Lightweight way to sell photography online?

Hey all,

I’m working with a photography client that wants a way to be able to send his clients to his site to pay for their photos. The idea is go shoot at an event, then hand out business cards with his website. On the website they should be able to purchase pictures from the event, but the site will also act as a portfolio. Not just a storefront.

I’ve found a lightweight flat CMS to use and was hoping for a lightweight solution for selling the photographs. Magento and some of the other e-commerce platforms looked a little bulky for what he wants to do and he doesn’t like the idea of having to learn the interfaces.

I’m trying to figure out what the best way to handle this is. What I’ve come up with so far is to build out some kind of shopping cart experience with PHP then use a payment processing API. The only issue then is how does he create “products” (which are just the images)? And how does the customer receive them? A generated download link, an email, or something else?

Thanks in advance for any insights.

For the payment part I would use pay pal. From memory you can dynamically create buttons and you can customise them to fit in with your site. Pay pal has a sandbox site you can test on.
You can use pay pal to send a request for payment but this needs the site owner to intervene which will slow the process down.

I wonder if you could then have a thumbnail on your site and generate a one off download link from the pay pal details. The best way to find that out would be to try the sandbox.

Alternatly there must be some download software available to do the above.

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Thanks for the repy Rubble. I’ll check the pay pal sandbox out, but I think he’s gonna wanna take card payments as well. I’ll look for tools for download link generator. Maybe, just have him use the lightweight cms to create the page where users can browse the images. Then when a user clicks on add to cart or buy, there will be a script to track which image they clicked the button for. I’ll use the id from the script to show the product in the custom shopping cart experience. At the end I could just get some download link in the DB after the payment has been processed using the payment processor’s API.

This way he doesn’t have to worry about using a different cms interface to create products, I could just have him upload the image for the page in one folder, then an image with the same name in a thumbnails folder, and the full resolution image in a downloads folder. I’ll just get the name of the image on the page and use that to pull the thumbnail image for the shopping cart and generate a download link for the one in the downloads folder.

The only thing I’m wondering now is how could I generate an download link for an image without just linking directly to it and giving them the path to all of the images. Basically, how do I make the downloads folder secure?

I think I would do something like:

Have a php page that takes the image from a folder which is unknown to the user and displays it on an html page, then user could save the image. The php page will need a one off variable or session which is recorded into a database and when it has been visited the information in the database is checked and if allowed it is opened. If the page has been opened already when the php code checks the database it stops the page being opened.

You could save the images in some strange format or without an extension and have something like Imagemagick change it to a jpg on the php page for extra security.

If your customer is taking credit card details you should read up on the precautions they need to take with the credit card details.

Thank you! I think that’s the kind of functionality I’m looking for. I just don’t develop PHP often so it’s hard for me to know what’s possible. For the credit cards, I’m looking at things like 2Checkout or Stripe which seems secure.

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