by Gavin Stoker Published 01/12/2011
Offering 'an entire web strategy in a virtual box', with upfront fee of a pound and a modest monthly sum thereafter is Theimagefile, based in Chertsey, Surrey. From its first days of trading in 2004 it now hosts some 20 million of its photographers' images and runs with the tagline 'Internet solutions for serious photographers.' "It's all about getting the photographer on to the web and providing them with the functionality to sell their images, proof and distribute them in as many different ways as they - and we - can think of," says MD Howard Butterfield, which includes being able to trade in three currencies if required.
"The most important thing is to get your marketing correct," he adds, and of course your marketing push starts with the 'shop window' of a great looking website. Alternatively, photographers who already have a website can still tag on Theimagefile's own back-end. What's more, one advantage for would-be pro photographers testing the water is the fact that you are not tied into a 12-month fee or contract, thanks to the service renewing a month at a time.
And if that wasn't enough of a 'hook', Theimagefile also operates a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week helpdesk by way of on going support. It is also integrated with the likes of Sim2000, One Vision Imaging, Loxley Colour and Photobox pro labs for print fulfilment, or photographers can of course choose to do the print work themselves or select their own favourite lab.
"And three of those labs will ship directly to the customer, but under the photographer's branding, a service which is also free of charge," adds Howard, saying that volume discounts have also been negotiated with said labs. Furthermore photographers can also sell their pictures electronically as downloads for stock, either through the Imagefile for 25% commission or get set up to have the facility on their own site, for a 15% commission.
"We know we have a great product and a great service, " enthuses MD Howard. "Whereas other people do bits and pieces, we do the whole thing from beginning to end and take responsibility as well. And with us you have access to a business advice service, not just a web service. It is certainly worthy of a trial."
Claiming to offer 'the web's best photo viewing experience', an alternative is the snappily named Zenfolio, set up in 2004 in California, and which, according to Marketing Manager Nataly Livshits, offers photographers a 'full-on' website. This comprises portfolio, galleries and client proofing areas, integration with and access to print fulfilment from the likes of One Vision Imaging, plus your own online shop capable of selling digital downloads, packages and products at your own prices.
Furthermore Zenfolio's package also including a slew of marketing tools to help you promote your work, for a price of £150 per year for the premium business package or just £25 per annum for the basic package. In other words there are several different price plans to suit your business model.
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