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Hi guys, I have just opened my own photography company and would really like to be able to offer online photobook design through the site (for mac and pc). My mac has this software on iphotos and i have seen it out there but i need a version that can maitain itself online without having to download to peoples comps.
I have had a quote and it was horridly unrealistic! I know the software is already out there somewhere, where do you suggest i find it???
Thanks loads, Kirsty
Kirsty Harkness Send private email
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
What do you mean by "horridly unrealistic?"  Too rich for your blood, or was someone wanting $100,000 to build a web site to display 15 photos?

What problem are you trying to solve, anyway?
Karl Perry Send private email
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
27K for design of a product that is already out. A price like this would not make the product viable.
I have a website desplaying photos already, i would like to add a photobook feature (and calander design) to it.
Basically it would be a photoalbum template that they upload their photos into (few different options on page layout being avail to them etc) and they choose how many pages etc, then once they have finished it gets sent as a pdf file to a printing company, and a few weeks later they get posted a hardcover book full of their photos.
Kirsty Harkness Send private email
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Don't professional photographers have trade shows and magazines that will give you some resources for buying software like this? I would think that you should know better than we would.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
==> 27K for design of a product that is already out.


That's 27K for your own custom designed, custom written software. If you want a product that's "already out", go down to your local computer store and buy it, or find it online, download it, and buy it.

27K for custom written, full-featured, ready for public consumption software is diddley-squat.

That's like saying: "Why should I pay for this photographer at, say, $3000, to come to my wedding and take photos. There are already a bazillion photos of brides and grooms that are 'already out'. Why can't I just buy one of those ..."

Do ya get it now?

My photog charged $2K for my wedding (and it was worth a lot more) -- and that was for 1 day of work onsite, and 1 day of work in the dark-room/lab. 2 days of work. 2K.

I wouldn't touch the custom development of your software for less than a month's work. You do the math.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
I agree, $27K is very reasonable for what you're asking, especially given the "calendar design" feature that you've mentioned in passing.

Custom software development is extravagently time-consuming. Either find something off-the-shelf that will meet your needs or resign yourself to spending a great deal of money.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
I see that you're in the UK. If that 27K figure was in pounds, it might be excessive. Then again it might not, depending on the details of your requirements.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Kirsty, there are plenty of Web based photo gallery packages around. Whether these meet your needs I can't comment. I personally use Gallery on a few sites.

I suggest you do some research and get a good feel for what's available. You maybe able to start with an off-the-shelf solution that does most of what you want and then pay to get the rest added.

PS. Your all caps subject with no specific question could offend some.
Neville Franks Send private email
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
If you are in UK then contact me and we can maybe discuss a better deal.

Kind regards,
Van Goch
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Sorry it posted before i got a chance to type the email address ..
Van Goch Send private email
Thursday, February 23, 2006
It also depends on what you have asked for, from what you say it could be that the covert to pdf and email to a prints part is £20K of that £27K. I haven't seen the spec but if your expecting this to be be pretty much automated then that could be the big cost.

You need to ask the person who gave you the quote to say what it is thats costing the money and then maybe drop a few parts. As somebody who has worked with a lot of clients they often have very unrealistic ideas about what's possible. The general rule seems to be "I saw it on another website so you can add that in 10 minutes".
Andrew Gilfrin Send private email
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Kristy, you're kind of asking the wrong people. This is a software development forum not a software product forum. People here are experts on making software not finding it. Sort of the difference between farmers and botanists.

The kind of advice you're gonna get here is that $27K (or even pounds) is not a high price at all for a *customized* solution. In fact, to recreate flickr functionality (plus pdf'ing, printing and logistics) is worth more, I'd guess.

The advantage of paying for a customized (and presumably decently scalable) solution is that you'd be able to get thousands of customers who would easily recoup the initial investment. Were your goals that high?

Advice is to look for such software on a photography forums ( Or trade shows/magazines/friends in the photography business. I'd also check to see if flickr, ofoto, snapfish and other consumer-oriented photo sites have a professional value-added reseller program of some sort. Using their interface ("SDK" or "API" is the tech lingo to look for) and paying them part of your revenue stream, you could deliver a customized, branded website to your customers while cutting down on the intial costs quite a bit I imagine.
Spinoza Send private email
Thursday, February 23, 2006

I don't think it is the wrong forum. You were not sure whether the amount charged was too much.

27k is about right. That is why you need to go out and buy some software someone has written with the intention of selling it many times. They will not charge you 27k - they will charge you much less.

There are quite a few photographer's forums you could go to for recommendations. Just Google around. You will get something that does the job reasonable well for something within your budget.
PF Send private email
Thursday, February 23, 2006
$27k seems steep. Here are my back of the envelope calculations:

1. Check the Mean Hourly wage for a programmer in your state:
(computer programmer should suffice)

2. You are hiring a contractor so double that b/c they must pay their own taxes, etc.

3. They are probably a smalltime contractor, so maybe multiply that by 1.5 for the hussle-factor, relative short-term nature of the project, etc.

e.g. -- i picked NY b/c i figured the mean hrly rate would be high, this data was from 2004, so let's add $5/hr -- that's $38/hr as a base

$27,000/(1.5($38/hr*2)) = 237hrs/40hrs/week = 6 weeks

You have 6 weeks of development time for a NY-priced developer. How much time does it take to design and code a photo album?
rough #s from a non-contractor
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Thanks guys,
I have had some really helpful comments posted and emails from you. I appreciate your time and info and have a much better idea on where to go from here.
Kirsty Harkness Send private email
Friday, February 24, 2006
wholly crap, $38/hour?? Your kidding, right?  No really, I don't know of anyone working for $38/hour unless they are a full-time employee somewhere.

Short-term contract work (1year, 6 months is short) and too short for $38/hour gig.  Contractors have highs and lows and at that rate most would turn you down unless they are starving like yourself.

Your best bet is to find a good programmer friend who will take part in your desire to succeed for some sort of payoff later.

Two, you get some open source package and fiddle with it to get it to where you need it.  Or combing this with the first option to jump start your friend.

Three, as Sgt. Sausage more/less stated -- pay the $27K and be critical and demand to get all the features you require.

Four, try a barter system -- cross advertising.
Eric (another ISV guy with his company)
Friday, February 24, 2006
Surely barter would only work where both advertising placements were in similar domains. Photo <--> Software doesn't really seem to have any conceptual link.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
This is how EVERY end user/businessperson who has never dealt with custom software projects reacts to our pricing. They all think you're stuck-up, lying and trying to rip them off. I went the "network with small businesses" route at the chamber of commerce a while back. Those people are toxic if you're an independent professional and not running, say, a dog walking service or a vitamin store. Talk about being kicked in the balls by ignorant plebes!!!

My advice to all consultants - stay away from the one and two person businesses just starting up. They can't afford you and they will just spend their energy insulting your business model and trying to see how they can get $100 worth of work for $10.

Earth to Kirsty, now - custom programming is expensive. I second what everyone else has said. A pro photographer looks like he's making an "unfair" fortune to someone who wants to pass out disposable cameras at their wedding. That's how we all feel when you compare custom development to an off the shelf product sold in the hundreds of thousands.
Bored Bystander Send private email
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Kirsty, I think you should find an example (or, better, several examples) of the software you want that is already out there functioning on the web.  Then you have some alternatives:

(1) find out who wrote the software for the site you like, and contact them and see if they can do your site for you. 

(2)  If (1) didn't work then at least find out whether the sites you like got a head start by building off some open-source or commercial "photo book" web software.  Then you can find your own developer, direct them towards a site and say, "this is what I want".  How much to replicate this with a few changes?

It will be much easier for a developer to start by replicating functionality in an existing site than for them to try to create an app from scratch based on requirements that you're providing verbally.  Find a model for what you want, as the very first step.  Maybe you've already done this by telling them you want iPhoto but on the web.  If so then you're doing fine.  But realize that you will have constraints imposed by the app being on the web.  So it's better to find an existing web site that does what you want and use that as your starting point.
Herbert Sitz Send private email
Monday, February 27, 2006
For whatever it's worth:  When ever I or my company is engaged in a custom software endeavor/request, we sell it like a law firm does.  We use words like:  Hourly rate, retainer fee, NDAs, block time for larger projects, etc...  We tell our prospects that custom software development is identical to the billing practices of a law firm; sometimes equal in the hourly rate.

For the ISVs:
It's all in how you sell your services.  If you come off saying I need $27K for this, that, and the other -- you'll get the reactions similar to Kristy's.
Eric (another ISV guy with his company)
Tuesday, February 28, 2006

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