PhotoShelter is many different things to different people.
Years ago, when we first started talking to people about our ideas, we quickly realized that every photographer needed something slightly different. Each photographer had their own way of doing things, their own blend of client-types, and their own level of technical ability. In order for PhotoShelter to be successful, we would need to build a product that was flexible enough to allow each photographer to define how they would use it, and effectively explain that PhotoShelter’s mission was not limited to a specific photographer type.
Now that PhotoShelter has launched, we’re seeing exactly what we thought we would see – people using PhotoShelter in a variety of ways, for a variety of different reasons.
I thought it would be interesting to point out some of the most commonly-used PhotoShelter features.
1) Adding an image search capability to their personal websites.
This can be a significant technological challenge for most people with websites, so adding a robust image search function to a website is usually out of the question for most.
By giving photographers the actual code to cut-and-paste into their websites, we made it as easy, and many of our users are taking advantage of this.
2) Archiving of, and limited access to, their “best take” from an assignment.
Some Photographers are using PhotoShelter as a selective archive. Instead of uploading all 1000 images from an assignment, they’re editing the take down to the best 50-or-so images, and storing those inside of their PhotoShelter archives.
The tighter edit usually contains images that are more likely to sell, and are usually considered the “money makers” of the assignment. The rest of the raw take might be burned to DVD-R media. Should a DVD-R disk go bad, it’s not a catastrophic loss, because the “money makers” are safely stored within their PhotoShelter archive.
This also gives them the ability to allow certain clients to enter their archives and search through their “best of” images.
3) Large-sized image file delivery to trusted clients.
For many photographers, image delivery is often a problem. Many clients have no idea what “FTP” is, and prefer to receive everything via email attachment. However, as file sizes increase, we’re seeing an increase in email rejections due to large attachments. After a few failed back-and-forth transfer attempts, the end result is usually “I’ll overnight a CD-ROM to you…”
However, web access is rarely restricted and familiar to everyone. Therefore, delivery of large high-resolution images to a client through a web browser can be a much more effective way to transfer images. (Which doesn’t require you to rush to burn a disk, fill out the forms, and make the overnight deadline.)
Photographers are taking full advantage of the PhotoShelter Bandwidth Subscription, which not only transfers the images in a very user-friendly way, but it also keeps a record of each download, who downloaded it, and when.
4) “Syndication Service” through the use of RSS Feeds.
Photographers who are shooting a lot of assignments on a regular basis have been creating RSS feeds of their galleries, and giving them to editors. At many publications, editors use these RSS feeds to keep track of the latest, most updated content available from a variety of sources.
RSS effectively gives an individual photographer the ability to “syndicate” himself or herself, and automatically broadcast the availability of their latest images to editors interested in using them.
5) Selling prints.
Some photographers who have previously not even considered selling prints of their images (due to the overhead of making and shipping them), have been taking advantage of this new revenue source. Our relationship with EZ Prints makes the process of selling prints a hands-free (and profitable) experience.
Obviously, this is only a partial list. As we continue to expand PhotoShelter’s features, the possibilities grow exponentially. It’s always a fun process to build a new product, and it’s always interesting to see how people use it.