There’s been a bit of an uproar in the photography community about the changes Pro Photo is making. I’ve had SO many clients come to me asking how this affects them, and concerned about if they will have to change their website. So, I just want to take a few minutes here to talk about what is going on, how it affects you and the benefits / downfalls.
If you haven’t read Pro Photo’s announcement, you can do so at on Pro Photo’s blog.
Do I need to make any changes if I currently have Pro Photo 7?
In short, no. You can keep using your site as is, on your current host. However, there will be no new features and support will eventually end, but this will be a while off. I recommend planning for a change in maybe 1-2 years. Also, a change can simply be switching to their hosting, which is not going to affect the look and content of your website. You can take your Pro Photo template, or custom designed website and just have support transition it to their servers.
What if I’m on version 6 or older?
You still don’t have to make changes, but your site is no longer supported by Pro Photo support. Yes, this sucks. One of the key reasons I recommend Pro Photo for so many of my clients is their above and beyond support. The quality of support they offer is unheard of with any other WordPress theme.
That said, if you have 6, you’ll be so much happier with a newer version, either hosted or 7. I’ve used Pro Photo since version 2 or 3, and 6 was a disaster compared to everything else, so highly recommend you make an upgrade. If you have 5 or older, the mobile responsiveness alone makes upgrading worthwhile. But do you have to? No, your site will still keep working.
Why, why, why?
Sometimes we are all resistant to change and right now, with the world in chaos I think many of us will take stability in any form we can get it. Business owners seem to be in two schools of thought about making website changes right now. Some see it as the perfect time, while business may be a little slower, to dive into their marketing and website design. Others are stashing every penny in the bank until the economy feels a bit stronger. I’m honestly in the latter group, so if you are too, I get it.
I’ve spoken to Pro Photo about the changes, and from what I understand the primary reason behind it is that hosting has so many variables. You can build an amazing website but then have a subpar host, and your visitor experience is ruined. Hosting controls speed, security and just overall how the site runs.
What Pro Photo is doing is truly not any different than Showit or SquareSpace, which are both crazy popular. It’s one less thing for you to think about… having your site and hosting tied together. It will also enable Pro Photo to have even better support.
While I still strongly recommend Pro Photo, I agree with the community that their timing sucks, and the announcement could have maybe been sugar-coated a bit more.
Good hosting is not cheap, but basic shared hosting starts at a very low price. Many people are used to paying $5 per month, so this makes $50 a shock, and most people don’t understand the differences. I work with a managed WordPress host that charges between $15 and $30 per site, and even that is quite an increase for some people. While I don’t require my clients use my host, I really prefer they do. You can read my older post, Why Good Hosting Matters, for more on this.
Pro Photo’s hosting will be very similar to what I’ve been recommending to clients for years. I ran my setup by Pro Photo’s support and they agree that it’s a good platform for Pro Photo 7, so right now I’m still very comfortable with this setup for my clients. Once the hosted Pro Photo begins to offer more features than v7 or Pro Photo stops selling it, it’s likely I’ll recommend moving over to Pro Photo’s own hosting.
How does this affect future clients I work with?
I will absolutely continue designing in Pro Photo. I work with other platforms as well (SquareSpace, Elementor and more) but this change is only going to enable Pro Photo to offer even better support. It is still a great platform for photographers’ websites, and I am guessing here, but I expect new features may get rolled out faster with the new setup. Sure there are things you can do in Showit and Elementor that you can’t in Pro Photo, but not much and I expect this change will lessen that gap.
In short, take their announcement as a notice to plan on having to spend more on your hosting in the future. If you don’t currently own Pro Photo, I recommend going with the hosted version and saving the $249 upfront fee. If you already own it, you don’t have to take action for a bit.
It’s kind of like when Adobe went to a subscription model. I think I’m still quietly missing one upfront fee for Photoshop, but the truth is I now have access to all the Adobe programs I can possibly use and they are always up to date, so maybe it’s not so bad.