This week Photoshelter’s Photography 2.0 came to San Francisco as part of their City Tour campaign. With the momentum of four previous events, an all-star collection of participating speakers, a well orchestrated video log of previous speakers & panels on the Photoshelter blog and a variety photographers blogging about the event the attendees were primed and ready to experience everything Photoshelter.
Three components of this event were notable…
Both the founders of Photoshelter, Grover Sanschagrin and Allen Murabayashi, were quite straight forward with their offerings and agenda. Clearly the incentive was to provide access to great photographers, industry resources, and Photoshelter staff, but with out any hesitation to be honest about their intentions… increasing subscribership and to pursue quality photographers for their new stock offering Photoshelter Collection. The fact that no one’s intelligence was insulted by this transparency made for a very enjoyable and refreshing event.
Interspersed through out the event were several breaks to meet and greet other photographers in attendance, speakers, and Photoshelter staff. This ease of access facilitated networking and knowledge transfer opportunities. If that weren’t enough a the conclusion of the event dinner and drinks were provided.
3. Business Acumen
The business of photography is anything but straight forward. The real life practical experiences shared by the down to earth presenters helped keep the interaction conversational between all in the room. Allen, on top of current events and industry trends, had a firm command of the proceedings as master of ceremony and chief representative of Photoshelter. Grover, less polished in his public speaking, none-the-less spoke to overall functionality and product offerings with equivalent command. The combined business and technical knowledge created an aura of professionalism that in my mind has set Photoshelter apart from other start-up events I’ve attended.
Photoshelter executed Web Marketing 2.0 to near perfection with this event, giving most in attendance a warm and fuzzy feeling. As a photographer and marketing professional I was impressed with the solid organization of the event, well thought agenda and quality of the speakers. I’m inherently a skeptic when it comes to new technologies and services, but this format got me to come around pretty quickly.
So what did I get out of this event?
For one I got better insight into their business model, product offering and vision of the future. I’m still not convinced it’s a perfect model, offering or vision, but what is? As far as what I’m interested in pursuing in regard to stock photography sales Photoshelter Collection is looking very attractive. I’m not sold on the Archive product offering (see their site for more info), but I will likely try it out as I currently am with Digital Railroad. As part of the attendance packet a two month free service coupon was provided. That is enough to get me to try their Archive solution.
Photoshelter Collection, is the product offering generating the most buzz, and has caught my eye along with numerous other photographers. Photoshelter Collection is “an edited open marketplace for commercial stock images” (as noted on their web site) where photographers keep 70% of their sales. Unlike other sites Photoshelter has been quite transparent in promising to market the Photoshelter Collection with a million dollar marketing budget. It’s a very compelling offering considering recent developments in the industry, but its also a vague proposition.
Who is the Photoshelter Collection going to be marketed to?
As discussed through out the event… photo buyers, but thats pretty vague.
One other thing that has me concerned… marketing doesn’t guarantee sales nor traffic.
Another thing that makes me uneasy is the notion of a seller based pricing model behind Photoshelter Collection. There will be FotoQuote based pricing recommendations, but ultimately photographers determine price. After talking with Allen it doesn’t appear that restrictions will be put in place to limit other photographers from severely undercutting other photographers. The upside of traditional stock agencies is a fairly solid pricing structure. The notion of thousands of photographers in an edited collection managing price seems like a risky proposition. A system based on open market pricing makes sense in an ideal world, but I’m not sure how well it will work in the end. A lot will depend on the experience level of those accepted into the Collection.
When I asked Allen what will separate Photoshelter Collection from the competition the reply was, “fresh content”. As mentioned numerous times through out the event, photo buyers have been adamant in asking for fresh content and this is what Photoshelter Collection plans to provide. On one hand this is great to hear if it keeps photo buyers coming back for more, but it also leaves one wondering how Photoshelter will manage this without alienating photographers. Another key question,”What is fresh?”. I didn’t get a chance to ask that question, perhaps if Allen finds this post he’ll be kind enough to answer otherwise time will tell.
All questions and opinions aside I wanted to be sure to thank Allen and Grover for putting together an excellent event. The speakers here in San Francisco were great and from what I’m seeing in the NY videos they had quality speakers all around. To hear the perspective of established photographers whether historical or current, to hear and learn from photo buyers and to be able to ask questions directly to Photoshelter staff was a great opportunity. Thanks guys!
[tags]Photoshelter, Photography 2.0, Photoshelter Collection, business, stock, photography, stock photography, Grover Sanschagrin, Allen Murabayashi [/tags]