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.

Tax and marketing advice for photographers: Photoshelter’s on a roll, too

Like APhotoEditor, the people at Photoshelter are putting out some great posts recently on their blog. Of special interest recently are the posts: The 7 Common Tax Mistakes Made By Photographers, 8 Ways to Get More Work From Existing Clients, Why People Aren’t Linking to Your Photo Website, Secret Social Media Marketing Recipe from Photographer John Lander, Combat Photography, Wounded Warriors & the Long Wait for Help, and The Mix – The Marketing Formula of Successful Photographers. Lots to chew through there, but most of it is a quick read that’ll hopefully lead to a more thoughtful examination of your own business strategies.

Some things to look at

I’ve had a quiet week here in Belgrade waiting for housing and jobs to come through, will actually hear about both on Tuesday. So I’ve had the chance to spend some quality time looking at imagery on the interweb (as you saw in my last post about Oculi), here is some of what I’ve been looking at.

Firstly, as I discovered while entering my own work, there is a trove of wonderful, unusual and otherwise unknown-to-me projects available on the Oskar Barnack Award website from Leica. Beyond 20 some years of winning projects, they are posting all of the entries from this year in their entirety. Direct links here: Oskar Barnack Award Entries 2009 and the brand new Newcomers Award 2009, which I entered (lookie). You can even search by country or by name. I’m sure to be spending many hours in the coming days combing through .. I’ve already found some great projects from people (and places!) I’ve never heard of. Unfortunately my connection and/or the site is really slow so I can’t easily pull up many examples for you. Just go digging, you’ll enjoy yourself.
An odd outtake from the Serbian side of Mitrovica, Kosovo. Almost all of the sidewalks in town are filled with kiosks, and most of the town shops here. A Serb guy laughs (?) at me taking pictures.
Amy Stein’s blog brought the work of Jen Davis to my attention. Really interesting stuff. Outside my normal purview, but I love it. Really good personal photography, and pretty different than I have seen before.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Jason Eskenazi’s Wonderland is an incredible, moving book. And he is a great guy too (helped so much with editing my portfolio six weeks ago). So many congratulations to him for winning POYi’s Best Photography Book award last week. Unfortunately, there still isn’t an ideal place to look at the pictures. Oddly, the best may be this page at NPR which has a terrific little segment from Eskenazi and Gene Richards talking about the project.
(c) Kevin German
And also from POYi, I see that Eugene Richards won special recognition for his project and book A Procession of Them. It is a touching, utterly humanistic body of work about mental illness and its (lack of humane) treatment around the world. A similar project, which I also admire from the depths of my soul, by Kevin German has been updated with a third installment. As I’ve told him before, this is special work. And beyond his contributions with pictures, German recently solicited donations from his blog readers to help support the people at the institution he was photographing. Incredible, hat’s off to you sir.

I don’t know how new this is or how I came across it in the first place, but the indomitable Chien-Chi Chang has a new project with National Geographic about North Korean refugees. Oddly from Chien-Chi, I’m not loving the pictures on a visual level, but the story (and story telling) is great and important.

Lastly, PDN has just announced the honorees of their special PDN 30 under 30 issue for 2009. I haven’t had a chance to look through yet, but there usually is some good stuff in there. I’ve known Dominic Nahr’s work for awhile, so congrats to him (and the others who I’m not familiar with .. this ‘win’ surely will bring some eyes, including mine).

And not to neglect the selfpromo, announcing my new Photoshelter archive. Been loading it up lately with the old and the new. See M. Scott’s too!