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Photoshelter put out a challenge to share our experiences about Photoshelter. I actually did not have to think twice about sharing with you how important Photoshelter has been in enabling our present and future business plans.
To start at the beginning, my name is Paul Williams. I have been a professional photographer with a studio in London for over 30 years. I have been lucky enough to achieve so much in my career from Polaroid European Photographer of the year award, DNAD and Cleo awards for photography to a Silver Rose of Montreaux award for a series of World Cup Coca-Cola commercials.
Every 10 years or so I have changed direction in my career to keep things fresh and to stop me getting stuck in a rut. I usually burn all the bridges behind me to make sure there is no way back. This really concentrates the mind and determination to succeed. After 20 years in a studio I decided to see some sun and this coincided a couple of years ago with Stockfood asking me to one of their contributers. Even though it was late into the stock game I realized that stock photography still offered an opportunity. I found it tough to supply agencies with photos without feedback though as I didn’tt learn anything to help me move forward. The Stock world is a very complicated shifting industry and I really needed my own library to move forward. I did a lot of research looking at photo library programs I could buy but because I have always built my own web sites I knew that even though there are some good programs for sale out there, the amount of time I would spend building and maintaing a library could become a nightmare very quickly. I needed a system I did not need to look after when I was traveling and would be problem free.
That in theory is an impossible dream without spending a fortune and having an IT department. When I found Photoshelter I actually thought it impossible. I spent a long time going through all their example sites looking for the drawbacks. When I could not find any I quizzed their staff trying to find the loopholes. In fact there are none and even more surprisingly the amount of info and ideas that Photoshelter supply are beyond the obvious and are breathtaking.
It has taken us 5 months or so to upload the 10,000 plus photos that are our photo library. Whilst doing this we have been able to tie all our web sites together into a comprehensive system that works almost seamlessly and we have ended up with 4 different products as follows.
1. My dream was to have a photo library that specializes in food and european travel photos – www.funkystock.eu and www.photoshelter.com/c/funkystock .
2. I really wanted to start creating a specialist food photo library which will eventually include other Photoshelter members so I used a Photoshelters Virtual Agency and combined it via iFrames to make www.funkyfood.co.uk.
3. I have a whole area of fine art photography that I wanted to show and offer prints for sale. Again I used a virtual Agency and iFrames to make an on line gallery and shop at www.paulwilliamsgallery.com.
4.The final part of the jigsaw will pull together the stills and video footage that will soon be able to do on Photoshelter at www.paulwilliamsstudio.com.
These 4 sites revolve totally around photoshelter. In some cases the navigation links take you directly to our photoshelter pages and sometimes the links take you to pages where our photoshelter pages are in iFrames. Either way we actually update one photo data base and have one selling system for prints and stock, namely Photoshelter. The site designs are held together by being able to customize our Photoshelter pages.
To do this any other way would be so time intensive as to make it impossible to be cost effective. We have some more design work to do on paulwilliamsstudio.com but this waiting for photoshelter to bring video sales on line. In the mean time we are pushing forward with a set of new products that we will be talking to Photoshelter about soon. If we had programmed a libray ourselves I truly believe it would be another 6-7 months before we would reach this stage. Ideas like coupons that Photoshelter have just introduced would be a dream and the SEO advise that is getting us first page Google places for quite a few search terms already is very impressive. According to Google analytics www.photoshelter.com/c/funkystock has 1640 external links. Its only 7 months old!!!
You may guess I’m a fan of Photoshelter and I hope these experiences I have shared with you about Photoshelter will make you see why. I can’t tell you what a buzz it is to go on our own stock web site and gallery shop and go through the motions of buying a photo and actually realize its our site and we got to this stage with absolutely no fuss or problems. Give it a try its so much fun and better still our sites are already in profit with requests from around the world and from major magazines and clients. Result !! Job done!!!