How I Use PhotoShelter

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I’ve been an avid and active member of PhotoShelter since 2005, when I first set out from Seattle and began my career as a freelance photographer. Since those early days the system has been developed and so has my workflow and understanding of how to get the most out of the service. Today, I run both my archive and my portfolio website through a custom PhotoShelter site and do even more work on the backend for clients. I even use the keyword searches to find my own images when fulfilling stock requests and research, as opposed to digging through my own drives. It functions both as an archive for other people to look through my back catalog, but also for myself to keep organized.

PhotoShelter is currently running a promotion, until July 4, where if you decide to keep your PhotoShelter site during the 14-day $1 trial you will get a $10 account credit: a free month of the basic-level account. Click the banner ad at the top of this post or in the sidebar to sign up for PhotoShelter and help support Dvafoto.

I have two recent examples of turns in my business that I could not have pulled off without PhotoShelter: after six days on assignment for the Ratko Mladic story I had an archive of work that I wanted to syndicate, so I uploaded it to PhotoShelter and published a web gallery. I then mentioned on twitter that my pictures were in my archive and available to view (and re-license). Immediately, friends and strangers re-tweeted to their followers the link and I had a stream of viewers, all eager to see an extended edit of the work I had been doing. These are images that until the hours before had only been sitting on my and my editors’ desktops. Now the people who want to buy my work will know exactly where to find them.

Second, I was back in the States in April to attend my best friend’s wedding in Chicago. I agreed to shoot informal pictures of the ceremony and reception (balancing a cocktail and a camera, I was still a guest!), but after it was done we were struggling for a way to distribute these pictures to everyone who was at the wedding and who might want a print. I figured out the easiest solution was to upload all of the images to PhotoShelter, have the family edit the images in a lightbox, and make a gallery semi-public (only those with a direct link could access) for my friends to email to all the guests. I also set up through PhotoShelter a direct-printing service for guests to order prints and have it fulfilled by one of PhotoShelter’s partner print houses. Everything was done through PhotoShelter, within my own archive and tried and true workflow. It is exciting to offer something unusual for me: wedding pictures printed on-demand.

I could write pages on the different resources PhotoShelter has given photographers in recent years, like built-in pricing calculators; statistics on sales, views, signups and SEO; and regular special reports and web seminars on topics such as Email Marketing for Photographers, a Photo Buyer Survey and a SEO Cookbook. PhotoShelter are also active in promoting member photographers on their website and blog, which can bring quite a few viewers and buyers to your archive. For example, an image I photographed in 2005 was selected for a rotating best-of gallery inside PhotoShelter right after I uploaded it to my archive. It is still my most-viewed image.

But more than anything, I just wanted to share a little bit about why PhotoShelter has been integral to my work as a photographer, especially as a photographer without my own studio or large office space in the States. I am able to accomplish a lot more with their services and, knowing our readership, I figure that if you are not currently using PhotoShelter, you should start now. Sign up here for a $1 trial of the service, and dvafoto will get a small share of your membership fee.

This post is part of a trial sponsorship deal with PhotoShelter. We need to keep the lights on here, and we also don’t want to turn into a marketing mouthpiece and we aren’t looking for charity. Both Matt and Scott depend on PhotoShelter and we think it would be helpful to our readers. We wouldn’t go into a sponsorship arrangement with a company we don’t believe in. And, if you sign up for PhotoShelter by clicking through this link, dvafoto will get a small portion of your membership fee. That money will go toward the hosting costs of this site. We think it’s a great deal: you get started with the best way to organize and sell your pictures online, we get to tell people about a company that’s doing good work for photographers, and PhotoShelter gives us a little money to keep doing what we do.

5 Responses to “How I Use PhotoShelter”

  1. Portrait Photographer

    As a fine art Portrait Photographer I didn’t get much informed about Photoshelter earlier, but this post is very useful. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Bryan

    I will have to check it out and set up an account

  3. Fabien

    I use WordPress for my pictures of nature and wildlife but Photoshelter seems to be easier to use. I may turn to it in the next weeks.

    • M. Scott Brauer

      Thanks for the comment, Fabien. WordPress and photoshelter are really two different beasts. I wouldn’t ditch the wordpress site, altogether; the customization and presentation offered in a wordpress portfolio are unmatched. But if you’re interested in selling images, delivering images to clients, selling prints, keeping a searchable archive online, etc., photoshelter’s the only way to go.

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