I’ve been stepping up my activity on PhotoShelter recently – adding custom slideshows for my facebook fan page and allowing buyers to choose prints in a variety of different formats using the ‘self-fulfilled’ option…
My work is mostly travel-related photography focusing on landscapes, architecture and travel scenes. I’m now able to offer signed prints through my website and allow buyers to easily order the prints to their specifications. Recent projects include a look at New York icons and buildings, called ‘Manhattan – A Closer Look’. This series was also featured on PDN’s Photo of the Day. I love to travel and love photography – so it’s been fantastic to combine the two!
There’s a number of reasons I’m glad that I stumbled across the PhotoShelter offering a couple of years ago, and why I’m still making adjustments and changes using their ever-growing list of features. I’ve done a couple of reviews previously – one early PhotoShelter review here, and a PhotoShelter review update here – where I’ve mentioned some of their SEO tools and toolkits specifically for photographers.
Here’s a run-down of why I use PhotoShelter:
It’s always a good feeling – even if your off-site hard disk backup hasn’t been refreshed in a while (hey, it happens!) – all your most important photos are sitting securely on PhotoShelter’s storage system at their highest resolution. If the worst were to happen, downloading the original archived files to the computer again would be pretty easy.
To me, this is of huge importance; being able to make the ‘archive’ and ‘e-commerce’ components integrate fully with the main website. It means no awkward jump in look-and-feel between components. Consistency. I’m a regular reader of Smashing Magazine, which made me realise that I could take a stab at my own web re-design. The results are what you see on my current website.
After building the ‘front end’ of my newly designed website, I could then apply the exact same look, feel and branding to the PhotoShelter archive component of the site. If you’d like more info about the re-design, I created what was meant to be a short article (but turned out a tad large) about customizing my WordPress blog, my website and the integration with PhotoShelter here.
I think its hugely important nowadays for websites to be seamless and well integrated – PhotoShelter lets me do just that! Now, even if people hit google search results and go straight through to my PhotoShelter site first, they still see the same branding and cohesiveness… (is cohesiveness even a word!?)
Social Media Tools (and Facebook slideshow integration)
There’s a whole bunch of Social media tools and features built into the PhotoShelter system that allow you to easily post galleries and photos to facebook, flickr, or twitter… Take this example below – where people can click a link to buy the image directly from the article, and also get their own embed links for their use – which will link straight back to your portfolio.
Best of all – how many times have I been thankful for this feature? – you don’t have to worry about the watermarking. I normally post pictures at a small resolution to social media sites and I was worried about uploading the ‘full size’ to PhotoShelter. Luckily it’s easy to set up a customized watermark in whatever style or size that you want. The watermark then automatically gets applied to the photos when other people view them. Your original photos are left untouched, and you don’t have to faff with anything fancy in Photoshop.
There’s also a great write-up by David Calvert on the PhotoShelter blog about customizing your facebook fan page with PhotoShelter slideshows. That tutorial inspired me to set up a facebook fan page for my travel photography (long overdue), and to set up a slideshow on the custom ‘welcome’ page with some of my images. Again – the PhotoShelter system makes everything so customizable that it’s easy to set up a gallery of images that you want to appear in the facebook slideshow, but that you might not want to appear in the list of galleries that people see through your website.
‘Soft’ side of PhotoShelter
I touched on this briefly in my updated PhotoShelter review – it’s not all about the ‘product’ at PhotoShelter – I also get great information from their ‘A Picture’s Worth’ blog, as well as attending their free webinar sessions on anything from monetizing your PhotoShelter galleries to setting up Google Analytics for your site. There’s also the free toolkits that they produce, like the SEO Cookbook for Photographers or a guide to designing websites for Photography Buyers, through to the recent Social Media Guide for Photographers.
All in all, it makes you feel like part of a local community!
I use PhotoShelter to:
- Sell signed prints to buyers, who can buy online at any time of the day
- Offer coupons and incentives to buyers
- Keep a secure offsite copy of my most valuable photos
- Market my photos through social media and slideshows using the same source photos
- Integrate the e-commerce needs of my site with my ‘front end’ website and wordpress blog
- Use their free resources – like the toolkits and blog posts…
Yep – I’d recommend to a friend!