One great feature in AlbumExposure has always been the ability for you to customize the URL in order to make everything on the client side look like it’s coming from your website.  This way, when your clients log in to view their album presentations, it will be all about your brand in every detail.  It has always been our goal to help you keep your brand in front of your clients as much as possible.

Today, we are introducing a new method that is easier to setup than the previous one,  more accessible to all of our users, and offers higher functionality.  Some of you didn’t have access to your server files, which was previously required, so the new DNS customization method will make it easier to setup via your registrar or host.  In addition, you will have the ability to link directly to an album when using your custom domain and can send clients on a more direct path to their albums.  Also, this feature upgrade will fix a few Safari specific browser issues that some of you may have recently noticed.

If you’ve set up masking previously or if this is your first time, please follow these quick steps for setting up the newest method of URL customizing for your account.  You can view a quick video on our tutorials page or walk through the steps and screenshots below.  Please let us know if you have any questions during the setup, we’re more than happy to help get you dialed in with your custom domain!

#1 – Determine your preferred custom domain

The most common subdomain that we see used is ‘albums’ (e.g. http://albums.YourStudio.com).  You could also use ‘proofing’, ‘albumproofing’, or any other subdomain you prefer to fit your website structure.  One important item to note is that you’ll need to use an entire domain or subdomain with no directories (For example, http://YourStudio.com/albums will not work).  Before getting into the next few steps, you’ll want to make sure you know what domain or subdomain you would like to use. In this example, we’re going to set up a subdomain where clients will access our albums at  albums.garysikes.com.

#2 – Create a DNS record at your registrar or host

The first step to setting up your custom URL will not be in AlbumExposure, but rather at your registrar or host – wherever your domain’s DNS is managed.  This will be the same place as your name servers. For example, if your domain is registered with Dynadot, but hosted at DreamHost, and you’re using DreamHost’s nameservers (like ns1.dreamhost.com), your DNS is managed at DreamHost.

Locate your domain (YourStudioDomain.com) in your domain list and click to edit the DNS.  You want to add a new DNS record with a type of CNAME. The name of the record should be your subdomain (such as ‘albums’) and the value ‘albumexposure.com’, which is where you want the record to point.  Then save this new record and you’re done with the second step!  (Note: the new record will often take a minimum of an hour and sometimes longer to become active depending on your registrar or host.)

A few visuals for step #2 from our GoDaddy (registrar) account:

Locating the DNS for my domain and clicking to ‘edit’ the DNS record -

GoDaddy_DomainDetails

 

Adding a record -

GoDaddy_CName

 

#3 – Enter your custom URL in AlbumExposure

The next step will be to tell AE what your custom domain is.  Inside AlbumExposure, visit Settings > Presentations and in the ‘Masked URL’ field, type the full domain you chose in step 1. Make sure you include http:// in front too.

In this example, our full domain is ‘http://albums.garysikes.com’.

AE_EnterMaskedURL

 

#4 – Use your custom domain in your Send Link email template

Your last step will be to edit your send link email template to use your custom domain. Inside AlbumExposure, visit Settings > Communications and inside your template, replace the merge tag ‘{url}’ with ‘{masked_url}’.

AE_EditMergeTag

 

Now on every new album you create moving forward, when you click on Send Link within an album, you’ll see the url populate automatically for you with your custom domain to provide to your client.

AE_ProperLinks

 

Let’s take a look at the results!

Now your clients will only see your custom URL, like it is coming from your website every time.

Your client’s presentation view -

AE_ClientPresentation

 

Please let us know if you need any help getting setup or switching from the old method.  Quick note regarding the old masking method:  If you have any active album links out to clients, you’ll want to leave it as is.  It will not effect the new method or new album links moving forward and album links you have out to clients for the old method will still work properly.  Once all old albums are archived, you can always delete the old masking folder from your server, but leaving it alone will not hurt anything going forward.

If you have any questions or need help setting up your custom domain, feel free to reach out to us at support@albumexposure.com!  We hope this feature update makes it even easier for you to create a great experience for your clients while they enjoy their beautiful album designs.

Best,

The AlbumExposure Team

Hi Friends,

We wanted to update you on a couple of new features. You may have recently noticed that every page uses https and a small lock icon shows in the URL bar, which means AlbumExposure is now even more secure! We’re always being mindful of your security, so we’re excited to have made this improvement.

Another feature we added is the ability to indicate whether the first and/or last spreads of an album are actually representing the front and/or back cover. If either of these are marked as a cover layout, they will be indicated as such in the spread/page count during presentations. The benefit here is that your spread/page count will remain accurate, rather than including covers in the count.

There are currently two ways to create a front cover for an album. One, you can design a spread with the left-hand side blank and the right side as a mock cover (flat color or leather texture). If the cover has an inlayed image, include it at the appropriate size and in the proper place on the right side, as a layer on top of your texture. Two, if your design software forces you to export as individual sides, you can still design the right side as the cover and just ignore the blank left-hand side. Then, when uploading sides instead of spreads and converting all sides to spreads in AE, don’t forget to indicate by checking the box that says ‘Album Starts on Right’. This will create an appropriate spread for your album’s dimensions with the cover on the right side as desired. If you’re including a back cover, you’ll want to take a similar approach, but with the opposite orientation. Design your layout with a blank right-hand side and the back cover design on the left-hand side. Again, if working with sides, rather than spreads, upload your cover as the last side in your set of layouts and it will convert to a spread, leaving the right side appropriately blank for a back cover.

See below for an example of what this looks like, both in your account for choosing cover layouts and in the presentation view for your client’s experience:

 

Oberports1

Oberports2

Oberports3

We know this will clarify page counts for your clients and hope this streamlines your process even more. Please contact us at support@albumexposure.com with any questions – We’re here to help :)

Cheers,

The AlbumExposure Team

Howdy Friends,

Hope this finds you well as you’re busy preparing for the upcoming summer shooting season!  Many of you have asked for more education on AlbumExposure’s features, so we’ve created a new Tutorials section for you on our website.  We want you to get the most value out of your AE account and this is a perfect way to learn about things that will improve your album proofing and sales, starting with this summer’s events.  You’ll find videos for both Photographers and Design Studios, covering an array of features and functions, such as setting up preferences & branding, creating new albums, managing communications, promoting your work, managing multiple designers, as well as general workflow tips.  If there’s a topic you’d like to learn more about, and don’t see it, simply click on “Request a Video” to let us know what subject you’d like us to cover.

Start watching: http://albumexposure.com/tutorials

We’re here to help make your life easier and keep your album workflow smooth, so please don’t hesitate to send us an email at support@albumexposure.com if you need anything or have any questions.

Cheers!

The AlbumExposure Team

After you’ve created your album, make sure you take advantage of the features we’ve built into AlbumExposure to promote yourself and sell more books!

The public link under “share” is a great page to encourage your client to share their album with friends and family.  It’s a great opportunity to get your work in front of more people.  You could also send that link to parents or extended family for the opportunity to sell an additional book to them. We’ve heard of lots of creative ways people are using the public page!

Last week we added a couple little items to make sharing your albums on AlbumExposure even easier.  When you click to share  an album, you’ll see two new share buttons that you can click to quickly tweet or post on facebook about your album.

 

We also added buttons to the public page so that people who come to view your album can share it on twitter and facebook as well and do some of that promoting for you.

Now go show off your albums!

Cheers!

Check out the Ultimate Photographer’s Source Book, a great resource that’s full of tips, tricks, discounts and freebies for taking your photography business to the next level.

If you order by Sunday January 23rd, you’ll also save $40 off of the retail price!

Spoiler alert: we’re in there ;)

One of the most exciting things that we announced at WPPI this year was integration with PhotoJunction.  We couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with Danny and the rest of the PhotoJunction team.  Check out the video below, it’s pretty slick.

screencasts!

July 3rd, 2009

We just added two screencasts to the homepage of albumexposure, and they’re pretty slick. The first demonstrates the functions and features of albumexposure to better communicate the value to people who are just checking it out.

The second walks through customizing albumexposure to match your branding via logo, background color, and masking your url.

Hope you like them!

Auto Resizing Launched!

February 13th, 2009

This week we launched the auto resize feature, eliminating the need for you to choose an album size or to resize any of your existing images before uploading them to albumexposure.

Here’s how it works: albumexposure resizes the images for you to be no wider than 1000px and no taller than 600px, detects the dimensions of the image after resizing, and automatically fills in the size for you.

Of course if your images are already in those sizes, uploading and processing will be faster, so you can still resize if you would like. (A photoshop action or droplet makes this a snap.)

We hope you enjoy the new feature!

In the next couple weeks we’re going to be working hard on improving albumexpoure performance and reliability.

Sample Album

February 21st, 2008

Here is an album link so you can try it out yourself (the password is test). It’s set to default to book view so you can flip the pages, but you can always switch it to slideshow view by clicking the middle button on the bottom right. The song that plays while in slideshow view is “Thinking of You” by Molly Jenson and it is one of the songs that available to use royalty-free by all users. Enjoy!

Have you seen the ShootSac?

February 8th, 2008

Our friend, Jessica Claire invented this really cool bag for photographers called the ShootSac. If you haven’t seen these yet … then you’re missing out on a great way to carry your gear and do it in style. We’re all about doing things in a way that’s consistent with your brand experience so we thought we’d share this tip with you … because after all you are your brand. In fact, we love the ShootSac so much we’re going to be giving some away later this year to AlbumExposure users.