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

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

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

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