PASS is a new photo sharing service for photographers that has been garnering quite a bit of press lately. I recently got my hands on an invite to the invite-only beta and have had a chance to try it out. I will warn you though, this is not a fanboy post – I have some concerns that I think deserve some thought. So I suggest you read the post before jumping on the PASS bandwagon with all your friends.
PASS is a photo sharing service marketed heavily for wedding photographers. The idea is that it is a simple desktop application, you can upload, share and check analytics for your galleries all in one place. From this standpoint it is hard to see anything wrong with PASS, but it’s when you look deeper that you start to find chinks in the armor.
My first issue with PASS is the insane lack of information available about it to people who are interested in it, and finding out more information even after getting an invite is frustrating. PASS is only in Beta, so a lot of this could simply be because they are focusing on getting the system setup before spending time writing about it and its features. But when researching PASS the best information available about it came from outside sources, and that is not usually a good sign.
Specifically when I was looking for information on how much galleries cost to upgrade – PASS is heavily marketed as being a free service – after the initial 30 days on each event is up, and what happens to the galleries if you don’t upgrade them. I was finally able to find out the price to upgrade each gallery is $29/year. But many other things that I looked for information about there was simply no information to come by.
This leads me to my other issue with PASS and that is the $29 per gallery upgrade. When you upload a gallery to share with your clients you get all of the PASS features free for the first 30 days, after that you must upgrade the gallery – which costs $29 – in order to keep most of the features. That in itself is not an issue, they have to make their money somewhere after all. But where I start to have problems is the fact that I could not find anywhere what exactly happens to galleries that are not upgraded after the 30 days. What features are taken away? How long does the gallery last? These are pretty big questions that I could not find answers to.
The other thing with $29 per gallery upgrades is that it is a rather steep price, unless you upload TONS of photos in your galleries. I understand that PASS is heavily marketed towards wedding photographers who routinely upload thousands of photos in a gallery, so this may just be a case of my workflow not meshing with their market. For example, with Shootproof for $60/month ($720/year) I am able to upload up to 50,000 photos. Let’s say that I upload 50 weddings in a year each with 1,000 photos in the gallery – in order to have full access to those galleries for the entire year at PASS I would pay roughly $1450.
Now many wedding photographers upload galleries with 2-5 thousand images in them, for them $29 per year is a steal! But if you are uploading galleries with less than 1000 images in them, as most portrait photographers would be, then that $29 can turn out to be much more expensive than other options available to you.
I know this post is starting to sound like a bash on PASS, but that is simply not the case. I did rather like the desktop app, it was simple and easy to use. I like how the galleries looked, and over all I enjoyed PASS. But I have just concluded that PASS is not just heavily marketed towards wedding photographers, it is optimized for them as well. The pricing of the galleries is a pretty good proof of that. So my suggestion to all of you non-wedding photographers is take a serious look at PASS and weigh if it is worth it to you and fits your shooting style.
In my case I can say that while I love PASS and would love to find a reason to use it. I would love for someone to come out with a PASS like service optimized for portrait photographers. I would be all over that. I just simply can’t justify the added cost based on my shooting style, where I upload galleries of under 500 photos for clients to view. So, thanks PASS – but I will have to pass.