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

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

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

Keywording, what's it all about?

Keywording or tagging is important for 2 reasons:

Firstly if you have thousands of images on your computer and someone wants an image of a child in a sunhat, how do you find it? You remember you had a photo of one of your children in a hat on the beach one day and it was an excellent photo, but you can't recall where it is. You may eventually find it of course but you may waste a lot of time searching. I would find it because all of my images are tagged or keyworded.

I use Lightroom but there are very many 'tagging' programs around, some free of cost so there is no excuse not to use one. My workflow goes like this:
I import the images from the camera and set generic keywords if I've been on a shoot. These may be something like "Wales, Rhyl, beach, coast, seaside, summer, 2015, UK, sea, sand" It takes seconds to enter these into the box, and all images during import are assigned these keywords. 
Now, if ever I want an image of a beach, in summer, in Wales, all of these will show up in my search and I've not even done any work yet. I'd easily find them in a general search and sometimes that's enough.

So once they're imported I start culling them and of the ones I am keeping I start tagging individually. So the first one has a child in the foreground with a very blue stripey sunhat. She's with her family playing in the sand so I might add "children playing, sun hat, blue stripes, blue hat, family, sand castle, bucket, spade, siblings, parents" You can see where these tags fit into the scene. It takes me about a minute to scan the scene and think "if I was looking for this image, what might I be looking for?"

Well if someone said show me your images of families playing on a beach, there you go, I've nailed it. What about a blue hat? Yes I can find it easily. What about children playing with a bucket and spade on the beach? Again, I'd find it easily. 
This is a very brief overview as some images have dozens of keywords all designed to be able to bring up that photo when required, for any element in it. 

It is possible that you can now add what I call extended tags and I do this at a later stage, usually with images that I actually export for upload. Apart from the obvious scene, you might add something like "British holidays, pebbly beach, clear blue sky, wide angle, afternoon sun, happy, waves." Now we're being specific about things that aren't necessarily what the original image was of, the original was simply a child playing on the beach. But what if you want a photo that has a clear blue sky, or a specific image of a pebbly beach instead of a sandy one? Perhaps you're simply looking to see how many images you used your wide angle lens on? Try and think what you may want to find this photo for and add words. It sounds a long process but once you're used to it it really isn't. You get used to seeing individual elements of a scene and adding them as a searchable keyword.

And this brings us to the second important reason for tagging. The first is so you can find your own images, but the second is so other people can find your images too. 
Once you upload your files to Photo4me their keywords go with them but you can alter them after upload at any time. When they are displaying on the site the only way people can find them if they don't specifically trawl through your entire portfolio is to use the keyword search. 

So let's say someone has come to the site and wants to find a specific image of Stonehenge during a sunset. You took that picture, and you should have tagged it with "UK, Wiltshire, Stonehenge, monument, ancient, history, attraction, Druids, solstice, stones, stone circle, English heritage, sunset, tourists" 
So they type in Stonehenge and/or sunset and along with other images, yours will be included in the results. However what if they are fairly new to the area and type in Wiltshire, attractions? Or just Druids, they might even type in Wiltshire to see what pretty, local pictures come up that they can hang in their shop.
Given this scenario, what else might you be able to tag a photo of Stonehenge at sunset with? What about crowds, tourists, gathering, superstition, culture? Are there any more words to add to enable someone to find that image? Have a think and make a list and see how many you can get.

This is important because the addition of only one word may mean the difference between you earning £money from an image, or of that image gathering dust. You may look at an image and not see any more things you can tag but what about other people? I've tagged some of my images with "emotional scene" and "inspiring" because sometimes people look for images that fit a mindset rather than a subject. Add "happy, sad, party, exciting" and other such descriptive emotional words to your images. 

So, keywording or tagging helps you find your own images and it also helps other people find your images. But if it's not done right you are missing out and that all important sale goes to someone else. When you find yourself complaining that "I never seem to sell anything..." is it your own fault? 10 minutes of careful thought spent on one image might mean £30 in commission from one sale, that's an hourly rate of £180. That's worth it to me.

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

Helping you get your wordings right for search engines!

We are currently working closely with a search engine marketing company. They think the pictures on the site are lovely and marketable, we just need to get people to see them! However, if they want to be found they have told us multiple times that search engines will be targeting those with good accurate description and keywords.

Be specific, have the emotional touch, write a couple lines. Whatever you can say about the picture say it. (Make sure it is relevant and important to the the picture).


3 Good examples:


"The sun shines through Cromer Pier and on to the pebbly beach as it rises in early September casting its light on the buildings of Cromer in Norfolk." -Stephen Mole

http://shop.photo4me.com/216668/canvas


"The Lancaster and Spitfires from the Royal Air Force (RAF) Battle of Britain Memorial Flight passing over a field of poppies. RAF." James Biggadike

http://shop.photo4me.com/263323/canvas

"Finnieston crane and the Clyde Arc. Taken in the final moments of daylight on a very cold day. Typical Glasgow. A very long exposure image capturing the movement of the clouds across the sky. "John Farnan

http://shop.photo4me.com/231067/canvas


There are a couple bad examples:

"Red rose" 

"Beautiful day at pier" 

"Black dog"


Don't be general with a sentence or a couple words. Don't write fluff as in write for the sake of writing.


Write the keywords, if possible from most important to least important. Have them relate to the description above.


Hopefully this helps you all in the future.
Jon & Mike