Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Your Home On The Web, Part 2
If you're interested in getting into e-commerce through your website, there are some good services to check out
ClickImage gives you options for event photography or PhotoArt galleries. Event galleries feature a wide range of image options, including picture packages, novelty prints (such as soccer balls and shirts) as well as online payment processing. PhotoArt galleries are optimized for individual prints and are well suited to fine-art photography.
Additionally, ClickImage's search feature helps with photo sales; for example, I have images from the Stars On Ice skating tour posted that can be searched by anyone visiting the site. Orders are processed online, and in this case, I handle printing to keep full control over quality and pricing. The cost for this type of service is very reasonable—20 cents per image per month. ClickImage includes useful tools for uploading images in bulk, as well as simple editing options.
Collages.net caters to the event and wedding photographer with several different options. The pay-as-you-go plan is designed for those just getting started, which charges on a per-upload basis; the unlimited plan runs $70 per month. Additional features include DVD or CD slideshows, bulk orders, printing and shipping. Collages.net charges 15% for reprint orders, which includes all credit card-processing fees. The site design is very intuitive. Ordering, reviewing and customizing images are easily done with the flash-based tools. For wedding photographers, Collages.net has the advantage of marketing with The Knot for website design, referrals and partnerships with a number of major labs. Once an order is taken and processed by Collages.net, you have the option of handling the fulfillment yourself or having it fulfilled by one of the partner labs.
Digital Railroad is perhaps the most stock-oriented site available, with excellent features for both photographers and buyers. Digital Railroad uses a lightbox metaphor to organize and share images, and for buyers to collect images from individual or multiple photographers based on a strong keyword search facility. Digital Railroad handles image sizing to multiple resolutions, batch captioning and FTP features that can transmit images to multiple clients. It's great for busy studios with more than one photographer or assistant having access.
Event, wedding and portrait photographers can set up private galleries for clients with ordering, download reporting and more. Digital Railroad gives you the option of hosting your website or linking your images to an existing site. The drawback to Digital Railroad hosting is that you give up your domain branding. It's possible to link to your own website from the Digital Railroad page as well if you choose to maintain separate sites.
Photo Feeds are a boon to photographers and buyers—automatically distribute thumbnails of your new image uploads to customers that link directly back to your online archive.
New features this spring include the Digital Railroad Marketplace, which places all your stock images in a centralized search for easy access by more than 10,000 registered buyers. Photographers can also take advantage of a newsletter service to keep your name and activities in front of customers, a shopping cart feature for sales of images, and an enhanced customization feature for your Digital Railroad homepage. Digital Railroad has a simple pricing model of $49.95 per month with a $99 setup fee, or $539.40 per year with no additional fees.
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