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

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

Canvases at a reduced cost.

Letting everyone know that we were able to negotiate a better cost for our 2 largest Canvas sizes. Notice now that  (1930mm By 914mm 76in By 36in) canvas and the (1524mm By 1016mm 60in By 40in) canvas have been reduced significantly.

For advertising on your website, please adjust accordingly.

Many thanks,

Jon & 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

Earning with Photo4Me -- A members perspective

This week we had Dawn give us her insight on how she, or rather a members perspective on selling through Photo4me. Have a read!


"One of the most asked questions on Photo4Me (P4) has to be “How can I earn money on P4”?

 

There is of course no easy answer. Some have sold well because they have a niche market, for example this past year we have seen a lot of Aviation Images sell well. One member in particular has done extremely well with over 30 sales in the month leading up to Christmas and including the month of early November when buyers were thinking about the 100th Celebrations of the start of WW1. Why did this one particular member sell so well when there are many members with similar and equally as “good” images? I believe because that artist has built up a dedicated following of his work which he has promoted on many different sites that are into Aviation or WW1 memorabilia.

 

So how can you sell if you don’t have a niche market? If you are like me and probably a lot of the photographers on P4 do not have a particular genre of photography then good for you! You have the whole world at your fingertips. I’ve been a serious photographer for about 5 years now and have been consistently selling for almost 3. P4 is the first site I sold an image on and it gave me such a buzz! Someone liked my work so much they have it hanging on their wall! I’ve deleted the image now it was such a bad image . Why did they buy it then? It was an image of a statue in the Winter Garden of a local park and university grounds. Who knows why, they do and that’s what matters, it mattered to them. It had meaning for them. Whether it was the statue itself or the place it was situated we will never know.

 

I have sold images of a single Ox Eye Daisy I took in my garden and then had my first ever go at using textures. Again not a “good” image but it sold as an A1 Framed Print 5 times in the same sale to be used in various hospitals in the North of England. Why? A simple happy image that had a soothing calming effect I guess? I woke up one day and a pal put on Facebook that there was a pig flying around Battersea Power Station. I lived 20 minutes by train from there so up I got and off I dashed to grab a few pics. This was a recreation of Pink Floyds The Animals album. I took hundreds of shots to get the right composition, I didn’t want a shot of the pig’s backside and because of the wind and the fact that it had a leak and had to be brought down many times to be refilled it was a long session but I got some good shots and this has proved to be one of my best sellers.

 

I am not a great photographer and Photoshop still baffles me! I can use Lightroom and do to bring out the best in my photos as much as I can but most of my work is pretty much as is taken at the time. I believe the reason for my success is the amount of time I’ve put into promoting my work.

 

It took me 8 months before I sold my first image on P4 and from then on I pretty much sold an image every month, more sometimes . I must have driven my Facebook friends nuts as every time I uploaded an image to P4 I linked it to my wall which was connected to my Twitter account as well! I joined various “arty websites” and gave blogging a try. I paid to have my P4 URL included in search engines, I had some of my work printed and managed to get them displayed in local cafes and pubs. I got some cheep business cards printed with my current “best image” on and handed them out to all and sundry. I even gave prints away to folk who I knew who would then go on to tell loads of folk about their “gift”. Anything and everything I could think of and it worked for me!

 

As I said, there is no easy formula, if there was we would all be selling bundles every day, its all trial and error and luck! All I can advise is get out there take all those pics and upload your best work. None of us know what the buyers are going to eventually spend their hard earned cash on but if its not up there it certainly won’t sell!"

 

Good Luck!

Dawn O'Connor


You can check out Dawns portfolio by going to:

http://www.photo4me.com/canvasprints/_/_/grossSales/_/4529

Help! Why am I not selling?

Often I get an email from a frustrated member asking what can they do to improve the odds of selling on the site. There is a general reply I would give, although I do taylor it to their specific question if needed.


In my experience, people want to see a few things. They are highlighted below.

 

 

Wording/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. Good picture but the description says "On holiday took a picture. I think it looks nice."

 

We've stressed it many times but please be descriptive with your image. Pull on peoples emotions and make them want to buy it.

 

I'll send that picture along with 4-5 others 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.


For more in depth information about this topic see my other blog post located here:

http://blog.photo4me.com/post/2015/01/15/helping-you-get-your-workings-right-for-search-engines.aspx

 

 

Your portfolio

 

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.

 

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 not on the always because of the home page.

 

Avoid pictures which don't sell often. Reason why we came up with the redundant decline. Insects/Swans/Ducks/Geese/Cats don't sell often and the site is loaded with them already. Takes away from the power of your portfolio.

 

 

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. However people are always price comparing. I'll see potential carts through admin and they'll have 4-5 same images and be comparing the price. Don't give them away but don't make it out of reach of their budget.

 

 

Advertise:

 

Try uploading one of two pictures a day, do your own picture of the day. Put ads around facebook and twitter. Others have said that part of proceeds go to a charity. Do something different.

 

 

Keep up the good work!


Mike