Saturday, October 25, 2008

PhotoPlus Expo 2008 - Day 2

Day 2 brings several other interviews, including a chat with Contact Press Images Founder David Burnett, Christina Mittermeier and Sony's new camera, Grover Sanschagrin of PhotoShelter with some amazing new technology, and Quest Couch of Lumiquest with a neat flash adapter.

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Pay Attention

So you're probably asking yourself - What's that photo of? Sadly, that's my laptop bag, containing one 17" Apple laptop, and one Macbook Air - my backup laptop. Why, pray tell, is it sitting in the middle of the sidewalk on 34th Street, next to a construction site and FedEx? Because that's where it fell of my equipment cart being pulled to the Javits center in New York for the photo show.


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It happened because of the assistant pulling the cart - #1 - was pulling it, not pushing it; #2 - didn't want to be pulling it, because she thought that manual labor was beneath her; and, among the other reasons, #3 - she wasn't paying attention to her responsibility - the safe transport of the photo equipment.

It wasn't until we had walked all the way into Javits, and were in an elevator, that *I* eyed my bag, and instantly recognized that it was missing. "Where the F*ck is my laptop bag?" I demanded? Looking up at my crews' faces, I jammed my arm into the closing elevator door, and began a full sprint out Javits, south on 11th, looking at every persons' shoulder to see if someone had picked it up. As I ran into oncoming traffic, at top speed, I was re-tracing my steps to where we were, at the Skylight Diner across from B&H on 9th, having breakfast. I was praying that it had just fallen off the cart amongst the tables and chairs there, and was (semi) safe. As I was running across the corner of 34th and 11th, I spied the bag. Sitting right there. For once I was thankful that this post-9/11 era meant that people were less likely to pick up a black bag with unknown contents. I breathed a sigh of relief that it was safely back in my hands.

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PhotoPlus Expo - Day 1

Day 1 of the PhotoPlus Expo in New York City, featuring interviews with Vincent Laforet, Brad Mangin, and equipment insights about the new Hensel Porty. Have a look.

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions: Getty Images Buys JupiterImages

Do you feel bad when you see a crook who just held up a little old lady at gunpoint and shot her, while fleeing, gunned down by an off-duty police officer? "Gosh, that man shouldn't have been shot....". No, of course not. (ok, well, maybe just a little). Instead, most people would say the crook got got his just punishment. As Berretta used to say, "if you can't do the time, don't do the crime." So, Watching Getty Images and JupiterImages come together is like watching Bonnie and Clyde in their jalopy headed towards the cliff's edge, and their brakes are out.

Why should I care?

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Frankly, I don't. It would be one thing if the green-eyeshade-wearing fools at Getty were taking a particularly decent photo agency, and applying their time-tested methods of devastating a stock photography model, which was one component of their plummet from a near $100 high in the stock market to a $30-ish embarassment that made them an easy takeover for a breakup company. Make no mistake here, this is a consolidation of the deep-and-cheap portals so that your results for any given figure are no longer 41,000+ at Getty for "white house", or the 9,200+ at JupiterImages for the same term, but instead, over 50,000 for that search term, and many other consolidated searches. That isn't going to sell more penny images of the White House.

I see these two companies that have devastated the industry rate structures under the "let's sell 100 for $1 instead of $1 for $200", are two silly little delusional peas in a pod. All their private owners are trying to do is further solidify the market. Boo hoo.

These two are made for each other. Getty bought them at a sub-$1 figure, which is a small fraction of what the company has been worth (albeit declining) over the past eight years. They just bought servers and servers full of images, all keyworded and ready to sell. All aging rapidly, and depreciating as times, hairstyles, and technologies change. It was one helluva price to pay, as it wouldn't surprise me if JUPM ws facing delisting because they were below a $1, so they had a firesale price, and Corbis wasn't interested. It was rumored as late as last February that Getty was interested in buying Jupiter for the princely sum of $450m.

No dout Jupiter's principals had tired of their fancy photo agency, like the king who has tired of the court jester's antics, and orders "off with his head." So too did those in-charge of JUPM decide it was time to sell their body on life-support for parts. A liver here, a kidney there. Who cares about the body as a whole, we just want out of this bad deal.

To those at Jupiter who were salivating at that $450m, and now are getting less than 25% of that value - I posit the notion - "What goes around comes around, and it's clearly come around and whacked you upside the head." Now you have a bit of a taste of what the photographic community experienced in the loss of far more than 75% of it's revenue stream when you all started selling "subscriptions", and photographers were seeing "$0.48" as the commission rate for a use of their photograph.

The final question is - what does the Justice Department think about this aquisition?

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

PhotoPlus Expo 2008 - Day 0

So today is "Day 0" of PhotoPlus Expo. It's Press Preview Day, and we took some time out Wednesday night to check in with a few folks at the reception. Here's a look.

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

3 Minutes with Me and Carson Kressley

I spent a few minutes recently with Carson Kressley talking about covering the presidential campaign and politics, as well as a few tips for Nikon's "Look Good In Pictures" series.

If you're so inclined, after the jump is a second video on executive portraiture.

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Thanks for watching!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

PHOTOPLUS REMINDER-Thurs/Fri/Sat-liveBooks Booth: De-Mystifying Search Engine Optimization - Real World, Real Example

For Sale: The Farm       PRICE: FREE

(Yes, we're giving away the farm on this one.)

With all the discussion and debate about Search Engine Optimization, and the concerns about Google search results that included you vanishing and then re-appearing, I thought it would be a good idea to give a seminar on SEO, and yes, friends, it's FREE. No punches pulled. No Holds Barred.
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The good folks at liveBooks have a spot for me in their booth at PhotoPlus to talk about this. I'll show you how to build your presence - and remain vigilant in your efforts to keep it, and the nuances that will make your efforts even better. In addition, I'll show you a real case study of a photographer going from zero to #1 on Google, and exactly how that photographer achieved those results, and how you can too.

No, this isn't a late night infomercial where you have to buy something to do what I'll be teaching. It's giving you the direction and insights to go out and do it yourself, for your own existing website. Check with the folks at the liveBooks booth for times each day. We will, of course, be reporting from PhotoPlus for the blog, and otherwise checking out the show ourselves to learn about all the latest and greatest gear that's out there. It's Thursday, October 23rd, Friday the 24th, and Saturday the 25th.

Here's the program description:
From Zero to #1 - Search Engine Visibility - Real World Edition
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all the rage and there's plenty of mis-information around. John will not only de-mystify SEO for you, he will provide several highly effective examples of how you can get your current site to page 1 of the search engines for your chosen keywords. With a real-world (and on-going) case study, John demonstrates how he aided in the shift from "invisible" to position 1 on all three search engines for a young and aspiring photographer. If you too aspire to exist on the search engines, you will walk away from this presentation with concrete steps to build your visibility and position.
Be there, or be invisible. Register here for FREE access to the Exhibit Hall, (or visit PhotoPLUS's website here and use VIP Passcode: lbks554)

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Going Out For Business: All Images Must Go!

Turnabout is fair play, of course, and when PhotoShelter closed their PhotoShelter Collection last month, Digital Railroad promoted their services as a solution. Now, the worm has turned, and it is PhotoShelter's robust Personal Archive, which has a monthly service fee, that is offering shelter to current Digital Railroad members. So, while we contemplate the likelihood that Digital Railroad is (or is not) going out OF business, PhotoShelter is going out FOR YOUR business.

You can read more about what PhotoShelter is offering here - (Digital Railroad Special Offer & Website Customization Examples!, 10/21/08) , which offers, in part:

Here's the gist of the offer:
- Sign up for an annual PhotoShelter Personal Archive 2.0 account
- Provide us with proof that you're a DRR member
- We will then credit your PhotoShelter account with an additional 3-months free
- We will provide you with FTP instructions on how to move your archive to PhotoShelter

You can sign up here, and get
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the following:
A Personal Archive gets you:
  • Bulletproof storage — add more storage as needed
  • Create a website in 30 seconds with simple templates!
  • Or, integrate our gallery, search, e-commerce and security features with your own website.
  • Increase your exposure: Embed your images, galleries & slideshows anywhere online
  • Export images via FTP
  • Sell automated or self-fulfilled prints
  • Automated rights-managed sales powered by fotoQuote®
  • License royalty free, or personal use downloads
  • Create a free Virtual Agency to market your work with other photographers
  • No sales activation fees
  • No account set-up fee

So, how hard is it to migrate your images? Here's screen grabs of the step-by-step on the Digital Railroad side:

First things first- you need to create the destination where you want your images to go. On the right is your "My Site Production", which you are familiar with as a DRR member. As someone who does syndicate my images, I have used the "Syndication Management" tool before. Incase you have not, here's a screen grab. Select "Create New FTP Destination".

Below is the next screen. I have chosen to call this syndication name "Transfer to PhotoShelter", but you can, of course, call it anything you'd like. Next, is the FTP Host. When you set yourself up to transfer to PhotoShelter, seperate and distinct from your PhotoShelter login and password, they will give you a different login and password specifically for this non-secure FTP. The problem is that these FTP transfers (between DRR and PS) are done without encryption, so it's easy for a hacker to "sniff" your password and gain access to your account. All normal transfers to PhotoShelter are done in what's called FTPS, which is a secure FTP transfer mode. So, don't use your PhotoShelter login and password, be sure to use the one specifically for this purpose. Also be certain that there is a check-box where is says "Create New Folder". This way, each folder you have on your DRR account, as you've already divided them, will maintain their structure over at PhotoShelter. The one downside, is that if you have, as I will show you below, 53 images in total, 2 listed as "published", and 51 listed as "unpublished", you will loose that designation during the transfer. The fast workaround to this if this is something you used extensively on DRR is to apply a temporary metadata entry, like "DRRpublished" in one of the fields, so you can easily sort them out later. Active transfer mode should work for most people, but if you get an error, try changing it to Passive, which is meant to work with firewalls and tricky networks. Also, if your internet service provider has blocked port 21, you may need to select a different port, and talk to the PhotoShelter people about accepting an inbound FTP on a port other than 21. Now, you're all set with your FTP destination. See below:

Once in the group you want to transfer, choose from "Production Tools", the option "Syndicate Group". Below you will see I have 2 Private images, and 51 unpublished, in this group.

Here, you can choose to send all 53, just the published ones, or the unpublished ones. Another workaround to seperating these out if you don't want to do the metadata addition, is to transfer this once into a folder with the added folder "-Published", and then a second transmission of the same group with the added name to the folder "-UnPublished". Also choose "Original", and then in the lower left corner, place a check box next to "Transfer to PhotoShelter" , under "Choose Destination(s)". Following that, click the "Syndicate" button.

You will get a "CONFIRMATION: GROUP SYNDICATION" screen, and you can then click the "View Syndication Details" link, to watch the images as they transfer.

Below is the first screen you will see (note, you should click the image to view it in a new window larger). It will tell you how many are pending, the percentage complete, and the status. It's a pretty handy view on what's happening.

When the transfer is complete, you will see the screen below ( (note, you should click the image to view it in a new window larger). This is your confirmation that all the images have been safely delivered to PhotoShelter.

Next, I would head over to the PhotoShelter Archive Management screens, and confirm that the files are, in fact, in place, and verify the counts. The best thing about the Digital Railroad FTP setup is that you can begin the FTP for one folder, and then head over and start more transfers, since you are not using your own bandwidth to accomplish this transfer, and you don't have to wait for one to finish before starting the next. It would be no problem to take an hour to start 20 or 30 transfers, and then head to bed. You can wake up the next morning, and view the syndication details, and confirm that everything was sent.

So, there you have it, a step by step on how to transfer your Digital Railroad files to PhotoShelter, or anywhere else, for that matter. Even on the off chance that Digital Railroad remains in business, transferring your files to PhotoShelter for redundancy purposes is your safest move. I encourage you to get started on this right away. It will take a few days to get your account set up, and customization templates for your site (if you're a new subscriber), and also getting a general feel for PS. THis way, on Monday, when they give you the FTP information, you will be all set and ready to go. Lastly, you can't know if they will just plain shut down one night, or not. So, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

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Obama to the Press - Cough Up Some Dough!

In a report by Crains Business (Obama to media: pony up for election night access, 10/21/08), a memo that went out details charges starting at $715 for a credential, and goes upwards towards $2,000.


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It is not unusual for events such as the conventions, and the Presidential Inauguration, to have the media paying for the construction of risers, tents, and so forth. When traveling with the President, the media outlets pay for their transportation, hotel, airfare, and filing center space, as managed by the White House Travel Office. But to charge for credentials, in my experience, is offensive, at best. In this case, you are paying for the access to cover the event, not for facilities, and that's where it's just gone wrong.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Ten Questions for Tom Tinervin

Tom Tinervin was among those that felt the swift, sharp, and severing blade of the axe that fell last week for those running Digital Railroad, like a sling blade coming from out of nowhere. Yet, for those on the inside, apparently, the light they were seeing wasn't the end of the tunnel, but the bright light of the locomotive barreling straight for them. There's a saying - "the train is leaving the station, do you want to be on it, or under it?" Well, Tom found out he was under it, but in the end, he was better off because the VC team that drove many of the problems at Digital Railroad are riding that rail straight out onto a rickety bridge that is missing the "bridge out" sign.

So, with a week to reflect, I thought I'd talk to Tom about his past, and his future plans, and got some surprising answers. Here we go with 10 questions:

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1) So, what happened with you and Digital Railroad?
As one of the founding members of Digital Railroad, it was our intent to offer the community of photographers, collectives and photo agencies an opportunity to level the playing ground with the dominant forces of the photo industry (Getty, Corbis and Jupiter). To provide an affordable and efficient web based tool for photographers and agencies to manage their business WHILE more importantly introducing buyers to a new channel of photography AND flip traditional royalty contracts on their heads by giving photographers 80% of the sale. The old adage of the big three having 40% of the market, represented a huge opportunity for companies like DRR and PhotoShelter to make a run at the other 60%.

For four years my team and I traveled the US and Europe working with industry associations (APA, NPPA, ASMP, WHNPA) educating photographers and buyers alike about digital workflow and teaching the sales and marketing strategies needed to compete in the "digital age." It was an invaluable and rewarding experience and my thanks goes out to all the photographers and agencies that we spent time with.

Unfortunately last week I was terminated in the beginning stages of the liquidation of DRR along a majority of the senior management. Due to an unsustainable revenue model in Marketplace, lack of funding post restructuring in Jan 08, and compounded by the macro economic climate DRR was unable to maintain overhead. DRR's Andy Parsons and Tom Grina (perviously CTO and CFO respectively) remain engaged and are working hard to close on a positive outcome for Digital Railroad members.
2) When did you first learn about Picturemaxx, (where you've recently been hired?)
Picturemaxx is a company that's been on my radar for over four years. One of the imitations of DRR was the need to duplicitously upload images amongst photographers, agency and subagents around the world that shared DRR as their core platform. For years I had heard from photo agencies like Redux and Laif that desperately wanted DRR to create "mini portals" amongst DRR archives to eliminate that redundant process. Picturemaxx was the software solution that everyone pointed to as the example. Likewise, Picturemaxx has a monopoly on the German picture buying market and several of DRR members were enjoying a steady injection of business sustaining revenue from the German market alone through their participation in Picturmaxx.

I often thought Picturemaxx would have been an ideal partner for growing DRR Marketplace and increasing image licensing revenue abroad, but ultimately Picturemaxx was always seen as competitive to DRR Marketplace.
3) Is PictureMaxx just another Digital Railroad, or is it a larger concept?

Picturemaxx is a much larger concept. Envision a client-relationship-management program + DAM program + subagent manager + distribution channel all in one web based environment.

Our industry of content providers and buyers have been burned on early stage technologies. Our understanding of what "we need to do" to attract buyers is constantly redefined with every new technology released. I am a very firm believer that you can wrap your "offering" in as much technology as you want but at the end of the day that technology will never be utilized unless you have the relationships. Technology is meant to create efficiencies once a relationship already exists...but it will never passively generate business sustaining revenue in the photo industry.

I speak with photographers and photo agencies alike everyday that are inundated with digital workflows that didn't exist back in the days of film. They invest thousands of dollars on the latest buzz (like SEO refinement) and outsourcing of scanning and keywording. They are crippled with indecision about where and how to store their digital media. They are forced to play by the rules of the dominant forces in the photo industry because alone they do not have the ability nor resources to be content producer, manager, marketer, and seller all in one.

In over 10 years of selling images commerically and editorially for Corbis and Getty and in over 4 years speaking with thousands of photographers and agencies from over 80 thing is clear; there are those that are successful and there are those that are not....and there is absolutely no in between.

Picturemaxx is a service that will allow you as content provider or buyer to reduce overhead and increase production. Picturemaxx does not take royalties and does not interfere in the licensing of your content. Picturemaxx simply helps you perform that tasks you have to do more efficiently.
4) So, images from both individuals AND photo agencies are returned in search results?
At this time only photo agencies are participating.
5) Is PictureMaxx up and running in the US, I've never heard of it?
Yes Picturemaxx is up and running in the US; picturemaxx currently aggregates the portfolios of over 250 photo agencies , media portals and archives, making them available to a user community of several thousand editors and creative professionals from over 500 magazines, newspaper publishers, companies and advertising agencies in the domestic market and abroad.
6) What is your new role at PictureMaxx?

Managing Director, Picturemaxx USA. I will oversee all day to day operations of the Picturemaxx USA team while fostering adoption from content producers and buyers alike.
7) Is PictureMaxx an image archiving solution, or a sales/licensing platform?

Photographers and agencies spend their time between a series of applications; Extensis, CS3, Bridge, LightRoom, Aperture, PhotoMechanic, Fetch, Transmit, DRR, PhotoShelter, Livebooks, etc, etc,.

While photographers, agencies and buyers alike have become quite proficient in the ways of digital workflow, they still lack the efficiencies needed to manage their client and partner relationships while expanding their reach to a network of global digital media buyers.

Picturemaxx literally has the opportunity to aggregate all content from around the world in one place replacing legacy agency models by simply referring business directly to the provider rather than taking a percentage.

Likewise most photographers, agencies and buyers do not have the resources to pay for a CRM (client relationship management) program, and their businesses suffer because of it. Picturemaxx will reduce the need for costly overhead by streamlining the processes we repeat everyday.
8) Who collects and recieves the funds, and what percentage does PictureMaxx want?
Picturemaxx is a subscription based service that only charges you for usage of their products and DOES NOT take any percentage from license of digital media. All licensing is done directly with the content provider.
9) Is this a costly service, and where will my images actually be housed?
picturemaxx is very affordable. picturemaxx opengate is a communications server that can be used to connect various databases, file systems and image search engines even if they are not part of the picturemaxx platform.

The picturemaxx opengate server solution provides you with the resources you need to make your image assets available to other applications, add external image assets to your catalogue or combine your data with other suppliers.

picturemaxx opengate provides you with a server application that acts as a mediator and translator for any number supplier and recipient networks. The flexible scalability of picturemaxx opengate and, most importantly, the freedom offered by the open interface on the development side enables independence and maximum protection of your investment.
10) When will individual photographers have access to use the service, and are there any tentative costs for them to do that?
Immediately. I will be giving presentations during PACA NY this weekend as well as Picturehouse NY on Oct 29th. PictureMaxx has a fairly customized solution set, so pricing can be dependent upon the choices they make. That said, for around $300 or less a month, a photographer will have about 100GB in storage. But remember, there's zero commissions paid for this service, AND, buyers too are paying for access, so a magazine with four photo editors is paying for their access to the network too, at a comparable rate, so there's literal buy-in on both sides here, with PictureMaxx as the facilitator world-wide.
PictureMaxx's PDF, with more information about them, can be found here.

UPDATE: Andy Parsons, of Digital Railroad, writes in response to this piece:
"First, the entire senior management team was not let go." He goes on to remark that Tom Grina, " and myself remain fully engaged and are working hard to close on a positive outcome for our members. We continue with a full complement of engineering, support, and Marketplace sales."

"Second, we are very actively seeking a partnership or acquisition that takes the business and the technology forward, not liquidating."

Note - Tom has provided clarifying information and we have modified his answer based upon *his* revisions.

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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:

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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:


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:


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 ( “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.

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ASMP & Their $1.3

Much has been said (here, and elsewhere) about the windfall of funds that the American Society of Media Photographers received almost a year ago. ASMP did the right thing in putting out a call for member ideas for spending that money - "Call for Member Ideas for Furthering Industry Education and Advocacy!", writing: "The $1.3 million distribution has the potential to do much good in its areas of use, which are restricted to furthering industry education and advocacy."

ASMP has set as a deadline of tomorrow (Monday, 10/20) as the deadline for the reciept of ideas. Here are several things that ASMP should be doing:

1) Because of the importance of the case that has made its way to the Supreme Court regarding the National Geographic's use of photographers' works from their printed edition in their CD-ROM edition, I proposed ASMP utilize those funds to "fund additional counsel to aid in the preparation of {the amicus curiae} brief..." so that the rights of all photographers and this industry would benefit from the information that the ASMP would present. (Greenberg background here).

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2) There seems to be some movement in the possibility of being able to register with the copyright office works that are published and unpublished together, in one registration. Currently, you must register them seperately. The ASMP could fund a study into the benefits of this combined registration type, that would be of value in making the case for a combined registration. There are a great many challenges for a segment of the photography community that may not be able to determine which images meet the test of "published", and which do not. further, the ambiguity of the language in the era of the internet further confuses people. Surely, more people would register their work if this were the case. (ASMP FAQ on this here).

3) There are a great many endeavors that PLUS - the Picture Licensing Universal System cross-industry organization is working on. PLUS has recieved support from large corporations to fund the majority of it's development, and with the downturn of the economy and consolidation in the industry, PLUS is likely to face funding challenges. Because of their cross-industry consensus, the furtherance of the PLUS Licensing Glossary, the PLUS Registry (which has an significant importance in response to the expected Orphan Works legislation), are projects that, without a doubt, meet the test of "furthering industry education and advocacy", especially when facilitated by an unbiased organization like PLUS.

4) And here's the big one - fully fund an ASMP Strictly Business 3 program. I was a part of the SB2 program, and a protege of the SB1 program 15 years ago. One of the repeated messages we as presenters heard was "please repeat this more often." We were able to do just four cities, and each event was well attended. Consider a 10, or even a 20-city tour? Economies of scale would make each city less expensive, to be sure, and the ciriculum from SB2 could be utilized, further minimizing the planning necessary. I'm not plugging this so I can hit the road again (but I'd consider it), but if ASMP wanted to take my piece of the curriculum and have it used as the basis for a new presenter on those topics, I wouldn't have any problems with that. The SB2 program was open to ASMP members and non-members, but there was a price difference. Perhaps the pricing at the same level for both this go-round would resolve any concerns about benefits specific to ASMP. In fact, you could slash in half the price of the entire weekend, making it even more available; offer scholarships, or, maybe make the entire weekend free? I know, it sounds crazy, but it's worth looking into.

So there you have it - four ideas for the American Society of Media Photographers to spend their $1,300,000.00 in windfall funds. I'm sure others have been sent in. If you have your own ideas, hit this link - - and let them know. You have one day left to propose your ideas. As the e-mail notes - "Just be sure that your suggestions conform to the parameters of 'furthering industry education and advocacy.'"

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