Mar 282008

PhotoShelter - I <3 Photos<3 Photos” />It’s been around nine months or so since I started to work at PhotoShelter, and I’m having a great time. When I first started here, we were a company of less than ten people in a small office near Madison Square Park (and Shake Shack). I didn’t have a desk as much as I was sharing portions of two other peoples’ desks. A month or so after I started, we moved down to Union Square on the second floor of the Decker Building. While we did move away from Shake Shack, we did end up overlooking the Greenmarket in Union Square, one of the first farmer’s markets in New York City. We’ve also grown–there over 25 full-time employees!

I’ve worked on a lot of interesting projects here. For example, not only have I learned how to use Apple’s development environment Cocoa, but also I’ve learned the intricacies of international tax law and how it applies to royalties. (Do you know what W8-BEN and 1042-S forms are? I do!)

Our largest project in the past year has been the launch of the PhotoShelter Collection, a photo licensing site. Photographers submit their photos to us, and after our editors review the photos the photos are made available for purchase. There are over 15,000 photographers from over 120 countries, and we add over 4,000 images each day. There are many competitors in this market, and our goal is to offer buyers images they can’t get elsewhere while respecting photographers by acting in a transparent manner.

We currently have a promotion running where new buyers can get 20% off of any purchases for three months. I think the site is very easy to use as a buyer, and it’s even possible to license images for personal use. The Collection does not sell prints or merchandise; the photo is provided as a digital file.

[In the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that there is a fun contest in the office as to who can refer the most buyers this month. That being said, please do not flood the site with bogus registrations on my behalf! :-)]

We are also always looking for new photographers to submit images. You can join as a photographer with no risk or costs. We offer photographers a 70% commission on all image sales, and we work with our photographers as well as if not better than any other company in our business. Most of the founders of the company have worked as professional photographers, so we have a strong appreciation for their work and photography in general.

If you are a photographer but aren’t interested in having PhotoShelter sell your images through the Collection, you may also want to consider setting up a Personal Archive account. Quite frankly, it’s crazy to not back your images off-site if you are a professional photographer. Heck, it’s even crazy if you are a hobbyist that really cares about your photos. I feel strongly about this issue: I try to tell every photographer I know that even if they don’t store their photos at PhotoShelter, then at least back them up with one of our competitors. PhotoShelter allows you to set up a free account with 50MB of storage space, so you can easily check it out without paying anything. And, if you decide to go with the Standard or Pro accounts, you can integrate PhotoShelter into your own website with e-commerce.

Rachel HulinOne of our recent hires is Rachel Hulin; she is in charge of Shoot the Blog! I read it throughout the day–her commentary is spot on. Without the blog, I would have never run across this photo shoot with a lion.

PhotoShelter is a great company to work for. The folks here are smart, the location is terrific, and we try to do the right thing. I believe in our products, and hope that other folks like using our site as much as I enjoy working here.

 Posted by at 6:32 pm

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