There are so many different photography websites offering to give you the opportunity to sell photographs. Do they really work? I took a closer look at one of the websites called Photo4Me, which I’ve been using for several years. I asked some of the photographers who contribute to the website to give me their feedback.
I’ve consolidated and commented on the responses below.
1 – How long have you been using P4M as a photographer?
I got a wide range of responses here, from 2 weeks to 7 years.
2 – Why did you join Photo4Me?
As expected most people responded with the purpose of joining Photo4Me to sell photos – no surprise there! However I was more interested in the responses which took this a little further.
A couple of the responses included the fact that you get access to see and follow amazing photographers who have fresh ideas and different perspectives.
Share with like-minded people
It’s also just a great way to be seen! Do you want your photos to sit on a hard drive or only seen by the typically small amount of followers you have on social media, who all very kindly tell you that your photos are amazing – or do you want to share with like-minded people and get real feedback on your images?
Ok – I do both!
I also enjoy the monthly newsletter and checking out the blog – it’s a great way to connect, share and learn.
It also gives you the opportunity to dip your toe into the commercial arena. Get used to what is required and how to prepare your images for internet sales. Take a closer look at the top selling area. Admittedly there seems to be a niche for aircraft, but check out the other images – what sells? Why do you think it’s selling?
3 – What do you like about the site?
For the buyer
It’s a professional looking site and becoming fairly well know in the UK. It’s clean and simple to navigate, the placement of the photo in a room helps to give the buyer a sense of size when they are making their decision, which is very useful.
For the photographer
It’s also free for photographers to join, with no basic and premium packages, which is a rarity nowadays.
The back-end functionality has greatly improved over the years and Jon and Mike (who run the site) are always looking to improve it.
4 – What improvements would you suggest to Jon and Mike?
Jon and Mike are great, they are always looking for feedback and suggestions.
Monthly Photographer Feature
A monthly feature covering an ‘interview’ giving details of the photographer background, what inspires them plus featuring some of their best shots. This ensures some exposure of individuals and allows users to interact even more with the website.
Tools to help the photographer catalogue and manage their images
Folders could be added to the back-end site for the photographer which would enable better cataloguing of images and allow us to manage our portfolios with different areas for different types of photos. We could then break up our portfolio into manageable chunks and direct potential buyers to a specific part of a portfolio.
A couple of people talk about how they don’t ‘push’ their portfolio. They want to, but it’s difficult to link the relevant topic directly to the relevant part of a portfolio. I think with a portfolio that is clearly split into manageable sections for the viewer to navigate photographers would be able to get it ‘out there’ much more.
Have a theme
Rotating different themes on the website; things to go with the coming seasons or holidays, or quite simply; sunsets, transport, architecture to name just a few. It encourages different types of uploads, but also it will allow for photos uploaded a while ago to reappear on the main pages and provide inspiration for buyers who may want to buy photos based on a certain theme.
Voting system re-think
I think the voting system has always been a hot topic. I like the idea, but the general consensus is that the current system encourages ‘like for like’ voting and pushes images that may not be the best, to the top of the search engine, at the cost of other (potentially better) images.
5 – Would you recommend this site to other photographers?
Annette – Yes, even though I haven’t sold anything, it’s definitely a good starting point for non-established and established photographers to display their work. It’s not the fastest moving site and not really international enough, there do appear to be sales they are very specific judging by the recent data. So although a “Yes” I would also point them towards other sites too.
Mary – Yes.
Nick – I certainly would. The downside of that is more competition and less chance your work may be seen.
Stephen – Yes, I often do recommend the site.
Tony – I have!
Thanks to the photographers who contributed to this post. Here’s a little more about them.
Annette’s portfolio is bright and bold with stunning photos from all around the world. A small but growing portfolio I particularly love the UK pictures, I noticed some great coastal ones added recently from around the Seven Sisters.
Mary has a stunning mix of colourful animal and landscape photography, I also noticed a trend with sailing ships and crashing waves.
Nick may have only joined Photo4Me a short while ago, but his portfolio is already bursting with the colour of UK landscapes; amazing waterfalls, rolling hills and breath-taking coastlines.
Stephen has a great selection of beautiful landscapes covering mainly Norfolk and parts of Suffolk. As I look through his portfolio I am drawn to the beautiful and quintessential English landscapes, a large selection of quality landscapes. To find out more about Stephen you can also check out his personal website stephenmolephotos.com
I really enjoy looking through Tony’s portfolio, his use of colour and composition is very atmospheric with some great and unusual angles.
And of course I have a portfolio as well.
I’m constantly thinking of photo artistry; as an artist who paints as well as a photographer. However if I’m honest, my real enjoyment is being able to capture the amazing place I live; Great Britain. My relatively new Instagram page (#latereview) is all about ‘Celebrating life in the UK’ and my Photo4Me portfolio is a growing selection of my best and favourite landscapes.
I hope you’ve found this article both interesting and useful. I personally am a huge fan of Photo4Me and I do sell some photos through it. Could I do better? Yes. Could the website do better? Yes – but Jon and Mike are improving the website as they go along, so I’m looking forward to see how it develops and grows. I feel we’re all going in the right direction!