I have just signed up for the “unlimited” Zenfolio account ($35 after referral code) after using the (no credit card) trial version for a 14 days. I started getting interested in it after really using it to browse other peoples galleries. As my harddisk was getting filled with photographs I desperately needed a site to host my pictures. I was scouting for perfect picture host which i found in Zenfolio. This was done after checking several services link Flickr, Yahoo photos, Smumug etc. Features I like in Zenfolio to choose it as my host for photos are as follows.
Zenfolio allows users to make their breadcrumb as deep as they want, which I find to be very useful at times. almost all the other services restricts the breadcrumb from going any deeper than 3-4 times. Everything looks nice & neat on the page in Zenfolio, I like the way you hover your mouse over things to get info such as exif/download links/photo & gallery links/etc instead of having all that info strewn all over the page, the slideshow rocks pretty hard, and my god is this site fast! Most of the time it goes just as fast as I can click, which has a lot to do with the way they prefetch the images. But, I cant tell you how good that feels when you are browsing a bunch of photos in a gallery & it goes that fast & doesnt make you scroll each time you view a new photo or page in a gallery. Its almost like viewing photos with a piece of software on your computer’s hard drive! Yes, its that fast!!
Zenfolio has pre-made templates (not just themes), which again can be a good thing or a bad thing. Depends on what you want to do with your page & how savvy you are with coding, but I think its safe to say most people aren’t good with html/css nor do they want to be. I personally like Zenfolio’s better, as they look a bit more elegant to me without being overly cheesy.
In Zenfolio, literally all options, edits, captions, titles, keywords, gallery/group creation, access controls, deleting, descriptions, uploading, re-arranging, etc is done in ONE centralized location for your entire content. And I do mean everything! This sounds like a bad idea at first because you would think thats too much info on one page, but its not like that at all & is actually very simple. You have a list of all your galleries/groups on the left & you just click on which ever one you want to make edits to, upload to (or whatever), then all the content of that folder appears inside the main area in the center with all the options on the right. You can go deeper in your breadcrumb from there & make changes to any part of it, including the homepage. Then, you can view it as a guest would to see if its to your liking. They also allow descriptions to any part of your breadcrumb, not just galleries. I really like that a lot because sometimes I want to write little descriptions to a group that may contain a bunch of galleries within it that have their own separate descriptions & so on.
There are several other features I like in Zenfolio which finally made me to get an account there. I love the Image prefetching of Zenfolio. Their dynamic image resizing is fantastic. I love how Zenfolio does this. I often don’t have my browser window maximized, and Zenfolio just “fits,” any time, all the time. Keyboard shortcuts. I’ve already become addicted to “arrowing through” a gallery in Zenfolio. Combined with image prefetching, this makes for a very nice user experience. Zenfolio uses AJAX to switch images for the user, but whatever they do, it’s awesome. From the user’s perspective, not having the browser jump around and force scrolling each time the image changes is wonderful.
Still there are several areas in Zenfolio I have not explored. I have not tested their printing service or their Shopping Cart. I am trying to figure out how to point photos.drkrishi.com to drkrishi.zenfolio.com. I have not yet done bulk downloading of photos from Zenfolio as my current internet speed does not permit such a large download.