Stop hoping and increase your odds

I've been asked a few times by members on what they need to do to be more successful in selling their pictures on Photo4me. So I thought this write up might help for those looking for that extra edge.


In my experience, people want to see a few things. If you do these things, I think it would make a difference you would start seeing results.     Working/Descriptions   A lot of people tell me about their personal stories about an area, a place or an event that happened somewhere. I then try to match that description with what they've told me. I then send that picture to the client.   I also try and find a description which makes an emotional connection with the client.   I don't know how many times I've seen, say, Brighton Pier for example, good picture but the description says "On holiday took a picture. I think it looks nice." OR someone took a picture of their dog and said. “This is Charlie, he’s 8yrs old.” It’s a lovely picture of your dog and you have that emotional connection, but I hate to be blunt, but people won’t care about your dog, they care about their dog. Put yourself in the customer shoes, work it for them.   We've stressed it many times but please be descriptive with your image. Pull on people’s emotions and make them want to buy your picture.   Sometimes, I'll send a customer 4-5 picture links which match the description the client was looking for and 9/10 times, they'll go with a feel with the picture and an emotional touch. They want to know as much information about the picture or area. Try to avoid the Wikipedia copy and paste job, people want a personal touch.     Your portfolio

http://mem.photo4me.com/Home/Index/Upload/1   Another point would be to have a strong portfolio. This idea of more is better is a complicated one.   - You want people to see your portfolio and all the nice stuff. - To much stuff leads to substandard photo's. - You want to keep all the emotional storied photos and take out the "meh" pictures.   People look at other images from that photographer. If they see great photo's and substandard photo's they question the professionalism and skill of the photographer. Never underestimate the power of your own portfolio.   Moreover, notice that those who sell multiple pictures tend to be those with great photo's? Sure you have the 1 time seller because they have a specific area and that great shot of it. But notice it's more or less the same people in the "Top sellers last thirty days” It’s because they have found that taken quality pictures, they have put in the right keywords and descriptions, and they have advertised themselves.   I would advise members to avoid pictures which don't sell often. For this reason we came up with the redundant decline. Insects/Swans/Ducks/Geese/Cats/Mushrooms don't sell often and the site is loaded with them already. This takes away from the power of your portfolio.   Planes get flagged as well from time to time, because they need to fit the Photo4me guidelines, which could be found further down the blog – http://blog.photo4me.com/post/2015/10/07/replicative-images-planes.aspx     Pricing   People are also looking for the best price. Sure some can get away with having 100% mark-up and if that works for that member, great. Keep in mind however that people are always price comparing. I'll see potential carts/dropped carts through admin and they'll have 4-5 same images and be comparing the price. Don't give your away but don't make it out of reach of a persons budget.

The current site averages are: Min: £14 Max: £157 Commission: 43% 

 No need to change the pricing per individual picture, it can be changed globally on your pricing page: http://mem.photo4me.com/Account/MyPricing


Advertise:   Try uploading one of two pictures a day, do your own picture of the day. Put ads around Facebook and twitter. Do something different. Make business cards with your link on the site to your portfolio, start your own following. Hand out flyers, get your name out there and self promote, think outside of the box, tell your friends, understand how Google Adwords works and advertise through there, use Google Analytics, family anyone that will listen, send out emails to people who might be interested.   Some people will upload to the site and think they are going to sell automatically, however with the site consistently growing, it is not like the old days when we had less than 50,000 pictures and images would be found quickly and purchased, those days are long gone. With a few thousand pictures being uploaded to the site every week, the competition to be found is always increasing. I believe that the new successful member will need to do a little self-marketing, get the right pictures in their portfolio and have the right keywords and description.   To break it down even more, if you have 150 pictures in your portfolio, and we have 350,000 pictures on the site, you have 0.0004% of the content on the site, how do you turn this into a better percentage with the hopes that someone finds and purchases one of your pictures. I don't mean to say this to dishearten you, but the opposite, to encourage you to do more and to stop you from hoping - be proactive, get your name out there, you never know what will happen!   Mike

Use of public domain images

When posting pictures, in particular public domain images, we do ask that they be unique in their own right. Meaning:


Because anyone can take a free public domain image and upload it to the site and due to the high possibility that duplicates will happen, thus losing the “unique” factor, which Photo4Me promotes, we ask that members upload images that are in the artistic spirit and not easily replicable.


If we were to allow straight rip and upload of public domain images, the site would become over saturated with these images from free domain websites and duplicates would definitely happen + other complications we foresee.


Compilation works using free domain pictures have been fine in the past (as far as we are aware of) because it's original and made in the artists eye. These images are heavily altered and using various pictures from free domain images + the artists own work in some cases; moreover the accreditation of where these images have come from has been well represented.


Free domain images posted as compilations are subjective and will be judged upon upload.

Ratios for the site

As mentioned, here is the new updated ratios.




The number of sizes available is relative to the number of different sizes we offer across all of our products.

So if you take 1:1 has 14 different size selections. There might be 5 sizes in prints, 6 in canvas, 4 in framed prints and 7 in acrylics. But there is duplicates in sizes but after a size is counted, it won't be added again to the total.

When creating your files, anything with 3+ "different sizes avaliable" gives a good spectrum of size options. 1-2 size sizes avaliable really limit the customer in their choice.


Danger Zone means that if possible, keep the ratio below that level because there isn't many products which can be made and sent out and they are not at all popular.


There is a tolerance of 10%. This means that if there is a square picture but off by a couple pixels, it would bring up all the square products that would be within the 10% tolerance. It would bring up all the square and all the products within that boundary.

Model Release -- Official Standing

We have recently taken into account a lot of member feedback and the on going discussion about model releases and pictures taken in public.


We have reached out to solicitors and we have welcoming news.

 

Any photograph, regardless for commercial or private taken in the public or in a public space can be used and sold. If the image were taken in private, such as a studio or in someone’s private living space, a release form would be needed.


If the person whose picture was taken and they were in a public space/area and demanded funds or the removal of said image, would ultimately come down to the photographer’s discretion.

Therefore to summarize,

Pictures of elders, adults and children, etc whose picture was taken in a public space need no model release and are perfectly acceptable to upload and sell. Please be respectful on how they are portrayed, especially children.

Picture taken in someone’s private living area or in a private setting must require a model release.

 

This new policy is effective immediately.

 

Jon & Mike

Drone Photography.

To those whom it may concern,

 

Photo4me is installing a new regulation on the site regarding drone or UAV, UAS, Quadcopter, RC Helicopter etc, photography. 

Those who do not comply with the rules will have their aerial drone photographs taken down immediately. For the time being, it will be flagged under “accreditation” as you do not have the required paperwork/documentation to post and sell images for commercial gain. We will put in a button/reasoning more specific in the near future.

You will no longer be able to “pass off” drone photography as in flight photographer (in a plane).

If an image was taken by a drone it would hold the longitude and latitude data and also the height it was taken at as well as the type of camera that took the image, if it was taken from a DSLR camera it would hold the type of camera and the type of lens used so it would be simple to tell how it was taken, if it was a DSLR camera on a drone it would still have the longitude and latitude plus height and camera + Lens.

Planes have minimum height restrictions, plus lots of other restriction. 

Therefore, it is easy to see if it was a drone that took the image.

 

Aerial Photography using UAV, UAS, Quadcopter, RC Helicopter etc:

The CAA has a law within the UK with regards UAV usage for commercial gain. If you intend to fly your aircraft for video or photography for personal financial gain the CAA require the user to hold a Basic National UAS Certificate or recognized equivalent document and must undertake relevant check to fly their aircraft.


The Law for the CAA states this in there CAP 722 Document available to download from the CAA website.

 

You can download the CAA document from: https://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP%20722%20Sixth%20Edition%20March%202015.pdf

People are getting convicted for drone photography who do not have the appropriate paperwork. Here is the first case from 2013, posted on the CAA website.

http://www.caa.co.uk/application.aspx?appid=7&mode=detail&nid=2348

 

If you would like to learn more and get your paperwork, Eurousc.com is one of the leading companies on the market at the moment.

http://eurousc.com/


If you do have your Basic National UAS Certificate or recognized equivalent document, please email it to customercare@photo4me.com before posting pictures.


Many thanks,

Mike & Jon

April dedicated to the Members

Good afternoon everyone.

We will be dedicating the month of April solely to improve the member’s usability of the site.

Due to the popular demand, the forums will be making a return. We will also be adding folders to the members portfolio page.

We want to also work on other improvements you would like to see. Please comment IN THE BLOG -- we’ll see what is possible. We will disregard comments in the Facebook page. We will only take into account suggestions made on the blog page so it is a fair chance that everyone will be able to put in their opinion regardless if they have Facebook or not.


Going back to the survey that was asked before Christmas, please see the file below.

We have implement certain functions into the site already from the Christmas survey.

We have completed the ability to search other members:
http://mem.photo4me.com/Home/Members/

We have completed the ability to add your TinyURL. (Bottom left)

http://mem.photo4me.com/Account/Settings

We have completed the FAQ which is visible in the drop down.

https://photo4me.desk.com/customer/portal/topics/298841-member-help/articles

We would love to hear what you would like to see and improve upon.
Kind regards,
Mike and Jon

Observations for declined images.

My observations regarding why some images are declined but in fact the reason for declining is not apparent.

Wording declines

Sometimes I will decline an image if there is a lack of wording however there is wording but it can use more work.

For example, I see a lovely image that has the description of a dog.

Description: “My dog Biscuit on the beach.”

It would be more advisable to write, “A Golden Retriever on the beaches at Watergate Bay, Cornwall. “ – Generalize, people will remember their dog at the beach, not your dog. They will have a personal connection with that moment if you can bring them there.

Avoid using the word “MY” in the description, it means something to you, but it won’t mean anything to the average customer.

Quick examples to avoid– My wife, my dog, my cat, my hands, my feet, my friend. You get the idea.


Blown Sky

Another reason for a confusing decline is a “Blown Sky” when there is no sky in the image. It could be just written as a blown object.

A blown sky is a general term, which normally occurs in the sky. However one of the most common places it occurs is during long exposure photography and to be more specific in running water. Over the course of the long exposure, the running water will dominate the sensor and the colours and come out all white. This will cause a blown effect thus bleaching the colours around the blown area.

 

Dust Spots

A word about “Dust Spots.” Dust spots can occur on the lens sensor any part of the photography process, which just needs a quick clean and away you go.

But sometimes we can’t determine what the spot is. More times than not we know from experience that the spot is in fact a bird in the distance. The average customer will see the spot and assume is some sort of problem or defect and move to the next image. Look at your image through the eyes of customer. Does it look like it’s perfect? This is why we call it a dust spot, because it is a spot on the image and the customer cannot determine what it is.


Lens Flare

The last subject is about “Lens Flare.” This is the complete opposite with the dust spot. A customer will purchase a canvas, but when the canvas is made, a 10mm sun flare is in the centre of the picture. The customer, never saw the flare and will demand a return/refund or a re-print. Therefore please be very careful with the flares and unless it is 100% visible and part of the picture it can be flagged, refunded or a re-print which causes a waste of time for the customer, photographer (fixing and disappointment) and for us.


Copyright Infringement

Although sometimes a copyright infringement is straight forward, it can be confusing. Essentially, anything that you need permission to take a picture can be flagged as a copyright infringement. For example last week we had a churchwarden email us asking who gave permission to take and post images of the church. Due to the church being “private property” they needed permission and was flagged accordingly. Please be sure you have permission to take pictures before posting.


 Accreditation

This leads us into accreditation. Closely linked with copyright. If you are at an event which credentials given out, you must have the accreditation to post. It doesn’t matter if the stadium is empty, you are still on private property and accreds are given out at the clubs/events discretion. Failing to comply can land you in some hot water.

If you do have accreditation, then you do not need a model release.


I hope this helps clarify things.

-Mike

Tiny URL is up and running

As mentioned a couple weeks ago, we were working on Tiny URL's. Jon has now finished this.


You can now customize your public link to share or put on your own website.

Go to your account http://mem.photo4me.com/Account/Settings -- On the bottom left there is a form which you can enter your name or artist name. It will let you know if the username is taken or available. Once you have found a name which is available click save. Now, you can share and post your Tiny URL.


For example, my Tiny URL is:

http://www.photo4me.com/profile/michael


You can further customize this according to what you want to advertise. When going to your commercial page with the link above, use the drop downs to come up with different types of URL's.

So say I want to show my architecture pictures, select in the drop down architecture, now that Tiny URL would be:

http://www.photo4me.com/profile/michael/-/architecture/totalvotes/-/


You can customize this as much as you want according to what you want to post.


Enjoy and if anyone has any questions, comment below!


Mike & Jon