Todd Dominey: Helping Photographers Showcase Their Work

Todd DomineyTaking a great picture is always satisfying. The only thing that beats it is the feeling that comes from showing it. For a while now one of the most stylish ways of exhibiting photos online has been to use SlideShowPro, a component for Macromedia Flash. The program lets photographers and Web developers place interactive galleries on their websites, complete with MP3 files, thumbnails and even automated Flickr feeds. For photographers, it’s one of the sleekest ways to show your favorite pictures on a website.

And yet, like much of what’s best about the world of photopreneurs, SlideShowPro wasn’t created by a big software company looking to corner a market. It’s the work of Todd Dominey, a Web designer and developer in Atlanta, Georgia who was looking for an easy way to rotate photography on clients’ sites — and decided to share what he’d built.

In fact, Todd developed the program in much the same way that photopreneurs build up their photography portfolios — by devoting nights, weekends and holidays to an activity that’s more than a hobby but less than a day job.

“The first release of SlideShowPro was developed in my spare time… between October and December 2005,” Todd says in an email interview. “But if you boiled that stretch of time down, I’d guesstimate [that it was] about two or three weeks of actual development. Then of course came all the requisite work to sell it online — identity, web site development, documentation — which took about another month and a half.”

Even a part-time job with no guarantee of revenue at the end requires effort and dedication, it seems. But for Todd, the work paid off. The early adopters helped him to smooth out the bugs and create clearer instructions. Sales rose as the support emails fell, and with both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton now using SlideShowPro on their campaign sites, there’s a fair chance the program could count a future President as a customer.

But as SlideShowPro has grown, so has the list of features… and the User Guide (pdf), which now runs to some 60 pages. Fortunately, the program comes with the most popular features already turned on.

“The default parameters of SlideShowPro were tuned over time with experience,” Todd explained. “In other words, I looked at how most people were using the software, and if customizations of a particular option were more popular than a default setting I chose, I changed it.”

And yet, there is still that temptation to misuse the program and pour an entire photo album into a SlideShowPro feed, especially as it was actually designed to handle thousands of images. But that’s rarely the best strategy, and Todd recommends being selective with your photos, creating multiple albums and organizing them by theme or date. “A gallery of smaller albums — to me anyway — is more engaging and easier to navigate than one album full of images,” he says. It’s hard to disagree, however good the photos.

So what’s next for SlideShowPro? Well, with Flash 9 due out later this year, Todd says that he’s almost ready to produce version 2.0, which filled with a bunch of his latest ideas. Now that will be something to see…

Permission granted for the photo available here:

[tags]Todd Dominey, SlideShowPro, Photography Portfolio, Online Photo Albums[/tags]

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