Cost (4 out of 5)
Though demos and limited features are available for free to potential customers, Pictage does have a monthly or annual cost. As of May 2009, there were two account options – one cost $49 a month and the other held an annual fee of $99. The monthly account is rather costly, and is probably only ideal for those running large event photography businesses.
Products (5 out of 5)
Let’s take a theoretical wedding photographer named John R. John shoots the Smith and Jones wedding, and uploads the digital images to his Pictage account. This allows people to view and purchase the photos from the event. Ordinarily, John R. would have to spend precious time collecting money, credit cards, printing, and shipping products. However, Pictage does the administrative work for the digital photographer while still serving the image needs of John’s wedding clients and any other interested parties.
People ordering through Pictage of course do not need to get a professional account, and can choose from a variety of products. Fine arts cards, CDs of all images from an event, and an assortment of prints and print packages can be selected. For those who want to give the bride and groom (or other principal players in any event) a gift to get their images, gift certificates usable at Pictage are available. As of May 2009, prints started at $5 and fine art cards at about $74.
Ease of Use (5 out of 5)
Once the initial sign up is complete, using Pictage is easy. There is thorough explanation and support provided, as well as a sizable user community.
Profit Margin (5 out of 5)
Photographers can use Pictage to handle payment for their entire project or just the prints and other items such as fine art cards and CDs. Pictage charges 1.5 percent as of May 2009 for payments accepted through their checkout system, and sends out monthly royalty checks. This is a great deal when compared to other online payment services popular among digital photographers. For example, a professional PayPal payment loses 2.5 percent plus $.30, and Google Checkout also charges $.30 plus 2.5 percent for each transaction. Obviously photographers who want to get their project costs quickly may want to keep PayPal or Google Checkout, but using Pictage for print sales seems to be a seamless way to get the job done and better protect one’s profit margin.
Sample Prints (5 out of 5)
One of the best features of Pictage is the availability of free sample prints through postal mail for prospective clients. This makes it easy to see the quality of the images, which are printed on Kodak photo paper. This can give digital photographers confidence that their clients will receive a good printed image.
Professional Networking (4 out of 5)
Those who choose the Pictage Pro plan, which costs $49 a month, are added to the photographer directory. This is an excellent opportunity for wedding and event photographers to be found by prospective customers. However, it is unclear just how well this feature works. In addition, it is also possible any digital photographer spending nearly $600 a year on Pictage may already be swamped with work and not need a lot of new clients. However, any advertising is always a good thing and the user community boards are also a great way to get to know potential clients and other photographers.
Professional Support (5 out of 5)
Professional support seems top-notch with Pictage, even before digital photographers purchase an account. Free photographer success videos are sent upon request to prospective members. This video outlines how real photographers are using Pictage to take the grunt work out of their event photography endeavors. In addition, there are many articles and guides online, user community boards, and unlimited phone and e-mail support for paid members.