Getting Back on Track

Getting Back on Track

Last week was one of the worst weeks the photography industry has seen in a while. But this week is a time for recalibration, hope, and  getting back on track with business. I promise a follow-up post with some of the background information regarding the DRR closure once all the dust truly settles…

First, a big welcome to all our new members. We wish that we could have met under different circumstances, but that doesn’t dull our excitement to have you on board. We’ve already started to see new websites quickly emerge like Ed Terakopian’s. Not only did he get his website up, but he also set up his e-commerce to begin selling prints immediately.


Anthony Suau has to go shoot the Presidential Elections this week, so he got his website up this weekend, and here’s a gallery from the Democratic National Convention that he put on his homepage. Go ahead, put it on your blog by clicking the “up arrow” in the lower right. It’s free marketing for him.

Speaking of which, let’s talk marketing…

When YouTube was created a few years ago, there were already several dozen video sharing mechanisms. But YouTube did two very smart things. First, they allowed users to upload their videos, which were processed into Flash video within minutes, not days, as was the case on Google Video. Secondly, they allowed you to take a video from their site and embed it anywhere you wanted to.

This was a brilliant move because watching a video no longer made you go to a destination site. When users embedded a video in a blog or on a webpage, the reach of YouTube was extended. YouTube has a huge reach, but still not as large as “everywhere.”

So why do you expect people to go to your website to see your photos? You might already have an audience for your photos, but to generate new eyeballs, why are you trying to hard to bring people to your website? Why not allow others to do the work for you? 

Your website is a “destination” but it’s very likely that only a few people know about it.

Above is a Vince Laforet image that he shot atop the Chrysler building. Take it. Click the “up arrow” in the bottom right, and take the image. Put it any where you want. Spread it as much as you can.

Listen to me again. TAKE THE IMAGE.

Taking the image doesn’t confer a copyright. It doesn’t even give you a commercial license. But that’s ok. People are going to steal the image anyway. And Vince would rather have every instance of this image click back to his website, than having someone take a screen grab, and never have a chance to turn eyeballs into money.

The “BUY” indicates that Vince has priced this image for sale. In this case, he applied a Prints pricing profile, but he could have easily applied a pricing profile to sell the image as rights-managed stock, electronic downloads, or even stick it on a coffee mug.

The whole notion of orphan works is irrelevant when every instance of your images points back to your website. PhotoShelter allows you to create embeddable images and galleries that always point back to your website.

I’m going to go blue in the face talking about the concept of the marketing funnel. But here we go again.

If you opened a clothing store, and got 100 people to visit your store per day, you might find that 10 of those people try some piece of clothing on. Of those 10, two people might end up buying what they try on. So your marketing funnel suggests a 2% conversion rate from visit to purchase.

If you want to sell 2 pieces a day, you need 100 people in your store. If you want to sell 20 pieces a day, you need 1000 people in your store. The larger the funnel, the more absolute conversions you’re going to get.

So let’s talk about your website.

You’ve spent time, money and resources to get people to your website. So remind me again why you don’t allow sales from it? Why are you bouncing people to another agency to license your images? Why are you bouncing them to a different website to purchase a print? Every time a user has to go somewhere else, you’re negatively affecting your conversion rate.


I can’t tell you how many photographers have told me that they don’t want to add e-commerce to their site because they want to keep it “pure.” You know, for all those high-powered photo editors and art directors who are coming by every day.

The problem is that on the Internet, you can’t anticipate where people are going to come from. Sure, the art director might visit your site. But what about the photo enthusiast? What about the soccer (nay, hockey) mom? They have a wallet, and they are probably more willing to open it than the art director. It is very, very difficult and very expensive to get people to your website. Make something of it.

Andy Biggs won a BBC Wildlife Photographer award for this image. Take it.

Live, Online Training
Changing your workflow is hard enough when you’ve planned for it.  Abruptly switching to a new interface is really jarring.  We expect that people moving from DRR will feel a little lost at first.  So, we’ve got a fancy webinar package and we have at least 2 planned orientation sessions next week.  (No need to be a DRR refugee to join – all are welcome.)

  • Tuesday November 4, 10:30 AM EST
  • Wednesday November 5, 3:30 PM EST

Join us, and our client services experts will walk you through the basics for getting up and running with PhotoShelter.  RSVP by emailing – please indicate the session you’d like to attend.  We’ll reply with directions on how to attend the webinar. 

New forum thread for former-DRR customers
The PhotoShelter forums are a great place to gather with other photographers, share tips on using the Personal Archive, share war stories or simply vent.  We’ve opened up a thread specifically for our new DRR converts.  Jump in and help each other out.  Find the forums here.

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This article was written by

Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter.

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