Sunday, October 19, 2008

Zero to Visibility in 6 Clicks

With all the fear and loathing going on regarding Digital Railroad, a fresh dose of solutions came over the transom last night, in the form of an announcement by PhotoShelter. No no, they're not merging. Cats and dogs will procreate before that happens.

As Digital Railroad is likely liquidating (Digital Railroad Likely Being Liquidated, 10/15/08), PhotoShelter is innovating. They've announced PhotoShelter 2.0. Get this - you can create a custom website from your online images in just six clicks. Check this:

(Continued after the Jump)

Check this:
Log in to your PhotoShelter "Photographer Area".
  1. Click: from the My Website dropdown, choose - My Homepage
  1. Click: Featured Galleries
  1. Click: Add Gallery
  1. Click: Whichever gallery you want on your home page
  1. Click: from the My Website dropdown, choose - Customization
  1. Click: In the Customization box, choose Theme, and "view site"
Copy that URL, and you're done. Six clicks.

Here are a few recommendations to tweak that:
A Six-Click Modification:
  1. Click: from the My Website dropdown, choose - Customization
  2. Click: In the Customization box, choose My Homepage
  3. Click: choose "Display Featured Gallery" and select "As a Flash-based slideshow"
  4. Click: uncheck sub-feature Galleries"
  5. Click: uncheck "List of Recently Updated Galleries"
  6. Click: save settings

Here's that resulting gallery: John Harrington. Pretty sweet, eh?

Now, to quote either Adobe Evangelist Julianne Kost - "But wait, there's more...", or Steve Jobs, and "oh, and one more thing..." (I can't decide which), go to your galleries (or make one specific to your needs), and click the "Embed Gallery" link, as shown below:


Then this window comes up with the preview, and the arrow in the lower right, when clicked, gives you the embed code:


And here's that pretty sweet looking widget in action:


Or, you can embed a single image (instructions here), like this:



CHECK THAT COOL "BUY" LINK AT THE BOTTOM!

And you can just take that code, and embed the video or single still image in blogs, and other places where you can embed a video, just like YouTube. What's extra cool, is that if you took the embed code, and posted it somewhere, suppose I opted to change/add images to the gallery - since the content is pulled from PhotoShelter in real-time, those changes would be reflected across the web wherever the widget was embedded.

PhotoShelter discussed it in their blog last Friday - A Bright Spot: Introducing the PhotoShelter Personal Archive 2.0,. Here's their entire press release:

PHOTOSHELTER LAUNCHES PERSONAL ARCHIVE 2.0, INCLUDING “30 SECOND WEBSITE” TEMPLATES

New features enable instant website creation, more self marketing tools, streamlined user interface and community forums


New York, NY, October 20, 2008 – PhotoShelter, an online community where thousands of independent photographers find success through image sales and archiving technologies, today unveiled Version 2.0 for its flagship product, the PhotoShelter Personal Archive. Today’s release establishes PhotoShelter as the industry’s most affordable solution to easily create and publish robust e-commerce photo-friendly websites, by providing a menu of pre-set templates designed to instantly “skin” a public Personal Archive account. The result is a standalone website with a unique, professional and clean aesthetic, powered by PhotoShelter, complete with galleries, search, and shopping carts, plus lightboxes, slideshows, and client login/password protection.

The new website templates complement PhotoShelter’s existing Seamless Customization feature, which puts all of the powerful PhotoShelter features into photographers’ own websites, while maintaining their unique look and feel. These new templates allow users to leapfrog any complex design or integration activity by instantly laying themes and styles atop the user’s existing Personal Archive. PhotoShelter users can create a new website in no more than six clicks.

“Every serious photographer’s website should serve as their digital storefront, yet too many photographers have avoided adding e-commerce, search, and security features because integration has been both complex and expensive,” said Allen Murabayashi, CEO of PhotoShelter. “PhotoShelter now makes it simple and affordable to instantly convert a photographer’s archive into a comprehensive, robust website for offering stock photography, prints, and other photo products. And, the templates can be applied in literally 30 seconds. We’re constantly looking for new ways to create success for our community and this is a huge step forward.”

“There are many web template companies, but none offer the same features as PhotoShelter,” said wedding photographer Eric Hegwer (www.erichegwer.com). “PhotoShelter lets me to make sales to clients, including prints and direct digital downloads of images, and provides a rock solid archiving system for all my weddings. Now, with their easy-to-configure websites, I simply choose the photos I want to be on my website, and a few clicks later they are there.

PhotoShelter also today unveiled new features that enable photographers to market their images beyond their personal websites. New Flash-based widgets enable users to embed slideshows and individual images into any website or blog – with functionality that helps every image retain critical metadata and direct links back to the photographer’s Personal Archive account, where images can be sold as prints or stock photography.

“Photographers must take advantage of all possible opportunities to expose potential clients to their work,” said Allen Murabayashi, CEO of PhotoShelter. “These new features enhance a photographer’s self marketing toolkit, enabling their images to spread virally across the web all while maintaining control of the image. At the same time, Orphan Works legislation makes it critical for content owners to track and establish ownership of imagery via metadata. We’re taking the lead by helping photographers ensure images disseminated across the web can always link back to their Personal Archive account.”

Also announced was an upgrade to PhotoShelter’s innovative “Virtual Agency,” which allows independent photographers to join together in groups with similar interests to market their work collectively as a niche stock agency. Monthly fees for use of the Virtual Agency have been removed, so users can group together without hesitation.

PhotoShelter also enhanced its community features available to Personal Archive subscribers. Starting today, a user forum is available to help subscribers interact for networking, technical discussion, and friendly banter. Included is an Image Critique Forum where subscribers can share images and obtain feedback from their peers.

The feature updates were also accompanied by a complete overhaul to the Personal Archive site navigation, including homepage and tour. While no functionality was removed, the design changes provide a streamlined, more logical user interface in response to customer feedback.

PhotoShelter will be demonstrating the new Personal Archive features at the PhotoPlus Expo in New York, October 23 through 25, in booth #1808.




Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

9 comments:

Giulio Sciorio said...

Very cool and nice shots John.

Taylor Davidson said...

Photoshelter 2.0 is a definite evolution of the features and functionality: the "virtual agency" model might be even more interesting, however. The greater opportunity in the stock photo business is redefine the business model, reduce transaction costs, and find a better way to connect disparate groups of buyers and sellers.

I wonder, however, if we will ever get over the inherent instability of depending on companies to host our images and metadata.

Why can't we unbundle the two functions the agencies provide: why does the image management system and the market-making functions have to contained in the same firm?

Why can't we create an open-source platform model similar to Wordpress or Movable Type for photographers to manage (and host and own) their own image libraries, and then allow them to connect to whatever agency they want?

Unbundling the functions would allow stock agencies to focus on making the market for images, reduce transaction costs, increase price transparency and provide a more open-sourced and flexible model to address the shifting niches of demand and supply of stock photography.

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