Best Pro Folio site - smugmug, zenfolio ? What?
I have just read through this thread and I suppose I'm a bit late, but by the sounds of what you are after, you should definitely check out DPHOTO (http://www.dphoto.com/coupon/DC8BB977). It looks better than zenfolio (i think) and although it is currently in flash, it sounds like they will be doing an overhaul to html5 in the coming months. It has iOS compatibility for your gallery, you get custom domain, really easy to use image manager (they call director), all your iphoto, aperture and Lightroom exportes with EXIF data and solid SEO. Selling point for this one is definitely the look and "Director". Less customisability though.
I know users (truly professional photographers) that made hundreds of euros from their FREE flickr accounts' presence.
Photodeck is insanely pricey, as are many others I see mentioned here. If you're prepared to pay that, self-hosting and creating a site all by yourself, or paying someone to do it for you is cheaper. And you'll have no limits to what you can do with it. Terabytes fast hosting-space is not expensive these days.
Being a pro does not mean you're going to waste your money away on seemingly classy superficialness.
I don't see how they can even stay in business with Google/Picasa, 23hq, and the many free image-hosters out there. (And not even all that bad-looking either, by the way.)
What it mostly boils down to is
- paying for an online backup-storage solution, unlimited, hidden (who does not want that?)
- have users be able to comment, a photo-site with a social aspect. The fact that so many respond at flickr makes it work for selling your art/prints.
I was tempted to go with 500px because of their huge active userbase, but then found that I could not use my own domain name with them.
I tried smugmug for a while, its UI sucks ass and their new version is dumped on unsuspecting users while it's not even finished. Lots of stuff I expected to work because they advertised features, just did not! Shameful, really. Asked for a partly refund since I had already paid for a year.
Decided to go with Zenfolio Premium instead. Not a really big social thing, but allows me to share pics everywhere I want easily, so it still works that way.
I could never look myself in the mirror working with a site named "flickr". Honestly, if they had a different name, and allowed a little more theming, I'd go with their pro accounts in a minute. No competition, hands down.
Oh and let's not forget zooomr, another shitty-ass name I'd never feel comfortable with, but a really humongous mostly asian userbase, which can be helpful if you're up for that.
I had LiveBooks for about a year until I discovered PhotoDeck.com They don't nickel and dime you for changes like LiveBooks does, you do it all yourself.
Plus it has a much better mobile device interface, integrated stock sales (you upload the full rez image then it's downsized for web and sales depending on what level they buy). These guys are really geniuses.
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Doug Dolde http://douglasdolde.com
Finally made up my mind, and picked Livebooks.
I am surprised to see you are praising the mobile device interface of Photodeck, this is among others things what drove me away.
Livebooks tablet support with their scaler sites is superb.
3GB website storage space for $9 a month, are they kidding me? 64 pics per portfolio maximum?
I really don't see why anyone would want limitations like that and at the same time pay over $100 a year for it. Again; You'll be much better off just paying someone to create your own website and pay the hosting for it yourself. Much cheaper too.
Oh but wait, you want to seem or look professional, so you need to waste a lot of money because that's sort of 'the thing to do' if you're a 'real pro'.