to Web Media.    PhotoIdentites services include Pro Sites, Eco Sites, Blogs, SEO (“search engine optimization”) and Hosting services.

The Pro Sites are a set of two pro-series professional website templates and control panels that have been designed to give the photographer more power, more ease of use and more choices when it comes to setting up a studio website – no programming required, no software necessary.  Simply create and customize your website in your favorite internet browser any time, any place. The pro-series professional website template comes with a choice of landing page styles, backgrounds, borders, font styles and image transitions.    The plans that are offered include hosting, but can be expanded to include a Blog and advanced Search Engine Optimization.  One Year Plans range from $399 to $1200 or more depending on whether you agree to have Photoidentities credits appear on your site or not.

Their Eco Sites is a cut-down version of the pro site. It still retains the clean look and feel of the pro site but does not allow you to add menu items or change the background or fonts.   Hosted packages start at $199 and go up to $899 a year for Blog and the advanced Search Engine Optimization service.

The other services that Photoidentities provides include Blog Services geared towards Photographer and SEO (“Search Engine Optimization”).   Most of these additional services are a add on to their Web Site Packages.   Photo Identities can be contacted via the web here:   http://photoidentities.com/

One of the major strengths of the pro-series is its flexibility in allowing you to control the way the finished website will look. This can be seen by the many variations in style in the online examples.

They will Do It all

Big Black Bag Inc. promotes Built-in Freedom.  Their templates are designed to display the photographers work in the best possible light. And you get to choose which light is best. Whether your style is bold and colorful or sleek and simple, their templates gives the photographer flexibility and freedom to design the website that’s perfect for their studio. Big Black Bag offers  unlimited updates that they say will keep the studio’s website fresh and interesting.   They not only provide a selection of templates but also provide the photographer with the web services with all of the perks.   Unlike some of the template providers, you will need to pay a yearly fee.  But consider what you would pay each year to a service provider plus the additional costs of site maintenance, $249.00 a year for a site with Email, Host naming, E commerce, Mass Emails, Stats, and more, can be very tempting to a new studio just getting started.

To contact Big Black bag on the Web:  http://www.bigblackbag.com/

PhotoBiz http://photobiz.com/ is another all inclusive web service for photographer and studios.    Just like Big Black Bag Inc., PhotoBiz provides its customers with a full lineup of services that include a extremely powerful proofing tool that you can use for any style of photography including albums.  With a high impact presentation, there are an incredible number of customizable features that enable you to implement your brand for the ultimate viewing experience.

Why Should I Use It?

This is another solution for photographers who are just looking to proof albums, private viewing galleries, or entire events for large groups; the PhotoBiz client viewing system provides that security and functionality to fit your needs.

What makes them different.

Favorites Tool: While viewing in thumbnail view, your clients can go through and select their favorite images by simply clicking on the heart. (displayed over each image)

Dual Login: (Client & Guest’s of Client) allow you to give full access with comment and favorite capabilities to your clients, while family and friends can still view the photos through a high impact presentation!
An innovative album proofing feature allows your customers to “Approve” all of their favorites that they have selected.  This is a perfect solution for album proofing!

Powerful Proofing: Individual image comments allow for you to gather editing requests, update the image, and replace it online; all while retaining comment history.

Scenario — Let’s say Sally wants you to fix a blemish on her face–  She can comment on the image to let you know, you fix the blemish, and replace the image online.  Leave a comment to notify them and you have a very happy customer.

With a wide degree of options comes with a wider amount of complexity.   Keeping a web site simple can be a long term solution especially if you are a one man studio.  Managing a complex of options to a web site cold keep you from the more important things like taking photos.   But if you are looking for everything in one place then PhotoBiz could be you place.

With all of the options you can be on line with all the bells and whistles for a onetime charge of $400.00 and with PhotoBiz Diamond package $100.00 per month hosting and maintenance fee.  And unlike Blu Domain, Photo Biz allows you to switch templates at no extra charge.

To Contact Photo Biz on the Web:  http://photobiz.com/

There are many more Template and Photography Hosting Services that I can talk about but the services that I choose to talk about are services that I had a chance to meet with at this years Professional Photographers of America Convention in Nashville TN, and the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Convention in Los Vegas NV.   All of the people at their respected booths were all very informative.   There are other services that I did not mention in the article, but they can be located via Google, bing, or other web search engines.  Just do a look-up with the words “websites for photographers”, and whole listing of Template, host providers, and site designers will be listed.   But before jumping into a new website, plan first then work with the people who do this for a living and you too can be Flashing down the Web to Success.

The following companies help contribute to this article:

Flash Palette

Deco Imaging

Blu Domain

Photo Identities

Photo Biz

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~ by pthomaslambert on April 22, 2010.

One Response to “Building your FLASH Web Site – The Easy Way”

  1. Thanks for including BigBlackBag.com in your article, but I must point out that you did misrepresent our service somewhat. So please allow me to clarify:

    1. We do not do flash sites. Our sites have the appearance of flash, with all the bells and whistles, but we use dynamic HTML to achieve this. The main advantage to photographers with our approach is that their web sites are much more search engine friendly. Unlike flash based sites which only have one html page, our service gives you as many html pages as you need – all of which are indexed by the search engines. Furthermore, our websites are completely supported by iPhones and iPads which flash sites are not.

    2. We do offer very affordable, monthly payment plans as well as one-time yearly plans.

    Thanks again!

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