Few days ago I was asked by a friend if this Photoshelter thing did any thing for me and my photography and I started pondering over this. Was I getting any thing out of it? Is it just waste of time, energy and money? Could I do better with out them or should I do things differently?
Back in 2006 when I bought benzi and literarily hit he road there was in existence a thing called Digital Rail road. Digital railroad was in some ways simmilar to Photoshelter and some ways its big uncle. When I decided on work methods for my trip I counted on DRR and its delivery system to assist me in serving clients I had left at home and gaining new ones while on the road. In my opinion the digital revolution was here and here to stay on full speed giving you the world to grasp and communicate with.
This proofed to be wrong. The digital world was her to stay but not Digital Railroad, not my images online and not the service I had promised my clients. Just days after charging my credit card in an annual update the news came and with in very short time Digital railroad had not only closed its office it had closed its servers to a devastating halt for some photographers that not only lost images but also lot of metadata informations. They like me had thought that thing like DRR was the future and here to stay. Fortunately for me I'm a backup freak and had also all my files backed up on other media. Some had not managed to back up their metadata work and days if not weeks of hard labor was lost.
By this time I had heard about Photoshelter and was starting to look into it. They where not as expensive but neither did they promise as much as DRR. This proofed to be the vise point for Photoshelter and when Digital railroad tumbled down, Photoshelter made it as easy as possible for photographer to jump over and save their assets in the jump.
At this point it could have been easy for Allen, Grover and the team to take over all of the work of DRR, put the pedal to the metal and step on it, speeding down the information highway expanding the company vastly and live happily ever after. But no, they did a bold move. Actually very bold move that probably did cost them some clients but truly saved their life. They backed up a step. Slowed down. Cut out some of the Stock sales methods they where using and put their emphasis on helping photographers selling their images but not sell photography for them. This proofed to be a vise move and since then Photoshelter has been there for me and my images. Helping me in many ways, making absolutely sure that they stay alive like the did in the case when Hurricane Sandy decided to blow everything around them to pieces.
Since hitting the road in 2006 I have barely turned home to see my country Iceland collapse before I hit the road again and entered Norway. Living in cardboard boxes or Camper vans is not easy and not at all for everybody. I do it and Matt Suess does it and others are hitting the road all the time.
Even though I have a fairly fine workflow process developed through my travels, Im never at full ease with my images. That is until I have gotten an image into my Photoshelter site. Thats when I know they are safe, as long as my credit card works.
(In a future post I'll explain the work method and process I now use while working on the road.)
So what has my Photoshelter really done for me. They have made it easy for me to serve clients, both while on the road as well as when I'm stationary. they have lifted the time consuming workload of my chest of image selections. this happens online, when clients and art directors and those that are involved have time, making decisions faster and easier to come to in fact. I can be here and there and every where and still serve those clients.
Photoshelter has given me the chance of sending pictures to clients while at a top of the mountain Working on landscape photography in Norway or while working on Volcano images and lava cooked food, thus securing more and happier clients
Photoshelter has served as backbone and rib of my image collection and as I move more and more into the world of fine art Photography Photoshelter now also serves as my store.
I have had splendid service from Photoshelter and its easy to find helpful information or get online help from them. When Playboy magazine called the other day and said they had trouble downloading images, I could through photoshelter send them the image while finding out the failure and way to fix it. I was happy in Norway. Playboy happy in USA and every thing fine and dandy with in 30 minutes. I could have been on top of the Himalayas, it did not matter as long as I have fairly ok internet connection, which today, not back in 2006, I can get through my phone.
So what have I really gotten out of Photoshelter beside a Think Tank bag, some exposure to clients, featured photographs, sold images, served clients and bunch of brochures about how to do business. Just about any thing I need to stay on the road, take pictures and serve clients. Most of all, they have given me ease of mind that my photography is as save as it can be and that they will take good care of it. I trust they will fight Hurricanes and future wars for my images.
Disclaimer: I am in no way connected to photoshelter and stand to gain nothing from this article except from the fact that the more clients they have, the more likely it is that my images are safe and sound in the future and I don't have to waste time changing sales and filing setup.