Sunday, 29 April 2012


This morning I started cutting out some pogs in Photoshop for my pog website update, then went to Church.

In the afternoon I watched Boukengers vs. Super Sentai with Billy. It was a Super Sentai 30th anniversary special program, but sadly only featured characters from the previous 4 series. The plot was a bad guy makes the Boukengers and Hikaru Sensei (from Magirangers) get stuck in a sub universe or something (those small room sets they always use in Super Sentai). But Silver is elsewhere. A red ranger with the Super Sentai 30th anniversary logo on his chest tells Silver he needs to get old sentai to help him.

Billy said it would've been good if instead of getting the sentai from the last few series, Silver had tried to get ones from the much earlier series, and then found out they were all too old to fight. Anyway, it was quite stupid and maniacal in the typical Super Sentai style.

After that I finished updating my pog website, then started writing an article for my photo tips website.

After tea I finished writing the article, then realised it was very similar to another article I'd written for the site a few days ago. So I posted it on hub pages instead.

For the rest of the evening, I did some more work on enabling prints and image licensing on my photo website. I think I mentioned before that I'd decided on using Photoshelter. Their API documentation is rather lacking, and when I checked it yesterday it actually said that it had been deprecated. I did send Photoshelter a message about a couple of weeks ago asking for the documentation for their real API, but didn't receive anything other than the standard 'thanks for your feedback message'.

So, what I've been doing is using Firebug with Firefox, and noting the AJAX requests that are sent. Because Photoshelter uses AJAX with their API for their website, this is an easy way to see what the API calls are and what parameters are used for doing different things.

I got as far as setting the pricing for an image, but this said I needed to provide payment details. So I did that, then when it got to the 'how would you like to be paid' page, it had a number of different options, of which paypal seemed to be the only viable one. I had always thought that Photoshelter did their own payment processing, then sent you your cut of the sale. But obviously I was wrong.

I could offer paypal processing myself without having to pay $30 a month for Photoshelter. Plus there are also a couple of other points that made me change my mind (for the moment at least) about using Photoshelter:

  • The rights managed licensing options are rather extensive. I fear that they could be too confusing and loose a sale.
  • Although Photoshelter offer prints, there are plenty of alternatives that do this as well.

I couldn't remember the name of the company I was thinking of that did prints, so I did a google. It didn't come up, but I did find a nice thread that had good examples to two sites that operate very similarly to how I want my site to be like:

Both of these photographers seem to organise printing and shipping themselves. This isn't something I particularly want to do as then you are responsible for cropping images to fit the print rather than the customer. Plus it involves more work for the photographer.

Some more googling, and I still didn't find the name of the prints company I was looking for, but I did find something that reminded me what their name was -

So I checked the website (I had already checked it before when I was looking at options and decided on Photoshelter). It seems I missed something when looking at their website before, as they give you a javascript you use on your site, which automatically adds buy links to your images. This uses an AJAX widget for everything, so the user stays on your site. Nice.

The thing that put me off fotomoto before was that their image licensing is very basic. But I could use fotomoto just for prints, and my own custom code plus paypal for licensing. Fotomoto doesn't charge a subscription, just takes commissions on prints, so this sounds good too.

So next I needed to check whether Fotomoto was actually any good. So far I found two positive reviews ([1] [2]), and one negative. The negative one was from someone that was used to making their own fine art prints. Their problem was both the quality of Fotomoto's prints and also that Fotomoto wouldn't ship the prints to them first so they could sign them. Regarding the print quality, it can't be dismissed that they just expected too much as they said they had several people who purchased prints complain to them about the quality, and had never had a complaint about print quality when making the prints themselves.

As an aside, while looking for Fotomoto reviews, I came across this very nice Tumblr of exploded flowers. Both a great idea and great execution I think.

I found this thread indicating that are now using Fotomoto for prints, which seems like a good endorsement for Fotomoto to me. The main disadvantage I can see so far is that Fotomoto operate and ship prints from the US, rather than having a variety of printers across the globe. I still need to check how they handle refunds if a user is unhappy with a print.

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