This is a guest post by Tara Hornor, if you want to guest post on this blog, please contact us.
Today to continue with our portfolio review series, we will look at the photographer-centric site Stock.Xchng or sxc.hu. Stock.Xchng (SXC) is a site capable of hosting your portfolio, but is not nearly as feature-heavy as other portfolio sites. If your portfolio is made up of mostly corporate identity projects, packaging design, and catalog printing projects, then SXC is probably not for you.
SXC is geared towards photographers. While you can certainly host graphics of any kind, the site is aimed at photographers who want to make their images available using various credit-based methods of selling images. With solid basic functionality and a simple management interface, SXC is a great, no-hassle portfolio platform, especially if you are a photographer.
Ease of Use
SXC is not as friendly when it comes to quickly finding where and how to upload. Once you learn the ins and outs of the backend of the portfolio management suite, it’s not difficult but not intuitive either.
One wonderful feature available is that you can FTP your images in bulk to your account. The process is a bit intense if you have never worked with FTP before, but this can save you hours of having to pick an image at a time for upload. Managing the details of each image is easy to do with simple forms.
Unlike other photography-centered portfolio sites, SXC does not offer any kind of water-marking. On the other hand, SXC has a unique lightbox system that allows the user to roll their mouse over a small version of your image to view a larger version without making a right-click “Save As” menu option available. While this is easily overcome with the print screen feature, it does make it a bit more difficult to steal images outright.
As always, keep file sizes small and/or watermarked for the best online security.
Professionalism/Quality of Presentation
SXC has a clean and easy to use interface for users looking for photos and graphics. Ads are limited and usually non-descript, making the presentation more professional than some other portfolio sites. The images look clean and you know what images cost in terms of the credits-based system on the site. The search results are easy to navigate as well, making it easy to find the photos you want quickly.
SXC is missing some features available on other sites, such as the ability to browse the folders or collections of a designer. The primary strength of the site is in its search features, but just about every site on the Internet has a search option these days.
One feature that is fairly unique to SXC is the EXIF Information tab available optionally. This puts your photo details right on the page with the image on the right-hand sidebar. Some other portfolio sites do this as well, but none that we’ve reviewed thus far have the option built in.
One big advantage of SXC is the way in which they allow community interactions. You get the best of having a community that can vote and comment without a distracting commentary right in the middle of your work. The comments are nested in the lower right-hand side of the page, making them available but keeping them out of sight as well.
The community is generally very respectful on SXC, so there should be little concern over getting brazenly offensive comments. You cannot post adult content on the site, so that group of commentators generally stay off of SXC. Some nude photos are available, but these are very limited and very focused on photography technique-based art, not models. This makes SXC a very safe site.
You have very little in the way of customization options on SXC. Other than the graphics themselves, you cannot manipulate the page layout, colors, or anything else. You can upload a profile image if you have a logo, but that’s about it.
You are able to put your website on your profile page, but you do not have the ability to add any clickable links other than that. Phone numbers and address are not listed and cannot be optionally made available.
Overall, SXC has an excellent platform for getting your photos onto the web, and their FTP feature certainly makes it easier than ever to upload images in bulk. But the site is very stripped down in terms of features for both users and photographers. If you’re looking for a simple, straightforward site to upload and sell your photos, SXC has the basics covered. If you need a full-featured portfolio platform, look elsewhere.
About the Author!
Tara Hornor has a degree in English and has found her niche writing about marketing, advertising, branding, graphic design, and desktop publishing. She writes for PrintPlace.com, an online printing company that offers business cards, posters, brochure printing, postcard printing, and more printed marketing media. In addition to her writing career, Tara also enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.