Since 1984 I have been a commercial photographer and for years, my art and social photography have been represented by art galleries and is part of several museum collections in Europe.
The fact that I am now successful resides in a number of factors. Everyone knows that the photography industry in the year 2011 is no longer the same as, say, 10 years ago. However, a good picture 10 years ago is still a good picture.
I have found on the newsletters of Photo Shelter and in conversations with the marketing people of Bayer and Deloitte, who are both global companies, that the demand to work directly with a photographer is growing.
According to the marketing people, companies are overwhelmed with the same style of photos offered by photo agencies what are no longer distinguishable from other companies. This, for them, is the reason why they work with me.
As an example: my animal calendars I make for Bayer Animal Healthcare. These calendars consist of very ordinary black / white photographs of real vets who actually do their everyday thing. In contrast to the beautiful full-colour glossy calendars which their competitors make, my calendars are effectively found in the vets’ practice.If they work with agencies, this is mainly for internal communications and reports. The use of micro agencies they do for a minimum (only internal) and agencies such as Getty and Corbis they use for recruitment advertising and purchasing of exclusive images for some product advertisements. You must always realise what kind of money is involved when such a business places an ad in a national magazine. The price in Belgium is as high as $ 30,000 for one placement per week. They are really not using micro site photographs for the low price.
The reality, however, is that they are too afraid of the individual photographer. This is mainly due to the quality, not technical but mostly legal (Portrait rights, etc.). The credibility of the photographer becomes increasingly more important than the technical quality of the photo and the price.
On Photo Shelter can be found the individual photographer, working independently and competing with the big agencies . Photo Shelter offers its members advice on how to sell photos, and it is up to the individual photographer whether or not to follow these opinions .
For some years now I have been a member of Photo Shelter and my biggest concern is that I need people to visit my website. No visitors means no sales, which makes sense, and if I have a visitor, I must make him/her see that I am credible. To build credibility you must do as large companies do (Bayer, Deloitte as an example) by working off and online. The individual photographer does not have the budget of a big company, but the internet gives him or her the same opportunities. To attract more visitors who are interested in your photos, you must give your website a good SEO. (Search Engine Optimatization)
The basics of SEO are easy to do yourself, just follow the guidelines of Photo Shelter, but the hard part is to create your own credibility.
All search engines give you a higher place, credibility, calculated by several factors with the most important, of how many other websites links to your website (back links). One-way back links means that there are no link exchanges between sites.
These back links can be created using different techniques. These techniques usually involve spending a lot of time or stupidly buying them. I see now on the forum of Photo Shelter that many have done the stupid thing and now
Google Panda and Penguin do their work. They all have a sudden drop of visitors.
Google Panda and Penguin are simply the way Google sees false credibility. You know them, the companies that offer thousands of back links for a few dollars. These companies operate on the frustrations of people like you and me and the fact that we do not have the budget for a serious SEO company as the big boys do. So they offer links that they put on so-called link farms. These are Websites which are meaningless and contain just a little bit of code. To create your real back links you can either spend an enormous amount of time or work with a serious SEO company, who will do it manually.
These two possibilities, for the individual working photographer, are not feasible.
I have spoken with SEO companies who work on behalf of my big clients. They can easily work on behalf of multiple websites simultaneously under one contract. These websites must have a common point in their name or a common market. In addition, we all have our photoshelter.com website name or are connected with it plus photographs, everyone in its niche, are our common product.
First, I make a blog in a form similar to that which is used by search engines. This blog leaves out all of the flash and fancy stuff, so that all types of tablets, cell phones, and so on, are compatible.
Second, I select photographers on their quality and thus the credibility of the site will be good and the back link from the site to your site will be of high quality.
Finally, I make contracts with serious SEO companies to put together a mix of good techniques and services. These services are costly, but you can share the amount.
So for an affordable amount everyone gets the same quality S.E.O. as a large company pays for.
An SEO plan of $ 30,000/year is impossible for me, but if you do it with 100 individuals, it is 300$/year.
I therefore intend to work this out.
The base is a website where a selection of photographers can promote themselves without charges, with a real article, and they will have the opportunity to make use of free advice and affordable but good Seo plans.