Brett Wilhelm is a Colorado-based action-adventure photographer. Though he’s covered all…
Flickr can be great; when it comes to building a community and a following, it can be a good platform to help get your work found. But once you’ve gotten that first client, or even once you’ve decided to go after that first paying client, you want to make sure you have the tools to back up your chops. Your photography may be grade-A, but when presented on a not-so professional platform, you can quickly lose your credibility.
There are a few key indicators that let you know you’re ready to move on to a more professional platform, and it just so happens we here at PhotoShelter have a pro solution that might fit the bill. So read on, and decide for yourself if you’re ready to graduate and move on to bigger and better things.
1. You’re uploading more images than you used to.
You need an upload method that integrates into your workflow and allows you to upload batches of images from a certain event or shoot. As of now, Flickr has a few options for this including an iPhoto plug-in, but once you’ve gone pro, you need a pro method for uploading.
Platforms that integrate with editing software such as Lightroom, Aperture and PhotoMechanic are an instant indicator that they are built for higher-volume uploads, and create an easy editing-to-uploading method better suited for the pros.
Lightroom and PhotoMechanic are two editing and organizational tools that PhotoShelter also has created plugins for. These plugins allow for quick uploading time with large batches of images, and, the best part is you won’t have to adjust your workflow. We’ve also built the PhotoShelter Desktop Uploader, a tool that lives on your desktop, separate from your web browser. This tool is the most stable form of uploading. It not only allows for file queuing, but also provides transfer statistics, and bandwidth throttling.
2. You need more detailed privacy settings.
Flickr was originally built to be a social networking site, so its privacy setting options for images make sense: Friends, Family, Public, Private. But where do clients fit into that? When you start working with clients, to make their experience that much richer, you’ll want to make a specific gallery of images just for them to preview, choose from, and ultimately download.
Tailored privacy settings are key in order to impress your clients, and make your online interaction as smooth as possible.
PhotoShelter allows you to create specific privacy settings for each gallery you create. Password protection and log-in access are two of the ways to make your images available to their eyes only. Here’s a brief intro into our privacy settings you can apply to your images.
3. You want to archive/access your TIFF and RAW files.
Yes, there are wacky hacks for you to be able to upload any file type into your Flickr account – but pro photographers shouldn’t have to use hacks to archive and back up their precious TIFF and RAW files. Plus, once those file types are uploaded normally to Flickr, they are converted to JPGs anyway.
Using a platform that supports and backs up different image file types is crucial as your photo library grows. Having them available on the fly to download is another necessary step if you need to edit a particular image while away from your hard drive.
You can back up TIFF and RAW files and keep them safe and unaffected within your PhotoShelter archive. If for whatever reason your client wants that file type, you can deliver them too.
4. You want to preserve your file names.
You’ve carefully created file names for each and every one of your photos to identify when and where they were taken, but once you download the image from Flickr, it changes that carefully thought out name to a random string of letters and numbers. This, especially for clients, is not helpful.
Filenames, metadata and keywords are what make up the DNA of your images. They help get the images found, and make them more valuable. It’s in your favor to display your images with keywords displayed, and allow clients to download images with all the information still embedded in the file.
With PhotoShelter, we preserve your file name along with all metadata and keywords within the image. You can edit all of this within your account as well. Read more about that here.
5. You’re ready to sell.
People purchasing prints, products, and licensing your images – these words are like music to your ears. As of now, there’s no way to sell your images via Flickr. But it’s the opportunity for visitors to your site to order images directly from it that takes you from amateur to pro — and helps you make even more sales.
If you’re ready to start making profit from all your hard work, PhotoShelter provides an eCommerce option with an integrated shopping cart for your website. Sell prints to those portrait clients via one of our integrated print partners: Adorama Pix, White House Custom Color, BWC, Loxley Photographic, or EZ Prints. You can also do the printing yourself with our self-fulfillment option, or use your favorite printer by adding them to our Print Vendor Network. You also have the option to sell stock imagery via digital downloads.
6. You want image protection, but not manually applied watermarks.
There’s always a risk. Putting your images online makes them vulnerable to being used without your permission, but manually applying watermarks to images before uploading is not the answer. Flickr currently does not have a watermarking tool, and altering your image files with a watermark takes up your time and hard drive space.
PhotoShelter provides Image Theft Guard, which makes the right-click and save method absolute, and we also allow you to apply custom watermarks. You just need to upload your custom watermark, or use our basic one provided, and it’ll automatically display on top of images on your public site for the galleries of images you choose. These watermarks do not directly effect the image file, and when a client downloads the image (with your permission) it comes to them clean without a watermark. Read more about our watermarking capabilities here.
7. You’re ready for a real website.
Flickr is great for friends and family — and even to potentially get found by someone searching for photos — but it’s not a destination you should be actively sending potential clients to. A responsive, streamlined design is much more impressive to those looking to spend money on your photo services. So wow them with a cutting edge, responsive website. With PhotoShelter’s HTML5 responsive websites, you can choose from up to 4 templates and customize them to fit your branding.
This is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what PhotoShelter provides to the pros. If any of these seven things ring true for you, it might be time to move on up, and graduate to a more advanced and customizable site that will turn those potential clients into tried and true fans of your work.
Ready to go a little more pro and try PhotoShelter? Sign up for a 14-day free trial today!