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Would You Pay More For Sytist?

476 posts
Wed Mar 01, 23 11:30 AM CST

If you look at the closed requests thread there were 846 messages and there's more building up in the new one - many of which are unanswered.  I could be wrong but it's my impression that Tim is the only person responsible for development and I was wondering if as a community we could find a way to show support for him and to make future development happen at a faster pace.

Personally I'd pay more for Sytist if new features were being implemented to keep up with competing products.  (A big one for me is product previews - the ability for clients to see their photo in things like holiday / greeting card templates - this is fairly common in other photo-selling products, but I don't think Tim has the time or maybe the desire to implement it.) 

Tim - would it help?  What challenges do you have and can we as a community of loyal fans provide some support to you that would enable more feature development?

Michael Leenheer   || My Sytist:
228 posts
Wed Mar 01, 23 2:13 PM CST

For me no, i am getting farther and farther away from selling products. After 39 years in the business i find that people enjoy downloads the most and they can handle getting what they want through whatever lab they like. Shipping charges, packaging, constant pricing changes order taking and the list goes on, it becomes too time consuming and customer support cost's hours and hours of time, no money to be made spending that much time. As far as the thread you started off with, It was a "no Reply" thread. There are  a few things that Tim did do based on the "Request" thread. If he replied it would start never ending replies.  But back to price point, it would turn a $200 program, into a $600 program on up. The 99.00 a year for support and new features is nice, but i would not pay anymore than that. I am not cheap, i just do not have a need for some of these request, that at times seems very silly. This program is great for the portrait studio business and i feel if you are doing more than that like school photos and large events you should be using those programs/companies. And pay the $1200 on up price. just my two cents.

476 posts
Wed Mar 01, 23 2:27 PM CST

@Vance, that's interesting since we find selling products is a major portion of our annual income.  Customers can buy downloads for sure, but they also buy prints and frames and all those things you say take too much time.  I know without a doubt that there is money to be made, so if you aren't making it then someone else is.  That's your decision of course.

Having said that, my main question is about Sytist.  There used to be several feature updates every year but lately that has slowed a lot.  Sytist has enabled much of the growth in my own company so I'm very grateful for it, and I'm wondering if perhaps Tim needs an employee or contractor to help him implement some new features - or how else we could help.

Michael Leenheer   || My Sytist:
36 posts
Wed Mar 01, 23 3:07 PM CST


I will second Vance's points about the requests. If someone is not entirely happy with Sytist, they can go to one of the other platforms and pay more.

For what Sytist provides and Tim's time and effort, I think we are getting a bargain.

I do event photography and the vast majority of folks just want the digital file. I resisted that for years and felt I left money on the table by doing that.

My customer base is quite diverse in ages and income. They all want the images for social media. They will never print them.

Do I have customers that want prints? Yes, but way fewer than digital. I have seen as the customer is older, they are more likely to buy prints, but some get both.

It comes down to your business model, client needs, and your need for every little thing to be just like the platform you left because they were raking you over the coals.

70 posts
Wed Mar 01, 23 3:56 PM CST

I would happily pay a monthly fee for an extended feature set. I can also see how the current products meets many peoples needs and they would not want to pay more for features they don't want. I agree its a bargain. In my mind taking the strengths of sytist and adding additional features would make it better than alot of the 'other' products I have looked at. I object to the cost of some of those products. 

That being said Tim has a life and (like the people who ran ktools and run pixnub) I respect that they have imposed limits to protect their souls from us demanding feature hungry snappers :)

I would be interetsed to hear from Tim about where things are going and his plans for the future.

228 posts
Wed Mar 01, 23 6:05 PM CST

Michael Leenheer, Yes i sell prints too but  to me that is not a product, that is a natural thing photographically. Products to me are coffee cups,puzzles, blankets Etc.  i use to do all that and more in house services and through labs. You asked a question and i replied, did not need a reply back, but since you want to go there here is my reply back. If you are not happy with this platform go to one of the others you mentioned, but you won't, and my guess why is price point.

Edited Wed Mar 01, 23 6:06 PM by Vance Birno
228 posts
Wed Mar 01, 23 6:08 PM CST
Darrell Jones wrote:

I would happily pay a monthly fee for an extended feature set. I can also see how the current products meets many peoples needs and they would not want to pay more for features they don't want. I agree its a bargain. In my mind taking the strengths of sytist and adding additional features would make it better than alot of the 'other' products I have looked at. I object to the cost of some of those products. 

That being said Tim has a life and (like the people who ran ktools and run pixnub) I respect that they have imposed limits to protect their souls from us demanding feature hungry snappers :)

I would be interetsed to hear from Tim about where things are going and his plans for the future.

I liked Ktools, but i came to here after he said he was done with any further support.

323 posts
Wed Mar 01, 23 7:06 PM CST

Wow, what a snippy thread.  Michael was basically asking if anyone would pay more for extras, a mere musing, and one that has been put forward before.  A mere "no thankyou, this would not suit my needs" would be sufficient.

I am a volume photographer and my modelling does NOT suit the other "more expensive" platforms, which are mainly "American Style" and don't suit the expectations where I live. 

Michael has been on this platform for many years, or at least as long as I have in the least, and I have always found him a valuable contributor, sharing tips and tricks along the way I have implemented on my own platforms.  I'm not sure why people are assuming he doesn't want to pay more money when he expressively put more money on the table?

That said Michael, I think I am used to finding workarounds and pivoting at this stage.
Thanks for asking - no such thing as a silly question.  Cheers.

289 posts
Fri Mar 03, 23 8:04 AM CST

This isn't aimed at anybody in particular, so please don't take offence.

But I sometimes get the feeling that I'm the only sytist user that seems happy with the current product and the price asked. 

I've said before, but you have to make your decision on your gallery system based on what it currently offers, not what you wished it had, or what your previous gallery system offered; even if it only appears to you to be slight and is 'offered by all other gallery systems'.

If you need a local lab supported for hands off product fulfilment, don't buy Sytist.  If you need automated data association, don't...  Some obscure payment system, don't.....  And don't take offence when Tim replies that 'that is not possible in Sytist'.

Personally, I think that Sytist needs backend development to harden security - TOTP at the admin login at the least, but data security seems to be more of a European focus than elsewhere and I doubt the userbase will be singing its praises if it was.   While other flagged features I don't think are worthwhile to me, SMS support, do get implemented.  I don't bellyache about it though.  

I helped with a tax return deadline of a friend, and was genuinely shocked at the fees his SaaS gallery system charged him.   Unbelievable!

I have worked in software development before, and it's common for end users not to appreciate the level work that goes into it.  Sometimes, no amount of money can create the time needed from available resources.

Tim's system is simply the best system for my purposes and I'm satisfied with its current feature list and price, and I suspect that he is happy with his turnover and clientele base as it currently stands with the product he has.  

Edited Fri Mar 03, 23 8:35 AM by Trailboy
251 posts
Fri Mar 03, 23 12:25 PM CST

I would say this.  This platform is really really good and I appreciate all of the time and energy Tim has put into building, maintaining and expanding it.  Not to mention the amount of time he spends supporting dumbasses like myself because I fail to carefully read what is written in the instructions before I post a question.  Saying that, I would surely pay more for features that I found to be useful in my use case but can also understand if that is not in the cards.    A side note on top of that is that because of the way the system is self hosted and you having access to the entire database there are many things(work-arounds) you can do if you understand a small amount of coding.   Just my 2 cents and I look forward to the future of this platform whatever way it decides to go. 

135 posts
Mon Mar 13, 23 9:43 AM CST

yes I would pay more, in fact I hope that Tim will increase the prices and hire someone to work alongside him, we would all benefit, so it's always a rush and Tim, rightly so, struggles alone, I understand

94 posts
Mon Mar 13, 23 2:16 PM CST

Let me say first, I'm a Tim fan and a Sytist fan! It's something I try to contribute to on a regular. Full transparency, I'm horrible at making money in photography...

If you look at it Tim's model. It's good for him and us. It keeps him motivated to improve at least once or twice every year. We only pay if the new development/fixes are worth it. So it keeps the right amount of pressure on the developer, to continue to develop and fix the product. So if it's an attractive year of development, I'll pay another $100 / $8.33 per month.  If it goes higher, I probably won't. My sweet spot is $5-$10 for this type of solution. $12-$30 and I'm out. 

I'm an engineer to the core, I love features, the more complex the more interesting. I've been in software development for the past 6 years...and here's my opinion. I don't believe Tim is alone - I think he hires help. If not, he's a machine! I think this may have a few features that should be removed and at some point Tim lost focus on the core purpose of the tool, sell photos. The example I'll use is the green screen feature. I'm sure people might use this but seems more like a novelty feature that creates a distraction from the core purpose.

The more features the more tech debt Tim acquires. Basically, more features, more bugs, more problems. I was there in the beginning and I really thought this would be bought by another company and Tim would retire. It hasn't happened yet, I do think it will happen. Michael you'll get to pay more when that does happen. Not sure how well they'll take care of it or listen to our feedback. It will be Microsoft that buys it and buries it one day. 

Full disclosure, my photography business burns money it does not pay for itself. It's not the software, it's me and my weaknesses.  

For a tool to be used it needs to be simple and useful. Remember the calculators in school, how many features did you really use? There are only a few minor adjustments that need to be made on the frontend to improve the customer journey. Reduce some bells, tweak some whistles and Microsoft will be knocking on your door soon Tim.

Secretly I hope you never sell, it's your work of art and it's been fun watching your work! 

Nice Release!  

135 posts
Mon Mar 13, 23 2:36 PM CST

it makes me strange to read that it's $99 a year for something that makes you earn a lot more and maybe it seems cheap to spend more on a Netflix subscription :))

a $99 basic account and a $199-299 premium account should be considered, which includes something more, or give the possibility, (as someone had already proposed) to set a price for certain upgrades and see if anyone is willing to pay them to put them on the next projects to do list. a kind of internal crowdfunding.
323 posts
Mon Mar 13, 23 4:22 PM CST

Nice reply Eric!

1 posts
Mon Mar 13, 23 9:29 PM CST

For those who haven't noticed. The upgrade yearly price has been increased to $119.
Its a fantastic product and i myself will still pay for it.

I personally use this product for my hobby of taking photos of sports and providing for free.

Edited Mon Mar 13, 23 9:31 PM by Micah Shovelton
251 posts
Tue Mar 14, 23 9:50 AM CST


Although I understand your point of more tech more tech dept.  I respectfully disagree about the green screen feature.  We use it regularly as it's a great option to allow portrait clients different background options.  I know there are many volume portrait users that use it quite a bit as well.  

This may be where half of the problem probably comes from, I assume Tim has many requests from so many different types of photographers with different needs.   As in the example above, that feature might not be important to you, however it's a large part of our offering.   I can imagine it's hard to decide which ones to implement and which not to. 

87 posts
Tue Mar 14, 23 10:24 PM CST

I would happily pay more for some specific features that I have been asking for since 2010 and the  days of PhotoCart. 

Also, to that end, I have put my money where my mouth is and offered Tim a substantial amount of money to develop these and was happy to have him roll it out to the entire user base.  He said he did not have the time. 

Chiefly among the things that I need are the ability to export an entire galleries  orders based on a specific date range, as a CSV in a specific format that Sytist does not support.

It does boggle my mind that this is not already a feature as event (and particularly school class  photographers who print a lot)  -  and we print a lot - need this ability.  The current CSV is such a mess to read, and we need one that our collating database can import. 

Also, I need changes to how uploading is done, as it is dreadfully slow.  I just want to be able to A) upload a zipped file with the images in a hierarchal folder structure that would build the sub galleries automatically.  B) Be able to upload to Amazon S3 myself for at least the high res files.  I can upload 8GB of hi res in about 6-7 minutes, or I think that the last time I tested from  the cart, was about 5 hours.   We at least need a Sytist version of Dave's Uploader. 

And before anyone goes "well, go to another cart" I have.  I have looked at all of them.  But no one does the CSV export as I require it as everyone seems more concerned about digital sales, and I can see that in sports events photography and some other markets that is probably the main sales, but in our market we do huge print sales and, well, am I wrong in thinking that school class photos would have a majority share in print sales still?

I do have a custom cart that is Frankensteined from a commercial product and that developer has added loads of the things that I have needed over the years and does all the things that I am whinging about above,  but it is old, it is fugly and I would love to replace it - and that is after having spent a 5 digit sum in the last 12 months upgrading it for new features and the code base.  Tim adds what I need for Sytist and I will walk away from my current cart. 

Systist is beautiful, very feature rich in so many ways and very very slick.  I think it is a great cart otherwise, I just can't imagine why a cart that is pitching itself at school photo market, is so hobbled in order / customer data manipulation.  The really frustrating part of this, is that mostly from what I can tell, the CSV output is largely just a case of creating a new layout for the report.  Most of what I want is exported in the current CSV method, it is just badly laid out. 

Anyway,  probably enough from me! ????

87 posts
Wed Mar 15, 23 9:00 PM CST


and I don't know the legal aspects of this - but what if an individual user hired an outside developer to make desired changes and then presented this to Tim, if he likes it then can incorporate it and others would benefit and you would not have to worry about updates from Tim wiping out those changes, as they would be baked into the official code?

It would mean paying a likely reasonable sum for the changes you want and basically donating that  to Sytist, but seriously, I am at a point now where I don't know what else I can do as for 13 years I have asking for one feature and it has never even been seriously considered to my knowledge. 

Not sure if this would violate the EULA or not, perhaps Tim you would care to chime in?

126 posts
Thu Mar 16, 23 1:42 PM CST

Tim never gets involved in these threads, maybe he is keeping his options open, or just already has clarity on his road map and level of commitment. 

I started a similar topic some time ago, whereby I suggested we could "sponsor" certain improvements, that once implemented would form part of the base product for everyone to enjoy at Sytists normal rate. I imagined the Features wish list, with attached financial commitments that would fall due if he chose to implement it, on the people who had "bid". 

Selfishly this would allow one to prioritize the implementation of features they want, while offering the extra resources to Tim to make it happen outside of his own vision and/or road map. I can see how it could have the potential to drive the product somewhere he wasn't intending, but he could also simply choose not to do it.

Ultimately, I'm happy and extremely grateful for the product as is, and love paying the annual fee knowing I can turn to Tim for great support.

224 posts
Mon Mar 20, 23 3:16 AM CST

You already pay what you want for Sytist,having seen that you can decide to upgrade or not, depending on the development of the software.
Many of the last integration are completely useless to me, like green screen, twillio messaging,the entagged barcode etc.., but as long as I’m not forced to pay for such updates everything is ok.
The only thing that would make me to pay more is the possibility to give to customers a better checkout experience, that is fundamental for every ecommerce site.
For this reason the ability to disable address fields when someone is only purchasing download photos, was probably the best update in years, many of us asked for it because for a customer that only buys a download product it is a non sense to write address and etc.
Of course if you have also print sale you should leave all the other fields, so version 4.4 represent to me a milestone in the direction of a better checkout customer experience.
In this context to me Sytist lacks a bit coming to payment forms, and if to someone some of them may appear “obscures” to an european customer they are completely in light.
Using the Stripe checkout now a customer can pay only with credit cards, while there  is the possibility to include with it, payments that  are widely used in some countries, like Ideal for The Netherlands, Bancontact for France, P24 for Poland etc.
Just think that the 54% of Germans pay with Giropay that is included in the Stripe checkout but so far is not presented to Germans.
If a customer of such countries already has an account with that payment methods, it doesn’t even need to take out from his pockets the credit card and type numbers, with just a click he pays.
And it is widely know that a better checkout increases the conversion rate, look at the “Pay with one click” of Amazon.
The API Stripe we are using is of 14.12.2017 the last is 15.11.2022 so I think that take a look at it it should be considered.
Again this in the direction “to give customers a better checkout experience to increase conversions rate”.

Of course if 99% of Sytist customers are americans, well I understand that this is not a need, but just to let you know that the requests that the ones who live outside the known world make, sometimes are not that silly.

Edited Mon Mar 20, 23 3:38 AM by Marco Cappalunga
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