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

A Sampling Of Photographic Web Service Providers
Bay Photo (www.bayphoto.com). This is a traditional photo lab with a massive online presence—“the original ROES lab.” ROES is a collection software allowing all aspects of ordering to be included, minimizing human error and maximizing order accuracy. Bay Photo also can be a storefront site via the ImageQuix program, a complete web gallery with the lab powering the print ordering and fulfillment. Says President Larry Abitbol, “Our premise is that the printing and support come first, regardless of the level of technology and ease of use we provide.”

clickbooq (www.clickbooq.com).
Clickbooq is an easy-to-use website creation, management and hosting solution. It has partnered with the RedCart e-commerce solution to create the proofbooq service for creating beautiful portfolios, as well as integrating proofing, sales and fulfillment into a clickbooq site. Says Bryan Heu, founder and CEO, “A portfolio website is the photographer’s first point of contact with their clients. The photographer needs to be able to communicate their skill and aesthetic style within a short space of time.” Photographers upload images to private galleries where clients can purchase prints, make cropping adjustments and other edits. The photographer retains full control over design, pricing and fulfillment.

Express Digital (expressdigital.com).
A software service provider for photographers and labs, the company’s PhotoReflect.com service creates online storefronts geared toward photographers who want to sell prints and services to a variety of customers. As a photographer’s business volume increases, the cost per transaction decreases. Combined with the company’s other offerings, photographers have a one-stop shop for Flash portfolio websites, e-commerce storefronts and fulfillment via a number of lab options. Per the site, the company provides “the freedom to set your own pricing, packages and printing options.”

Miller’s Professional Imaging/Mpix/Zenfolio (www.mpix.com). This full-service pro lab offers order fulfillment and high-quality printing. Free overnight shipping is standard. The largest pro lab in the U.S., they offer proprietary software or allow photographers use of third-party programs like ROES and LabPrints. The Mpix and Zenfolio partnership incorporates gallery hosting and e-commerce to the large lineup of Miller’s services—including albums, fine-art prints, print packages, published materials, proofs and web hosting. The company offers “the kind of stuff that allows a single-guy photographer to compete with a family business that’s been going for decades.”

PhotoShelter (photoshelter.com). Targeted toward photographers who not only sell prints, but also license usage rights. It incorporates FotoQuote for accurately pricing usage that changes with the market. Its large-capacity image archives function as client-searchable databases; SEO and marketing tools allow pertinent images to be returned in search engine results and act as a surrogate online sales rep. It features seamless connectivity to professional workflow tools. Says Andrew Fingerman, vice president of marketing, “You get what we call ‘pro-strength’ e-commerce tools. Sell images to clients in any fashion the photographer chooses—automated prints, commercial downloads and personal-use licenses.”

(www.simplephoto.com). Offering a complete one-stop shop geared to school and sports photographers, or a flexible system for any photographer who wants to retain control over every aspect of available products, pricing and printing. The primary goal is to keep it simple for photographers. Founder Eric Ellis was a professional photographer who saw the opportunity to increase sales by easily delivering proofs to his customers’ distant friends and family. “Successful e-commerce is more than just posting pictures,” he says. “Being proactive about the Internet is being proactive about one of the most profound technologies that exists today. Photographers can offer prepay online, book portrait sessions or sell gift certificates.”


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