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Product Spotlight, An In-Depth Review
SeeFile 1.5 An Easy, Affordable Way to Showcase & Sell Images Online


© Joel Butkowski


© Joel Butkowski


© Joel Butkowski


© Joel Butkowski


© Joel Butkowski



If you rely on the Internet to promote and sell your work, you know how time-consuming and costly it can be to catalog and print out images, post catalogs on the Net for clients, and deliver final images on CDs to them.

Having tried a number of digital asset management software products—all of which have their good points as well as their not so good points—I set out to find a program that would: let me upload new images without having to use a pre-designed template that would have to be redesigned for each upload; generate high-resolution images for delivery so I wouldn’t have to burn and deliver CDs anymore; let me access my files from anywhere; and have a metadata search capability.

The SeeFile Difference

My search brought me to SeeFile 1.5, which has far surpassed my criteria, as well as my expectations, in the five months I’ve used it. I’m a Mac user and SeeFile is a Mac-based program, so installation was a snap. The graphical interface was easy to understand, without a lot of dropdown menus to navigate or confusing terminology to learn. Just recently, I have started to use features such as the message board, subscribe, and collection.

It’s a very flexible system, so you can set up the folder structure the way you want or what best fits your clients’ needs, just like you can on your own computer.

IMAGE PREVIEWS

In my studio, we use the program primarily for client online viewing and delivery of images. It’s password-protected and the permission feature lets me give preview-only options to the client.

SeeFile creates its own user-defined thumbnail and watermarked previews of images. I just upload the high-res files and SeeFile does the rest. When a client selects images, he or she just places them in a collections folder, which I copy and paste into a folder for download. This way I have control over distribution of the images.

I recently started a hosting service for one of my publication clients, using SeeFile to preview the images. The client likes it because it gives a preview of PDF and other graphic files, which means they can see the files before downloading them. SeeFile has become a collection point for their entire image and graphic files before they are sent to the printer. We are now going to host a system for the whole publication.

Quick Response Time

Being able to respond quickly and efficiently to a client’s request is a priority for photographers these days. SeeFile reduces the mundane and time-consuming task of burning and delivering CD/DVDs and greatly decreases search time for image files. While it used to take me 25 to 30 minutes to search, find, and send images, it now takes me about five minutes. I charge for the convenience and immediate download at the same rate I do for a CD.

The unproductive time I used to spend finding an image, burning a CD, then mailing or delivering it has been replaced by clients reacting, “Wow, that’s great.” Clients really appreciate having an image ready when they need it.

Scrutinizing SeeFile

What SeeFile offers in the way of photocentric features makes it one of the best ways for photographers to view, locate, and distribute their content to clients in a password-protected environment. I think it will eventually replace Web galleries and FTP sites.

SeeFile is definitely not just a cataloging program. It is a website for searching, locating, editing, and distributing image and graphic files. And it’s a web/ftp/email program with searchable capabilities, for high-resolution files.

I think SeeFile will eventually become the standard for image delivery. I also think the system is flexible enough for photographers to become content providers and managers for themselves and their clients. With all the digital image files we are producing, it’s inevitable.

AT PRESS TIME
SeeFile’s creators have recently announced they’re shipping version 1.6. and are working on version 2.0, due out by year end. SeeFile also received some unexpected good press last month, when it was recommended by its biggest business partner, Apple, in Apple’s September 8 eNews mailer.

For more information on SeeFile, visit www.seefile.com

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