The world is changing, the way we do business is changing, the way we display images is changing. As a professional photographer, it is essential to remain on top of all of this in order to keep my name in front of buyers, to attract new clients, to display and share new work and to generally create a buzz. Blogs, Twitter, e-commerce, SEO, galleries, direct downloads, managing rights, Facebook fan pages, print sales and more are all aspects of this. So how does one go about managing and integrating this as much as possible, so that more time is freed up for shooting images? I’m going to walk you through the steps I take that enables me to manage all of this in as easy a method as possible.
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Once I’ve completed my standard workflow procedures, I have a series of images from a particular shoot that are ready to upload. In this case, I’ll use the recent Chinese Lantern Festival as my example. The lantern festival is held on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar, and is an important aspect of Chinese culture, marking the end of the spring festival. As a cultural photographer based in Asia, it is this kind of event that I regularly photograph, so it makes for a good example.
The first destination for these is my Photoshelter archive. My preferred method of uploading is via the desktop uploader when I’m uploading a gallery of images. If I’m only adding a few photos to an existing gallery, I will do it straight out of Lightroom. I do all my keywording and captioning in Lightroom and have a series of export presets that I’ve created that means that my images arrive in my Photoshelter account with all the relevant data already entered.
After the photographs have uploaded, I then take them and either make a new gallery specifically for the shoot, or add them to an existing gallery. I then have the option of making these photographs immediately viewable by the public. Most of the time, this is what I elect to do. I then have a range of options for what I can do with these images. I may choose to embed a slideshow or individual images into my blog (as I’ve done here). My blog, with runs WordPress, uses a theme by Graph Paper Press. Ever since I first started blogging a few years ago, I’ve always run into the problem that my blog and my image galleries have two different kinds of looks. The beauty of this Graph Paper Press theme is that it integrates directly with my Photoshelter account, making for a seamless transition between the two.
I also have the ability to share my galleries directly to my Twitter account, my Facebook account or send the images into my Flickr account. This helps me get the word out about new work, and allows more people to see these new images soon after I’ve uploaded them. Having the ability to post these to the various social media platforms in an easy fashion saves me time, which ultimately means I have more time to create new work.
The galleries and images on Photoshelter can then be downloaded by editors and other clients in a low-res, watermarked format which helps them with layout and other creative decisions, and also protects me. Usually, they will then contact me with the ones they require, we will negotiate the licensing terms and fees, and I’ll supply them with a download link so that they can instantly download the high-resolution version. They also have the option of direct payment with license fees calculated using the included Fotoquote pricing calculator. Again, for me this is a huge time-saver, freeing me up to concentrate on other aspects of my business. I also have the option to mark the gallery as private so that only the client sees it, which is necessary for some jobs.
This combined approach of uploading, secure archiving, direct licensing and supply to clients coupled with my ability to publicize my work through my blog and social media networks is now an indispensable part of both my photography business and my creative pursuits. Later this year, I plan to expand this into print sales, which are also integrated with my Photoshelter account, but that’s still to come.
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