PhotoShelter – My Backbone – How I Use It

PhotoShelter Logo

I have said time and time again, PhotoShelter is THE best company out there for photographers. I have been a customer since early 2006, I think I was probably one of the first people to sign up. Never before have I seen a company that does so much for the industry. Never before have I seen a company that improves its product to match the needs of photographer requests so swiftly. Never before has there been a company like PhotoShelter and never will there be a company like PhotoShelter. They are the backbone of my business from galleries, to print sales, to client photo delivery, to stock sales, etc, etc. I recommend them to everyone I know. The beauty of PhotoShelter, is they are not just for print sales, or just for stock sales, or just for online archiving. They are for everything.

I am quoted on their website saying, “You could ask 10 people how they make money using PhotoShelter and you would get 10 different answers. That’s what is so great about it. There are so many ways to use it and use it to your advantage.”

How true that is. There are ways to use PhotoShelter that I do not use. There are things I do that many people do not. I use it a variety of ways for a variety of different purposes. Hit the jump for a breakdown of what makes them so special.

(Click on any screen shot to see a larger version) Being able to easily upload images for photo galleries is a key feature. I can upload photos, price the images, create a gallery and email a link to the clients, they can purchase the images and download hi-res files or order prints all in about 5 minutes time. It is truly amazing. I use Photo Mechanic and Aperture in my editing and post processing workflow and can use either program to quickly upload to my PhotoShelter account. From within Photo Mechanic I can even quickly caption and keyword images as they are uploaded.

You can also choose to upload full res jpg’s, RAW files or hi-res jpgs, TIFF’s, etc. With both Photo Mechanic and Aperture, they will resize images on the fly, saving me tons of time. For most things, I upload 700px jpgs images for wedding galleries and things that will be sold as prints. For corporate clients or stock images, etc I will upload hi-res jpg’s so that they can be downloaded right away. More on that later.

Once the files have been uploaded you can create galleries and add pricing profiles to the images with just the click of the mouse. I have numerous profiles setup for weddings, studio work, corporate work, commercial sales, editorial stock, digital downloads, etc, etc. I apply the appropriate pricing structure based on what the shoot is.

Once the gallery has been created. From within PhotoShelter I can send an email to the client with a link to the gallery, including some preview images and I can authorize that client to download full res photos if I wish. You can also customize what the email that is sent looks like to match your branding.

My absolute favorite feature and the main reason (among many) I feel PhotoShelter stands out from any competitor is the ability to customize the way the galleries are displayed. When my clients view photos I do not want them to feel like they have left my site. Not only for my branding but just because I feel it looks incredibly unprofessional to jump to some random site when clients are looking at photos.

Everything is the exact same as my main site (and this blog) when thumbnails are loaded and viewed larger. Once the client clicks on an image they can see a larger view and have options to buy or download the image.

Depending on the pricing profile that is setup for a particular image, they can buy prints,

or for commercial or editorial sales they can enter information and fotoquote will provide an industry standard price, from there customers can enter credit card information and download the hi-res photo. The client gets the image instantly and I get an email showing the sale and cash into my bank account. My website is making me money even in the middle of the night when I am asleep. For prints, you can choose to self-fulfill, meaning you send the order to your lab and ship the prints off to the client, or you can choose to use one of the many print provider partners and not have to do a thing.

For some clients, I use the system as a delivery method. I can send out an invite or give download permissions and they can download the hi-res files they want without having to FTP or email large files. Multiple art buyers or graphic artists can download the same image if needed. I also share wedding images with other vendors this way. I no longer have to find images and email them to folks, I can send a link and they can download what they wish (if I give them that access).

You can also utilize the social networking functions on the site to add photos to your facebook pages, flickr, etc. or allow your clients to tweet a gallery or link to it on facebook.

There are many more uses that I did not include, for example you can setup your account as an FTP server for people to upload images to your account. You can also put embeddable galleries and slideshows into your blog or website. A lot of folks use it as an archive, Baseball Photographer Brad Mangin has over 35,000 images from over 20 years of covering MLB searchable and ready to buy in his archive. This year I am implementing PhotoShelter for the Portland Beavers and Portland Timbers archive, search and image distribution system throughout the organization. I don’t even use it to its full potential and there are a million things I still need to implement as well. But it does it’s job for sure.

I don’t mean for this to sound like a giant sales pitch, but my business would not be the same without them. I hope you will check them out and see how they can help your business. Use this link to save $30. You will not regret it.

Email This Post Email This Post

6 Responses to “PhotoShelter – My Backbone – How I Use It”

  1. Ryan Flood Says:

    Thanks for the great insight, Craig! I have been meaning to test out photoshelter for quite a while. This is really motivating to get it going–I appreciate the inside look you provide.

  2. Paul Morse Says:

    Great article! I love using PhotoShelter for my commercial clients and will use it for my weddings. What have you found works best for the couple to select images for their album?

  3. Craig Mitchelldyer Says:

    Thanks! Paul, I do a pre-design for the albums. I find it works much better that way, but you could use the lightbox feature in photoshelter too…

  4. Harold Means Says:

    Cool, I’ve been visiting your blog for a while now and I always find a gem in your new posts. Thanks for sharing. :)

  5. Jennifer P Says:

    I’m going on my second yr in the pro-photography field and I am learning new things constantly, such as this posting – thanks for sharing. Jen

  6. Dillon Gray Photographer Says:

    Thanks Paul, I had never heard of Photoshelter until today, you learn something new every day!

Leave a Reply