On With Photography Business Building…

First, I want to apologize for not getting this post to you on Monday, like I usually do.  This week has been a little crazy.  I ended up working a 32 hour shift on Tuesday, so anything I typed on Tuesday night or Wednesday would have been completely incoherent.  My boss let me take today as a lieu day for it, since I’m on salary and don’t get any overtime for that insanity.

I was hoping to give you a little photo sidebar post today, but there was one shot that I was patiently waiting for on my lunch, dinner, and other breaks on Tuesday (2 1/2 hours total), but the right car just wouldn’t come by.  Once it does, as I will go back and wait some more, I’ll post it up for you.  It’s probably not as funny in photographs as it is in real life, but I want that shot anyway!

So, back to the site building stuff.  Here’s what we have so far…

  1. We’re registering our photographs.
  2. We have our domain registered.
  3. We have our business name registered.

Now, what we need is to find a host.

Before you go looking for a host, you need to sit down and figure some things out.

  • Am I looking to simply showcase my work, or do I want to sell directly from here?
  • Will this be my primary business presence to the world, or is this secondary to another project (film, acting, etc.)?
  • How much am I willing to pay for this?
  • What elements do I want in my site?
    • HTML5?  CSS?  Flash?  Built-in sales system?
  • Do I want to start with a template and/or customize it from there, or do I want to hire a web designer/coder to make me one from scratch?  The former won’t be as unique, but the latter will be substantially more expensive.  Remember, you can always revamp your site with a web designer later, as finances permit.

You don’t have to know exactly what your site will look like beforehand, but it helps to have a rough idea.  That way, when you go looking for hosts, you’ll know what features you are looking for and what you don’t need.  If you intend to sell your works through a third party (such as Fine Art America, or a stock site like Getty Images), then you may not need to pay more for the ability to sell through your own site.  Just things to consider.

All of the reputable sites have links to sites they are hosting, who are using a given template, so check them out.  Say you go to Host X and like the BigRed template; take a look at the links attached to it, and see what a live site using that template looks like.  It may not wind up looking like what you anticipated.

A few of the major hosts for photographers to consider (and I’m not promoting any in particular, just mentioning them) are:

There are many more, but those are just a few to get you started in your research.  While, as I said, I’m not hyping one over the other, I will say, in the interest of full disclosure, that I am with Photoshelter.  They had the features I liked and the templates that I liked.  Later on, as business picks up, I may go for a web designer, but that’s further on in the scope of things.

If anyone has any others that you know of, add them in the comments.  Who are you with?  What do you think of them?  What’s good, what’s bad?  Tell us!  Let’s make the process a little easier for the new people.

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