Siftr: Winnowing Without Woe

 

Siftr

Natasha Desai navigates through Siftr, and finds out just how intelligent and useful the photography portfolio-building tool is, for photographers who are just starting out.

The identity of a photographer is defined by the images you put out for potential clients to see. And when you’re starting out, a website can seem a little daunting to put together. Personally, I find it much easier to upload images on to Instagram and Facebook than actually going through my images and collecting them for a blog or the likes. Pretty much deriving its name from this action comes Siftr, a website that sifts through images that you have put up on your social media accounts, to create a neat little portfolio.

What it Does
For a lot of people, uploading images to Facebook, Instagram, 500px and Flickr seems far easier than putting together a website. What Siftr promises to do is make organisation from these various streams easy. It offers three plans—the free plan, the Rs. 399 and Rs. 799 per month plans. For the purpose of this review, we tested the Rs. 799/month all inclusive plan. Very simply, the website syncs with your accounts and puts all of them under various Collections. The images themselves are analysed and clubbed on the basis of location, type of image (art, nature, people) and colours to create these Collections. It also imports existing albums from Facebook to form Collections. These Collections are what become the various categories on your portfolio. When you’re selecting images for each Collection, Siftr recommends that the total number shouldn’t be more than 15 images. Once you have your categories sorted, you move on to the website themes and here is where Siftr’s biggest strength comes in. It’s incredibly simple. It offers you only two options for each customisation, such as a black or white background, a vertical or horizontal orientation, a grid orientation and spacing. That’s it. No long hours agonising over which template would be best. It also has a slideshow option that you can enable, if you wish. Along with this, you fill in details about yourself which fall under the ‘About’ tab on the website. And yes, it is your own website, as it offers you the option of creating your own domain name as well. While the default domain would be something like natashadesai.siftr.co, you can change this. It also comes with an Analytics tool for you to check your page visits.

The pictures themselves appear in a good size, with minimal icons and distractions on the screen, keeping all the attention on the image itself. The design is well thought out, from the point of view of both the user and the person ultimately viewing the website.

The Collections in Siftr manage to distinguish colours, ‘people’ photographs and styles. The facing page is what your website would actually look like, once you have made the selections and have customised your settings.

The Collections in Siftr manage to distinguish colours, ‘people’ photographs and styles. The facing page is what your website would actually look like, once you have made the selections and have customised your settings.

Impressively Accurate
While I said that its biggest strength is simplicity where it restricts the amount of customisation, it’s not without its quirks. For example, you can’t rearrange the order in which the images appear in your collections with a drag and drop. Instead, you have to select images in the order in which you want them to appear. If you want a reorder, you’ll have to deselect and reselect them all over again. The other major quirk is the captions. Your Facebook and Instagram captions will be the ones that show up, and unfortunately you cannot change them. This is a major problem, as captions on social media can be quite frivolous, and you wouldn’t want this on a website. Personally, being the kind of person who doesn’t have the time nor patience to sift through images for a website, Siftr is indeed a great option. I’ve somehow never been able to put together images for a portfolio website as it involves reuploading, tagging and creating categories, something which Siftr takes care of for the most part. It offers me a way to present my favourite images in a far more serious manner, than what a social media account would allow me to. However, I would have liked more cutomisable options, such as captions, and to see what my ‘About’ page would look like. The tool does have a few quirks, but it offers smooth functionality and a step in the right direction for a photographer. And, for Rs. 9600 a year (for the plan with everything included), you get a range of tools and analytics, all in one place. Siftr is a great bet.

FINAL RATINGS
Features
Automatically sifts through images, customise features
26/30
Performance
Makes a great looking website from the available collection of images
35/40
Ease of Use
Intuitive UI with simple settings, descriptions and options
26/30
OVERALL 87%
VALUE FOR MONEY 4/5

You can create your own Siftr website here.

Tags: Better Photograhy, BP Review, BP Test, natasha desai, Review, September 2016, Siftr, Website Review