dphoto 330 300x254 Powerfully simple online photo sharing with DPHOTOThere are a bunch of great photo-sharing sites out there, but the other day I fell across DPHOTO and was incredibly impressed with the UI and feature set.

The site, created by Australian Henry Dawson, has been around for a little while, but is starting to ramp up development to include even more useful features for users.

I managed to catch up with Dawson for a quick chat to find out more about the site, why they think they’re different and some of their future plans.

Check it out:

KH: Can you give us a quick summary of DPHOTO

HD: DPHOTO provides a simple and elegant way to share and backup your photos and videos. DPHOTO has three core elements – a beautiful gallery for displaying your photos, an easy and intuitive interface for uploading and organizing photos, and the secure backup of hi-resolution images.

KH: When did you start?

HD: I had the idea for DPHOTO while backpacking around the world in 2004 ( http://travel.escapelab.com.au/ is the travelogue I made while traveling, which served as the inspiration for DPHOTO). I started developing DPHOTO towards the end of 2004, we were in limited beta for most of 2005, and had our first paying customers at the end of 2005.

KH: Who’s on the team?

HD: Up to this point it’s been myself and a friend, Tim. I do the all the design and development, and Tim does the server admin. Things are getting pretty busy though, and I’m looking to hire a developer or two at the moment.

(I’m looking to hire a Flash developer at the moment if you know anyone looking for work)

KH: What are your backgrounds?

HD: I come from a design background. I worked in advertising for a few years, initially as a graphic designer, but then moved to web and helped start up the web department at George Patterson Bates. I left in 2002 and did a couple of years backpacking, teaching myself to code along the way. I’ve been working on DPHOTO since I returned to Melbourne in late 2004.

Tim comes from the army – not sure what his job title was, or even if they have job titles, but his rank was Captain. He looked after some of their big IT projects, focused mainly on security and performance testing. More recently he has been working for banks and a few Government departments as a performance tester.

KH: What make DPHOTO different from other photo sharing sites in your mind?

HD: I imagine the feature set of the major premium photo gallery sites (smugmug, zenfolio, phanfare, etc) looks pretty similar to the average user – the difference is really in the implementation. Throughout the development of DPHOTO, we’ve been focused on creating a great user experience that allows your photos to take centre stage. We’ve included all the functionality that people expect, but removed the clutter that traditionally adorns photo sites and distracts from your photos.

I think our commitment to design simplicity and ease of use is what sets us apart from the competition.

KH: How are people using DPHOTO?

HD: Professional photographers use DPHOTO both as a folio and as an integral part of their everyday workflow. The simplicity of the gallery interface, combined with custom logos, colour themes, custom domain name, Google analytics support and search engine optimisation, make the gallery perfect for use as a professional folio.

Many photographers also use DPHOTO as a platform for quickly presenting work to clients for proofing. Large file size limits (up to 24mb per photo) and lossless file format support (psd, tif, dng) enable DPHOTO to be used for high-resolution image delivery.

KH: How are your numbers going?

HD: Pretty good. We’ve been profitable for a couple of years now and we’re growing – we have about 1500 paying customers, and look after more than 2 million photos and videos.

KH: Plans for the future?

HD: I’ve got a massive to-list here in front of me – thankfully we’ll be hiring some other people soon to help out. In general terms, I guess the work falls into 3 main categories.

1. More ways to display and share photos (e.g. embeddable slideshows and albums, deeper integration with social networks, screensavers)

2. New ways to import and organise photos (e.g. album folders, smart albums, geo-tagging, guest uploads)

3. Features for professional photographers (e.g. watermarking, Aperture and Lightroom plugins, shopping carts for selling images, more gallery customisation)

And, I guess at some stage we’ll start actively promoting the site as well (something I’ve pretty much avoided up to now)

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It’ll be interesting to see how DPHOTO goes in light of the strong Flash focus the site has, the rise of the Flash-less Apple device and the release of HTML5.

In the meantime though, if you need a place to share and backup photos DPHOTO is definitely worth looking at.