When you can't find a product that meets your needs, what do you do? Well, if you're Will Jennings and Aidan Kane, you build it yourself. Will was struggling to find a website that would host his professional photography portfolio. He wanted something that looked slick, was simple to use, provided him with his own domain name and email address, and also the ability to sell his photos. What was on offer was too expensive and too limited in terms of the number of photos hosted or level of traffic received. Some people might have regarded that as a bit much to ask for, but not Will, or Aidan for that matter. Between Will's creative vision and Aidan's technical prowess, they developed Photoswarm.
All of Will's demands are right there. The site is clean and looks professional, uploading photos to it is a cinch, and it's reasonably priced.
There's a free package that allows you 50 photos on the site and as much traffic as you can generate. Upgrade to the light package–$5.99 a month or $59 for a year–and you can upload unlimited photos, you will have an about page, a contact page, a customisable look, and access to Google analytics. Splash out on the $9.99 a month ($99 annually) Pro package and you get all of that, along with your own domain name, email address, and the ability to sell your photos commission-free.
Whichever package you choose, you'll have access to Photoswarm's peronsal support if you need a bit of help, which is something on which Will prides himself. (He's in charge of customer support.)
Meanwhile, Aidan reckons that the Photoswarm interface is simple enough that even a five year old could create a portfolio. I'm yet to test it out on my six year old niece, but I will affirm that it's easy to use.
The Photoswarm team also endeavours to take care of registering and setting up your personal domain and email for you if you opt for the Pro package. You don't have to mess around registering with a third party and then integrating it into the Photoswarm site. You get a professional looking portfolio with the minimum of fuss. Fantastic!
And now what for the dynamic duo originally from New Zealand but settled in London? 'At present we're working on a fairly complex project of migrating our entire service to Amazon's S3 servers,' says Will. But as soon as that's done, they'll be looking at ways for Instagram and the soon-to-close MobileMe users to automatically import their photos to Photoswarm.
Then they're looking at providing subscribers with their own blogs, to increase the solidity of their web presence and help to showcase their work.
Photoswarm is a vertiable hive of activity, I'd say, and well worth checking out if you're looking for a professional, simple, and reasonably-priced portfolio-hosting option.