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To go to fotomoto, or to chug along with SmugMug?
July 1, 2010 6:25 AM   Subscribe

Anyone have experience with fotomoto, an online photo print fulfillment service? If so, what are your thoughts?

I currently sell some photography through SmugMug using a Pro account - this allows me to set my own prices and customize my galleries pretty well. Clients or the public can view my galleries, add prints to their shopping cart in whatever size/format they like, and place their order, and SmugMug handles the rest -- printing, payment, etc. They cut me a check whenever I earn enough. This works great, and I'm extremely happy with the service.

However, it's costly. The Pro account is a mandatory $120 or so a year, plus they take a cut of 15-20% (can't remember) of each order. This eats into my profits considerably.

I've recently discovered fotomoto. They're similar in that they allow me to set custom print prices and they handle the print fulfillment, shipping, and payment, but they don't actually host your photos like SmugMug. They give you a javascript injection code just like Google Analytics that you can place on whatever website you want - your own customized gallery, or a WordPress blog, or almost anything else. Their script adds links to each image to buy prints. Clicking these links opens a pop-over shopping cart so the customer can choose the size, type, etc, and then complete the order or continue browsing. It's quite elegant and looks very professional.

The best part is, there's no annual subscription to use the service. They charge a 15% fee (like SmugMug) on each order, but that's it. Plus it can be integrated with any site/design/gallery you want, and very easily at that. I like that idea very much -- SmugMug, while pretty flexible, just doesn't offer me quite what I'd like in terms of presentation/consistency.

I know the major difference is just the ~$120/yr subscription, but that's a lot for me (I don't make a living off photography, just side-income, so that eats into my profits considerably). Plus, as a I mentioned, it would give me the freedom to completely customize my galleries and keep them consistent with my main site/portfolio.


What I want to know is if anyone else has used fotomoto and what they thought of the process. First off, is the print quality good? SmugMug has fantastic print quality, and that's a big factor in whether I can rely on fotomoto. Second, was it as easy to use (either for the photographer or the customer) as it seems?

Any other comments on the service, or advice/alternatives?

Thanks!
posted by sprocket87 to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
I use it and love it. The nice thing is you can try it out and if you don't like it, just remove the code. Their prints turn out great in my opinion, especially the "metallic" sort. And they have high end options (canvas, watercolor paper) now as well. Also, you can create coupons, even selling things at cost. And the sizing feature is an added bonus. I tend to know what 36 x 48 looks like on a wall but my customers don't so that feature is a bonus.

Give it a try. Install the code. Create some coupons for yourself and order prints to check the quality. Uninstall if you don't like.
posted by madred at 8:00 AM on July 1, 2010


Thank you for your interest in fotomoto.

I just wanted to quickly let you know that for prints Smugmug (their high-end print) and us (fotomoto) use the same print company - BayPhoto.

We are launching Canvas and Fine Art print in less than 2 weeks, and even though we had the same option, after spending months of quality check, we found an even better quality print partner.

All the featured artists on our home page are people who have sold their work using Fotomoto. Feel free to check their sites and get their feedback!

I hope this helps.
posted by fotomoto at 10:47 AM on July 1, 2010


Wow, talk about responsive! You're even willing to drop $5 on an AskMeFi sub just to reply to my post - I love it! :)

Thanks. I have definitely noticed the earnestness of the owner(s)/developers to respond to issues and questions; the support forums are very well moderated. That's a big plus!

The only thing I'm concerned with right now is that it seems more targeted to art photography versus event photography, simply due to the scale of the ordering process. But I'm definitely interested in checking it out.

I just created an account and will make some test galleries to see how I like it. Thanks for the input so far!
posted by sprocket87 at 11:49 AM on July 1, 2010


Hey fotomoto, I have a question and since I'm here (and you're here) I'm going to ask here instead of emailing:

I do a lot of photography in an artistic bent, and I crop my photos however best fits them. This means I have practically zero photos that conform to standard sizes (4x3, 5x6, whatever). Does fotomoto have an option to print like:

"Set the longest side to 18 inches and whatever size the shorter size is, just print it and pad the difference with white space"?

Seems like everywhere I've looked says, "What size do you want to print this? Some cropping may occur" and I really hate that. Their suggestion (at SmugMug, I think) was for me to manually pad the white space myself, and I have neither the time nor inclination to go back through all my photos and do a canvas size change.
posted by komara at 12:50 PM on July 1, 2010


@komara - Pretty sure I saw in the print size options that you could set it either to crop OR to print at actual size. I think they actually trim to actual size, and don't leave white space.
posted by sprocket87 at 1:30 PM on July 1, 2010


sprocket87: I decided to sign up (even though I hate signing up for a service that I may not end up using) and found the following:

Flexible Sizes: prints will be cut to your photo size and ratio (not available if Standard Size Only selected)

Hell. Yes.

Looks like I know what I'll be doing tonight - making sure fotomoto integrates nicely with my site, that's what.
posted by komara at 2:14 PM on July 1, 2010


Sweet -- let me know what your overall feel for it is, or even share an example, if you don't mind :)
posted by sprocket87 at 2:21 PM on July 1, 2010


Will do. Couldn't resist a quick cursory test. Since my gallery is custom, I'm having a few javascript problems. The fotomoto toolbar is turned off for now.
posted by komara at 3:02 PM on July 1, 2010


Well, I think I have everything working now, in the technical sense. Still have two things to figure out:

1.) how to style the CSS properly - a purely aesthetic decision, and
2.) where to price my prints - a much harder decision.

Thing two is the main thing that has kept me from selling prints so far, because I don't ... oh, it's a long story. Suffice to say I was able to avoid Thing two because I couldn't find anyone to print like I wanted. Now that I have a decent print option, I'm being forced to deal with it.
posted by komara at 7:22 PM on July 1, 2010


sprocket87 - you have been memailed.
posted by komara at 7:43 PM on July 1, 2010


@sprocket87 welcome to our community! we have a lot of event photographers. there is also a solution that you may want to look at: Adobe Lightroom integration (via TTG).

http://demo.theturninggate.net/test/fotomoto/

@komara we have an option called "Flexible Printing", which does exactly what you want: we cut the print to suite your photo. We also calculate the print size in the widget. For example look at this: http://wvs.topleftpixel.com/10/07/02/ . When you click on Buy Print, you will notice the sizes are not standard

for CSS, we have several examples in our community form. Just search for CSS.

We currently have two support system: one help desk / private support on ZenDesk and one community forum on GetSatisfaction. With ZenDesk's new forum feature, we are dropping GetSatisfaction moving our forum to ZenDesk. We are also working on an extensive FAQ to help our users. We will have more CSS examples there.

For pricing, we have a small "suggestion system" that might be helpful!

@guys!

Please start using our brand new support system (http://help.fotomoto.com), we check here randomly and may not be able to answer your questions here!
posted by fotomoto at 9:16 AM on July 2, 2010


Thanks for the feedback. komara, I'll be responding to your MeMail ASAP.
posted by sprocket87 at 6:39 AM on July 7, 2010


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