Zenfolio review update

A while back, I posted a review of Zenfolio service, comparing it to Sony ImageStation. I was quite happy with Zenfolio then, and even happier when Sony left thousands of people out in the cold by shutting down its service.

Time passed, Zenfolio matured and added features, and I figured it was appropriate to update my review.

To recap, in my original review I dinged Zenfolio for its lack of an address book for photo sharing, missing a way to track visitors, or for visitors to leave feedback, and finally the ability to print. I am happy to say that most of these have been addressed.

Zenfolio started out as a service dedicated to the needs to serious amateur and professional photographers. It is still that, but they are have focused their attention on the needs of professionals. Features like ability to customize access to albums, limit resolutions, shopping cart for selling prints, analytics, etc. are all targeted towards event and stock photographers looking to earn an income from their craft. These are great, I am sure, for people who need them, but I am not one of them.

Here's a rundown of new features that do excite me:

  • Printing. Zenfolio now offers ability to print to variety of media (and merchandize) by a high quality lab. We've gotten prints, calendars, and mugs and the quality and speed of delivery have both been very impressive. They've shipped within hours of placing an order.
  • Comments. It is now possible for visitors to leave comments on individuals photos and in a guestbook. This was one of the features I missed when I first switched to Zenfolio and I was glad to see it appear.
  • Visitor tracking. Another feature I missed from ImageStation, this lets me see how many people came to take a look at my albums. It makes for an easy way to tell whether I've remembered to share it with family.
  • The interface has seen even further streamlining and polish -- the website is truly a pleasure to use, whether you are storing photos or viewing them.
  • Custom domain name. Another neat addition is ability to have a custom domain name point at your albums (e.g. pics.example.com).
  • Ability to link directly to photos (from your blog, auction listing, etc.). Very handy.

This leaves me with only one feature on the wish list: an address book to store emails of people I often share photo's with. As things stand, I have to track down the list of emails every time I want to share an album. Here's hoping that it will be implemented in 2009.

An update on cost: Zenfolio now offers three tiers of service: Basic, Unlimited, and Premium (at $25, $40, and $100 per year, respectively). If you are not looking to resell your photos, one of the two lessers levels will cover your needs. The main difference is storage (1GB per year with Basic vs. unlimited with Unlimited level). With escalating pixel counts of modern cameras, 1GB limit is pretty easy to hit, and indeed I quickly found myself upgrading to Unlimited.

Overall, after nearly 3 years of use, I am very happy with the service and will continue using Zenfolio for the foreseeable future. If you'd like to try Zenfolio, you can save $5 by using coupon code EMY-8VU-9MT (if you sign up, I will get a credit of $5 as well.)

posted @ Friday, January 23, 2009 1:40 AM

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