It's probably no surprise to most of you, but in today's digital
world, having a website is almost a requirement if you're to be considered
a pro or more than a casual snapshooter. Many publications and image purchasers
don't want to deal with looking at contact sheets or browsing at images
on a CD or DVD--aside from the task of inserting and reading the contents
of the disc, they're worried about viruses.
There are multiple approaches that you can take to get yourself online and have
your images seen by potential buyers. You can set up your own website, which
is the most common approach; you can use a stock agency, such as Alamy, to market
your photography; or you can go with one of the online digital archives, such
as Digital Railroad, to target sales. I'll take a look at all three options
here, and I encourage you to check into the method that works best for you.
A hosting service provided the template I used for my profiling
and printing website, allowing me to get online quickly and with
less work on my part. If you want your own domain, this is the
least expensive way to get online.
Building Your Own Site
Creating and maintaining your own website doesn't have to be technical,
or even hugely time consuming. It does, however, require some thought up front
in order to have a successful design. By successful, I mean one that is easy
for visitors to navigate, and keeps them looking. A website that drives customers
away at the homepage isn't going to do you much good, so my mantra is:
keep it simple.
Most of the hosting services include software that will help you build your
website with varying degrees of customization possible. I maintain several websites
with a different focus for each, and I've selected my host based on that
particular need. For instance, my custom profiling and printing work is located
and is hosted by Host Department (www.hostdepartment.com).
Here I have unlimited hosting service, including e-commerce for $12.95 a month.
Other packages start as low as $3.95 a month, and all include software to help
you set up and maintain your website as well as e-mail accounts, online support,
and disk space for image storage.
My photography website is powered by liveBooks. This service is
optimized for photographers with an easy-to-navigate layout that
makes your images the center of attention.
Another option is to go with a full-service solution like liveBooks (www.live-books.com),
which is where I host my photography work at www.joncanfield.com.
Although much pricier up front, sites like liveBooks will make your life as
a photographer easier with the option to quickly create portfolios and manage
images. You can have e-commerce enabled here as well, and they've recently
added packages designed specifically for wedding and portrait photographers.
And, when it comes to support, I've never had better response than with