Storing & Selling Photos on The Road

Spoiler Alert! This post talks about storing & selling photos on the road. If you’d rather be slapped around the head with a wet fish than read about anything remotely technical then check out Warning: Sand in the Desert for a laugh or Can You Score a Country on Ethics for something a bit more cerebral.

If you’re interested in storing and selling photos, travel, portfolio websites or, at a push, me then read on…

Storing photos on the road - Abi taking photos in Alaska

Managing Photos Taken on the Road...

A Website Makeover

At some point last year, I realised I needed a new system. I had a portfolio website over there, my travel blog over here and my photos on various hard drives at home. I was spending precious travel time and bandwidth transferring photos to editors from the back of beyond and precious luggage space carrying back-up drives with me. Also, it didn’t take a genius (which is just as well) to realise that if my luggage disappeared, so would my recent work. Yes, I would always back up again at home, but I wasn’t getting home all that often.

Essentially, I was looking for solutions to the following:

Ice Climbing Interferes with Internet Access

Internet Access Sometimes Tricky

1) Somewhere to back up my photos online

2) Somewhere where editors could see and download my photos, no matter where I was

Beyond that, I had a wishlist:

3) More options for my footer and sidebar

4) A Nobel Prize

I found the answers in PhotoShelter. (Well, all bar one.)

How to Provide Selective Photo Downloads?

As it happens, I found several online photo storage sites that let others download your work. The difficulty was, trying to find a way of doing that selectively. After all, how could I expect people to pay me for something that I let total strangers download for free?

That was the snag I kept running into with Flickr and One.com. Everyone could download everything. SmugMug seemed a possibility but then I realised that PhotoShelter had the magic pill: integration with WordPress.

The Magic Pill: Integration with WordPress

If you want your own blog or portfolio site, then WordPress is by far and away the best option. So I took a closer look at PhotoShelter – and I was blown away.

With PhotoShelter, not only could I match my photo storage to my WordPress site, I could sell photos online and in print, quickly transfer images to twitter and facebook and benefit from the incredibly well put together PDFs on SEO, social media and Google Analytics (see, I told you this would be dull unless you were into this kind of thing.)

However, I am into this kind of thing - because 21st century writers, photographers and bloggers can’t afford to ignore it.

So, What’s The Catch?

Is there a catch? Of course there is. Nothing’s perfect and apparently not even online photo storage sites hand out Nobel Prizes. First off, it’s not free (prices start at $9.99/month after a $1 trial.) Second, not all WordPress themes integrate seamlessly with PhotoShelter, only those from Graph Paper Press (more about them another day.)

It’s a pretty small catch, though, for an amazing product.

Making The Switch

Finally, obviously, you need to organise and upload your archived photos and switch themes, which is why it took me so long.

To be fair, PhotoShelter offers various ways to soothe the pain (including sending them the hard drive and handing over cash to make the headache go away.) Changing themes was easier than changing from blogger to WordPress but it still created a few glitches I needed to smooth out.

Boxes Unpacked, Mail Redirected, Just Need to Hang Some Pictures Up

Taking & Processing Travel Photos on the Road

A System For Photos Taken on the Road

So, I’m almost there with my blog redesign. Head over to my portfolio site and photo archive site to see how they all fit together. And, please, drop me a line in the comments below or via the contact form if anything’s not working as it should or if you have any other suggestions to make.

I have to admit, I’m pretty excited about the new layout and about what lies ahead and I’d like to thank Dave and Deb from The Planet D and Sherry from Ottsworld for their advice and Pokin Yeung from GeckoGo for making the tough look easy.

It’s slightly harder to thank companies, but I’d highly recommend both WordPress and PhotoShelter.* If you’re thinking about setting up a blog, you should definitely use WordPress; if you’re looking for a professional way to store and sell photos while on the road, use PhotoShelter*

Once I’ve got this site shipshape and shiny, I’ll post a resource area to answer questions about travel writing, blogging and photography, so check back soon.

Old Script map of the world

Disclosure: PhotoShelter sponsors my account because they like my work and I like theirs. As ever, I only recommend products that I believe have great value because, well, there’s no point otherwise. Read the breathlessly exciting disclosure policy here.

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2 Responses to Storing & Selling Photos on The Road

  1. Camels & Chocolate February 2, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    Abi, do they also take a cut like PayPal and Etsy do? I’ve explored similar avenues, and it seemed so pricey (you have to pay to list things on Etsy and even then, they expire after four months), so this seems like a great option to explore for me.

  2. Abi February 3, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

    Hi Kristin – Well, you have to pay a monthly fee to use PhotoShelter at all but then you have a number of delivery options.

    If someone buys a photo directly from your site (without you having to do anything more) then they take a cut.

    Something I’ve found very useful, though, is creating either invitation-only or password protected galleries. Then an editor can browse and download the photos they want (but the general public can’t) and then you settle the final bill (words & text) separately. This has also worked for me when publishers won’t pay at the point of sale but at the point of publication.

    PhotoShelter also lets you send links to download photos one by one (at no extra cost), which I’ve sometimes used if the internet connection I’ve been using has been hideously slow. Hope that makes sense!

    (Oh – and you don’t have to pay to list anything (other than the monthly fee for storage))

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