Think there are too many images chasing too few commercial customers? Get ready for the deluge. PhotoShelter Inc. has made it possible for photographers with a Flickr Pro-level account to easily upload a copy of some or all of their images to the PhotoShelter Personal Archive (PSPA) and begin distributing them for commercial use.
Currently, Flickr has over 2 billion images supplied by several million users, the vast majority of which have no interest in licensing their images. However, PhotoShelter CEO Allen Murabayashi estimates that "there are tens of thousands of people with images on Flickr who consider themselves either serious hobbyist, aspiring pros, semi-pros, or pros. If that's the case, there is a serious market to tap into." Many designers say they go to Flickr for inspiration and to see something different from the standard fare found on commercially oriented sites. But Flickr doesn't offer a convenient way for designers to license the images they find. PhotoShelter solves that problem.
To begin earning revenue, Flicker users need to open a free PhotoShelter Personal Archive (PSPA) account that has 50MB of free space. Then, with one click on "Import from Flickr" using the pull down menu on the "Flickr Import Tool," they can easily import a copy of any or all of the files in their Flickr archives into PSPA. Flickr keywords and descriptions are automatically transferred with the image.
PSPA subscribers can then apply for acceptance to the PhotoShelter Collection, an open-but-edited stock photo marketplace that provides professional and amateur photographers with a transparent sales system that gives the photographer 70% of every sale. Images must have at least five keywords and pass through a keyword dictionary where they are clarified. For example, if "orange" is the keyword, the photographer will be asked if it refers to the fruit, color, county or the Syracuse Orangemen. Photographers are guaranteed that no image will ever be licensed for less than $50 and PhotoQuote RM licensing software is used to establish prices for various uses.
Over 13,000 photographers have signed onto the PhotoShelter Collection since its launch five months ago.
PhotoShelter executives have committed $1 million in 2008 to promoting it to image buyers.
The PhotoShelter Personal Archive offers state-of-the-art image security that prevents unauthorized viewing, downloads and image theft, in addition to bulletproof storage and ecommerce capabilities. In addition to image protection, the PSPA system offers users a complete "business-in-a-box" solution. Key features include inexpensive storage add-ons from 10GB for $9.99 per month up to multiple terabyte options, no file-size limits, geographically and locally redundant backup, support for RAW files, ecommerce functionality and the ability to integrate a Personal Archive to power the gallery and sales on a photographer's own Web site. To educate enthusiasts new to the business of photography, PhotoShelter offers users a Learning Center covering topics including copyright infringement, Creative Commons and licensing.
Photographers can create public, password-protected or private galleries to share with contacts. In addition to preventing unauthorized downloads, photographers can upload their personal watermark to overlay each image. Further, photographers can keyword and price images for print, royalty-free and rights-managed sales.
"PhotoShelter is supportive of Flickr as a community of photographers and a resource for sharing photos. Many of our customers love using Flickr and we do too," added Murabayashi. "A PhotoShelter Personal Archive is a complimentary resource for the photo community, where photographers looking to take their images to the next level can archive, protect and sell in a professional venue."