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Landscape and portrait photographer Ned Leary claims he started his photography business completely “ass-backwards.” “The first thing I did when I started was buy a studio and began building frames,” he explains. Previously, he had an online store that was completely manual, and according to Ned, almost unmanageable in terms of an easy way to sell images to clients. “Quite frankly, I should have started from the beginning with PhotoShelter, where the back-end is easy to handle, there’s integrated sales, and easy organization.”
The Need for a More Robust Site
Ned’s PhotoShelter site is the second site he’s had throughout the course of his photography career. His needs in terms of a website changed when he took on portrait photography to help his business become more lucrative. From the beginning (pre-PhotoShelter days) Ned has worked with a designer from Airtype Studio, who has completely designed Ned’s current custom PhotoShelter site. “I wanted to continue doing landscape work as well as portrait sessions, so I needed a site that could accommodate both, and that could hold a large amount of images – so if I shoot 20 families, I’m able to have the gallery and collection organization, and the ability to have unlimited images within a gallery.”
With this new client segment, he was on the hunt for a site that could provide private galleries with simple download access for his portrait clients, and PhotoShelter’s password-protected downloads were a perfect solution. Ned, who prints all his own work, was also in need of a site that supported an integrated sales system for his self-fufilled orders. When Ned explained to his designer the need for a more robust site for his growing needs and client base, Airtype Studio did the research and came back to Ned with the solution of using PhotoShelter as a platform.
Making His Clients’ Lives Easier
Ned uses his customized PhotoShelter website to display his work, sell self-fufilled prints, make downloads available to his clients, and sell his books.
To upload images into his account Ned uses the PhotoShelter Desktop Uploader. “I go the parent collection, and hit the Create a New Gallery button, and bam, I load in my portrait session, and I’m done. It’s just too easy for me not to use the Desktop Uploader.” For his client work, Ned uses the email notification system within his PhotoShelter account to alert his clients that their images are up, and generally uses a password-protected gallery, or the Quick Send tool if he needs to send a smaller amount of images directly. When purchasing prints his clients checkout through PayPal, which is integrated into his PhotoShelter website, and Ned prints and ships the orders himself. “I’m all about making my client experience the best it can be, and for a lot of them that means making it painlessly easy,” he explains.
Word of Mouth and Coupons for Special Clients
Ned’s landscape print sales come largely from good ‘ol word of mouth around Wilmington, North Carolina. “I have a great presence in my area, my work is hanging in local restaurants, retail and grocery stores. So my reputation has grown on its own, to the point where strangers buy direct because they’ve seen my work around town. Clients find me by living here.” Ned also has an e-newsletter that he sends out. “During the holidays I sent five out, one every other week.”
To keep locals happy Ned uses PhotoShelter’s coupons, allowing discounts to those who find out about his work through the local retailers. “Making a coupon is very easy to do within the PhotoShelter backend,” he tells us. “My work is displayed at a local grocery story down here, and anyone who buys prints off my site and mentions they found out about my work from the store gets 10% off. I like that feature a lot.”
Overall, Ned appreciates his PhotoShelter site because of its ease of use. “It’s easy on my end to get the photos up there, and it’s painless for me to get my work organized. The sorting, and pricing pricing profiles, I would put that in the excellent category. I’ve turned a lot of people on to PhotoShelter.”