DPHOTO: A Viable Alternative to MobileMe?
With MobileMe Galleries in their death throws, many users are looking for an alternative. The topic comes up here every so often, and of course there are loads of different places to show off your photos, such as Flickr or Facebook or Smugmug, but none that seemed to offer the simplicity and elegance of MobileMe.
The creator of a service called DPHOTO.com, based in Australia, introduced his product to the forum. Intrigued, I asked him to give me a tour over Skype. I really liked what I saw, and wanted to share this with all of you.
They have an Aperture plugin, which is of course key to your workflow. You can create new galleries and set their descriptions and permissions, and upload as many photos at a time as you like.
The ability to create private and password protected galleries is an important feature that MobileMe users have been looking for.
You can choose the photo size to upload from the Aperture list of export sizes, which means you can also make your own watermarked files to be uploaded. That said, DPHOTO is adding a watermark feature to the site in the near future as well.
Once the photos are uploaded, you’ll get a dialog in Aperture that will take you there, if you like.
The experience of getting your photos online is dead easy. Of course it’s not as integrated as Flickr or Facebook or the defunct MobileMe, but that’s not up to the developer.
But what really matters is… how do your photos look online?
The DPHOTO Galleries
The look of these galleries is very, very clean. White background, auto-arranged tiles based on window size, and you can customize what data is shown under each photo (title, caption and keywords). There’s a simple and clean slideshow view, as well as a really nice full-screen mode.
You have total control over the background colors, you can create a custom domain, connect Facebook and Flickr accounts, allow or disallow sharing and even downloading and much, much more.
How your galleries look on mobile browsers is getting more and more important every day, and DPHOTO doesn’t disappoint here. The galleries look great on the iPad, filling the browser screen and allowing you to swipe between them. I’d like to see the Safari browser bar go away completely, but I don’t know if that’s technically possible or not.
DPHOTO.com offers a 30-day free trial, and while they currently only have paid services, they are about to expand to include a free account. More customizability to the interface is coming in the not-too-distant future as well, as is watermarking, iOS and Android versions of the “Director” (that’s the interface to control your galleries), and even a public API. They are also releasing a Lightroom plug-in, but we won’t hold that against them ;-)
When you sign up, you get a URL that’s yourname.dphoto.com so mine is nicely joseph.dphoto.com.
As it stands today, it’s a great service, and the features coming will make it even more awesome!
There is a new download page for the plugin at dphoto.com/apps/aperture
on April 22, 2012 - 4:21pm
Thanks for the tip Joseph. Looks interesting. I signed up for the free trial but can’t find the Aperture plug-in? Can you explain how to get/install that, or is that only for paid accounts?
Also was disappointed to see the Gallery views require Adobe Flash. I’ve disabled Flash on my Mac thus have to switch to Chrome to view my photos. Hopefully the devs will incorporate HTML 5 soon.
on April 22, 2012 - 4:25pm
It looks very interesting. I set up a trial account but I can’t find the Aperture plugin. How did you get it?
on April 22, 2012 - 4:33pm
I’ve added a link to the post, thanks guys. Don’t know why it’s not on their main page!
— Have you signed up for the mailing list?
on April 22, 2012 - 5:11pm
Thanks for this tip. When it was announced that MobileMe was going by the wayside I searched around and finally settled on a Pro Account on Flickr. I had been a long time SmugMug user because I could use HTML to set up how I wanted my gallery to look but eventually I was spending more time on that than was necessary so discontinued the service. So far I have been happy moderately happy with Flickr, but this service piqued my interest. They may be a bit pricey.
I realize you are extremely busy and may not have the time or interest to do a modest comparison of why Dphoto would be superior, if at all, over Flickr or SmugMug.
As always, thanks for your expertise on these issues.
on April 22, 2012 - 5:13pm
Do you have a code that we can use to give you credit for telling us. That is if we decide to buy in. Looks clean and neat ….too bad about Flash.
on April 22, 2012 - 6:38pm
One MobileMe feature they probably can’t duplicate is AppleTV integration. I enjoy showing off photos in the living room. Would be nice if Apple could open that up a bit. I suppose you can use iPad/AppleTV/Airplay to do it unless you’re on iPad 1 like me.
on April 22, 2012 - 11:48pm
Ah! looks very nice and smooth.
@DBmoore yes a little sad. I started off of the dphoto link from my iphone and just got a blak screeen with a grey bar at the top.
Like Carlton, I have bought in to the smugmug deal, but finding it hard to integrate with my blog in an efficient manner. And I too ended up spending way too much time getting a sub par result that bugs me.
Can anyone tell how the blog integration is with dphoto?
on April 23, 2012 - 12:54am
I have fiddled around with this a little today and have added four galleries to see how well it works. It is very smooth both on the MAC and iPad and is much better than Flickr and is on par with SmugMug. If you would like to see what I have done you can access it here: http://www.cdhansen.dphoto.com/#.
There are some limitations on the site but they probably could be overcome with some tweaking on the part of the developers.
For instance, unless I am missing something, it is difficult to correct titles, or other pertinent data because the box is too small. Either a right mouse click to bring up a dialog box or make that box bigger under the picture would be helpful.
It would be great to be able to view the Exif information of a photograph like one can on SmugMug and Flickr.
Further, there needs to be a replace function for a photograph like Flickr. Sometimes a picture is posted that needs to be changed. I realize one could be deleted and the correct one added but it seems this should be an intuitive function.
I like the beauty of the site but if I am going to pay $90 per year for a Pro Account it should have some of the functions I am used to at Flickr or SmugMug.
I changed the background to give it a “lightbox” look which makes the pictures stand out. The ability to make these changes is nice.
I am not sure about trying to move thousands of pictures from Flickr to DPHOTO. I sure don’t want to maintain two or three sites of photographs.
Anyway, thanks for giving us the opportunity to know about this site and I will have to think on it. I have until June 23 to decide for my trial. If I have missed something be sure to let me know.
on April 23, 2012 - 1:01am
Sadly our internet speed where I live in NZ is not really very helpful when it comes to any form of significant online storage etc.
We only get around 2.5Mbps and it would take forever to upload anything large at speeds like that.
I do have a Flickr account although I sort have it without having a real point for it! I also find Aperture’s interaction with Flickr a little erratic sometimes: more than once I have found multiple copies of images appearing and it also annoys me a bit that when you upload a version from a stack, it only uploads the stack pick. E.g. if you make a B&W version and it is one of 4 in the stack and you decide to send it to Flickr, the colour version at the stack head will be what ends up there not the B&W version!
You have to pick it or extract it in order to send it.
on April 23, 2012 - 1:10am
That’s by design. The definition of a stack is a pile of images where only one is to be shown/displayed/used. If you want to share multiple versions of the same photo, then you need to unstack them.
— Have you signed up for the mailing list?
on April 23, 2012 - 7:03am
I’m Henry from DPHOTO. Thanks to all those who signed up for a trial. I’ll try and answer any questions you have here, or you can contact me at email@example.com
Flash - Yes, we are moving over to HTML. We’re doing this piece by piece, starting with a mobile version of Director and a (long overdue) update to the home page. A complete HTML replacement for the Galleries and Director will take quite a while though.
AppleTV - I’d love Apple to open up and allow other apps and services in. I did hack together a solution for myself a while ago using our media RSS feeds, and iPhoto’s photo casting to get a DPHOTO slideshow on the AppleTV, but it’s certainly not an elegant solution. If Apple opens it up we’ll definitely integrate with the AppleTV. I haven’t tried it yet but AirPlay mirroring from an iPad may also work.
Blog - There’s no direct support for blogging at the moment, aside from embedding your gallery in an iFrame. We hope to have a Wordpress plugin for embedding albums and slideshows later in the year.
EXIF and Labelling - @carlton, it sounds like you haven’t seen the info / detail panel that slides in from the right (click or drag the grip on the right to reveal). You’ll find EXIF info in there, and also much bigger text input areas. You can also label and tag groups of photos in this panel if you have multiple photos selected.
Coupon - I’ll post a 10% discount coupon in this forum soon. You’ll be able to apply it to your account even if you’ve already created or paid for an account.
on April 23, 2012 - 11:16am
Thank you for the information. I had not realized that detail panel was there and that is great and works good; however, on the EXIF info (I was not as clear as I should have been which I do sometimes) I was really more interested in users being able to view it. I often look at a photo I like on SmugMug and like to see the EXIF to see how the photo was shot. Sorry about not being clear enough.
on April 23, 2012 - 11:22am
Looks good so far, will there be an app for the iPad?
on April 23, 2012 - 11:49pm
I have a premium account at Phanfare. it started out as my DR site and over time it became my primary picture site. They work with my DNS so I can make it look like my website.
Exif info is available as well as maps showing where pictures were taken. This was a big factor in my decision.
They have android and IOS applications.
Their Aperture plug-in doesn’t let me pick the resolution so once a month I do an export and upload. I should check to see if this has improved.
I can assign passwords to albums. I don’t use this feature buy I have a single friend who uses it so that girlfriend A can’t see pictures from B, C, D and E.
on April 28, 2012 - 7:14pm
Henry: I have set up a trial account at DPHOTO and I like it. One question: can visitors to my site see the EXIF data? I can find them from the Director screen, I cannot see them when I visit my gallery as a guest.
on April 29, 2012 - 3:30pm
I just signed up for the trial and so far I really like what I’m seeing. The images seem cleaner and sharper when downloaded at a reduced resolution than they did via Mobile Me.
Can someone tell me if there is a place where there is a list of passwords that you would assign to protected galleries. Mobile me kept a list which you could edit.
I'd much rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.
on April 29, 2012 - 8:50pm
I found these posts re: the closing of the Gallery this afternoon as I have been contemplating the demise of the Gallery as well. As another alternative early this morning I found www.phanfare.com for photo sharing. Benefits include reasonable price - (3 options); iPhoto and Aperture plugins; public and private albums; 15 day trial; and more.
on July 23, 2012 - 10:15am
@ Alf Nielsen
I discover this morning that adding a shortcut icon-link to the iPad or iPhone screen, and accessing the site via this shortcut you have no more grey bar, and you have a real fullscreen slideshow.
Screen copy here