January Newsletter 2017

New Years Resolutions!


Ah yes new years resolutions. This year will be the year you say to yourself, I'll go to the gym, stop smoking, get organised, stop spending and save more etc etc... And that might last for about 4 days and we all fall back into old habits.

Note: 8% of those who do make resolutions follow through, in case you were wondering.

Our New Year's resolution is to continuously work on the site to improve customer interactions, member interactions and overall site satisfaction. On a more personal level, we want to take the time to capture and upload new images to the site. 

Share with us your resolution and let us know how it's coming along through the year and we could feature it in the newsletter!


News from the community

Big congratulations are in order to Lilian Marshall. Her festive picture will be featured on the towns card going to the Queen. You can read the article here. Well done Lilian!

As mentioned in the October newsletter - James Biggadike donating his commissions to the Poppy Appeal. This year was no exception and James donated over £165.00 of his poppy commissions from mid October to mid November to this amazing cause.

Congrats and thank you to all the Photo4me photographers for their help and support over the busy Christmas period. 


What's happening?

Interesting national and international dates for the month.

As mentioned above, lots of New Years resolutions are going to be spoken of and you'll always get the popular "Dry January" after a little over indulgent from the holiday period, but besides that, here are a few things to keep in mind this month!

National
Chinese New Year January 28th-29th - Celebrate the Year of the Rooster in London. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people descend on the West End to wish each other "Xin Nian Kuai Le" (Happy New Year in Mandarin) or "San Nin Faai Lok" (in Cantonese). The day usually kicks off with a colourful Chinese parade around the West End, followed by stage performances in Trafalgar Square including the grand finale with fireworks and a spectacular show.

During the bleak period of January (18th - 22nd), it's good to laugh. Head to Bristol to enjoy the 13th annual Slap Stick festival. Enjoy comedy from the roaring 20's all the way to the 50's with some delightful and entertaining events. See their website here.

International

People in the USA will get a federal holiday on the 16th of January as it is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It celebrates the life of Dr. King for his tireless work regarding civil rights movement.

Our Icelandic friends will celebrate "Husband's Day/ Man's Day" on the 20th. According to the old Icelandic Calendar this day falls on the first day of the month Þorri. Women would give their husbands a small gift or special attention and cook an Icelandic smoked lamb called hangikjöt. Icelandic women will celebrate their Wife's Day/Woman's Day in February, which is very similar to valentines day.

And finally, Canada will have the all important National Non-Smoking Week from 15th to the 21st. Started in 1977 to educate people of the dangers of smoking, smoking prevention and helping people quit. The "fesitvites" hit a climax on Wednesday called "Weedless Wednesday" in which smokers are urged to refrain from smoking on this day. The intention is to kickstart the process of quitting smoking.

Fun eh?


What's new this month?

This month we did little house keeping jobs around the site rather than work on one large project.

- Products with a cut edge - no more! (Details page). Now the bottom part of products won't be cut off, which happened from time to time.

- Product on the details page are portrayed more accurately in size. Namely panoramic images.

- Products are more clear in the "living space." We hope that people will be more confident with bigger sizes and that the picture won't pixilate or stretch. Hard to see well by the screenshot, but check it out for yourself!

- We have continued to work on Printshop and we have been able to significantly reduced the cost by about 30% on all personal prints.

- Uploader: We have stopped images from being upload sideways/rotated so everything should be uploaded the way it was intended to be.

- Lastly, we've changed the pay period to make it a "true" 28 days before payment. Previously it was set to 21 days before we saw it was due. This caused some issues where clients would make a claim or claims were unresolved by day 25-26 but the photographer was already paid and we were not able to put a hold on the payment.

Payments will be paid around the 28-30 period and will be sent on Mondays and Thursdays. Therefore you may see payment as minus a couple days but not to worry, payment will be made. If it gets longer than minus 6, email us and we'll look into it.


Top effort everyone!

We had a few people question the Facebook group. Is the group exclusive to just Photo4me members or can anyone join?

Although the group is primarily for members of P4M, anyone who has interest in photography is welcome to join the group and contribute, however they will be held to the same standard and rules as everyone else.

Some people like to learn or get a feel for the community before joining the site and then make a decision and that's perfectly fine.

As for the question regarding adding people to group, anyone can invite someone into the group, but they must be approved by a group admin.

Who joins the members Facebook group and who gets accepted hasn't changed in the past 2 years. We've accepted everyone as long as they were not bots or spammers and those that do slip through get removed pretty quickly.

The vast majority of the members in the Facebook group are P4M members. Those who have come in and are not members are either quick to leave after realising this isn't the group for them or they just watch the passing parade and harm no one. Everyone that joins the page are under the same rules and guidelines. Those that came in to stir the pot are spotted quickly and then leave or are removed. 

If you are concerned over pricing and giving away trade secrets, the information is readily available on the site. Those who were desperate to know how commissions work could figure it out pretty quickly and would have no need to join a closed Facebook group. Moreover, people could simply email us and pretend to be a perspective member and ask us. There are many ways to get information you want without having the need to register as a member. Lastly, who's to say this information isn't anywhere else on the web... It's the internet after-all.

The Facebook group isn't a secret society, if people want to take a peak and get a feel for the group before joining the site, great. If they don't then they leave, no harm.

Don't knock people down who join the group but are not yet members. These people enjoy photography, don't ostracise them, but make them feel welcome, encourage them to join and simply be nice, what's the harm in that?

Let's all get along folks =)


We’re always looking for something to report or to announce, anything that would interest the community. Would you like to write up a blog? Start a photography club in your area? Have any tips? Locations? Advice? Let us know and we’ll be more than happy to read and even put it into the newsletter.

Have a great month everyone, and thank you for being part of the community. 

Best wishes,

Jon & Mike

December Newsletter 2016

Jingle Bells


This month needs no introduction, we know it's December. Crisp mornings and early sunsets, but as always great pictures can come from a verity of places, even if the recent weather has been a little on the wet side. Great pictures from Robert Murray and by Daugirdas Racys.

News from the community

Congrats to Michael Chandler who after having uploaded to the site 2 years ago was able to sell his first image of the beautiful Coastguard Cottages at Cuckmere Haven. Great job and hopefully many more sales to come!

Jamie Green's village shop in Backbarrow, Cumbria, is displaying some of his canvas wraps for sale. Pop-in and say hi if you're in the area! Best of luck on some sales!

Azimuth Images is having a 2 page spread published in new on-line magazine that is free to subscribe to called www.droneuser.co.uk. The article is about the Magpie Mine - it is an abandoned lead mine in the Peak District of Derbyshire and it's restoration project. The team needed a drone pilot and photographer to take and create photos and video's to document the repair work which will in time, hopefully help secure more funds from the Heritage Lottery fund grant.


Congratulations to Alexey Trofimov who was featured earlier this month on "The Dodo" and "Now This" on social media for his achievement and patience in photographing Seals in Eastern Siberia for 3 years. The video has been viewed over 6.2 million times.

To check out the news snippet, click the link here.


November Promotions

First of all, congrats to everyone who sold over the Black Weekend and the run to up Christmas. If you haven't sold, don't be disheartened, still a lot of time for someone to find and purchase your great images before Christmas. Share among family and friends market your work because people are still looking for that perfect gift for someone special.


What's happening?

Holidays.

Not much more to say here. We know there are going to be a festive time of the year and plenty to see and do.

Whatever your faith or non-faith may be, from all of us at Photo4me, happy holidays, be safe and best wishes going into 2017!


What's new this month?

During this time of the year, we don't like to tinker to much with the site so we've kept it very simple.

We have added a pop-up on the details page(shop) so that when someone clicks on the image, it will inform the customer the that it is a low res file they are looking at but they will have the high res printed on their final product. -- See screenshot below.

Also throughout the site, we've added a "Lines Open" box above the phone number to help customers purchase and ask us questions.

We've also added a banner throughout the commercial site informing the public when all of our cutoff dates take place. If you are interested in knowing and helping your customers see the link here.

As always we worked on the SEO of the site to better drive traffic and have tightened and enhanced our marketing going into Christmas with the intention of selling your lovely pictures to the general public at no cost to yourself.


Top effort everyone!

Biggest "issue" we had this month was the question of duplicative accounts and voting.

Firstly, a coloured camera means absolutely nothing when it comes to purchasing. Yes it helps show pictures off, but ultimately, if the picture isn't good or non interesting, the customer will move to the next one. 

Duplicative accounts are very much frowned upon and can be the cause of removal from the site. You cannot sign up to the site and use multiple accounts to vote on your own or other peoples pictures. You have 1 account that's it. You cannot have multiple accounts in which you post the same content... Say you uploaded a picture 4 years ago, but want to post a "refreshed version" to show up higher or whatever. That's a no-no and easily be found and checked.

These couple of examples will get you removed from the site.

As for "voting clubs" we cannot stop people from voting on pictures, one vote per person. That's the way the site is. In the past, we have said that voting on pictures will remain on the site, and that is true today. 

If "voting club" members are simply signing up extra accounts just to vote on a picture, then that will be cause of complete removal off all accounts of that member which will include their "master". We don't care who they are. As it has given a member an unfair advantage over other "by the book" photographers.

New members help
We see it all the time, and we will keep repeating this.

When it comes to primary key phrase and keywords. This should be 2-3 words that describe your image. When we say “describe,” it means what would someone look up. Don’t say, “sun” or “blue” or “sea” or any general word. We also see nonsensical gibberish like "snowdonia wet sun drive." Ask yourself, “What are you looking at?” Better yet, put yourself in the customers shoes, what are they looking for and what would bring up your picture with their specific search? Rarely will we see someone in our traffic search for something so general looking for the examples given above. A customer knows what they want and they want a specific thing.

Where - Where is this picture taken?
What - What are they looking at? 
Be as specific as possible.

If it's a beach, which beach? What town? Put all that into the keywords, mix it up, combine these keywords. What is in your description? Add those wordings into your keywords. String 2-3 words together.

I would highly recommend you go through your pictures to avoid just generalities. If your keyword is to general, customers will never find your lovely images.

We have instructed our moderators to be very observant and will kick back images which are too general in their keywords.

For more help with keywords, see the FAQ here.


We’re always looking for something to report or to announce, anything that would interest the community. Would you like to write up a blog? Start a photography club in your area? Have any tips? Locations? Advice? Let us know and we’ll be more than happy to read and even put it into the newsletter.

Have a great month everyone, and thank you for being part of the community. 

Best wishes,

Jon & Mike

November Newsletter 2016

November Rain


(Queue Guitar Solo) Maybe? Sorta? No? Fine.

Never mind. Moving on. Yes the weather can be a little cold and wet, but you can still take advantage of the nice days by using the atmospheric conditions or to create beautiful long exposure images. Two fine examples of this are Steve Cowe's exceptional image of Storm Force or for a more recent upload - Mark Leader's image of Welcombe Mouth


News from the community

Congrats to Steve Clark who, in one order, sold his image of 02 Bristol Balloon Fiesta for a record 18 times. Great job, client was really happy with the final result!

Stephen Mole is hosting an exhibition at the Fairhaven Gardens from November 19th to November 27th. Pop-in and say hi if you're in the area! 

Well done to Tony Murtagh who's picture of the Hungarian Parliament at night has been selected in the final 12, out of an entry of nearly 1000 photos, in the Viking Cruises calendar competition for 2017. Now Viking ask for the public to vote for their favourite photo. The winning picture will feature on the cover of the calendar as well as inside. Now you can help and vote for Tony here.


What's happening?

Our American friends will celebrate their Thanksgiving on November 24th which kicks off the Christmas shopping holiday on the 25th; we'll get into that a little later.

This month we have "Bonfire Night" or "Guy Fawkes Night" and of course Remembrance Day.

Most of us know or are familiar with the story of Guy Fawkes however for those in other parts of the world who may not be so familiar, a quick history. On November 5th 1605, Fawkes (and others) had planned to blow up Westminster because he opposed King James (who was Protestant) and wanted to replace him with Princess Elizabeth, (who was Catholic) so to pull off their plot, the plan was to assassinate King James by blowing up Westminster -- makes sense right? His plan however was foiled by someone who wrote an anonymous letter and the Kings Guards captured Fawkes in the basement of Westminster guarding a stockpile of gunpowder. So on the day of his capture, November 5th 1605, to celebrate the King's escape from assassination the population celebrated by lighting bonfires, a tradition which continues to this day. -- The story was romanticised in the 2005 movie V for Vendetta staring Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving and Stephen Rea, if you haven't seen it, I recommend it.

There will be plenty of opportunities to catch a great photo of the bonfires and fireworks. Please however refrain from taking pictures of your TV during the BBC telecast (or any other TV program/station) and trying to sell the images. They are the copyright of the media outlets and cannot be sold. In case you are wondering - yes that has been attempted before.

Remembrance Day. A day of reflection and thanking all the veterans and soldiers who have fought and are currently fighting in war, combat or peace keeping missions. Although we have images for sale depicting poppies, World War's, other combats and remembrance, it is not to profiteer off death, but to give artists a platform and the general public a chance to express their gratitude and so that we never forget those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our way of life.

If you know anyone who is suffering for the effects of PTSD, please get them to contact the good people at The Veterans' Mental Health Charity

Lest we forget... From us here at Photo4Me, Thank you.


The big shopping event this month is the Black Friday and the Cyber Monday specials. Started in 1932, it is considered to be the beginning of the Christmas shopping season although now we're getting advertisements before halloween. -- You can already buy Christmas pies in some stores, do they keep that long?

Anyways, moving on. Most major retailers open very early as the date follows the day after American Thanksgiving as they have a long weekend, Friday and Monday off work and school. Now Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become more of a global phenomenon and we've jumped onto the spending spree over here.

I still remember what happened a few years ago, on the news, the chaos... Yes... So we have that to look forward too, maybe do your shopping online. Which you can also remind your followers that it's easier to buy a beautiful canvas online than go out in the cold and buy it in a shop. =)


What's new this month?

Most of the month has been dedicated to working on the uploader and working on the social sharing functions so that you can add hashtags for each image you upload. 

For more of an explanation, same as before you can share it right away on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest but now you'll have a cap of 90 characters you can add on Facebook and 31 for Twitter to create your own hashtags or jump on to popular hashtags of the day. We have also dropped the countdown from 10 seconds to 5 seconds.

Second thing we have done, was we have found a way to lower the prices of Framed Prints so we hope that this will create interest in the product and which will increase overall sales. Good news for all!


Top effort everyone!

A couple things crept up this month so best to address them here.

Someone asked us about their accreditation when we sell one of their images. On every sale that we make, we send a 8 x 11 piece of paper with the product -- like a letter of authenticity. It will give a quick thank you to the customer, the photographers name, title of the image, a description of the image and a small bio of the photographer. This is why we say it is important for you to fill out all that information when you've signed up.

Avatar and Bio can be found here.
Title and description - that's when you upload, so give it something more than, "It's a nice picture I took." People want to know where the image was taken, what car they are looking at, what shipping lane the ferry takes, etc etc.

Regarding the decline of images, we are given a dropdown menu that has pre-loaded text written in. If we had to write up each decline, we would be there all day doing just that. If you have a question, please feel free to ask and we'll reply the best we can.

One decline that gets disputed a fair bit are blown sky's and digital noise.

Blown Sky: Also includes blown highlights or blown area. We know there is no sky in your picture, but that area in the water, that has no detail or texture and is still "blown" will cause problems in print.

Noise: Also includes grain texture added to the image. We know that it's been added and it looks great as a thumbnail, but when we blow that up to size and print on a product, it looks really pixilated and takes away from the image -- it looks like you're looking at a TV from the 50's with static interference. Adding grain is possible to achieve, but you must walk a really fine line when applying the texture.

Last thing we've seen a lot of is flowers. We'll be the first to admit that we are no flower experts here, but we have seen a lot of "point, shoot and upload" of flowers recently so we have no choice but to be tougher on them during the upload process, they can't be just a picture in a garden with distractions in the back ground. Images for the most part that have already been uploaded will be grandfathered -- unless of course there are some serious issues with the image, but going forward we will be tougher on flowers. (A sentence I never thought I would have to write).

New members help
We see it all the time, and we will keep repeating this.

When it comes to primary key phrase and keywords. This should be 2-3 words that describe your image. When we say “describe,” it means what would someone look up. Don’t say, “sun” or “blue” or “sea” or any general word. We also see nonsensical gibberish like "snowdonia wet sun drive." Ask yourself, “What are you looking at?” Better yet, put yourself in the customers shoes, what are they looking for and what would bring up your picture with their specific search? Rarely will we see someone in our traffic search for something so general looking for the examples given above. A customer knows what they want and they want a specific thing.

Where - Where is this picture taken?
What - What are they looking at? 
Be as specific as possible.

If it's a beach, which beach? What town? Put all that into the keywords, mix it up, combine these keywords. What is in your description? Add those wordings into your keywords. String 2-3 words together.

I would highly recommend you go through your pictures to avoid just generalities. If your keyword is to general, customers will never find your lovely images.

We have instructed our moderators to be very observant and will kick back images which are too general in their keywords.

For more help with keywords, see the FAQ here.


We’re always looking for something to report or to announce, anything that would interest the community. Would you like to write up a blog? Start a photography club in your area? Have any tips? Locations? Advice? Let us know and we’ll be more than happy to read and even put it into the newsletter.

Have a great month everyone, and thank you for being part of the community. 

Best wishes,

Jon & Mike

October Newsletter 2016

October Sky


Unknowingly referencing the 1999 movie about a coal miner's son, this title was more to do with the beautiful sky's and settings October has to offer. A foggy morning with a hint of frost over a golden sunrise, what more can you ask for! -- Well maybe no rain if you're out on a shoot -- that would help.

Some great pictures already starting to come in depicting this setting.

News from the community

Congrats to Nick Jenkins who has managed to sell 2 pictures in just over 2 months of being a member, one of them being The Malvern Hills. His secret to his success? He's uploaded great pictures with the appropriate keywords and descriptions. Nick also self marketed his work heavily on social media using hisTinyURL (which is found in your settings page) which also helped spur interest. Great job! 

South Eastern Trains had a competition with TimeOut Magazine for "SE Hidden Gems" this summer so Dan Davidson entered his image of the Herne Bay beach huts. The image didn't get shortlisted for the final but for some reason they used the image when advertising the shortlist. The Marketing Dept at SE Trains asked if they could use the image to display on a feature wall at the train station.  It went up in mid August and should be there until close to Christmas. Congrats Dan!

Tom Hard had a photograph appear in the August edition of Digital Photo Magazine which is sold nationally. It is accompanied by an article called 'Bucket List Locations.' It was a double page spread and the photo was taken of theWest Pier in Brighton, Sussex at sunset. Well done Tom!


James donating to great causes.

Last month we heard from Bel Menpes regarding her contribution to helping Kelly Turner raise £1.2 million to fund life saving surgery in the US. This month our attention turns to James Biggadike.


We all know James as "Airpower" and sells a lot of pictures on Photo4me. What a lot of people don't know, James puts his work and commissions toward charities and great causes.

Last year around Remembrance Day, James donated roughly £250 of his commissions from his sales of his Tower of London Poppy pictures to the RAF benevolent fund.

A few months ago, James donated a canvas of "Vulcan Farewell" to a local business called "the Sentry Post". The RAF Waddington base has been re-surfacing their runway for the past 2 years, and the owners are struggling to keep the business afloat. - As the cafe sits right at the end of the runway making it a prime sitting spot for plane spotters, the bidding for this canvas is currently at £200. You can bid on it yourself on Facebook.

James has also donated images and a number of prints to "The Peoples Mosquito" to help them raise funds to build a De Havilland Mosquito from scratch. Details of which can be found via their website.

Moreover, he has also donated a number of prints to "The Happy Gurkha", a business set up to get retired British Army Gurkhas back to employment.

Well done James!


What's happening?

To our friends in North America, there is Canadian Thanksgiving (Oct. 10th). Food, family and friends sit around to have a nice get-together, appreciate the summer past and enjoy the yearly harvest. Our American friends will celebrate their Thanksgiving a month later in November.

On this side of the pond, there are a few things going on, in and around the UK.

In London there is the NFL international series on October 2nd, 23rd and 30th. Go and take in the sights and sounds around Trafalgar Square and Regent St on those weekends.

If men in spandex running into each other isn't entertaining, try the sixth annual Bristol Cocktail Week 2016. It will take place from 17th to 23rd October at venues across the city with Bristol’s finest mixologists indulging in seven days of blending and mixing for your sipping pleasure.

In Nottingham, there is the Goose Fair which is one of Europe’s largest travelling fairs and is one of Nottingham’s oldest traditions, dating back more than 700 years. Legend has it that it that Goose Fair got its name from the hundreds of geese, which were at one time driven from Lincolnshire and Norfolk to be sold in Nottingham. -- Cheeky!

Hull will also host a fair with an expected attendance of over half a million visitors throughout its week long run. The fair starts the Friday closest to the 11th October every year.

Lastly, 

Take a weekend country break. Treat yourself to guided walks across the Isles of Scilly.

The autumn is a very special time of year on Scilly – the days are still warm, the softer hues give rise to stunning sunrises and sunsets, and of course the islands are alive with wildlife.


What could be better than Halloween? As everyone with a calendar knows (or at least checked), Halloween falls on a Monday but that's not stopping a couple of events happening around the UK. I'm sure there are others, but this is what we've come across.

Just outside of Bath, there is Longleat’s infamous Halloween Spooktacular Festival and fireworks show. - A quick Google should bring up times and dates.
 

Margate will have it's second annual "Dreamland's Screamland" 

Screams will be heard across Margate this Halloween, not from screams of enjoyment, but the scariness of Dreamland's Screamland.


What's new this month?

As mentioned in the previous Newsletter we were working on a new sharing function. This will allow you to share your images instantly (Once you have 30 approved pictures in your account) with all your followers and friends.

This will happen at the end of the uploading process, you'll be brought to a sharing page.

The tool is simple. The second you upload a picture, you can share it instantly on 3 major platforms. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. We have implemented this function because the more you share your image, the more people see it, the better chance it can sell.  These functions may be automatically selected after you've added your account to the uploading process. If you do not wish to have these options selected, simply unclick the box. These options can be turned on and off whenever you upload next.

I know some of you are a little skeptical of Pinterest, we hear you loud and clear. The Pinterest option will only be possible through the uploading process which you will be able to select or not. We have no plans on adding a Pinterest button on the commercial site or the members site.

Unexpectedly we needed to switch servers mid-way through the month due to a technical glitch. No high res files were compromised and they still remained encrypted. We treat image security with the upmost importance. When we moved the thumbnails across, some images didn't make it so we resolved that issue which has been completed. As always, if you noticed anything out of the ordinary, email customercare with a link to the image and the portfolio and a screenshot. 

So thank you for the emails and the posts concerning the missing pictures and many thanks for your understanding and continued patience. Much appreciated.

Apologies for the inconvenience this caused.


Top effort everyone!

This newsletter is going to cover a few things.

First one is keywords; now you’re going to say, “Guys! Enough of the keyword talk, we've heard it all before!” Hear us out. A lot of you get a little confused with the primary key phrase. This should be 2-3 words that describe your image. When we say “describe,” it means what would someone look up. Don’t say, “sun” or “blue” or “sea” or any general word. We also see nonsensical gibberish like "snowdonia wet sun drive." Ask yourself, “What are you looking at?” Better yet, put yourself in the customers shoes, what are they looking for and what would bring up your picture with their specific search? Rarely will we see someone in our traffic search for something so general looking for the examples given above. A customer knows what they want and they want a specific thing. Make your keywords specific then work you way to general, avoid keyword phishing.

Second topic is something that as we all know. We’re getting ready for the Christmas rush (already? - Yep!) What we need from you more than ever is that when we sell a picture, specifically, you're picture, please check the high res file on your end right away and if you notice a dust spot or any imperfection, please email us with an updated file. This will greatly help us in manufacturing and sending things out in a timely matter and ensures everyone has a happy holidays. Please make sure your images are perfect. Remember, you're picture is going on a customers wall, you don't want to be remembered as the artist with a dust spot right?
 
A couple of questions regarding copyright this month that we went over in theFacebook Group but I'll put it here. 

LEGO.

Mike contacted LEGO earlier this month who pretty much said photographers and artists can generally use them for your personal project or if nobody is making any money from it.

If it is something you would be making money off of (like selling on Photo4me), it goes against their fair play policies. Therefore, no LEGO images can be used on the site to sell, unless of course, you have permission from LEGO.
 
On the flip side of things, Mike also got in touch with the Powerboat P1 SuperStock (Powerboat water racing) which said they were happy to have people take pictures of their boats and sell them as the exposure is good for the sport. - Just remember to take pictures from public land and you'll be alright.


We’re always looking for something to report or to announce, anything that would interest the community. Would you like to write up a blog? Start a photography club in your area? Have any tips? Locations? Advice? Let us know and we’ll be more than happy to read and even put it into the newsletter.

Have a great month everyone, and thank you for being part of the community. 

Best wishes,

Jon & Mike

September Newsletter 2016

Schools in from summer.

Yes, it is that time of the year again. The start of Autumn or “Fall” as Mike says, that crazy Canuck, eh. The beautiful summer days are numbered, a time of year when the days get cooler, the leaves start to change colour and winter (gasp) is around the corner. In saying that, lets be positive! With this, you have a great opportunity in taking some amazing pictures of the change in season and we’re looking forward to seeing what you upload in the next month – not all that bad right?


News from the community

Lots happening this month so lets get to it shall we?
 
Stephen Mole is hosting an Exhibition with Paul Macro Exhibition at Blickling Hall (National Trust) from September 20th to October 2nd and yes he did receive permission. The manager even bought a picture off Stephen of the hall. (It was shot from the road side)
 
Liz Alderdice is opening up her Studio for the North East Open Studios 2016event where artists and makers open their studios for 8 days so that the public can meet the artist and gain an insight into the way they work. Dates are 10th - 18th  September. She can be found here.
 
Thank you to Roger Green. With excellent research Roger spoke with the Senior Counrtyside Access Office for Cumbria regarding pictures of the Castlerigg Stone Circle, who informed him that,

"It seems safe to assert that purposes 'reasonably incidental' passing and repassing includes such things as stopping to look at a view, to talk to passer-by, to take photographs, or to have a picnic on the verge'.

So in my view there would be two questioned to be answered, was your passing 'reasonably incidental' or had you gone to the site to take the photograph for commercial gain.

The other would and I would think the most important were you on the public right of way or had you strayed off it?"

Therefore, if you feel that above applies to you, please reply to the declined image, email a link, or just re-upload.


Bel, donating commission to a worthy cause.

Bel Menpes is going to give all commission payments from the sale of her work to help Kelly Turner raise £1.2 million to fund life saving surgery in the US.

Who is Kelly Turner?
Kelly is a 16 year old from Dover who has a rare form of soft tissue cancer. Tragically, Kelly has been told that without surgery she has just two years to live.

Without surgery Kelly will not have a chance to achieve all she had hoped to. She would like to help others by becoming a radiographer, and to develop her passion for art. Surgery could give her the opportunity to fulfill her hopes and dreams, and allow Kelly to live her life to its full potential.

Bel is trying to spread the word and help raise money to fund Kelly's surgery in the US, surgery she can not have in the UK.

Bel will continue donating her commission until at least the end of Feb
2017.

How can you help?
Please search on Facebook for getkellytotheUS for more details and a link to her crowd funding page can be found here.
Also follow the hashtag, #doingitforkelly


What's happening?

As all parents and grandparents are probably well aware of, school’s return is coming up or for some, has just begun. Last month we saw the conclusion of the Notting Hill Carnival and the amazing performances of all Olympians. Speaking of which, please let us not forget the Para-Olympic games start soon (Sept. 7th to the 18th), so please do your best to watch, cheer and support  these inspirational and amazing people.

What else is? There is the London Design Festival which goes from Sept. 17thto the 25th. Might be worth popping by to see and get inspiration for your own work.

Also in the city there is Proms in the Park (Hyde Park), which takes place on September 10th.

Moving away from London, you can test your fitness levels at the Great North Run, which is taking place in New Castle where more than 54,000 runners will pound the pavement. If running is not your strong point, I’m sure the spectating support would be greatly appreciated.

None of those your cup of tea? (Excuse the pun - you'll see why) There is the Autumn Steam Gala Beer Festival in Yorkshire (Sept. 30th to the 2nd of October) See trains and have a pint, we can think of worst things to do on a weekend. – Google the event for more info.


Not to be outdone, Blackpool will light up the Lancashire skies for “Blackpool’s Light Fantastic” where over a million bulbs will light up over six miles of Blackpool’s iconic Promenade – this runs until November. Below is a picture from Jason Connelly who took the opportunity to take a picture of the event a few years ago. I’m sure there will be some great photo opportunities like this.


What's new this month?

Due to the annual holidays it’s been a quiet time for development work over here. What I can tell you is that we're working on a sharing function for the site that will make sharing your pictures a lot easier. Bigger audience, bigger chance someone sees you work, bigger commissions down the road.


Top effort everyone!

We have found out the reason why when you share your images/portfolio on Facebook, and the image doesn’t come up as your own and your name is not mentioned. This is due to Facebook “scraping” the information from Photo4me is incomplete. To fix this issue, please go to your Settings page, at the bottom under “Commercial profile” add your own unique TinyURL. Once saved you can share your portfolio on Facebook without problems. Not only that, it will also make your link a lot more professional when sharing it among friends in print. For example, photo4me.com/{whatever name you chose}

We’ve noticed an influx of declines because of wrapping issues/cut subject. Remember when cropping and taking your great pictures you need to give about 1cm (on all sides) of clearance on the screen to avoid a wrapping issue.

A few of you have been a little confused when we give an explanation for a declined image, which is understandable. To clarify, we are given a list from a dropdown menu, most explanations are very general, therefore, if it is not obvious, kindly feel free to ask us to clarify and we can be very specific. Now the reason why we have dropdowns rather than the need to type each reason – it’s a time saver. Imagine having to give a specific detailed explanation for every decline, we wouldn't have time to go anything else.

With all these flags, people may feel that they are being picked on – I know getting flagged isn’t fun, but it’s for the best, and no one is picking on you. Yes, you may be getting 3-4 images flagged, it happens, no sweat. Overall we get about 100 – 200 flags over a 24 hour time span, some images are from recent uploads, some are from images uploaded 5-6 years ago. If there is a problem with the image, it’s best that we know about it now, than if a customer purchases the image and we need to stall the order or cancel the order outright. Then it becomes a little embarrassing for us and the photographer because we can’t fulfill the order on something, which we should have been able to avoid.

The flag system is to keep the quality of the images on the site to the highest standards possible.


We’re always looking for something to report or to announce, anything that would interest the community. Would you like to write up a blog? Start a photography club in your area? Have any tips? Locations? Advice? Let us know and we’ll be more than happy to read and even put it into the newsletter.

Have a great month everyone, and thank you for being part of the community. 

Best wishes,

Jon & Mike

August Newsletter 2016

Dog days of summer.

These are the days and months that we dream about during those grey, cold winter months. Hot cloudless days turn into long and festive nights. Whether you’re traveling abroad or within the UK remember to take/bring your camera and take that stunning picture that you thought you could only dream of. As always, we’re constantly getting new pictures uploaded on a daily and it’s always exciting to see what the members will upload, keep them coming!


News from the community

Congrats to the 2 newest members of the Photo4me century club.

Oxon Images and Simon Wrigglesworth. It goes to show that success can be achieved if you take the right pictures, have a strong portfolio, do a little self-marketing and have the right keywords and description.

Congrats on the milestone!

Also Congrats to Mark Fraser who sold his first image after waiting about 2 years. It goes to show that patience pays off! Only 99 more to go!
 

What's happening?

The Olympic spirit will dominate the news cycle and the beautiful country of Brazil will engross the world just like London did 4 years ago. Tower Bridge at Sunset was captured by Phil Clements. Whether it on top of Corcovado (Christ the Redeemer) by Brian MacDonald down the valley to Copacabana Beach or other parts of Brazil such as Iguassu Falls by Yvonne & Paul Carroll. The world will hopefully the beautiful side to Brazil and not some of the negative aspects of the games which the media is leading us to believe. We wish all the athletes in the Olympic and Paralympic games all the success the in the world and to have a great games!


Closer to home, let us not forget that there is the always entertaining Notting Hill Carnival which takes place on the August Long weekend (August 28th). Go out and see the amazing costumes, taste the great food and experience the vibrant music and atmosphere. As always, don't forget the camera!


What's new this month?

Early in the month of July, we completed on the member search from the commercial homepage dropdown and also the search engine. Putting your photography name into the drop-down will give the customer the ability to look up your portfolio. If the customer puts your name into the search engine images will come up but also the photographers head shot along with the images to go to their profile. Please note that if you do NOT have a unique avatar, your profile will not show up. To update your profile or just double check, go here.

We’ve redesigned the Printshop landing page to fit in more with the overall design of the site.

Lastly, we’ve done some backend housekeeping which should speed up the site and therefore rank higher in site SEO for all the great pictures we have for sale. Not very glamorous but it was a must in order to keep the site running efficiently and smoothly.

Other newsworthy info: Photo4me’s sister company (Splat Web Works), who you might have noticed in payment notification to those who were fortunate to sell a picture, “Splat Photo Limited” is hosting an event in October, all 100 tickets have sold out in 10 days. It’s not too late to get your name on the waiting list. Sign up here.


Top effort everyone!

This month we didn’t really see any general issues with regards to pictures and questions about the site, so not much to report here, but if you do have a question, please feel free to ask and we might address it in the following newsletter or on our social media channels.

Not to let space go to waste we’re going to start a new section called “heard around the office.” Now you’ll get more familiar with what goes on behind the keyboards and screens, with our philosophical wisdom such as these beauties last month.

Mike: Looking very serious, “I hear all the music I listen too.”

Jon: "Mike you look a little blurry today."
Mike: "I've always been a little blurry."

Outstanding.

Can’t wait to see what we come up with in the next few weeks!


We’re always looking for something to report or to announce, anything that would interest the community. Would you like to write up a blog? Start a photography club in your area? Have any tips? Locations? Advice? Let us know and we’ll be more than happy to read and even put it into the newsletter.

Have a great month everyone, and thank you for being part of the community. 

Best wishes,

Jon & Mike

July Newsletter 2016

Summer Solstice

As sad as it sounds, the summer solstice has come and gone but summer is here and in full swing for another 2-3 months. Currently we’re in the middle of great events and celebrations, last month saw the annual Glastonbury Festival, the start of Wimbledon, the Queen’s birthday, the Euro’s tournament (Sorry English Fans). I’m sure I’m missing a whole bunch of other things I didn’t think of at the top of my head.

News from the community

Janet and Richard Burdon currently have an exhibition running at the Dalby Forest visitor centre in Dalby, North Yorkshire. The exhibition is 50/50 mono and colour landscape and runs until the end of July. If you’re in the area, pop in and say hi!

David Wilkins received an award this year and is listed as one of the top 30Best Wedding Photographers in the UK (no19). Congrats on the achievement David! 

Sandra Cockayne is giving a presentation at the Townswomen Guild in Low Row on Tuesday the 21st at 7pm to 9:30pm and inviting the ladies to be a judge for an evening, and will be given a transcript and guidelines to do so. Best of luck and we hope its a great success!


What's happening?

As mentioned above, it’s been a busy month and busy time of the year. For all you music lovers Glastonbury has come and gone and for the lucky people that went, memories that lasted forever. Very muddy ones but I'm sure fun none the less! Now that these emotions are still fresh, find some sort of music inspiration photography and promote like Anne Macdonald's image of Antique Mandolin. You never know who’s looking. Be aware that if you do take pictures inside festivals or venues you need permission to sell them and need to provide us with proof.

Currently “The Championships, Wimbledon” is causing a racket (excuse the pun but it was too good to foul on) with excitement and is easily the most popular ticket in The City. Now would be a good time to promote any type of photography involving tennis like David (Dai) Meacham's picture of Point of impact or racket sports due to the public awareness and again, promote to help increase the odds in selling. 

** Editors Note: Apologies for the confusion regarding last newsletter. The 75thanniversary of the Battle of Britain was last Summer/Fall, although the message remains the same regarding our commitment to replicated and air-show pictures. Guidelines can be found here.


What's new this month?

This month we have been busy tightening up the Printshop and Home Page making it look slick and fast. Moreover, we have completed an overhaul of a backend API that will help market your images throughout on various paid advertisement platforms. (This won’t cost you a penny and we foot the bill to promote your work). We’ve been doing this for a couple years but it was using old technology so a complete rebuild was in order. These new and improved technologies will also help with the SEO of Photo4me images on major search networks. It’s not very fancy/flashy that you’ll notice directly on the site, but hopefully you’ll notice in your pockets sooner rather than later. 

Although we do promote your work with paid adverts, we do ask that you also do your part in promoting your pictures to give yourself that extra exposure. The more people know, the better the chance you have in selling.

This month we have hired a new employee by the name of Liam Hind. He’s going to help with the administration of the site when Mike is on annual leave or during the busy times of the year. Please make him feel welcome, understanding and patient with him as he is still new and still learning the job. 


Top effort everyone!

Although no request this month was made to cover a part of the website, I would like to recap a couple things. 

We at Photo4me do watch the social media boards and see that there is a common concern about the “substandard” images that are uploaded. As you all know and have gone through, we have the 30 approved images vetting process. Once a member hits over 30 approved images, it goes live instantly when upload is complete. Unfortunately we cannot police all these images, we don’t have the time to do that, therefore, before you hit those “likes, loves and exceptional” ask yourself if it is wall art and it is substandard or have any technical issues. If so, flag it and we’ll take a look, simple as that and takes just a few seconds. When an image is flagged, it just means that someone wants us to have a second look, 99% of the time, within 24hours a decision will be made (on business days). Flagging an image is completely anonymous and has no effect on the commercial site. The flag will remain because we don't want to see the same image multiple times after we've seen it once.

Remember if you want to see and the site to show off the best possible pictures, we need your help in achieving that =).

Now what happens if your image is flagged and declined? Rather than write us angry emails or take to social media to start a mob, write us a nice reply, make a case, show us of examples of similar images, we’re more than happy to explain more in depth, reinstate your image and admit we were wrong or flag the other images still on the site. Remember, you catch more bees with honey than vinegar. 

As per a suggestion to cover – Rather than upload your images to the site and think you’ll win the quantity battle, it’s not so much the case. Quality will always trump quantity. ? I remember looking at someone’s profile a month ago, which had 5 images but sold 3 of the 5.

You want have pictures so that someone will stumble onto it, but it doesn’t help if you have thousands of mediocre images, make sure your images are stunning and be honest with yourself. Ask yourself, would someone buy this picture? We’re all here to sell images, lets make it the best possible outcome for the customer.


We’re always looking for something to report or to announce, anything that would interest the community. Would you like to write up a blog? Start a photography club? Have any tips? Locations? Advice? Let us know and we’ll be more than happy to read and even put it into the newsletter.

Have a great month everyone, and thank you for being part of the community. 

Best wishes,

Jon & Mike

June Newsletter 2016

Warmth and leave

With the summer started, most of us are longing for a day out by the beach, coast or where ever their heart is during those long and cold winter days. Vacation time has started! Don’t forget to bring your camera and take some fantastic pictures, which may turn out be great wall art – you never know!


News from the community

As always there is plenty of buzz around Photo4me with many contributions, remember that if you want to featured, send us some relenvent P4M news and we’ll be happy to put it into the news letter.

This month brings us the news of:

Steve Purnell will have his art on display at the Rhymney Valley Literature and Arts Festival at St Gwlady’s Church Hall in Bargoed from July 1st to 3rd. Pop-in and say hi!

Congrats to Craig Preedy who made his first sale on the site, “The River Wye”.

Congrats to Lynn Bolt who finished 2nd in the RSPB's 2017 calendar competition. Her entry of "Two Gannet" will be in the calendar, goes on sale in July.


June Happenings!

We’re not going to run any promotions this month, but that shouldn’t stop you from promoting your work and trying to think of fun marketing ideas to get people interested in your work.

Keep in mind there are a few dates in the calendar. June 14th to 18th is the Royal Ascot and June 19th is Fathers day (don’t forget!). 

It might be a good occasion to take or promote your pictures of Horses like Camargue Horses By David Tyrer and nature and fishing like J.Tom L.Photography of Llyn Nantle Uhaf.

You can then promote them on social media and follow the trending # to show off your work to a larger audience.


Air-shows

Next month is the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain. There will be a lot of air-shows and photography relating these air-shows. We have little doubt that these air-show pictures will grace the Photo4me website.

A word of caution: We will accept air-show pictures but they can’t be just a picture of an airplane and a sky. They need to have a second level or artistic merit to them. They need to have something that anyone with camera could not capture.

What makes a airplane picture special? Look at the great portfolios of well known and respected members like James BiggadikeKen BrannenColin WilliamsNigel HattonGary Eason and apologies in advance for those who I did not mention. These 5 are a good start on what it takes to be successful and a good example of what people are looking for. Notice that all 5 deal with planes but each artist has their own unique feel to them, please don’t copy their images or they’ll be flagged and removed – but find your own unique feel and artistic flare.

To find out more on the plane guidelines, click here.


What’s new this month?

As you all know, we launched Printshop with the help of Splat Web Works in Mid-May. 

What does this mean? This means that you can upload your pictures and print them yourself with our high quality products at a much reduced price(commission taken off). This will also give you discount than if you, your friends and family if they or you were to purchase through the Commercial site.

To do this, you will notice share buttons on the Printshop home page (only you will be able to see) after uploading, this means that you can share them with Friends and Family on Facebook, Twitter or through Email giving them deals on your work and you sort your commission out on the side. You always have the option of deleting the image after it is uploaded.

To make the Printshop more visible to everyone, we’ve also redesigned the home page, which should go live in the very near future, we’d love to let us know what you think by sending us a nice little tweet @photo4mecom or through the Facebook group.

To go to Printshop, click here.


Top effort everyone

I know it’s been the focus of a few last newsletters but please keep in mind the customer when you do your write and description. Remember to focus on the customer and not yourself. I hate to be blunt, but no one will care if you took your beautiful dog out to the beach. “My lovely Lola on the beach.” This might evoke a lot of emotion with you, but to the customer, they won’t have that connection. A better way of writing about the picture would be, “A beautiful Border Collie, sitting on Blackpool Beach after a long and beautiful sunset stroll down by the water.” Generalise. Take them to the place of remembrance.

When it comes to keywords, remember the FAQ from the past month, the search will look up keywords or phrasing that you’ve put in between the commas. For the full review go to the FAQ located here.


We’re always looking for something to report or to announce, anything that would interest the community. Would you like to write up a blog? Start a photography club? Have any tips? Locations? Advice? Let us know and we’ll be more than happy to read and even put it into the newsletter.

Have a great month everyone, and thank you for being part of the community. 

Best wishes,

Jon & Mike

May Newsletter 2016

Has summer arrived? We certainly hope so. 

After a long wait, I think we can all agree that summer is here to stay. With those warm and extra long days of sunlight there is no excuse to not get a beautiful sunset or if you’re and early bird, a fantastic sun rise.


News from the community

With the warm weather, exhibitions are popping up all over the place. Liz Alderdice has an exhibition in the John Lewis store in Aberdeen until May 13th and Phil Wareham has an exhibition in Moordown Community centre on June 2nd.

Congrats to Sean Foreman on a sale on his birthday, a nice surprise and a very happy birthday!

Big shout out to Nick Wardekker who donated all his commission from all his sales(7) to the St. Andrews’s Children Hospice. Well done and an amazing gesture Nick.


What’s happening?

The biggest news recently has been Leicester winning the Premiership and not only that, they were they were the first new team in 38 years to win top flight English Football after starting the season at 5000 – 1 odds! To put that into perspective, that's the same odds as finding Elvis alive. 

The 21st May is the FA cup final. Who’s going to take home the cup this year? Man U or Crystal Palace?

Building off the above, take pictures of football stadium or team related like Red David has of Theatre of Dreams / Old Trafford. There is a massive emotional attachment with a team and everyone has some sort of allegiance to one club or another. Remember you need permission or accreditations to take pictures inside the stadium, however as long as you’re on public property you should be fine. You're responsible for finding that out and checking before uploading. Find something that has a lot of emotion and attachment to that fan base.


Also remember that between the 24th and the 28th is the Chelsea Flower show - so there is potential to take pictures of a lovely garden or memorable place with great foliage likeDawn Cox has of this Country Manor House! Just keep in mind being on private property when and if you do take these pictures.

Last minute edit: Keep your eyes open for The flying Scotsman. A quick Google search will give you its voyages for the month in and around the UK. From what we understand, it will be running on the fife circle on the evening of May 15th. This might be a great photo opportunity to see it crossing the Forth rail bridge and getting a once in a lifetime picture.


What’s new this month?

Over here, we’ve been working a couple new projects. Our sister company Splat Web Works, who you may have noticed on your payment’s called “Splat Photo”, has launched a new version of their website www.splatwebworks.co.uk/

We’ve been working hard on updating the uploader with a new technology, which has made it a lot more stable and easy to use, and on top of that, we gave it a facelift with a sleek and modern design. The test group (a massive thank you to those kind people) has come back with some positive feedback and results. A link is on the Facebook group or email customercare@photo4me.com and we'll send you a link if you want to try it out before it goes live on the site. (If it hasn't already).

We’ve also been working on the Printshop. Customers will be able to upload their pictures and purchase their own work. Also, this means that YOU can also upload your own picture through the Printshop without your commission. In the future, we will be working on a function where you can take your image from your portfolio and put it into the printshop. This will be a feature we upgrade to later on in the year.


Top effort everyone

It was requested that we list our most popular keywords, now we can give you all a massive list, but in reality, we don’t want to over saturate the site with people forcefully using these words.

What we see from out end. People want colour or a stunning black and white picture, they want a beautiful sunrise or a sunset, they want to see the sea, the beach, they want the picture to take them away to a place that brought them happiness or a place that has significant meaning. Taking a picture of an object is OK, but what does this object do, what is this significance to someone? Why would they purchase it?

On the other hand, we do see themes all the time, we see people searching for bell bells, London, Liverpool Skyline, Manchester, beach huts, Highland Cattle, Tyne and Wear the list goes on – these are trends. If you happen to spot an early trend, jump on it, make it look professional, upload, and self advertise.

We’ve also released a new Consumer Blog, which might be helpful in what trends are taking place and what people are looking at. You can read it’s entirety here.


We’re always looking for something to report or to announce, anything that would interest the community. Would you like to write up a blog? Start a photography club? Have any tips? Locations? Advice? Let us know and we’ll be more than happy to read and even put it into the newsletter.

Have a great month everyone, and thank you for being part of the community. 

Best wishes,

Jon & Mike

March Newsletter 2016

April showers bring May flowers 

Spring has arrived in England with a force and we’ve seen all extremes of weather, from major storms to beautiful sunshine, a perfect opportunity to get some fantastic pictures! Which we’re already starting to see uploaded to the site.

• Congrats to Kayleigh May Meek who sold her first canvas this month, a lovely picture of The Island of Halki.

• Some great winter pictures by new member Alexey Trofimov who has been very active on social media, joining in on discussions.

• Thank you to all who have been positive and have created content on the Facebook page. Particularly, long time member and always positive and a great personality on the social media, thanks for making the new members feel welcome Mary Fletcher, check out her photos


Thank you as always to the community who are active on our social media but also to those who just want to upload pictures. The community continues to grow as we now boast 6,900 members and having 357,000 pictures and counting. We have sent your artwork from Auckland New Zealand to San Francisco, which is to us and hopefully you, an amazing accomplishment. Well done to everyone!

We’re not going to run any promotions this month, but that shouldn’t stop you from promoting your work and trying to think of fun marketing ideas to get people interested in your work. Keep in mind there are a few events going on around the country, in particular the London Marathon April 24th, so it might be a good occasion to take or promote pictures of London or some sort of athletics.

Top effort everyone!

This month in our regular info-sharing, for P4M member, which we bring you hints, tips and advise.

We’re going to cover keywords. Lately it has become a question from our members as to why pictures don’t show up in search.

Say you look up the keyword, "New York Taxi" and we didn't come across your image. It is very possible that is because "New York Taxi" is not part of your keywords. You have: New York City Collage, New York City, Manhattan, Taxi, Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge, Collage, art, abstract, modern, decorative, colourful, geometric

The keywords or phrases are exactly what customers would look up word for word. So you would need to add "New York Taxi" to that list to be found. You want to come up with common keywords but not broad enough that the customer finds 1000 pictures.

Try to avoid words that will yield a lot of results. For example, I see members all the time write in only 7 keywords (the minimum) but don't put anything specific in them. They'll write, beautiful, red, art, sea, blue, sky, sand. Be specific to the location or subject and type in all variations of and what people might look up. Then start putting in very generic and common terms. Start specific, then go towards common.

An example for wording variation -- a Park in Montreal. The actual spelling for Park in French is "Parc" so to cover all your bases, you would write both versions -- "Parc LaFontaine" and "LaFontaine Park"


We’re always looking for something to report or to announce, anything that would interest the community. Would you like to write up a blog? Start a photography club? Have any tips? Locations? Advice? Let us know and we’ll be more than happy to read and even put it into the newsletter.

Have a great month everyone, and thank you for your patience and help once again regarding the uploader. 

Best wishes,

Jon & Mike