One of the challenges with having a collection of images for sale is figuring out how to handle the mechanics and fulfillment of the sale. Zenfolio is helping me with that end of things, and after a test order, it seems to be working as expected. The next hurdle is getting the word out about my images. After all, a harddrive full of images won’t generate a penny of sales if no one knows they’re out there. I don’t have a gazillion-dollar budget to advertise during major sporting events, so I’m trying to spread the word in other ways. Here’s how I’ve decided to get the word out.
BTW, this post is not a workflow for image processing. For purposes of this discussion, I assume the finished image has been processed using your favorite tools, and you have it in a “ready to print” configuration. Everyone seems to have their favorite way of doing those things, so I’ll leave that part alone for now. However, for me, making sure that my images have good keywords, title and caption, along with copyright metadata goes a long way to making things smoother. You’ll see why in a minute.
For me, my workflow goes through Adobe Photohop Lightroom, and fortunately, there are some nice plugins to help make things smoother. With ready-to-print images in hand, I use a plugin by Jeffrey Friedl to upload images to Zenfolio — one of many plugins he’s authored. Also, within this plugin, I can built new galleries, and can even use Twitter to announce the new uploads. I don’t usually do that, however; more on that in a bit. One thing to note, if I’ve got all the image metadata in place that I mentioned above, Zenfolio populates the title, caption, keywords and copyright fields straight from the image. One less thing to fuss with.
Jeffrey also has a plugin for Lightroom that will send images to Flickr, along with creating new sets or dropping images in current sets. I’ll export my images there, albeit somewhat smaller — 72dpi and about 1000px on a side, along with a copyright watermark. Like Zenfolio, Flickr will also pick up the title, caption and keywords straight from the metadata. Now the image lives in two places, and I’ve accomplished that right from Lightroom in just a couple of minutes. That may sound like a lot of work, but once it’s setup, it’s really easy, and can be done in batches, magnifying the time savings.
Now that I have the image on Zenfolio, I can use the “share” feature to generate a hotlink for a watermarked, nice-sized image for this blog, along with a link to the Zenfolio page where it can be purchased from. Using these bits, I write up something here, and publish it out. Now the image is on Zenfolio and Flickr, and has been announced on this blog.
Inside Zenfolio, there are buttons for Facebook and Twitter. Using those, I’ll put an announcement on my Facebook wall, and throw a tweet into the Twitter-stream with a shortened link and the hashtag #photog. This will put it in front of folks that are watching for photography releated tweets.
I also have installed widgets on my personal blog that will pick up on new items in Flickr, as well as displaying random images from my Zenfolio presence. This keeps my images in front of folks that might discover me through some other writing that I’ve done.
Lastly, I have a static message in the “what am I working on” section at my LinkedIn account that points to the gallery hosted on Zenfolio. LinkedIn doesn’t have the same kind of “history” that you see with a Facebook wall, so updating it every few days with links to new images doesn’t seem to make much sense to me.
So that’s it. By the time I’ve gone through this process, I have the image displayed in four places (this blog, my personal blog, Zenfolio and Flickr), I’ve referenced it in social media (Facebook and Twitter), and have some possible exposure coming through LinkedIn.
Is this working? Well, I don’t know yet. It’s just started this week, so the results aren’t clear yet. In any case, it certainly is getting the harddrive full of images out there where folks can find them, and that’s better than just sticking ’em in a desk drawer!