16 Feb Photographic Magazine
Some producers of massive number of images, such as wedding and events photographers have seen the nature of their businesses change in recent years. Many clients have adapted to viewing images on screen, and receiving CD’s or e-mail proofs instead of hard copy. A new service being offered for photographers by Piction.com is the facility to show large numbers of images on secure, personalised Web sites with e-commerce facilities.
Using sophisticated Oracle database technology integrated with an advanced customisable search engine, Piction.com provides “an interactive marketing environment for the photographer”. So what does this mean in the real world and how does it work? Effectively the system can be adapted to your situation. Look at the example of Sydney photographer, Mark Lee, who does a lot of event and conference work with business executives who fly in from overseas and fly out again almost immediately afterwards. In one week recently, Lee shot three separate groups of business executives, totaling about 3000 people, over a period of five days, from Monday to Friday. Most of these people left the country the next day. The film was processed and burnt to a CD that was then passed on to Piction.com on the Saturday. By the Monday all the images were on display on a secure site which piggybacked onto the Piction.com site. Lee then sent out e-mails (while he was shooting, Lee had collected all the addresses) to the 300 people, notifying them that the images were ready. Shopping trolleys on the site enabled easy ordering. Lee’s first order arrived on the Wednesday. One CEO ordered 75 10×8-inch images of a group shot of 70 executives. Using conventional technology, Lee would never have been able to provide the same sort of service and facility for 300 clients stationed all over the globe, at least not in such a short time frame. In conference/event work, immediacy is a key element for reprint orders. When clients have gone overseas, this has always been a challenge. The arrival of Piction.com’s services is timely. Lee now has the sort of facility he wanted for servicing his overseas Olympic clients.
Another possible scenario with Piction.com is for wedding photography. Traditionally the process of reordering prints from weddings is cumbersome, with access to proof images usually only made available through the bridal couple or a parent. To bypass this bottleneck process, a photographer can organise a site with logos and personalised touches that make it look like a wedding couple’s own space. (The site can piggyback onto the photographer’s own web site or onto that of Piction.com). Images can be uploaded onto the site and then vetted by the couple. The couple can add their own audio, comments and set up their own e-mail invitations to view their wedding images on the site. Family, guests and friends can then browse at their leisure, make selections, and order prints direct from the photographer.
When Piction.com decided to set up, it spent over six months talking to professional photographers to find out their problems, needs and wish lists. It can easily deal with issues such as numbering a batch of films that come back from a lab each numbered 1-24 or 1-36. The traditional numbering system for film creates ordering and reconciliation issues with many rolls of film from the same job. Piction.com has resolved many of the issues that arise, including copying. Lee said that the small screen images look fine, but if you enlarge them, you can clearly see the watermarking. This deters illegal copying.
Other major features of Piction.com include freedom of choice for the photographer. They can choose their own suppliers with labs, album manufacturers and albums, rather than being locked into a system. There are also no limits to the number of images or sites that can be attached to their personal site or Piction.com. Pricing deals with Piction.com are also negotiable. There are packages for a maximum number of images per year, a “user pays” system (as with Mark Lee), or a consignment/commission package (in the case of a small number of images for sale as photo art).
Demonstrations of Piction.com are available over the phone. You just need two lines (one for the Internet, one for the phone) or one internet line and a mobile. For more information, contact Piction.com, ph: (02) 8912 2151, fax: (02) 9901 4244, www.piction.com, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.