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Sales, Exhibitions and Web Presence Discussion of commerce models and processes by which Photography reaches clients and the public.

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  #1  
Old January 7th, 2015, 11:29 AM
Jean Henderson Jean Henderson is offline
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Question New website begs for critique

Hello Everyone,

For openers, my 30 year old son died suddenly on Oct. 14th. I am still working my way into a new normal and have not been able to make any new photos of merit yet. However, during the summers months I was part of a special program that led to an opportunity to apply for a small grant. I got it. Part of it was the funding to develop a new website as I move towards the possibility of becoming an entrepreneur on a part time basis through sales of prints. Yes, I know it must be marketed. That is a whole separate piece.

I used three resources for the tools to create this. GoDaddy.com for domain registration and domain security; Weebly.com Starter Subscription as the web builder (it is drag and drop, not code based); and a Print on Demand site as I do not have the capability nor the resources to handle fulfillment. Those are the pieces.

On Dec. 29th I began the purchase process and quickly moved into the building process. It is rather complete now and I plan to announce it to my world tomorrow. It is far from perfect, but far better than I had dared to hope. As an also relatively brand new smart phone user, I built it all on the computer and then asked a smart phone savvy person who knows how to navigate the mobile sites what they thought of it. I immediately saw things I wanted to fix and came home to do that work.

Anyway, I hope you will be tolerant of the fact that I have not been posting any comments here of late. I began to but then forgot how I had used available resources before in order to post photos that you could all see. At least this on is just a link and it is:

http://www.jeanhendersonart.com/

While I gave myself permission not to become disciplined about creating again until the end of this month, expending the grant funds, especially the preparation of new marketing materials both off and online, has proven to be a good way to transition from total devastation to renewed creativity.

But, mind you, I am not asking for kindness here. Give it to me straight so I can improve it and move closer to my goals.
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Old January 8th, 2015, 08:57 AM
Bill McCarthy Bill McCarthy is offline
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Default website

Enjoyed navigating through the site, you've done nice work,both with the images and setting it up for business. If anything,I think your prices are low. I tried to go on your original site but couldn't. Just wanted to see how the two sites compared. good luck with your launch and let us know how it goes.

Best, Bill
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  #3  
Old January 8th, 2015, 10:33 AM
Jean Henderson Jean Henderson is offline
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Thank you so much Bill for such a quick and thoughtful response. Since we are in the same time zone I am hoping you might see this soon. My prices are too low? Any chance I could PM you my phone number so we could talk and I could quickly make some changes?

PS: The old site is still functioning but it was a viewing only site, no e-commerce, as it was just the base subscription. Don't know why you couldn't get to it, though.
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Old January 8th, 2015, 08:43 PM
Jean Henderson Jean Henderson is offline
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Hello again Bill,

Since I have not heard from you yet, I have gone ahead and raised my prices over what was there at first. I hope I haven't gone too far in the other direction! Thank you kindly for your suggestion.

Also, your response caused me to take a look at your sites since I had not yet run across you here on OPF before. I like your work very much! Some of it taken in very familiar to me places, too.
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Old January 10th, 2015, 07:45 AM
Bill McCarthy Bill McCarthy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean Henderson View Post
Hello again Bill,

Since I have not heard from you yet, I have gone ahead and raised my prices over what was there at first. I hope I haven't gone too far in the other direction! Thank you kindly for your suggestion.

Also, your response caused me to take a look at your sites since I had not yet run across you here on OPF before. I like your work very much! Some of it taken in very familiar to me places, too.
Jean,

Sorry, I've been away. I don't think anyone can set your prices but you. When I saw what you were asking, I just wondered what the cost of on-demand printing was, and what you were expecting from the sales? We all have different ideas about what we want out of our images. Some dream of the great wealth that will come from their high valued prints, and others want to get the greatest number of prints out to the widest (largest ) audience. Many think that a "website" will solve everything.
Last May, I attended a workshop called "Finding an Audience for Your Work." It was presented by photographer and editor of LensWork Magazine, Brook Jenson. It really redirected my thinking, and was extremely useful. It covered everything to do with marketing your work, including Websites and Pricing (and much much more). I've been a subscriber to the hard copy of LensWork for years, and I'm not trying to sell for Jenson, But if you buy into his "On-Line subscription" you have full access to all his video workshops and downloadable text copies of the same. I found it to be both fun to read and extremely insightful.
As a side note, it's probably better to start with low prices (as long as it doesn't look like they have no value) than to have to lower your prices later, like it's a fire sale. I hope this is somewhat helpful, and I know it is extremely time consuming. But, it can be fun. Be sure to have some way of tracking your progress (also covered in the above workshop) so you have a real handle on how you are doing.

Best, Bill
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  #6  
Old January 10th, 2015, 07:57 PM
Jean Henderson Jean Henderson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill McCarthy View Post
Jean,

Sorry, I've been away. I don't think anyone can set your prices but you. When I saw what you were asking, I just wondered what the cost of on-demand printing was, and what you were expecting from the sales? We all have different ideas about what we want out of our images. Some dream of the great wealth that will come from their high valued prints, and others want to get the greatest number of prints out to the widest (largest ) audience. Many think that a "website" will solve everything.
Actually the print on demand prices are not bad at all. Not only did I order samples to satisfy myself, I also recently attended a show locally where the work had been printed to canvas and to metal by the same POD and the photographer had no complaints. Several of the works were reflections of water with various colors that were printed on metal and were quite stunning. But, ah! I won't be able to offer signed prints or limited editions (as they would have to be signed). Trade offs...

As for what I expect, it is to market hard both through the existing site and good old fashioned relationship building. While I would much prefer to print my own, as I have done exclusively up to now, many folks want to go larger than I am able. Besides, I live in a small apartment that lacks any dedicated studio space that would allow me to store needed fulfillment supplies, etc. Print on demand seems like my only option as far as a fulfillment partner goes. I'm just not big enough for another alternative.

Then, too, I have this not yet worked out battle going on inside me. I don't want to sell too low on the one hand, but, on the other, I would like not to price myself so high that the average Joe can't afford at least a small version. It's a bit of a sticky wicket in the long run. My target market is really not the average Joe, but the prime market.

In the last year, at least until October, I put a lot of work into working on my mission, my unique selling value, tag line and a business plan. I have what I would call a two pronged target market. One part is to expand into a nearby community that is more affluent than the one I live in and is very arts oriented in the first place. The second is to direct market to interior designers/arts consultants that are involved both with individual clients and with the healthcare industry.

Quote:
Last May, I attended a workshop called "Finding an Audience for Your Work." It was presented by photographer and editor of LensWork Magazine, Brook Jenson. It really redirected my thinking, and was extremely useful. It covered everything to do with marketing your work, including Websites and Pricing (and much much more). I've been a subscriber to the hard copy of LensWork for years, and I'm not trying to sell for Jenson, But if you buy into his "On-Line subscription" you have full access to all his video workshops and downloadable text copies of the same. I found it to be both fun to read and extremely insightful.
I have the Jenson site opened in my browser but haven't had a chance to look at the preview. It sounds very good, though. Thank you for mentioning it.

Quote:
As a side note, it's probably better to start with low prices (as long as it doesn't look like they have no value) than to have to lower your prices later, like it's a fire sale. I hope this is somewhat helpful, and I know it is extremely time consuming. But, it can be fun. Be sure to have some way of tracking your progress (also covered in the above workshop) so you have a real handle on how you are doing.
Yes, it sounds much easier to start low, but I still saw the wisdom of your suggestion so I decided to raise the prices a bit. They have such odd sizes on the POD site with no cropping (not that I'd want them to, mind you!) but the largest I have printed is 12x18 and have been selling prints only of that size on 13x19 paper for $150 so I made the prices a bit more comparable. The larger sizes are probably still too low, but I will live with those and see how it goes first.

Finally, where in Standish were those fiddleheads taken??? They look delicious! (My aunt lived first in Steep Falls then later in Standish just 3 houses from the post office on the way down the hill to Sebago.)
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  #7  
Old January 11th, 2015, 05:03 PM
Bill McCarthy Bill McCarthy is offline
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Sounds like you are doing a great job and off to a good start.

I should have looked up the lenswork site for you, I think that it is www.lensworkonline.com and I think it is about $60 a year. Thanks for going so deeply into my website, the fiddleheads were from a field off whites bridge road in Standish.

Best, Bill
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  #8  
Old January 11th, 2015, 09:00 PM
Jean Henderson Jean Henderson is offline
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Thanks for the compliment about my progress Bill! Thanks, too, for the link.

I only get to Maine once a year these days -- usually in August or September. If you are around then and not too far from Gray, maybe we could meet up if you are willing.

I really appreciate your feedback overall!

Warmly,
Jean
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