The value of photographs for our readers is indisputably not in question – particularly with small weekly publications that serve an almost “blog-like” function for parents who always love to see little Johnny or Jane in print, exponentially so if high school athletics are a factor.
What is in question is how to deliver this visual content.
For the purposes of this post I’ve taken a look at PhotoPeach, an online software tool with embeddable functionality useful for links in stories on our newspaper websites and blogs. Essentially what it does is build a photo slideshow that allows the creator to mix the photo roster however they wish with further customization options including text, sound and even quizzes.
San Francisco-based Nota Inc. describes it as such: “PhotoPeach helps you share your memories in a new way by moving your photos like a video with your choice of background music, captions on each photo, fun effects, and more” or “Living slideshows,” as they more concisely put it.
So we’ve established that readers want photos and PhotoPeach wants to do that for us, but is this fruit fresh?
The answer, sadly, is not really.
While PhotoPeach very promptly uploaded 130 photos from my camera’s memory card to its website and allowed me to very easily strip out duplicate photos and organized my photo album, past that point the service becomes very restricted unless you pay $3 per month to license it from Nola Inc. Until a license is purchased a slideshow can only exhibit 30 photos and only paying members can download or otherwise make much use of a PhotoPeach slideshow.
Much worse is the fact that PhotoPeach implements a dramatic slow zoom in ”transition effect” that is slightly off center that occurs with each photo in a slideshow created by free users. While it wasn’t too distracting from the content of my Civil War reenactment photos that were used for my trial, the effect would look silly when applied to crime scene photos, shots of a house fire or even pictures from a public meeting. And the only way to unlock the full range of transitions is by paying $3 per month, which at the number of staffers Heritage West has, would be between $45-50 per month.
The tool seems more suited for teachers’ use in the classroom or for family photo albums. The program can import all of your photos from Facebook and Picasa, but our story images are held on our website server, not those programs.
The attached slideshow will take you through the steps of signing up, creating your profile, uploading your first album and some of the rudimentary functionality of creating a slideshow afforded to a PhotoPeach free user. It really is a simple program that even a child could use. Sadly the base slideshows themselves could only be appreciated by a child or his/her relatives if said child is in some of the pictures.
If that sounds good, go wild with it. The free version is quite fun for personal use. In the meantime Capzules and the ability to create slideshows on the backend of www.heritage.com are more suitable and cost effective.
Here’s the PowerPoint walkthrough: http://www.mediafire.com/?saf325s1zyn5ax6