The time will come in you photography career when uploading photos to Facebook or on you blog won’t be enough. You’re going to need some tool for handling all your online photos, tool to help you sell them, share them with your clients for review, basically you’ll want all-in-one solution and that’s how I met Photoshelter.
My primary goal was to have some online space for easier uploading stock photos and also to separate my blog and portfolio gallery. At that time I couldn’t find WordPress theme I was satisfied so I started my search. There are a lot of sites offering similar things but Photoshelter was nearest to what I was looking for. It’s not perfect, far from it but still it is a great tool that helps with a lot of photo stuff.
You have 3 levels of membership – Basic (8 US$ / month), Standard (25 US$ / month ) and Pro (45 US$ / month). Main difference is in cloud storage 4GB / 100 GB / Unlimited and lack of Client proofing tool in Basic.
As I said before, I separated my portfolio from a blog so I can have nice bigger photos in a slideshow. Now I found some sweet WordPress themes that can do it properly but I got too much blog posts that would need to be reedited so I decided to stick with Photoshelter for portfolio.
Creating your working portfolio page is as simple as selecting theme, creating folder, dragging and dropping photos and watching them online. I shit you not. Simple as that. If you want categories just sort photos in folders (galleries) on Listed on Website tab and now you have categories. Next thing is to activate them so go to Enter site builder in Website menu and click on the edit icon on your menu (position depends on theme you choose). Voila!
You may wonder what’s so special in FTP uploading. You have bunch of free software to upload things via FTP. But..can you upload to more than one server simultaneously without wasting time and bandwidth. I think you can’t. This is also great thing for stock photographers who are sending to more than one agency. Beside that your images will stay on Photoshelter and in case they are rejected you don’t have to wait for 100 big photos to reupload to stock site, just select them on Photoshelter, and FTP them again and close the window. No more waiting. Files will transfer from PS server to the other one in matter of seconds. This was a lifesaver for me because in Croatia upload speed is not something we are proud of.
Another great thing for stock photographers. In case you have uploaded bunch of photos and you than realize you have forgotten to write some major keywords. No problem for Photoshelter in that department. Just select (multiple) files and from Action drop-down menu select Edit IPTC (remember it from previous post?) and just add whatever you need to add. Just be sure that you tick Append to existing data box at bottom of that window so you don’t overwrite your previously filled data.
You can off course fill new fields, overwrite existing ones and so on.
If you want to edit just one photo then click on it and on the right side you have menu with Basic Info, IPTC Metadata, EXIF, Stats and Located in. As you can see you can find a lot of info here and also change IPTC.
If your photos have some data in IPTC searching will be piece of cake which is of great help if you have thousands of photos online. You can do basic one keyword search but there is also a ton of other options and filters to narrow down and speed up you search.
You can create your client contacts here so you can share galleries with them for Client proofing or download, though there is a catch here – you have to subscribe to Standard or Pro membership. No proofing for Basic photographers so I can’t tell you details about that but I suppose it works fine.
But nice thing, even for Basic membership is that you can share your gallery with your client, give him permission to only see photos or download them in small or full resolution, you can Create password for unregistered or Grant access to specific people if they have account on your Photoshelter.
If you click on Save and notify you will get window where with predefined message to your client notifying him that you are sharing some photos with him and also creating some thumbs and inserting your logo in that mail so it looks professional. If you want you can modify message text and write whatever you like.
These guys really thought about everything. Every photographer wants to sell their photos so they made it possible. Not only you can sell your photos as JPG images, you can also sell prints of your photos via Photoshelter because they have created Print Vendor Network with 190 partners worldwide. Now you can offer final product on your Photoshelter site. Buyer can select you beautiful photo and order a print with just few clicks.
This is another option I would like to use but again…I live in Croatia and there is no Print Vendor here connected with Photoshelter so I can’t see final product that buyer gets and I would like to know what’s going to be delivered. So this is on hold for me at a time.
Let’s get back to selling your images as downloads. Firs you need to define your Pricing Profiles from Sell menu. There is a lot of setting up here so I’m not going step-by-step through, I will just skip to next step. Now that you have Pricing Profiles you can apply them to your photos.
Simply select photos, then Action menu again and select Price. Now your site visitor can become buyer by simply clicking on Shopping cart icon that now appears in the menu.
Price reduction will always get a smile on your buyers face so PS is offering Coupon option. E.g. you can create coupon Easter sale, set the expiration date, enter amount of discount, max total uses.. and give a nice present for your visitors and buyers.
This is another nice thing Photoshelter is giving you. No shitty boring stuff here just real things like free item if you buy something over 50 US$ at ThinkTank, or 10% off ar LensProToGo or my favorite 10% off Photo Mechanic (take a look at my previous post to learn about Photo Mechanic) and some more.
These days you must have mobile app for your business if you are serious about it. Photoshelter gets that so you can also download it for free from your store.
There you can see your statistics, your images, get notifications and upload your phone photos.
You can do some editing on your online photos like setting the price or change search ability, send or save them, but you can’t edit IPTC which is a shame.
All mentioned above are things that I like on Photoshelter but there is always something you can and that you don’t like so much.
They are taking selling provision 8-10% on you photos and to put it mildly I don’t like it.
Bad SEO results
I think that this is the Photoshelter biggest problem. People are constantly complaining about their bad search results on Google. Keywording is here, SEO is here, automatic this and that is here, but the results are bad and without good search position you are as good as dead
Practically there is none. It wouldn’t be so bad if the themes are set up perfectly but they are not. Especially not for mobile devices. We are living in a mobile devices era and I think that your site should look perfectly on them.
Here is how my Photoshelter site look like when I open the caption.
There is no option to change it except changing the complete theme and I like this one so I have this problem.
And here’s how you see photos on this blog on mobile phone. Yeah, it’s a bit nicer.
When you sent gallery to your client and he opens it on a mobile phone and then click on Download he gets this screen. You can’t even see submit button and that is crazy. It look to outdated and no I don’t like it.
This is really great tool and you can see it is made for photographers but it still needs some update to be perfect.
So if you decide to join Photoshelter please use this link.