Zenfolio 2014 Review

December 22, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

 

INTRODUCTION:
Its Zenfolio! Whoops! That was the answer. So I bet you’re now wondering what the question is.....  Have you ever wanted a website and just couldn’t figure out where to go or how to get one started up? Are you a photographer or a model; an artist maybe? Well there are tons of websites out there that offer you quality and service, but just don’t rise to the occasion to meet the criteria that they claim they have. Awards are always claimed, but yet we as the end-user just don’t find it to be what is award-winning to us, the customer. From the features, to the customer service, Zenfolio has really made quite a few changes within this past year and satisfied hundreds of thousands of customers from around the world!

Over the past year, I was granted the opportunity to work with Zenfolio. Zenfolio is a website hosting company which specializes in photography website design and ordering services.. with printing services just for the photographer in mind. Several different levels of memberships allow even the most amateur shutterbugs to get started for as little as $30 a year with a  14-day free trial to test out the services and see what it all has to offer.

Now a lot of you are wondering, “well, why Zenfolio?” There are so many reasons and honestly to many to name. However I will do my best in this review to touch on all the features, the plans, the services, printing companies, layouts and designs of Zenfolio and just what exactly and why they should be given a chance. I will also give my personal experience and the pros and cons of Zenfolio that I have experienced this year. I mean, lets face it, there is no such thing as perfection. On the other hand, there is such a thing as trying to at least get there, which is exactly what Zenfolio is doing.

THE TECHNICAL SUPPORT:
I will be honest and straight to you as my readers and I will not place any bias on Zenfolio or any other carrier host for internet services. The truth to the matter is, when I first interviewed Zenfolio last year, I was very hesitant on even signing up just for the fact that they did not have the support staff that I was looking for. When I say support, I mean telephone support or one-on-one chat across the board, and not with a certain membership level.  This really made me not want to use them. Nonetheless, I have used the email support and to my surprise, it has amazed me at exactly how fast the representatives get back to me! They are there for me 24/7, and get back with me as they promise within a couple of hours! The perk of this, is that with telephone support, it could take hours of explanation and continuous repetition of instruction, which I might forget. With email support, I can simply go back and reference the email for the instructions and exactly what to do, and what I did before.

Also, if you’re a business premium member, you do get instant chat support. This is great for many of us who are dealing with a work load. Its definitely worth it to know that there is always someone there on the other side ready to answer all of your questions.

Secondly, the more you talk to support, the more they get to know you and your situations and how to help you best. It truly amazes me on how much they serve people and how on Earth they could possibly remember you! It’s quite astonishing really.

WEBSITE LAYOUT AND DESIGN:
For over the past year, the design team has really taken great leaps with the layout designs and the algorithms necessary to keep Zenfolio by far one of the best and top website hosts. From templates, to options to have slideshows and music as your cover page, or even a straight up blog page design, they have come so far to make sure each and every photographer/designer is well taken care of and the presentation is superb!  Also, Zenfolio provides several links to layout custom page designers that will give your website an exclusive layout that speaks to just one demographic, or to the masses. So right when people come to your website, potential and current clients have not just an idea of what they are getting, but are confident and at ease that you are the right candidate and they have made the right choice over several other choices they might have went to before you.

Do you have an idea or suggestion? Cool! Thats where Zenfolio has put in a forum where users can suggest new ideas  for Zenfolio and how to make it so much better.  A lot of people can be impatient, but just know and trust that there are people working around the clock to make sure everything is well maintained and new features will keep Zenfolio on top and running smoothly so that your clients as well as yourself can be worry and stress free.

From setup, to the accounting and management of your site, to the layout design and order processing, Zenfolio is there for you to guide you through the steps of making your website the most appealing to the visitors for your site.

There are certain down times as well which can be a hassle, but nonetheless, Zenfolio tech support lets you know the schedule weeks ahead of time. With emails and onsite notifications, you are aware of exactly what updates are being done and how long the maintenance will last for the updates to the servers.  New features are being added all the time and recommendations are now becoming more fully heard  as the quality of service improves. 

The designs and layouts are customizable now which enables each artist to arrange and organize what the opening page will look like, the feel, format, and aim towards a single or variety of demographics. Do you have a video? Well, guess what? Zenfolio also allows uploads of video clips which may be used for promotional purposes, or even to sell the clips if needed. This allows you to post your videos to your blog with an editorial description and visual assistance to give your audience and clients a more solid idea and understanding of who you are, the product you are offering, and what work it takes to achieve  the desired result or actual result that you have.  This is an excellent way to draw personal attention by making a music video intro trailer for your slideshow and a personal introduction for your guests to catch a glimpse about who you are and what they are getting. It also gives people a sense of peace-of-mind and feel like they have already met you, giving them the sense of urgency to meet you as soon as possible for your inviting and loving personality.

Don’t be afraid to stand outside of the box when it comes to your photography! Zenfolio has the tools to give your website the look that identifies with who you are and how you conduct business. Remember, the look of your website is one of the most important things about your business, because if it is misleading in color, font, arrangement, or organization, it will have a large chance to make potential clients search elsewhere for there services. And if you DO get a call from them, its probably just a courtesy call to give you a chance, or to get prices off of you to compare them and giving you the passive, “Great! Yeah, I’ll be in touch soon!” But as most of us know, that means you might not hear back at all! This is why Zenfolio has you covered with preset themes  by successful design artists and preset layouts with the fonts and font colors that will make your present clients work with you more, past clients come back, and future clients be actual referrals who will also return with referrals of their own to keep your business growing!

Membership

Let’s face it; we all can’t afford $300/yr or $50/mo for a membership and any fees or dues that come with that. This is why Zenfolio ranks among the best hosts out there receiving numerous awards all the time for its outstanding turnaround time for customer service, rate of return for emails and tech support, products through numerous labs that also offer outstanding products. Not bashing any of the other stuff really, but as a professional, you need the look and services and access to products when you need them the most. For this, they also offer exceptional shipping services at the great prices that you and your clients can handle. From FedEx, to USPS (United Postal Service), or UPS, they have you covered!

With all this mind, Zenfolio had different levels of membership for everyone! Rather you are just getting into photography and wanting to start your exposure, just to sell a few prints, or a student that wants a more professional looking website with domain and an avenue to start selling either your work online and gaining potential clients and building revenue and income. Each package is carefully designed for every level of expertise, regardless of who or where you are.

Each level of membership gives you more features each of these partner labs. Are you interested in large prints and aluminum or canvas to buy and sell to order in fairs or trade shows? With minimal processing fees, Zenfolio partners with top labs to give you the best in prints and products that will astound your clients, setting you apart from the competition. 

With all this in mind, Zenfolio has a package built for each level of photographer! Rather you are a student, or a professional, Zenfolio has plans starting off at just $30 per year!  How awesome is that?!? And to get you started before you go with them, Zenfolio offers a free risk-free 14 day trial to just give you an inside look at how the platform is structured. Everything you need will be right at your finger tips! And as always, if you can’t figure something out, simply email  support and someone like Evan will get back with you within only a couple of hours!

As of course for those professionals out there with a high ratio of demand, there are membership levels for you as well where your clients can come and see your website, as well as order online right from the comfort of their own home through the easy navigational setup that Zenfolio designs for you! No coding, no errors, no problems! And if there is, then Zenfolio is only an email away!

For an example of my setup, click HERE!

Click HERE to see all the membership levels or copy the link
 https://secure.zenfolio.com/zf/signup/plans.aspx?_ga=1.195233647.2105667340.1418845427 
to your browser by highlighting this link and using Control+C (PC users) to copy, and Control+V to paste after you have clicked the address bar.

For Mac users, Command+C to copy, and Command+V to Paste.


Partner Labs

Zenfolio claims to be the best, if not at least among the best. And to hold and carry such a reputation, means that you have to act, look, and demonstrate the best. With that in mind, they partner with among some of the best lab companies that offer amazing products to its members with shipping that fits all needs!* From regular size to enlargement prints with various textures and finishes,
These Labs include:

  • MpixPro
  • Mpix
  • Photobox
  • One Vision Imaging LTD
  • IYP
  • fotoflot
  • PictureItPostage
  • Miller’s Professional Imaging
  • ivoke
  • nulab professional imaging
  • and
  • NuShots


Click here for a link to the Partners page within Zenfolio: http://www.zenfolio.com/zf/pnp/overview.aspx

Each of these services offers professional labs that proof and check all orders before shipping to ensure top quality for your clients and yourself to display in any environment that you customize it for.

Don’t see your labs in here? That's totally okay! With self-fulfill, you can offer your products through outside labs at the same prices you choose!** Each of these products and labs are member and Zenfolio approved. Need help in setting your prices? No problem! With Zenfolio’s base lab cost feature, you can customize and enter the values to offset your expenses to control a smoother financial workflow and more up-to-date accurate information. The reports section will help you see and track each order from each lab and how much was sold using that lab to help you see  where the highest and lowest revenue is coming from, as well as tracking and logging to reorder through the same labs.  And as always, Zenfolio support is always ready and at hand with a simple email to assist you whenever you need that immediate support and will respond to you with in 2-3 hours!
The support team at Zenfolio are there to help you and want to see you succeed more than anything! There are tons of webinars and tutorials, blogs, vlogs, and now, member meet ups that will help you network with other photographers and get great practice at Zenfolio sponsored events!


Zenfolio Meet-up Groups

Starting just recently, Zenfolio has launched new meet up groups for its members and aspiring photographers. This is a chance for anyone who is already shooting or wants to shoot, to become members and also gain exclusive benefits, enter sponsored contests, and gain exposure with other photographers.

This is the chance to develop a community for those of you who are shutterbugs and want to get deeper in to photography by networking with some of the bests in the area!

There will be activities, food in some groups, scavenger hunts, photo-walks, and great prizes will be given from Zenfolio and its affiliates!

Not only that, but some of the top photos selected will have a chance of being discovered and published in magazines, and if not that, you will get serious bragging rights as it will be hosted and advertised for all to see on Zenfolio’s social media and ad campaigns.

Don’t miss out on special activities, getaways, prizes, and not only that, but meeting great people and lifelong friends! But most of all, the amount of skill you will gain in the growth of your vision and talent.

Photographer Central:

Zenfolio has now produced a new project called Photographer Central to get even more clients through listing your business in a massive database just for photographers! Introducing Photographer Central

 - That's right! Now your listing is reaching not just hundreds, but MILLIONS of clients from around the world, by listing you into the top search engines. And best of all, all your contact info is right there for them to go straight to their preferred type of contact. 

Photographer Central also has a mini portfolio for you to display some of your best work!  This slideshow style portfolio allows them to stream-down your portfolio for consideration.


Overall Rating:

Zenfolio since the initial time of discovery has grown into a company that I know and love and trust. They are continually making updates and finally starting to listen to the voice of their users much more than when I first signed on. 

The smiles when you meet them in person are strong as their hearts and personalities which you can’t help but to believe that they genuinely care about each and every one of their members. 

Over the past few years, I have truly grown to love those people at Zenfolio for how quick they get back to me, the one-on-one chats I get (Premium Business Members), and the over-all quality of service through not just  chat, but also email support which is in by far one of the best ways to communicate. This method of service is what prompted me to start with Zenfolio and do this review, because i was very sketchy on how they didn’t have phone support. And by the end of the year, I was sold to the amazing service that was and is still provided as they exceed the needs and wants of its members.

Zenfolio has always checked in on me from time to time to make sure that my order was received and the quality of service they provided after i wrote them with any question or issue that I have had, and they get back to me so quickly that it puts me into shock!

With the number of members, one wouldn’t think they would remember you as well as they do! Its not just they read through old emails or something, they genuinely remember you and that is a lot to say for ANY company! They also make sure that you are fully satisfied with the services and help you through the navigation oaf making sure that you are getting the most out of your website!

Also, All my prints from the labs come in so quickly! Some even arrive earlier both to me and my clients earlier than expected!

I am very pleased with the service, products, and professionalism of the quality that Zenfolio gives to its users. I trust that you will be very confident in your choice of switching.

They are always working on new features and benefits for its members. 

So why stress? Check out Zenfolio, TODAY! Use promotional code: HU9-6Y1-PSY  when you subscribe to save 10% Instantly!


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