ShootProof vs Pixieset is a close contest. They are both popular online photo printing services, but which one is the best? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each to see which comes out on top.
[Note: ExpertPhotography is supported by readers. Product links on ExpertPhotography are referral links. If you use one of these and buy something, we make a little bit of money. Need more info? See how it all works here.]
Both of these online services have a simple purpose. They aim to make it easy for photographers to store and sell their photographs. This includes making it simple for their clients to access and download photos. All while doing everything possible to maintain security. They do this by preserving creator control over the assets.
Why do You Need a Photo Sharing Site?
Are you moving from occasional photography jobs to earning money from your photos? Then you probably already know that you need an efficient way of storing and sharing your photos. It will transform the organization of your photos. Your clients will love how easy it is to access the photo galleries. You can sell photos directly from the website’s online store, with no input from you.
So the question isn’t, “Do I need a photo-sharing website?” The question is, “Which is the best photo-sharing website for me?” And for thousands of photographers, that answer comes down to ShootProof vs Pixieset.
Features to Look for in a Photo-Sharing Platform
One thing you’ll notice from this review of ShootProof vs Pixieset is that there are a lot of shared features. It’s good to note how carefully they have matched their services to the needs of photographers. And that includes their clients. Now let’s discuss some key features to look out for.
This is important across the whole range of features. Many photographers’ needs are broadly the same. But there can be small differences in the detail. One small example is watermarking. Some people choose to protect their online photos with a watermark. Some people choose not to. With both platforms, you get to choose. With paid plans, you can use your own domain name.
Both ShootProof and Pixieset allow you unlimited client galleries. They both offer a range of templates to choose from. The customizability means you can change layouts and colors to suit your needs. They both allow you to add your own branding and logo on paid plans.
Private galleries mean that your clients’ photos are not publicly available. But they can see the entire gallery. What gallery visitors will see depends on what permission you give them.
If you’ve ever had to handle photo sales, you will appreciate this. And wedding photographers will especially appreciate it. Customers can select the photos they want from the client galleries and order prints. They contract out the printing to different labs, so you’ll have to check what’s available. Usually, they include standard prints of various sizes. They might also include mounted or framed prints.
Both platforms also offer paid-for digital downloads.
You can offer discount codes or coupons to promote your site and encourage sales. Conveniently, both platforms handle the sales side of things. This means you don’t have to worry about accepting credit card payments or similar.
Pixieset and ShootProof both provide Lightroom plugins. This means that you can upload to galleries straight from Lightroom. ShootProof also offers a desktop uploader for Mac and Windows. You assign the gallery, brand, and even watermark in the uploader. It then makes the necessary changes as it uploads to your portfolio.
Pricing and Plans
Both platforms offer free accounts. Of course, these have some limitations. Choose the plan that best suits you according to the number (or size) of images used. I’ll explain some of the differences in more detail later in this article.
Mobile Gallery Apps
These allow you to create a mobile app for your clients. Let’s say you take the photos at Adam and Eve’s wedding. You then create an app that allows Adam and Eve (and anyone else they choose) to browse their photos. And they can select and order any of the photos directly from the app.
And the apps for both platforms will display galleries that are optimized for mobile devices.
ShootProof vs Pixieset—What Does Pixieset Offer?
Pixieset offers a number of plans. Their client gallery plans range from $0 to $40 per month. (Or $34 per month if paid annually.) As you would expect, the free version is very limited.
Pixieset ranks its plans by the amount of storage used. This ranges from 3 GB on the free accounts to unlimited on the Ultimate Plan. In the same way, video upload ranges from 0 to 5 hours for those same plans.
Pixieset’s free account allows you to sell your photos, accept online payments, and give coupons and gift cards. Pixieset takes a 15% commission on sales on this plan. It includes three mobile apps for clients.
The free plan is a good way to see if you like Pixieset. You can test out the platform by investing only a little bit of your time. If you think it will work for you, then you can upgrade to a paid plan.
All the other plans let you use your own custom domain and add your own branding. There’s no limit to mobile apps and there is no commission on sales.
If you find that your chosen plan is wrong for you, you can change it at any time. You can upgrade plans if you get more business than you thought. Or you can downgrade plans if you only use 50% of your storage.
The Pixieset interface is easy to use. It is easy to set up the galleries. And things like titles, layout, and watermarking are intuitive. Likewise, choosing a processing lab and arranging prices is straightforward.
The dashboard for the photographer is intuitive and well thought out. The range of templates isn’t overwhelming, but that can be a good thing. Most people will find something they like. And they are easy on the eye with plenty of custom options.
There is a suite of business tools available called Studio Manager. This is not part of the gallery plans, but it’s integrated with them. And it expands the functionality of Pixieset substantially. You can draft, send, and sign contracts digitally. And you can create, send, and track invoices.
I think Pixieset have missed a trick with their presentation. It’s easy to miss the additional functionality of the Studio Manager. With an initial glance during my research, it wasn’t immediately obvious. But setting up an account with each platform did point me in the right direction in the end.
ShootProof vs Pixieset—What does ShootProof Offer?
ShootProof’s plans also start at $0 per month. The plan level isn’t determined by storage space but rather by the number of photos you upload. The free account gives you up to 100 photos and is also a good way of trying it out.
Paid plans start at $10 per month. (Or $8.33 per month if you pay annually.) And they go up to $60 per month for the Unlimited Plan. (Or $50 per month if paid annually.) All features are available on all paid plans. One handy feature is being able to archive client galleries. When your ShootProof online gallery is no longer active, you can archive it. It costs just a little bit to do this, but it’s a good system.
Perhaps the most notable difference with a ShootProof gallery is the music option. This makes music available to those viewing your galleries. It’s $5 per month for one genre of 115 songs. The genres are:
- Sports & Action
- Babies, Kids, and Family
- Boudoir & Fashion
- Weddings & Love
- High School Seniors
Or for $10, you get the Ultimate collection of more than 20,000 songs. You can filter by theme, style, mood, tempo, instrument, or vocal. It is very comprehensive.
This is a handy feature for the busy professional photographer. You can choose to send out contracts from the platform. You can create your own or purchase packs from a variety of linked providers. These all seem to be US-based, so they might not be relevant in other territories. But using your own still allows you to send them out. And your clients can sign them digitally.
The theme of integration continues through the invoicing process as well. You can add this seamlessly to an email with the contract. You can easily set up autopay or automatic email reminders. The same system also provides reports. This includes sales from the website and through your invoicing. It’s a very neat solution that provides your clients with a very professional experience.
Controlling access to professional photographers’ photos is vitally important. Sadly, some people will try to steal your content. Both platforms offer levels of protection. ShootProof has a lot of flexibility within this feature.
For any given ShootProof gallery, you can set different permissions. This might allow free access to the entire gallery. Or you can offer watermarked access or limited downloads. You can specify whether they can download full-size or smaller files. And you can nominate particular people to have different permissions from everyone else. For instance, if you shoot a wedding, you can give the bride and groom special access.
ShootProof vs Pixieset—Which is Better?
Both of these platforms will make your life as a photographer much easier. Both user interfaces are straightforward. Both sites offer offline payment as well as all aspects of an online store. And you can offer client discounts and manage digital download permission.
The range of plans seems to offer the same price from the two providers. We will look at the entry-level paid plans for $10 per month and $60—the two ends of the scale.
Pixieset has a problem that I mentioned earlier. They list their Suite app separately from their Client Gallery app. It takes a bit of searching to work things out. At the $10 end of the market, ShootProof is my clear winner. The gallery functions and mobile apps are pretty much the same. But $10 with Pixieset does not buy you the invoicing or contract features.
With Pixieset, the cheapest plan with all those features starts at $35 per month. It comes with 1,000 GB of storage. This compares very favorably. ShootProof, charges $30 and $40 for 25,000 or 50,000 photos, respectively.
For $60 per month, there’s little to choose between the two. Both give you unlimited storage. You can use both of them as your photography gallery homepage as well as your digital store. They’re not identical, however. And at this price, you want to be really happy with what you’re getting. This is true both for functionality and user experience.
If you’re planning on opening an account that will cost you $30 or more a month, I recommend opening a trial account with both. It’s definitely helpful that you can see the full functionality on a trial account. You’re not limited to what a free plan gives you. Invest some time before you invest some money. Because in the ShootProof vs. Pixieset battle, anything above $30 is evenly matched.
Check out our Profit from Portraits e-book to take your photography business to the next level!