Photo Folio News

Over the last 4 years PDN (Photo District News) has awarded 19 photographers using our sites Best Website Design (8 in 2013). I’m very grateful to all the people who design beautiful award winning websites with the tools we give them. It’s a true testament to the power and flexibility of our customizable templates that the awards keep coming.


New Thumbnail Strip Feature

A truly awesome new feature that can add a strip of thumbs to all your media items.


Impress your clients with thumbnails that match the content.

Thumbs are activated on a per gallery basis, so you can have a grid on items with lots of content and those with fewer things can be a strip.


Customizations that make your site unique.

The new thumbnail strip can be positioned on the top, bottom, left or right of the image box. It can overlay the image or displace it, you can choose between 3 different sizes, plus our popular “on by default” setting.


Improved iPad and iPhone Versions

First, we’ve made improvements to the iPhone (mobile) and iPad (pad) versions of the Design X sites. The menu, swipe and other parts of these custom versions of the site are greatly improved.

Next we are give you the option to turn off the custom version and show the desktop version of your site on mobile, pad or both device types. Looks incredible:


More, More, Always More

★ Gif support on the html version of the site
★ Contact page design improvements
★ Email this image design improvements
★ Improved sharpening in the Safari browser
★ Removed navbar from landing page slideshow
★ Removed navbar from single pages
★ Added cursor navigation to text pages

Existing customers only have to hit the UPDATE button in their admin to start using these exciting new features.

Listen in as Michael Bilbrey, senior production consultant at Leo Burnett USA uses Chris Litwin’s APhotoFolio site to show what makes an effective website.

I found this particularly interesting:

I can’t remember the last time I called in a physical book.

A website is THE most imporant sef promotion tool of a photographer of illustrator.

It has to be easy to navigate and manage.

It has to be clean.

The key about a website is it has to be easy to navigate, has to download quickly, it has to be a quick read. In the world of competitive bidding you’re looking at a dozen or more websites. So, if you go to a website and it’s cumbersome to work you will pass it up and go to the next one.

Watch the website portion here:

Watch the whole event here:

ASMP business as unusual

I couldn’t be more thrilled to see an advertising production consultant endorse what we do.

We’ve added a couple new features to Design X that I think you will really like:

Thumbnails First. This is a very popular feature from Design 7 Midtown that makes your website very client friendly (shows the thumbs of the entire gallery first). We’ve added a new twist to this in Design X, so that you can select specific galleries to open with “thumbs first” when clicking on them. (In the media library you will see a thumb icon next to each gallery where you can activate this feature.)

New Thumbnail Style: Masonry. We have an new thumbnail style called “Masonry” that fits the thumbs together like a mason fitting stones in a wall.


(In the media library you will see a thumb icon next to each gallery where you can activate this feature.)

iPad Thumbs. We turned on the thumbs for the iPad version of the site.


     Side Note. In Design X you can already upload a custom thumbnail for each image, so we can’t wait to see what you do with these new features.

More Browsers Showing HTML Version. We now have Internet Explorer 9,10 and Opera along with previously working Safari, Chrome and FireFox showing the HTML5 version of your site (when selected). As the browser developers advance their technology we are phasing out flash completely from our websites.

I’m excited to announce a couple new features to Design X that are minor, but provide some interesting possibilities nonetheless.

Picture Margin Settings. This setting allows a margin around the images and video that is separate from the overall website container. In the Website Design panel under Images & Video you will find margin settings for this. This will give you a nice matting effect and if you use a percentage will allow image sizes to be constrained somewhat similar to Design 5.

Captions On By Default. This setting can be found under Caption and will allow your captions to always show. Combine this with a bottom margin setting from above and you will have a nice blank spot for the captions to reside. Nice!

New Social Media Icons. We added new icons for Vimeo, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, Blogs, WordPress, Blogger, Flickr and YouTube.

Improved Stats Code. If you want to use stats code in addition to or besides Google Analytics we now have a way to do that.

I’m excited about the addition of our wildly popular PDF builder to Design X. In true APhotoFolio form we’ve add a slew of controls to customize the look and feel of the builder, so now it’s better than ever.

PDF Builder Control Panel

For those of you unfamiliar with the PDF builder it’s a web app that allows people to build a custom PDF of your work. You can link to it from the front of your site or keep it hidden for personal use by you and select clients. If you are thinking “this is 2012, why are we making PDF’s” let me explain why clients love PDF’s and our builder in particular.

Your clients love APF websites because the images are big and impressive, but the thumbnails allow them to quickly scan the work to find images that are relevant to a job they have. The PDF builder is a giant contact sheet of all your work and it allows them to go in and select the most relevant images, create a portfolio of them, and download it to their desktop. They can even do this on an iPhone or iPad on the go.

A PDF portfolio of their favorite images is a powerful thing, because the format is universal and it can be emailed, printed and stored for later use. We’ve discovered that Art Buyers and Photo Editor prefer this to lightboxes, because it’s so quick and easy to use.

APhotoFolio is known for innovation and the PDF builder can only be found on our websites.

PDF Builder

I have a couple updates to announce for Design X.

First, we brought our popular PDF creator over to this design and in doing so added a ton of adjustments so you can control the look and feel of it. It’s got lots of new features compared to the previous version and I know you and your clients will love using it.

Next, we changed the color of the admin from black to grey which makes it much easier to read and work with.

Finally, since we first announced Design X back in August we’ve made a nonstop stream of improvements to the stability and polish of the design. Too many to list but here are a few highlights:

Option to use browser title for all page titles (can be found under Account Site SEO Info)
Hardware Acceleration
Added text pages to intro slideshow
iPad menu improvements
Google Analytics reporting improvements
International font character improvements
Hidden and password protected gallery improvements
Added custom Retina logos for iPhone, iPad and Macs
Created Retina thumbnails
Better match between flash admin and html site

I participated in a google plus hangout recently with Frederick Van Johnson and Suzanne Sease where we discussed APhotoFolio and the whole “websites for photographers” ecosystem. I think you’ll find it informative if you’re considering APF for your website.

APhotoFolio client Jason Hawkes has the cover of National Geographic this month for the Olympics. Way to go Jason!