Well hello there friends! As many of you know, I’m a Shoot & Share photographer which is a fancy way of saying that I offer my clients all of their high-resolution, non-watermarked images with a print release. I deliver my images to my clients via an online gallery system where they can easily view, share, print, and download their images with the click of a button. I’d rather my clients have them to enjoy, treasure, and share those images, their memories, versus having the images sit on my hard drive or make my clients feel pressured to buy prints from me.
Full disclaimer that this is a long blog post and I go into a lot of nitty-gritty detail but for good reason! This is the an important announcement, a shift in my business structure, so hang in there with me and read it all if ya want to be fully in the loop!
After 8+ years, Allison Shumate Photography has partnered with a brand new online client gallery system… CloudSpot!
Let me start by saying that I took this decision very seriously and had been contemplating making a switch for quite some time now. Please know that it was a well thought out business decision to ensure my clients are well taken care of for the long haul! This was also a personal decision because this is how I organize and safely store all of my own personal/family images.
If you are an ASP Client, then you are familiar with the PASS system that I’ve been using ever since I started my business. Over the years, I’ve been a loyal PASS advocate and I’m grateful for their services. So why the change?
Well… a couple of years ago PASS switched over from an outdated desktop system, PASS Classic, to a brand new system and interface… Pass Plus. Since my clients (and myself) were most familiar with Pass Classic, and for consistency sake with the overall look and feel of my client galleries… I continued using the “old” version of PASS so I could easily access my 400+ galleries all in one place while on-the-go. It worked fine. But fine wasn’t good enough. I offer an experience for my clients so the moment my clients see their delivered images (this and album delivery day!) — it’s like icing to the cake! I want them to be “wow’d!” and have a seamless experience.
Over time, I couldn’t help but notice that I as the photographer on the back-end and my clients on the front-end experiencing PASS were missing out on some key features that PASS was lacking. To be fair, I never really gave a fair shot at Pass Plus but from what I could tell I was in need of more features that just weren’t there. To top it off… PASS made a change a while back to their online storage setup where any gallery that was older than a year was put into “cold storage” and if myself or my clients wanted to access their high-resolution files (which happened very often), it would have to be requested, and then could take up to 12-hours minimum (!!) to get that download link. I was experiencing painfully slow upload speeds regardless of my strong internet connection… and furthermore, this past Christmas, some of my clients were experiencing road blocks with receiving random error messages via their PASS gallery along with the dreaded “not secure” error message while browsing their online gallery… this error understandably made my clients uneasy when it came to ordering photographic prints, gallery-wrapped canvases, etc. via their online gallery.
SO! It was time I did something about it. It just so happened to be at the same time that many fellow photographers in the industry were thinking of doing the same thing. Great minds think alike! Back in December, the search was on to find a new independent file sharing solution! I began to research the other top-rated online gallery systems out there to find a new home. I wanted to ensure that this new online gallery system would offer me and my clients the same features that PASS offered, and more! Some of the leading photographers in the industry, whom I know and respect, recently made the switch to CloudSpot… so at the end of the day, it was a no-brainer.
Some of my must-haves when searching for a new online gallery system (in no particular order):
- Clean, customizable, simple gallery layout options
- Quick and easy upload/download capabilities
- The ability for social sharing to friends & family (i.e., text/email, mobile downloads, and social media)
- Peace of mind that client galleries are stored safety in The Cloud
- My clients able to order high-quality photographic prints, gallery-wrapped canvases, slideshows, and/or albums via their online gallery
- The ability for my clients to download all of their high-resolution images with the simple click of a button
- The ability to properly brand my client galleries with links to my website and social media feeds
- The ability to offer discount codes to my clients when ordering prints/canvases (i.e., Black Friday, Cyber Monday deals, etc.)
- The ability to embed select sample galleries to my website
- The ability to better organize folders within galleries (specifically for clients that book multiple sessions with me throughout one calendar year)
- The ability to combine video to enhance the storytelling experience (i.e., for when slideshows are produced)
- Quick and efficient customer support (unfortunately this was a big issue I had with PASS as it would take days for a response… or no response at all… no bueno!)
- An online gallery system that was trusted and loved by photographers worldwide
CloudSpot checked all of the must-haves on my list above (and more!). Founded in 2015, CloudSpot is a gallery system that was invented by photographers for photographers. It’s a web-based platform so I can access my client galleries via a computer or tablet while on-the-go. I’m in photog heaven with their ease of use and simple customization features.
I’m a little OCD when it comes to organizing my client’s images/folders/etc. — I do this strategically so everything is easy to navigate and find. For example, if a client wants to find a specific photo that I captured several years ago from a specific session… I want them to find it in seconds! With CloudSpot, they offer a convenient drag-and-drop feature which saves so much time when it comes to uploading multiple sub-folders within one large folder. In other words… I can have unlimited “galleries” within a specific collection.
What I love most is that the interface has the same look and feel as PASS galleries. This was important to me so my clients will be familiar with navigating around their gallery. You can still scroll the images or click to go full-screen, still can order photographic prints and gallery-wrap canvases, favorite and share images… but better than that you can “download all” with one simple click. Boom!
From a photographer standpoint, my view-all access is awesome! I can easily view/sort by gallery type (YAS!), view click-through analytics (I’m a nerd), “sort-by” dropdown gallery search feature (so clutch!), I can now upload directly from Lightroom, there is a proofing system (but not necessary since I’m Shoot & Share), there are monthly and annual subscriptions, direct deposit product sale commission, and email capture capabilities. I’m loving the “cover photo” option at the top of each client gallery. I can quickly change it on the back-end to showcase a limited-time print special, share a video with my clients… the other features and perks go on and on! They have a preset option to save so I no longer have to set my gallery format every time — such a timesaver!
I will say, it was a bit overwhelming at first to think about my strategy approach to migrating all of my client PASS galleries over over to CloudSpot. We’re talking literally over one-million+ images. but it was well worth it. Every gallery has been migrated over from PASS and we’re ready to rock n’ roll!
Overall, I’m very pleased with my CloudSpot experience. It’s a brand that I trust and I’m proud to offer their services to my clients. I have peace of mind that my clients will be well taken care of when it comes to showcasing and safely storing their treasured memories.
*** Photographers! If you’re interested in getting setup with CloudSpot… YAY!
Use the link below and get 25% off your first year’s subscription cost + free image migration!
(Yearly plans translate into about 40% savings!) *** CLICK HERE
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
What will be your process for migrating over all images from PASS to CloudSpot?
- After many, many hours (working into the wee hours of the morning)… it’s DONE! All client galleries have been migrated over to CloudSpot. All of my clients will receive an email TOMORROW with a link to their new client gallery. YAY!
- Click here for a quick sneak peek tour of a sample client gallery
Is there a CloudSpot app?
- As of right now, there is not an “app”. This online gallery system was built and designed to be used on your desktop and your phone! No app download required. It’s web-based and mobile-friendly. You can easily bookmark the link to your gallery for quick access and easy navigation!
Will I still be able to access my PASS gallery?
- Technically your images will still be available via your unique PASS gallery link (for up to 10-years after your first session with me). However, you will likely find limitations and timing constraints that I mentioned above with regards to accessing high-resolution images in your PASS gallery.
- Regarding any new sessions booked with me, your images will be delivered via CloudSpot — so everything is in one place 🙂
If you have any other questions about CloudSpot please don’t hesitate to email me: