January Newsletter 2017

New Years Resolutions!


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

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

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

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


News from the community

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

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

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


What's happening?

Interesting national and international dates for the month.

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

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

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

International

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

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

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

Fun eh?


What's new this month?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Top effort everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let's all get along folks =)


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

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

Best wishes,

Jon & Mike

December Newsletter 2016

Jingle Bells


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

News from the community

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

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

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


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

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


November Promotions

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


What's happening?

Holidays.

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

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


What's new this month?

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

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

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

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

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


Top effort everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more help with keywords, see the FAQ here.


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

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

Best wishes,

Jon & Mike

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