DPP Home Business Money While You Sleep: E-Commerce For Professional Photographers

Friday, February 27, 2009

Money While You Sleep: E-Commerce For Professional Photographers

Web 2.0 means every kind of photo business can and should be online

This Article Features Photo Zoom

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A Bay Photo Gallery Page
The computer revolution in photography isn’t just about Photoshop and digital capture. In fact, a case could be made that a different digital tool has had just as much impact on the photo business. It’s the Internet, and it has changed everything a few times already.

The first wave of web-savvy photographers in the mid-1990s posted their work online as a way to augment, and eventually supplant, traditional printed portfolios. Wherever a potential client might be, a photographer could instantly provide a customized portfolio.

Photographers soon found that they could turn their websites from passive portfolio displays into active marketing machines. Search engine optimization, search marketing, e-mail promotions and other web accoutrements combined to form the foundation of utilizing the Internet to actively recruit new business. Instead of conventional postcards, networking and traditional analog marketing, a photographer’s website cast a worldwide net to reel in new clients.

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Mark Ridout’s clickbooq Home Page
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Express Digital Template Kits Page
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The Extensive Miller’s Professional Imaging Products And Services Selection
Once the capture is made, whether it’s film or digital, more and more photographers are putting the remainder of their workflows online. From lab-processing to proofing, marketing to sales, print finishing to album delivery, stock licensing, invoicing and payment, web-savvy photographers now run their businesses online and are happy to have the web working for them around the clock.

Is DIY Done?

Previous photographic forays into web business were mostly for do-it-yourselfers. A technically proficient photographer literally built his or her own business online. Kevin Kubota’s business relies intensely on the Internet, and it’s much easier now than when he started back in the DIY digital era.

“We have our proofing and ordering process online via a custom-designed system that we had developed about 10 years ago,” Kubota says. “Today, most clients actually expect some sort of web-based proofing or ordering system, so it makes you look behind the times if you don’t have a clean, easy-to-use system in place.”

These days there’s nothing do-it-yourself about a web-based business because everything has been done already. A photographer like Kubota today wouldn’t need to contract the expensive development of an e-commerce site; he’d simply choose one of many ready-made options already up and running—and there’s one out there for almost any budget. He could look to a lab-specific system (such as Bay Photo or Miller’s) or choose to utilize a storefront system that allows him to work with a favorite lab at home (or anywhere else around the country, for that matter). Options like this are available from clickbooq, Express Digital, PhotoShelter, SimplePhoto and many more services.

No matter how photographers choose to work online, they have the option to choose a single, fully integrated complete system to handle every aspect of the workflow after the shoot—from uploading directly to the web, proofing, processing and retouching, print ordering and fulfillment, album binding, drop-ship delivery and invoicing and payment—or to create a piecemeal system to automate various aspects of the workflow and outsource their management while retaining closer control of specific elements. Usually, both options are available from every service provider. There’s no single right answer, and that’s the beauty of e-commerce for photographers: it’s easy to do as much or as little as you’d like.


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