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Custom or off the shelf comes down to a question of time, money and expertise. It also depends what you want the site for (i.e. showcase, blog, selling images, community, etc.)
My first photography site was my first e-commerce venture and I used http://jalbum.net/en/ to create the galleries (some themes have e-commerce built in) and then did some of my own web pages to fit around the gallery. It required a bit of techie knowledge, but was fairly straightforward and above all cheap (I was a student at the time). I still use Jalbum as it's a way of generating and publishing galleries mega quick.
If you don't want to have to create any web pages from scratch, look at some of the websites already mentioned or consider using Wordpress as previously mentioned; it requires less technical skills to get it up and running and you can buy a smart template off the shelf for £30-40. This is my preference for a professional looking site but the downside is it takes slightly longer to add all of your images that Jalbum.
It may well come down to a bit of experimenting to see what suits you best. You can try Jalbum and Wordpress for free and you'll get a feel for it they're for you. If it helps I've got a couple of examples you can look at:
http://photo.iboxsolutions.com (uses Jalbum)
http://www.iboxphotography.co.uk (uses Wordpress)
I'm currently moving towards Wordpress because Jalbum is just a gallery and I didn't want to have to built a separate site to match the template.
With domain names, yes you can have multiple domains pointing at the same site. You can either forward the domains (as Steve describes) or you can park them. If you park the domain then the domain extension (i.e. .com or .co.uk or .org.uk) will stay the same as they navigate the site even through all three are actually the same site (I probably haven't explained that very well at all!)
Anyway, hope this helps and gives some food for thought.
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I used clikpic for my site but have spent a long long time fannying around with it to try and get it to look a bit different to all the other clikpic websites, yet still keeping it simple. I've now finished fannying around with it and it still doesnt look all that different to everyone elses, thats the down side, but the plus side is it has been very economical and I like the admin side too - its very easy to use...
My website for interest is
katherine silver photography
I signed up for the foliopic trial and found it so hard to use that i gave up. I have lots ofclikpic sites and can build one in about an hour, they are getting me quite a bit of work.
thanks again for your help
PS nice website there katherine.
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