My business partner and I have tested out various photography sites including the two highest rated, SmugMugPro and Zenfolio. My partner did most of the initial testing with Zenfolio, so by the time I entered the site I had a good comparison with SmugMug, which I had tested for a day.
I have to admit, from the reading and investigation I did initially, I was expecting a lot out of SMUG. I read how thoroughly they tested their chosen lab (Bay Photo), against the rest, and their various levels from amateur to pro. I read up on what photographers had to say about it, and much was positive.
However, to my surprise, I found after a day playing with Smug, Zen turned out to be more intuitive. I have a long running background with Microsoft products, and Zen seems to follow that line of thinking.
Being locked into the online ordering process has some concerns for us too. Both Zen and SMUG lock you in to some degree. While Smug uses our preferred lab (Bay) you cannot take advantage of the sales they run throughout the year if your customers order online. It makes me wonder if the one-on-one we offer our clients and extend in our sales is a better option.
Zenfolio’s pricing is more competitive, I guess when you’re number 2 you have to be. But you also tend to try harder, and in Zen’s case, it shows. Their customer support is outstanding. While it does seem to be all by email, they get back within an hour of any inquiry we posed to them, which was plenty.
No doubt Smug’s customer support is outstanding, just as it states on their site (24/7/365). They also got back to us in record time.
So, when it comes down to it, it’s about comfort level, ease-of-use, – and for us – pricing. So our choice at the moment is Zenfolio. Smug was so close, but their 15% MINIMUM pricing, inability to extend lab sales during the year to our customers (or us), unintuitive interface tipped us over the Zen edge.
If you have a strong opinion on either of these two photography sites, we’d love to hear your take and perhaps see if you can sway us one way or the other. We still have a week before we make our final decision, but this is where it’s heading right now.