In our guide, Breaking Into Commercial Photography, we asked photographer Chrissy…
Today, PhotoShelter is introducing something new to the photography community, and it’s called Beam. Beam is our brand-new platform for building a striking, cutting-edge photography portfolio website, fully integrated with PhotoShelter’s suite of powerful business tools.
This new platform is the culmination of over a year’s worth of work by our team and rounds of feedback from countless PhotoShelter members. And, its release into public beta today is really just the beginning.
When we initially started planning for Beam, we knew that our own websites needed an update and that we wanted to build a flexible platform for creating features other than the websites themselves. But we also took a look at the marketplace. The truth is, there really are a lot of portfolio website offerings out there. Still, none really offer the combination of back-end workflow tools and forward-thinking portfolio websites in one package.
We decided that the photo community deserved something better, and we set out with a lofty mission: to deliver the most engaging and compelling way for photographers to present their work online. As with any good mission, it keeps us on our toes and continuously striving to do better. Yet it starts with great design and great technology, and a commitment to helping photographers succeed as business owners – something we hope we’ve achieved with Beam.
Today’s launch unveils four distinct portfolio website designs atop the Beam platform. Each template offers unique ways to present your work, including full-bleed image presentation, a responsive photo wall, gallery thumbnails and filmstrip options, and a minimalist and simple photo display. Of course, we’ll continue to reveal additional templates throughout the upcoming months.
Further, Beam is an API-based platform that positions us to keep pace with trends in portfolio websites and emerging web paradigms. The API provides “hooks” into your PhotoShelter hosted images and affords us the flexibility and agility to respond to the needs of our members by developing new features, template designs, 3rd party integrations and workflow tools more rapidly than ever.
Matching our portfolio websites to the industry-leading business and workflow tools that PhotoShelter provides was a big part of our goal in launching Beam. In fact, while these these new sites are visually attractive in a special way, we still feel that it’s the built-in tools behind the website – for archiving images, selling online, and delivering photos to clients — that will always make PhotoShelter distinct and provide our members with unique advantages vs. typical portfolio websites. Combining a stunning portfolio plus powerful tools built specifically for professional photographers is what gives us the ability to say that PhotoShelter is a true platform for helping you get business, do business, and keep business.
Some of the key traits you’ll find in Beam portfolio websites:
Responsive: The new sites are created using HTML5 and CSS3, which allow images to scale according to screen size (test it out by changing the size of your browser window). Plus, they look great on desktops, laptops, and tablets alike. Advanced techniques such as dynamic load optimization, pre-fetching, priority queuing and client device detection also optimize the responsive experience.
Connected: Beam provides seamless website integration with third-party tools used daily by photographers, including Instagram, Vimeo, and WordPress and Tumblr blogs. You can showcase these feeds directly on your website without linking out to external sites or putting in any day-to-day work on your end.
Customizable: The new Site Builder lets you make quick changes to your site’s look and feel in real time – meaning you can make changes directly on your website and see the results immediately. Make edits to fonts, colors, logos, navigation items, featured galleries, and build an unlimited amount of custom pages. The websites are intuitive to build and require no extra design or coding experience.
Oh, and the photos look damn good: We’ve refined our image processing to yield the most accurate representation of your images possible, and have set the benchmark on the web for color fidelity, resolution, details, and freedom from artifacts. Our members are professionals of the highest caliber, so it’s critical that we’ve meet these quality requirements on the new Beam platform by delivering high res images for the latest HD and Retina devices.
Starting today, Beam will be available to PhotoShelter members with Standard or Pro accounts (If you don’t have a PhotoShelter account, you can sign up for a 14-day free trial here). We’ll be offering weekly webinars to help introduce Beam’s new portfolio sites and answer your questions. Or, you can watch a video overview of the new sites, and learn how to build one for yourself.
Beam is a forward-looking step for PhotoShelter. It’s taken a lot of time and focus for our team, and I can promise that there is much more to come. We’ll continue making new templates and features available to our members in the coming months. As always, your feedback is a critical part of our product development process, so please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.