As anyone knows the Internet is a vast place where thousands of mistakes could be made, which includes properly marketing your photos to a diverse audience. So here at Resource Magazine, we thought that it was necessary to create a list of twenty-five photography tools that any photographer should use online. And at least by narrowing it down to twenty-five, we have made the process at least somewhat easier.
The Yahoo owned site, which is still free, gives anyone the ability to share and discover billions of photos, making it a user-friendly site even for the most computer illiterate. While on the surface Flickr appears void of features, one of the coolest aspects is the ability to differentiate between copyrighted and creative commons material.
2. Agency Access
A full service marketing agency that “gets shit done,” Agency Access is a company that will provide any photographer the right publicity. And while the “get shit done” slogan feels like they are trying too hard to be hip, the company does offer enticing features such as a buyers database with over 90,000 contacts, along with helping the customer submit proper email and mail promos.
You will be hard-pressed to find someone, under fifty, who does not know this social media platform. Instagram has even become a weekly column for us at Resource Magazine where we interview up-and-coming photographers. And while some might complain that it dilutes the photography pool, as well as, the fact that it does not offer that many features, it still will put your work in front of millions.
Zenfolio claims to be “more than a photo hosting website,” which seems like the stereotypical pitch from every photo hosting site. But the cool thing about this is that the reasonable pricing gives the ability to create a fully functional portfolio to almost everyone. While the thirty dollar per year fee is accessible to those who just want an organized portfolio, the three hundred dollar per year pricing creates a portfolio which further allows the professional to run their business from the same location.
Photobucket, the site that claims to be the “world’s leading dedicated photo and video sharing service,” allows over a hundred million users to upload thousands of photos and hours of video for free. But what separates this hosting site is the cool features that the company has been developing. For instance, besides being able to share on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, the company has added features like The Animated Gif Maker, which will, at the least, diversify your online portfolio.
A site that claims to be “created by photographers for photographers,” SlickPic simply gives any user the ability to create a portfolio, edit photos with their enhancement feature and write about said experiences on a comprehensive blog. But what really sets this apart from other hosting/portfolio sites is its accessibility: while we expect social media sites like Instagram to be on all phones, it is astonishing to see a site like SlickPic available “from any device, [and] anywhere.”
Resource Magazine recently featured Coversplash in an article because it is a brand new hosting site that has the potential to explode. Coversplash basically offers any photographer the ability to set up a portfolio and sell his or her work from one location—which is something offered by countless other sites—but this company offers the ability to regain one hundred percent of the commission for any sale. Basically, “the fully integrated e-commerce system” allows the photographer to fully control the licensing of his or her work.
On the other end of the spectrum, there is Society6. Anyone could sell their work here, but being that Society6 does the hard work (printing, boxing and shipping), it is not surprising that the company takes a chunk of the profit. The thing is, if you are not fully committed to selling your items, then you won’t make that much money on a site like Society6. While the user determines the profits of art prints, other items could garner a profit as low as $1.20.
The second tool on our list to be owned by Yahoo, Tumblr is part blogging site and part social media platform, which allows anybody (even the most insane) to have their voice heard. Recently, it has become popular among up and coming photographers who use the ‘re-blogging feature’ to easily share their work with millions of people.
Squarespace, the website building tool that is almost as famous as WordPress, is another free blogging service. Yes, one must pay for a domain name, but the hosting/blogging platform allows anybody to easily create a blog, while themes and various other features add a sense of customization to the process. It is not brain surgery to use Squarespace, but to choose this as a photo blogging platform is totally up to preference.
11. Wonderful Machine
For as many sites that spew nonsense about how they truly ‘work for the photographer,’ Wonderful Machine truly developed a keen interface and system that aids all of their clients. Not only is the interface easily modified to look for photographers by location, but if the company likes you (which at times could feel like a big if), you could be featured in their e-mails to ad agencies or on their highly trafficked blog. And this is only a minute glimpse at the features that the company offers to their clients.
Another photo hosting and sharing site that offers people the ability to create a portfolio and monetize their art, SmugMug’s users range from hobbyist to professional photographers. Simply, the coolest thing about this site is that even if you are not a professional and do not want to pay three hundred dollars yearly, the website has countless features to offer; in fact, besides the inability to use some of the marketing, commerce and security features, the basic forty dollars a year subscription offers amazing things like unlimited uploads and robust SEO tools.
1X likes to call itself the “world’s most exclusive photo community” because all of the photos in its galleries are selected by eleven curators. Now, as pretentious as this sounds, the site does give any user the ability to upload whatever they want to their page; and you can even sell said photos with a free subscription. However, if one would look at the pricing page, the perks of a subscription shows that if you use 1X, you should probably pay.
Like Society6, Zazzle is a company that allows photographers to sell their products on their website: it is as simple as uploading your photos and choosing if you want to sell them as posters, shirts, etc. But on top of this, normal bloggers could make a profit with Zazzle through its affiliation program, which, like Amazon and Ebay, allows the user to gain a referral fee when someone buys a product by going through the blogger’s referral link.
Again, Photoshelter is another portfolio/website building site that offers photographers the chance to sell their products. However, Photoshelter comes at a steeper price than most, with the Pro subscription costing a substantial fifty dollars a month (six hundred a year for those who cannot do math). With that said, the Pro subscription offers some cool perks like discounts on ShootDotEdit or LensProToGo. However, this is one of a few times, where I do not think the perks of the higher subscription outweighs the price. So I would recommend the thirty dollars per month Standard or ten dollars per month Basic packages.
16. Red Bubble
You got to love a company that has an ‘about page‘ that begins with the line: “Redbubble is quite simply the finest and most diverse creative community and marketplace on the interlink. There, we said it.” While that takes a bit of courage to state, Redbubble has been a favorite of mine for a long time. So perhaps this short description will be bias, but the company uses a mark-up system that, in my opinion, works; they only charge artists for the material and time spent working on an item (shipping, boxing etc.). The artist then chooses how much percent he or she will mark-up the price tag; this is important because the photographer will receive one hundred percent of the mark-up.
17 – 500px
500px is a young photo sharing website that wants users to upload their best work. But it appears with 500px that discovery is as important as uploading beautiful photos. Garnering critiques and connecting with other photographers is extremely vital part of the community and adds a social media element of networking to 500px, which is something that is important in this day and age.
18 – Dripbook
Dripbook is another portfolio building company that allows anybody to create their own professional looking website. Dripbook claims that its blend of features such as Dripbook portfolios, professional websites, presentation applications and social media accessibility is unlike other website building companies. But to be honest, it is all about the customer’s preference. Yes, Dripbook has some cool features with its expensive price tag such as private portfolios, Google stats tracking, portfolio export tools and plenty more. But really, it comes down to what best suits own needs.
Imgur, which is also known as “the simple image sharer,” is the easiest to use photo hosting site that you will find on this list. While most of the other tools are easy to use, none will be as simple as Imgur’s click and upload capability. Most importantly, this is not for professional photographers, but it could be a way for hobbyist or up and comers to get their material out there. Especially since, the voting, commenting and sharing add an extra layer of social media to the Imgur universe.
The ‘middle child’ of social networking, Pinterest should get more attention for what it offers photographers. The visual ideology behind the site is that you are more likely to find a picture inspiring or visually appealing. This simple premise allows millions of users to ‘pin’ items for inspiration or to simply distribute it to others.
Snapseed is a photo editor available for iPhones, Androids and Windows PC. The Google owned application allows intuitive photo editing, which makes any photographer’s life a lot easier. The “on the moment use” mixed with its touch screen ease makes Snapseed a must own for photographers on the go.
ViewBug is a social media site that hosts photo contests and encourages all users to vote in said competitions, as well as, provide feedback. While the only way to be a part of the premium competitions is to pay the fourteen dollar monthly subscription, ViewBug provides an interesting way to be judged by some of the world’s most famous photographers, which could be the ultimate way to network with such hard to reach people.
ProPhoto is a cool process that actually uses WordPress to set up a photo blogging site, in fact, ProPhoto only works after a user purchases a domain, hosting site and has installed WordPress. Once that is done, you will need to install ProPhoto 5, which will drain your pockets of $280 for an expert install (to install it yourself it will only cost $200). The latest edition of ProPhoto has tons of new features including the ability to create cool layouts, as well as cool retina display support for all devices.
Workbook is another company that offers distinct marketing services to photographers, which basically functions as “an extension of the photographers’ marketing program.” The Workbook print and directory create countless outlets for artists to be noticed and hired. Finally, the portfolio section, which contains over 900 portfolios, further expands the marketing goals of Workbook’s clients.
25 – Format
The final item on the list and yet another website building company for photographers, Format or 4ormat, is a product that offer a lot of the same amenities as other portfolio sites. However, with Unlimited Bandwidth, Social Network Integration, 24/7 Email Support, Custom CSS Editing, Custom Domain URL and plenty of other features with a twenty-one dollar monthly price tag, how can you go wrong? Again, it’s all about what portfolio building site fits you and if format provides the amenities that you like, then sign up now.