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Sleek, simple photo galleries offered by new fotagraft online service  
Wednesday, April 2, 2008 | by Rob Galbraith
Designer and photographer Andrew Hargreaves, whose resumé includes work for Adobe, Apple and other respected technology brands, has launched an online gallery creation and hosting service called fotagraft.

For US$29.99/month (plus a US$449 setup fee), fotagraft offers 2GB of storage space, a simple, browser-based, multi-photo upload tool, three clean, attractive and smooth-running Flash-based gallery templates (with the option to embed the gallery inside a web page elsewhere, if desired) and the ability to have photos shown full screen at sufficient resolution for even large displays. Access to galleries can be open or password protected.

fotagraft_fullscreen.jpg
Super Size: An example fotagraft gallery running in full screen mode within Apple Safari 3.1

In its current incarnation, fotagraft offers almost no sharing, portfolio building or other features common to top-tier (and mostly more expensive) services aimed at working photographers, such as liveBooks. But there's no arguing it's one of the most pleasing ways we've seen to present large photos in a browser on the Web, while Hargreaves promises that he has "lots of cool additions" to be rolled out in the months ahead, including new gallery templates and Aperture and Photoshop Lightroom export plug-ins. Plus, says Hargreaves, he's actively soliciting "user feedback and feature suggestions to help produce tools that respond to the needs of photographers, needs that are not addressed by sites such as SmugMug, Flickr, or Apple .Mac Galleries."
 
The fotagraft site includes several example galleries and a screen movie showing the upload process. There is no demo login or free trial option, however, which means try-before-you-buy opportunities are limited to viewing the example galleries. Hargreaves is also in the process of drafting new Terms & Conditions language for fotagraft that will remove an unintended all-encompassing rights clause, but as of this writing the clause is still there (update: the clause has now been removed).
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