We’ve been doing a few promos for the Instant Photography Websites package recently, which in turn has prompted a few people to email me asking for a good template website for selling their photography as stock.
The thing to remember about this is, the frame work is the easy part.
A lot of photographers get all caught up believing if they build a cool shopfront, buyers will come.
Unfortunately commercial buyers just aren’t interested in browsing individual photographer collections UNLESS… your work is absolute top quality and totally unique.
Most of the time you’re going to find stock photo buyers much prefer to use a library where they search 100′s of photographer’s collections at once. Some people do make a go of it obviously, but they usually either stop being photographers and take on a full-time marketing role… or they have the resources to pay someone else to do it.
A much simpler option is to create a fantastic personal website to showcase your work, but link that to your catalogue on a dedicated stock library site. That way they do all the tedious marketing plus you get access to their existing client list, so you have a real chance of selling your work regularly… and you get time to keep making great photos.
Developing a professional photography website can be a very rewarding experience, and there are definitely ways to ensure it pays for itself, but using it as a stock photography catalogue & shopfront is not one of them.
It would have been quite easy to structure the Instant Photography Websites package to work like this… we could have added a simple photo catalogue system, along with a search functions, shopping cart and payment options… and a lot more photographers would have grabbed it up, but it wouldn’t change the fact that stock photo buyers rarely visit personal websites.
Likewise a lot of photographers like to believe if they offer prints and posters etc on their website the sales will just happen, but again, it’s really a long shot. You might get lucky from time to time, but for the most part, Internet shoppers are too savvy for that these days.
If someone is in the market for fine art prints, or posters, or calendars or other photo products… they’ll go to a large site like Zazzle or Redbubble that specialises in this kind of thing and represents hundreds of photographers in one easy location.
So again, the ‘if I build it they will come’ mentality is only going to frustrate and disappoint. Much better that you keep your personal website as a personal creative outlet and use dedicated services for your commercial outlets, be it stock or prints/products, or both.
The added benefit of that approach is, it gives you multiple independent income streams, which makes for a stronger and more stable business!