I know I said I was going to be posting a series about making connections and I haven't forgotten that, I promise. However, the last few days have found me researching different websites and programs in an attempt to find some tools to recommend to a few of my clients who are seeking the ability to create and show slideshows online. I thought it might be useful to share here, at ArtLOOK, my findings.
Part of the requirements for the winning slideshow program is the ability to be able to:
- Share the slideshows with others via website/blog/email.
- Accept comments.
- Keep presentations private if desired.
- The ability for multiple people to access the slideshow to add images from any computer anywhere.
- I also want the ability to showcase these slides in a community setting thus improving and taking advantage of increased traffic to my client's sites and getting some additional marketing miles out on the www.
In the past, I was pretty keen on Filmloop and spoke about it here and here and here. In accessing Filmloop again this week, I found they have made some impressive improvements in their interface and in the options offered. The new Filmloop Studio is very nice, works well and is easy to use. Filmloop's forums and customer support is excellent. But...and this is a big issue...the advertisements are just too much! They are simply everywhere on the site, they are in the studio viewer, and in the loops and they have gotten beyond just merely intrusive. Additionally, some people may find them inappropriate. Now I grant you Filmloop is free so I think we all understand the reason for the advertisements but the real downfall here is that Filmloop does not even offer a paid subscription to eliminate those ads. That's a shame and perhaps one day Filmloop will offer such a subscription.
So off I went in search for something new...something better. I found Photagious. This is an online photo sharing and slideshow creation website and it looks pretty darn nice. They offer unlimited space, secure storage, NO ADs, great theme templates, customizable slideshows, ability to add video to your presentation, and password protection. You can order prints online. Photagious offers its members a personal page. Visitors can add comments and there is the ability to share presentations via blog/website/email. Updates to the slideshow show up in your blog or on your website immediately. You can customize colors, backgrounds and add music to your slideshow...lovely. And it is not crappy canned music but actual stuff from your Itunes or mp3 collections. If you don't have mp3s on your hard drive the music offered by Photagious is also very nice. Another option which might be especially attractive for artists displaying their work is the "Zoom Spot" which allows a close up detailed examination of an area within the image. (There is an example of the Zoom Spot on the Klimt shoes image in the presentation below. Click the "x" to see.) Photagious is a paid service and the personal account is $3.95/month or get 2 months free if you pay for the year. There is a professional version of Photagious at $10/month which offers more advanced options. You can try it out for 7 days free.
Here is my first Photagious Slideshow, customized and sized for sharing on a blog or website. Please push play.
The above slideshow is a customizable template. Photagious offers other amazing templates, but to my knowledge those are not fully customizable. For instance, options were not offered to resize and the HUGE presentation would not fit on this blog space. I wrote to support at Photagious about this and some other questions. I received a prompt, friendly reply which answered my questions. Regardless of the inability to resize these featured templates, look how lovely this would be on your website in a separate window. Check it out because I've chosen a travel theme and added some great sax jazz for you here.
The other site I checked out was Photobucket. It was quite easy to use and the photos appear very crisp and clean. This is a free service and therefore has advertising on it but not nearly as "in your face" as the Filmloop service and I haven't thus far seen any half naked people in the ads. Photobucket also offers a "Pro" account for $25/year which eliminates the ads and provides 5GB of space. They have a limit on storage space on the free account but it's 1GB which is about 10,000 images. I believe this to be ample. This service also offers the ability to share your slideshow via email/blog/website. I have to say...while Photobucket doesn't have the professional polish of Photagious, I had a lot of fun playing with the different themes. Photobucket also includes the Zoom Spot option like Photagious. There is the issue of the Photobucket logo, which can't be eliminated even with the paid account.
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