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Working the Web
Boost your online presence (and your bottom line) with blogs, videos, slideshows, and more.



FolioLink
www.folioLink.com
FolioLink allows photographers to create stunning Flash and HTML websites that are easy to update. The service offers a comprehensive set of website designs and special features that appeal to professional photographers. FolioLink offers photographers much more than a professional portfolio website. A FolioLink Portfolio website may be one of the best ways for photographers to develop their professional brand and to attract new clients, but the FolioLink Image Archive is just as compelling helping them keep their clients coming back to their FolioLink website to research for new images, preview assignments, negotiate pricing, make selections, share web galleries with other colleagues, and buy or license images. [This] benefits photographers' bottom line with an affordable but ambitious set of online tools designed to empower photographers with the tools of an agency-style website.

In 2009, we will continue to see an increase in the number of blogs and video materials found in professional photographer's websites. When used correctly, blogs offer photographers a unique opportunity to increase their footprint and search-engine visibility. Blogs are informal in nature, allowing the photographer to take more risks than in their traditional portfolio website. As the size of computer storage continues to increase and the cost of content delivery decreases, we feel that in 2009 video will become more common place in photography.--Elizabeth Manegold, marketing director

ImageQuix
www.imagequix.com
ImageQuix offers websites designed to enhance the professional photographer's presence online. We not only offer the tools necessary to create an entire website in minutes, but we also offer free live tutorial sessions, which range from website creation and online search-engine optimization to marketing and business management. We commit ourselves to making the photographer fully aware of his/her potential and show them how to maximize it.

Our wide array of services can fully affect a photographer's bottom line. A professional photographer's daily duties do not only include taking pictures, as he/she has to worry about marketing, booking sessions, selling services, and forecasting future endeavors and expenses. We show the photographer complete measures to generate more sales and bookings, all while reducing workflow time.

The current trend in websites is really having a website that speaks for your business 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Photography customers are not fooled by fancy graphics and music--a good website lets your actual work speak for you. Large images, elegant text, and using colors to enhance the image are the necessities a photographer needs. ImageQuix Flash websites allow the photographer to customize his/her website to the fullest extent with music, colors, and background images, among others. At the end of the day, the most impressive part of any website is the quality of work the website is displaying.--Jake Barry, project manager

liveBooks
www.liveBooks.com
A liveBooks website solution is a marketing investment for the photographer. This investment can immediately affect their bottom line in many ways:

• Perception: A liveBooks website can help to elevate the perception individuals have about the photographer's abilities by representing them online in a very professional way. We have many customers who have said that after getting a liveBooks website they were able to secure a better agent, close business with clients that had previously refused meetings etc.

• Branding: Whether a photographer calls it their unique style or branding, having a way to differentiate oneself from the competition is key.

• Increased exposure: Today, it may be unfortunate, but many art buyers are using search engines to find photographers for their assignments. A liveBooks website is built to optimize the opportunity for a photographer to be found via search engines.

• It's timely and current: The liveBooks online editing tools make it easy and fun for photographers to arrange and rearrange the work on their site. This means that a photographer can easily update his or her site with the most recent work.

• Time to focus on creativity: Most photographers are in the business because they love to be creative and not because they want to spend time managing their business. The liveBooks solution delivers tools that make it easier for photographer to exchange files with their clients, easily create and manage their website content, and gain exposure via high search rankings.

"The largest trend we see in photography as a whole is the need to diversify while still being relevant to the audience you're reaching. This may sound contradictory, but in the current economic climate there are three things that we see photographers doing:

Presenting their creativity in multiple ways online. Photographers are demonstrating that their ability to be creative extends beyond still photography and into slideshows and fully executed videos. This could be videos that capture them while they work or videos that take their creative vision and expose it with motion and sound. Today, end users are conditioned via YouTube to watch videos and to engage in this more emotionally connecting way. Photographers are using video on their websites to explain how they work, to convey their creative approach, to deliver customer testimonials, and to show themselves in the midst of a work environment. All of these uses provide the visitor with a deeper level of information and can replace hundreds of words of copy that take too long for people to read.

Leveraging social media. Blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr--all of these websites fall into the social media category, and they are being used in different ways by photographers. Lots of photographers today are using blogs to represent a more personal look at who they are as individuals. Blogs are great because they document exactly when they're updated; allow for the inclusion of text, audio, and video; and also offer a way to interact with others via comments. Because the content here is community generated, it's also highly valued by search engines. The other locations listed here are being used as group gathering places. Many of these sites have groups specifically identified for photography types, and photographers go here to get advice, share knowledge, or even to find postings about available work. These social media vehicles are free ways to market and network, which in today's economy is a great way for people to open doors to grow their businesses. Of course, networking works best when you have a solid website for people to reference regarding who you are and what you do. I find you can tell a lot about the quality, seriousness, and capability of various members of these online groups by visiting their websites.

• Finally, I would say that with the pressures in the economy, we see more and more photographers actually using their creative capabilities in different parts of the photo industry. There are established photojournalists that are doing wedding photography, or fashion photographers doing portrait photography. The combinations are endless and often mean that photographers need to market themselves effectively to each group in a unique way. This means having unique websites for each category of photography and doing separate marketing activities to these target markets. It may sound like a lot of work, but diversifying one's business is always a good idea when trying to weather economic downturns, as not all parts of the market are affected equally.--Tricia Gellman Holmes, vice president of marketing

Parade
www.getparade.com
The big trends on the web are things that pull web activity all into one central place. In 2009, you're going to see more and more sites that tie in blog features, Twitter feeds, and other social activity. Websites that work with a plethora of other services will become the norm. Our approach is to try to work with all the great tools that are available on the web (rather than reinventing them ourselves).--Micah Slavens, owner

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