Professional Photographer Magazine Web Exclusives

Online presence and ways it can work for you

If there’s truth to the maxim, it may explain why online photo hosting services are flourishing as the world becomes more familiar and more comfortable with digital imagery and sharing photos online with friends and family. Globally, more individuals are shopping, comparing, planning and conducting their business online. The Internet offers not just include specific products, but also services, including those of the professional photographer.

For the professional photographer offering online photo albums creates a great impression. Clients and their family and friends can view, share, and order photos, adding more sales via reprint orders and referrals for future business.

As the Internet grows, so goes the traffic to image hosting sites of all types. According to research conducted in September of 2005 by NetRatings, Inc., a global leader in Internet media and market research, image hosting sites have grown by 406 percent to accommodate more than 14.7 million unique users since January 2005. This accounts for nearly 10 percent of active U.S. Internet users.

“With the advent of digital photography, the demand of online posting has increased. Couples are expecting to see their weddings online for friends and families to see and order the images” says Kevin Casey, president and founder of Collages.net, an Internet image-hosting service catering to wedding and event photographers.

“Families want to be able to share their yearly portrait sitting with all of their family—throughout the U.S. and even the world! “

Clay Blackmore, a photographer in Rockville, Md., has utilized an online showcase and says he has seen a big increase in additional reprint orders from event guests. According to Blackmore, using an online photo service has added variety to his offerings, and that has translated into more sales and happy customers.