There are many photo websites that cater to the average digital photographer that wishes to share, store and on occasion maybe order a print or two. As people share photos on those sites with one another the sites name (as most are very predominantly displayed) becomes familiar to the public. That drives more people to share on that site, increasing advertising revenues and sign-up fees for the site. That’s all fine and dandy, but you came here to get tips on MAKING MONEY and SELLING YOUR PHOTOS and PROMOTING YOUR BUSINESS, not a photo sharing site……..
Some things to consider when looking for or changing your Professional Photo Selling Site…….
Look For : The primary focus of the website is to have professional photographers sell photos and photo products on the website.
Avoid : Sites “Open to the Public” where terms, products and COSTS (your costs) are available anytime to anyone(your customers)?
Look For: A Complete System – Ordering Website and Full-Service Lab under the same roof, with experience working with professional photographers, fast order turn times. They can confidently fill orders for you so you can do your job better, shooting and marketing. Every minute you spend on photo production after the shoot is a cost to you, not profit.
Avoid : Dot.com websites that partner or outsource to one or more labs (tip- they almost always have start-up fees so they are covered even if you don’t succeed in your selling) - can lead to order confusion, quality differences in the finished products, delayed orders and even billing your customers 2 -3 shipping charges on the same order!
LOOK For : A simple billing plan, cost of the product and commission fees, that’s it.
Avoid : Monthly/Yearly, Event, Image, Upload, Storage, Credit Card, Product Template and Per Order Fees. These always seem low, but when you get more jobs, shoot and upload more, and have more photos online.. your costs increase and your profits go down. That’s not a good formula for success.
LOOK For: A Photo Product Line that can cover ANY type of event from a wedding, youth sports league, or Pet Show — you don’t want to be looking for a different service for every shoot.
Avoid : “Pigeon Holed” sites that cater only to one type of photography, in the decades that I have worked with photographers and asked what type of photography shoots they do – 9 of 10 say – the type that pay…. stay flexible and make sure the site you choose can provide you products that work for you.
Look For: The site must looks like it’s Yours, Your Logo, Your Name, Your phone and email, Your Pictures and Your Sales Your customers should think its Your Site and no one else.
Professional pricing at wholesale costs should be confidential between you and the online site.
Avoid : Co-Branded Sites where the hosting company’s name, logo or “powered by” appears on any page Your customer might see, or worse yet access to your prices. Why would you promote someone elses business with your photos without getting paid for it???
LOOK For: Fast photo handling and uploading software designed for hundreds or thousands of photos with watermarking protection. (1000 images per hour or better)
Avoid : Sites that are geared toward users that want to share 10-30 photos and 2-3 upload minutes per image with no watermarks is fast enough.
NEVER upload any Professional Photo you want to sell without a watermark on it! A shoot of 500 photos (average professional event) would take about 16 hours, if the connection held up. Imagine if you got your most profitable dream job of the year, to shoot a school district of 10,000 students (20-30k photos), a small sports league 250 teams with 20 shots per team(5000 photos), a cheer leading competition with 100 teams and 250 shots per routine each week for 6 weeks(25,000 photos per week, 150,000 total) Your dream job could turn into a post-production nightmare, costing you instead of profits, failing after days/weeks of upload time with the wrong system. Photos must be online and available to your customers within 1 hour to 48 hours at the longest! The main reason the one hour photo lab industry has a big hit can be summed up in one word : Anticipation
LOOK For : Your site and your customers, customers feel at home they are on your website. You build customer loyalty for your brand.
Avoid : Systems that allow your customers to search or access that systems list of photographers… do you want them to find a different photographer?
LOOK For : Free Marketing Tools and Experience, coupons, pre-paid certificates, email customer contact system, links and sample product programs.
Avoid : Sites that do not have a vested interest in your success selling photos and taking orders. Are they just looking to boost their web traffic or get web hosting, upload, storage, monthly fees for their website? If they do not have a sample program then check to see if they are just a dot.com site and not a full-service system.
Some of these things might not seem important to you now, but someday answering these questions might have saved your online photo sales business.
An old business man I once knew back in East Texas said to me “Ya don’t want to be sittin there cleanin yer gun when a Buck walks up”
… hunting deer was the last thing on his mind. Do you homework now, plan for the future.
A few years back I needed a system that could provide my photo business the services I outlined above.
I found and have been working with www.orderpicture.com ever since.
Designed by an established Photo Lab (1980) in conjunction with their Professional Photographer clients to sell photos online (started in 1996)
Simple pricing, cost of the product produced and a commission fee on the NET. (commission on profits only, not gross sale!)
650+ products and growing, hundreds of free online templates, online photo editing and real time display of all products, shoot with any type of photography with the confidence that you will be able to offer products to meet and exceed their needs.
Your site with www.orderpicture.com looks and feels to your customers like Your site, they think you own it! No co-branding or promoting your competition.
Coupons, Pre-Paid Vouchers, Bogo coupons, e-mail marketing system, social network links and the experience to guide, their only interest is helping you sell and get orders.
Professional software to upload up 1800 photos per hour (my original event I needed online was +-3000 images per night over a 2 week period, about 35,000 photos)
High consistent quality, fast turn times and all work done in their lab in house.
All the features a professional online photo sales business needs to flourish and grow, now and in the future….. www.orderpicture.com
Follow the link now – Don’t clean your gun when the buck walks up.
Contributed by Bill Kirkland