ShootProof v. Pixieset

Along with showing off the beautiful people I get to photograph, I hope my blog can be a helpful resource to other professional or hobbyist photographers. So, here is my first product comparison/review for anyone looking to share photos digitally!

I have been working on this post since the end of September but with travels and such, I never had a chance to work on the post. Now, almost two months later, I am finally finishing it up and pushing the “publish” button just in time for some Black Friday deals! ShootProof has announced yesterday (Monday, November 19, 2018) that they are offering 40% off upgraded plans for Black Friday, available now. From my past experience, Pixieset does not offer any holiday sales.

The Backstory

Even before I officially launched Tung Photography, I was sharing a lot of photos with people. I started off using DropBox, but I was quickly running out of space on my Dropbox account and I could never tell if the recipient had seen the photos or not.

In 2016, I started using Pixieset to deliver photos. Honestly, I can’t remember my reasons for choosing Pixieset over the competition, but I think I have a slight design preference for the sleekness of Pixieset. Anyways, I had been using them for two years so when I became official, I planned to continue using Pixieset. The photographer that did my engagement photos and wedding also uses Pixieset, so I even had experience with the platform as a client!

When transitioning to an actual business, I knew I had to find an easy way to get contracts signed. I wanted something digital to make things quick and painless for my clients. So, I started researching contract-signing options and discovered that ShootProof offered contract signing services as part of their paid gallery plans. So, I decided to do investigate further.

Photo Delivery Platforms

During my research, I came across a few different photo delivery platforms. In alphabetical order, these were the major players I found: Pixieset, ShootProof, SmugMug, and Zenfolio. I never tried out SmugMug because they don’t have free options and they always take 15% commission on all sales. That just ain’t my jam. Zenfolio has a 2 week free trial, but they also take a 7% commission on sales and their lowest level account doesn’t permit client ordering.

That left me with ShootProof and Pixieset. During my research, a lot of the reviews of the two services I saw online were either partnerships/sponsorships or very out of date. Both of these companies are constantly adding new features and modernizing their platforms, which is great! However, that means reviews such as this one may be less helpful as ShootProof and Pixieset continue to improve their platforms. Until then, hopefully this in-depth comparison of the two platforms is helpful!

The Comparison

Client Site
  • The client-facing UI and format of the two platforms are incredibly similar. On the main page for each photographer,  there’s a header with the name of the studio and some links to website and/or social media.
  • I like that ShootProof puts all the links on the center of the page while Pixieset puts the social links in the top left corner.
  • Underneath the header, both platforms list the available galleries in grids. (I haven’t been using Pixieset lately, hence why I only have one gallery on the site.)
  • Once you click on the gallery, both galleries take you to the login page for the gallery. I like that Pixieset takes you directly to log in while you have to click “Open Gallery” to get to the login page with ShootProof. Not a big deal, but it is an extra step.
Mobile Apps
  • Pixieset and ShootProof offer the ability to create mobile apps for your client galleries. Creating an app is a very similar process on both sites, with the option of using an existing gallery or uploading photos from your computer.
  • To install the app (on iOS, at least), you get an email with a link. From the link, click share and “Add to Home Screen”. Both apps look very similar on the home page. After opening the app, Pixieset’s mobile app is more like the web interface with a splash before entering the mobile gallery.
  • Pixieset allows you to create 3 mobile apps on the free level, unlimited on paid plans. ShootProof allows 5 mobile apps on the free plan, unlimited on paid plans.
Custom URLs
  • Both galleries allow custom URL branding (for example, I have my ShootProof gallery set at clients.ctungphotography.com).
  • ShootProof offers the custom URL to all users, paid and free. However, the custom URL gallery area is not secure until the client enters the cart to begin checkout. For the most part, this isn’t an issue, but a lot of networks and browsers are cracking down on unsecured websites, and I actually couldn’t access my own galleries while on Richmond Airport wifi. To get around this, the ShootProof branded URLs for galleries are secure (ctungphotography.shootproof.com, for example).
  • The custom URLs for galleries on Pixieset are secure. In contrast with ShootProof, the custom URL is only available to paid members.
Free Accounts
  • As I mentioned earlier, the reason I like both of these platforms is that they offer free accounts that aren’t limited by a set number of days or weeks.
  • Pixieset’s free account gives you 3 GB of storage, 3 mobile apps, and access to the online store but with a 15% fee. They require a paid account to change your gallery to a custom URL and to sell photos commission-free.
  • ShootProof’s free account lets you upload 100 photos and create 5 mobile apps. They do not charge commission on sales on any accounts. However, a paid account is required to to access other business features such as contracts and invoicing.
  • With both services, you can set your galleries to automatically expire at a certain time, freeing up your storage for new photos.
Storage Calculations
  • Pixieset calculates storage by GB while ShootProof calculates upload limits by number of individual photos.
  • If you tend to upload a lot of small photos, Pixieset is definitely the better option. If you want to upload a few very large photos, ShootProof may be the better choice. Just comparing the upload options on free accounts, each picture would have to average over 30 MB to make ShootProof a better choice than Pixieset.
Pricing Tiers
  • The different subscription pricing options on the two services are similar with monthly options at $10, $20, and $30 a month.
  • If you require more storage than 250 GB (Pixieset) or 25,000 photos (ShootProof), you can always pay more. $60/month gets you 2 TB of storage on Pixieset, while ShootProof gives you an unlimited number of photos. Pixieset continues to up their storage offerings, as high as 10 TB for $120/month.
  • Both offer month-to-month and yearly subscriptions. As standard with these types of things, there are discounts for purchasing an entire year at once.
Print Shops
  • For US orders, both services offer printing from Miller’s, MPix, and WHCC.
  • ShootProof has these additional US print shops: BayPhoto, Black River Imaging, Richard’s
  • Pixieset has an additional US print shop: ProDPI
  • If you have a lot of international clients, both platforms partner with Loxley Color. Beyond Europe, ShootProof has a larger selection of international print shops.
Payment Processing
  • ShootProof offers the option to accept credit cards through their ShootProof payment gateway, PayPal (only with a paid Pro Business PayPal account), or Authorize.net to US-based studios.
  • For international studios, ShootProof offers Braintree or PayPal. International studios should also be able to use PayPal with a free business account but your clients will not be able to use credit cards to pay for ShootProof Invoices. Authorize.net should also work in Canada.
  • For Pixieset the online payment gateways are Stripe and PayPal (business account required),
  • Both sites offer offline payment, meaning you will collect the money from your client another way such as cash, check, or a payment platform not supported by ShootProof and/or Pixieset.
Contracts
  • ShootProof offers the ability to send contracts directly from the platform. While I love that they offer contracts (and this is my primary reason for choosing ShootProof at this time), unfortunately you can only add one person on each contract. You can also send invoices and create automated emails through ShootProof. (Note, these features are only available on the paid plans.) I also find that the signing box is not as responsive as I would like it to be.
  • Pixieset does not offer any contract-signing or any other business tools.
Dashboard
  • After logging in, the two platforms bring you to very different dashboards. Pixieset is simply a photo delivery service, so the dashboard looks pretty similar to the public-facing side with a grid of active galleries. ShootProof logs into a dashboard that shows recent notifications, gallery activity, and ShootProof announcements.
 Music
  • The ability to set background music to your galleries seems to be one of the perks of ShootProof that people often write about. People talk about it boosting sales or making for a more engaging viewing experience. However, note that this is not included in the package pricing but costs an additional $5-10 per month to add this service to your galleries.
International Access
  • A few weeks ago, I was visiting family in Asia. When I tried to access any ShootProof pages in China, I received an error that the Amazon Web Services were not configured for the country I was in. I could load my custom URL since that was hosted on my own site, but was not able to log in to any of my galleries. From what I could tell on my phone, Pixieset seemed to work in China.
  • However, ShootProof has more international vendors for printing photos, especially outside of Europe.
Passwords & Download PINs
  • Both services offer privacy options to show or hide the galleries from the public site. They both allow you to set passwords and download PINs on the galleries.
  • I like that when you turn on the password and PIN options, Pixieset will automatically generate passwords and PINs for you or change them to something custom. ShootProof requires you to type your own in, which is an extra step for me to think of a password and PIN (or button-mash one).
  • ShootProof offers the ability to set different levels of download and access to different viewers of the gallery with different download PINs and even an ability to set a vendor album.
CRM Integrations
  • If you want your gallery to integrate with CRMs, ShootProof has integrations with 17Hats, Tave, and Shoot Q (maybe more!). From what I can tell, Pixieset does not offer any integrations.

Why I chose ShootProof

I was chatting with my husband about this blog post and he remarked, “Well, if they’re both constantly innovating, it seems like you can’t really go wrong with either.” While that is somewhat true, I think there are still a couple of differentiating points between the two.

If you mostly just need storage and nothing else, Pixieset is definitely cheaper for mid-range. Once you need more than 2 TB of storage, ShootProof becomes the more affordable option with an unlimited number of photos. If you are looking for additional functions such as contracts or invoicing, ShootProof is probably the better option for you.

Sign Up!

If you haven’t signed up for either of these platforms yet, you can sign up with my referral links! If people sign up with these links, I’ll get some storage/credit for the respective platforms and save me a little money. As a reminder, I believe ShootProof will be offering their 40% off sale through this week!

  • ShootProof Referral Link | I get $75 (!!) in ShootProof Credit after your first paid billing cycle.
  • Pixieset Referral Link | We both get an extra 250 MB of storage when you sign up! After your first paid billing cycle, I’ll get another 250 MB in storage or $10 in referral credit.

So I hope this was helpful. If you have any thoughts about either platform or one that I didn’t review, leave a comment below!

2 Replies to “ShootProof v. Pixieset”

  • Brilliant article, I have been having a lot of trouble finding the perfect gallery solution for my business. At the moment I use SmugMug, I like how easy it is to make galleries inside lightroom, but I think it’s lacking in the looks department for wedding clients.

  • Thanks so much for writing this! I didn’t know which to choose. I’ll go with Pixieset because I don’t need invoicing or contracts. 🙂

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