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Review of SlickPic, part two: Portfolio Websites for photographers


SlickPic provides a scalable solution for photographers, with everything you need to promote, deliver and sell your photos. In this part two review of SlickPic websites, I’m going to show you the power of the Portfolio Websites module.

We started looking at SlickPic in part one of this review. Check it out for an overview of the Photo Galleries feature. Now we’ll go into the features included in Pro plans and above: Namely, the Website module.

Remember, SlickPic is offering a deal for Photofocus readers: 50% off the Bespoke Classic plan for the life of the account (yes, life of the account!). Check it out here.

Let’s dive into what the Website Builder can do!

Pros

  • Website Builder is designed for photographers to put photos foremost
  • Scalable, all-inclusive service covering everything photographers need
  • Easy-to use-builder with appropriate customization options
  • Offers affordable Bespoke Done-For-You service as well as DIY pricing
  • Selling tools included for online stores
  • Includes integrated Marketing Pop-up
  • Allows visitors to provide their email address to subscribe for email marketing
  • Website Builder includes everything photographers need including SSL and personalized email address when you buy a domain

Cons

  • Selling photos and products can only be enabled when website has a personalized domain
  • Less freedom in website functionality than a self-hosted website
  • Blog has no filtering and all posts display on all websites in your account
  • Email marketing requires manual transfer of subscribers to your mailing client

Using SlickPic Portfolio Websites builder to create your photography website

SlickPic aims to give photographers a simple, quick solution to web design that is ready to go out of the box. Websites are based on pre-set themes, which are intentionally designed to showcase your photos. You can have your website started in just two clicks. Switch in your own photos, write your page copy and your website is ready to launch.

SlickPic Portfolio Websites Bespoke service for photographers

boys sticks forest
Building a home for your photos is easy with SlickPic’s all-inclusive Portfolio Website plans.

SlickPic offers a unique Bespoke service for photographers. On either of the Done-For-You plans, the team will build your website for you according to your specifications. On Bespoke plans this includes periodic revisions to your site, for example, if you need to update your pricing. Bespoke Classic also comes with 200GB of cloud storage, making it a solid choice for emerging professionals.

The Bespoke Pro service takes this another step further adding unlimited revisions and updates, and cloud storage of 4TB among other features. The site is built and maintained for you for a single subscription price.

Starting your SlickPic Portfolio Website

boy dancing excited
Get excited for your new website: SlickPic lets your photos shine their brightest with streamlined, subtle design that fades into the background.

For those with the time for a more DIY approach, you can also build your own Portfolio Website using the Website Builder. It is completely integrated with the Organizer, so all the work you have done to create beautiful, organized Albums for your Gallery carries over to your new site.

Setting up the website can be done quickly with the included themes. To get started, go to Website Builder > Start Your Site. Choose your theme: Every one of them has been optimized for photographers, and once chosen, that should be the extent of your editing. If you’re not a designer, don’t try to design. Let the website take a back seat, so that your photos step to the front!

Once you choose a theme, template pages will be loaded, read for you to complete and publish.

Designing your SlickPic Portfolio Website

slickpic review website builder
Just about all you need to do to get your website up and running is choose the Album for each Page. Click Change Album and choose a new one from the Photo Grid window.

First and foremost, getting your photos ready in Organizer is the most important step to designing your website. The photos should tell a story: Sequencing is important, so spend time ordering the Albums you want to use. Remember, everything you do in Organizer is fully integrated to the website, so you only need to do this once.

When you start your site, you will see a few different page templates, populated with stock photos. Click on the photo gallery to select the Album to display, and make any changes you want to the layout. In my theme there are variations on the homepage, for example, so chose which you like best and delete the other.

slickpic review websites albums
You can Create New Album from the Website Builder as well as using existing ones in your Organizer.

For most users, the pre-set template pages will have everything you need once you switch in your own content. For everything else, you can find what you need in the Blocks tab.

You will find Blocks for Single Images (you can crop photos from within the Builder), Galleries (add an array of Albums to the page, and a new page for each Album added), Buttons, Features (tables you can use for packages and pricing), Teams (for photography studios), Testimonials and more. All Blocks are predesigned for your chosen theme, making it easy to create a site quickly.

Switching the color scheme of your Website

birthday cake candies
If you’re not sure on the best color choices for your website design then SlickPic’s Bespoke service could be exactly what you need. For everyone else, the pre-set color options are the best choice.

Under Site and Menu Settings > Site Settings, you will be able to upload your logo and globally change the color scheme of your site. I advise you to leave the designing to the designers and choose from the included schemes for your theme. However, if you do want to add your brand color to the site, this is easily done and only needs to be changed once for the color to be propagated across the site.

At any time you can switch between the different color schemes, so see what works for you.

If you make changes to your site and things go wrong, don’t worry. In Website Builder > History you can revert to any previous Page Revision. And if it’s your whole website that needs saving, then from your SlickPic Dashboard browse to Website > Manage > Snapshots. Click Restore on the version you want to revert to.

Assigning a custom domain to SlickPic Portfolio Website

remington typewriter vintage
Adding your own domain to your Portfolio Website is automated in SlickPic so you should not have to make any DNS changes manually.

You can use your own domain for your SlickPic site, even purchasing it through SlickPic for extra convenience. Purchasing through SlickPic gives you a free custom email (e.g., [email protected]), which is a bonus.

If you already own a domain, then you can point this to your Portfolio Website with a few clicks. With major registrars such as GoDaddy, this is automated and there is no need to edit DNS records.

If you don’t want to use a custom domain, you can change your SlickPic subdomain under Website > Website Address, and choose from over a dozen different options like jemmapollari.slickpic.site, jemmapollari.portfolio.wedding and more.

Displaying cinemagraphs on your Portfolio Website

lindsay adler portfolio website
Cinemagraphs, or short video clips under 30 seconds long, can be set to autoplay in your Album on your Portfolio Website. This is a really cool effect with great potential to showcase your work in a seamless way.

Cinemagraphs are a unique feature of SlickPic’s Portfolio Websites which have great potential for photographers and visual artists. In Photo Grid options you can turn on autoplay videos and loop cnemagraphs to bring some movement to your page. Iconic photographer Lindsay Adler has an excellent example of this in her featured SlickPic portfolio.

Creating multiple Websites with SlickPic

review of slickpic website creating new
You can build a new site in your SlickPic account and only start paying for it once it’s ready to go live.

You can have an unlimited number of Websites in your SlickPic account, limited only by how many you want to pay for. At time of writing, a new site starts at $3 a month, billed annually.

One of the great features here is that you can build a new site and only start paying for it once it’s ready to go live. For example, you might include a wedding website for your clients showcasing the photos of their wedding day (in your branded space, rather than Facebook). Build the site when clients have booked, deliver their photos, load the galleries in a few clicks and publish. Done!

Because everything is all within one SlickPic account, it’s easy to manage your sites. The same Organizer, Gallery, Blog and Store settings are shared across every website.

Review of SlickPic Websites Blog module to write articles for your audience

review of slickpic websites blog
You can add Blog posts to your Gallery on a Photo Galleries plan, or to both Gallery and Website for Pro and above plans.

SlickPic’s Blog module allows you to add Blog posts to your Website and to your Gallery. You don’t need a website to use the Blog module, which is great for people on a SlickPic Photo Galleries plan.

You have some straightforward options to change the look of your Blog, with the most important features being metadata for Title and Description. Make sure you fill these in for SEO. You’ll want to remember this for every post too: In the right sidebar you will find the metadata for each post.

slickpic blog settings
Make sure you fill in all the information to help your search engine visibility.

When composing a post, you have basic options: Photos can be included but only as single images, and you can insert video as media as well. The most efficient way to get photos into the post is, of course, to use those already in your Organizer. Remember: In SlickPic, the Organizer is your best friend!

Adding blog posts to your SlickPic Portfolio Website

Your Gallery will automatically show your Blog posts once you have written a post. To add it to your Portfolio Website, go to Website Builder, click the menu beside Add Page, and select Add Blog Page. Publish the page and posts will feed into the site.

slickpic review websites
The Website version of the blog inherits all the design choices of the site itself.

You could use the Blog for, well, blog posts, but given the integration with Organizer, another option is to share highlights of each client’s Gallery and a bit of their story. Or use it as an opportunity to showcase your work at local venues, to attract new clients.

The Blog module is limited in a few ways. Firstly, there are no tags or categories for organizing posts. This limits access to previous posts as your Blog grows over time. The SEO tools are there, but limited compared to solutions like Yoast, which on a self-hosted website will guide you to make changes to improve your SEO.

Also, every post will appear on all websites with a Blog page. If you have a website for your wedding clients and one for your commercial clients, this reduces the usefulness of the Blog for communicating with different clients. It would be useful if Blog posts could be tagged/categorized and then filtered to display on different SlickPic Websites.

Integrating email subscriptions in SlickPic to connect with your audience

When building your Website in SlickPic, there are two ways that you can collect emails to sign people up for your email marketing. First, you can add the Signup block from Website Builder to any page of your Website.

Secondly, you can add it to the Marketing Pop-up. Browse to Website > Manage > Marketing and you will find the settings to enable the Marketing Pop-up. This is a powerful tool, and you can share information about sales as well as collect emails.

slickpic website review marketing pop-up
A pop-up can be used to give clients special deals or share the benefits of signing up to your mailing list.

Once you have Subscribers, you will find these in Website > Manage > Subscribers. People display in a list with email address and first name. To send email, you need to copy these into your email newsletter service, such as MailChimp.

This is a manual process at this stage. Mailing clients will have an option to update existing contacts, so you don’t need to identify which subscribers are new. Make it part of your to-do list to update your contact list before sending a mail out to your audience.

Review of SlickPic websites for selling photos with Price Sheets

slickpic review sales website
Set up your Website Store and create Price Sheets, then you can enable sales from your Website. Hover over an album and click Enable sales to link a Price Sheet.

Once your website has a custom URL, you can enable a Website Store. Start in Website > Manage > Website Store to open Store Manager. Here you can set up your site’s store policies, connect to Stripe and so on.

I will go into more detail on how selling photos works in SlickPic in a later article, but the main points to be aware of here are the difference between Price Sheets and Products. Price Sheets are applied to all photos in an Album, whereas Products stand-alone items. A Product could include a photo from your Organizer, a ZIP file or a self-fulfilled item.

After setting up your Price Sheets and Products, you need to enable sales in Website Builder. Each Album on a page can have a Price Sheet attached to it, and Price Sheets are reusable across pages and across different SlickPic Websites in your account.

When an Album has sales enabled, the images will have an Add to Cart button on the bottom corner, which opens the Price Sheet linked to that Album.

slickpic review website add to cart
The purchase experience is sleek and streamlined.

Once there is a photo in your cart, a button appears at the bottom of each page which opens the cart. Visitors can proceed to checkout from the cart.

Creating Products to sell on your SlickPic Website

Selling Products takes a bit more work. You need to …

  1. Create the Product in the backend: Website > Manage > Website Store > Products.
  2. In Website Builder, manually add an image and description of the product to one of your website pages. Use Image and Text blocks for this.
  3. Add the Products block Add to cart to the page.
  4. Click on the Add to cart button and select the Product to assign to the button.

Note that Store Manager is in Beta, so you can expect for features to be enhanced over time. While Price Sheets work smoothly, Products especially feels like it needs refinement to prevent doubling-up of efforts in creating items to sell. We expect to see this refined in future updates.

Where I can see Products being useful is in creating a few simple packages (wedding packages, mini-shoots, etc) and billing clients directly through your website. Paired with the power of Stripe, you have payment processing done and dusted.

SlickPick Portfolio Websites — Performance

As a web designer on the side, I’m familiar with a bunch of website builders. I’ve built websites with Wix, Squarespace, Adobe Portfolio and common self-hosted WordPress page builders such as Divi, Elementor, WPBakery and Gutenberg. I’ve used really, really frustrating builders, and really, really delightful ones (Divi, looking at you).

SlickPic is easy-to-use when you stay within the intentional limits. Because it’s designed for photographers, it excels at making your photos shine. The options are intentionally limited to prevent design overwhelming the photos. I.e., the website fades into the background to let the photos speak. That being said, websites built with SlickPic are not generic. Check out the range of styles possible in these featured client websites.

The best way to use SlickPic is to trust in the designs created for you in the theme and page templates, and add bits as you need them, but not for the sake of adding them. For example, if you need a team page, then add it. If you don’t, keep it simple.

slickpic review christmas website
SlickPic’s simplicity is its drawcard: Trust the design and let your photos be the centerpiece of your SlickPic Portfolio Website.

The drag-and-drop builder is a little finicky, and I found it easy to mess up accidentally and drop something where I don’t want it. I’ll go over strategies to make Website Builder work for you in a future article.

Where you trade off with SlickPic’s ease, is in areas like the Blog, SEO optimization and mailing lists. The limits on these features make them suitable for small-scale use but not for targeted local SEO marketing or intensive email marketing. Similarly, while Price Sheets for selling digital downloads from Albums works well, Products are inefficient. To sell more than just a few Products, another solution would be more effective to scale.

SlickPick Portfolio Websites — Pricing

SlickPic is offering 50% off for the life of the account to Photofocus readers signing up for a Bespoke Classic account, for an extremely limited time. With discount, this equates to $19.97/month, billed annually. SlickPic’s team will build your Portfolio Website for you on this plan.

If you have time to DIY, the minimum plan you need to add a Portfolio Website to your SlickPic account is Pro, at $15.95/month, billed annually.

SlickPic Portfolio Websites are worth the investment because you get multiple tools covered under one roof. Combining client gallery delivery and web hosting alone make it a worthwhile spend for photographers who work with clients, need to promote their work, and sell their photos.



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Rafael Jones

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