Guide Advises Photographers How to License Their Images for Social Media

To help photographers get fair compensation for photos used across social media platforms, PhotoShelter has released an educational guide, Licensing Your Photos For Social Media. The free guide was produced in partnership with the portrait photography community, Pursuit of Portraits.

cover of PhotoShelter guide on licensing social media

The guide can be downloaded free here: http://bit.ly/2ysZG3A

In the guide, you’ll get a firsthand look at the ever-evolving business side of social media, with insights from influential photographers, photographer representatives, design agencies and brands.

“Photos are the cornerstone of social media success and photographers must be nimble, understand the opportunity each platform provides, and know how to push for the fees they deserve,” says PhotoShelter CEO Andrew Fingerman. “This guide is meant to get photographers thinking about just that.”

The guide includes
– Examples of how creative influencers are leveraging large followings to make money
– Contract-negotiation tips from a photographer representative
– Social media-specific licensing language to consider including in contracts
– Insights into what design agencies and brands look for when hiring photographers for social media content

Comments throughout the guide make it clear that photographers must continue to adapt to the ever-evolving social-media landscape. Social-media platforms are continuing to develop features for monetization and photographers can offer but ancillary services in addition to photography.

Licensing Your Photos For Social Media is the latest in PhotoShelter’s ongoing series of free business guides for photographers and marketing professionals. PhotoShelter’s e-book library includes more than 60 educational guides on topics such as photo contests, email marketing, publishing photo books, and mapping out a photo business plan.

The PhotoShelter platform gives professional photographers an easy way to store images, create beautiful websites, deliver work, and sell or license photos.

Pursuit of Portraits is a global creative community that unites portrait photographers and enthusiasts of all skill levels and backgrounds, facilitates collaboration, and fosters supportive relationships within this creative community.

Brand Storytelling Agency Opens Creative Studio for Visuals

Pace, a large, independently owned brand storytelling agency, has opened a 2,900 sq. ft. studio space for video, photography, editing, collaboration, and creative innovation. Adjacent to the agency’s office in Greensboro, North Carolina, the studio space is called “The Outskirts.”

The expansive, airy studio is an inspiring environment for all types of teams to collaborate and create compelling work for the national and global brands Pace serves. The studio includes:

–Ideation and innovation labs to explore virtual and augmented reality, 360-degree video, and multi-dimensional animation
–a client collaboration lounge and social bar
–Edit bays and stop-motion and retouching labs
–a 25-foot cyclorama (cyc) wall for photo and video shoots

With the new studio, Pace is prepared to meet the growing demand for new forms of digital media.  In addition to custom photography services, Pace can support live-stream interviews and presentations, cinemagraphs and loop videos, broadcast-quality video finishing and editing, stop-motion videos, 360-degree video capture and editing, set design, newsroom editing and publishing, social content, and more.

“The Outskirts is a resource for any and all clients,” said Jason Whiting, president of Pace. “Pace can develop visual storytelling with amazing quality that delivers on a diverse set of creative needs, channels, and price points across digital, broadcast, social media, and events.”

Visual storytelling is becoming an increasingly important element of brand communications. According to a 2017 study published by Google, one in three adults between the ages of 18 and 54 view video from mobile devices and that number is growing. AdWeek reported that 47 percent of brands publish four branded videos each month.

According to Pace executives , the name The Outskirts is an “invitation for thinkers and dreamers to mine great ideas from the furthest reaches of their imagination.”

“Creative ideas are born and nurtured in space like this,” said Cinnamon Pritchard, VP Executive Creative Director.”The Outskirts is going to be a garden for great ideas —to shape them, grow them, and send them out into the world.”

The Pace creative agency develops integrated experiences for a diverse client base that includes some of the world’s most iconic brands. It has more than 370 employees and offices in: Dallas and San Antonio, Texas; Greensboro, North Carolina; New York City; and Bentonville, Arkansas.

Contena Can Help You Build Your Freelance Writing Business

It is possible to earn a decent living as an independent writer. But only if you approach it more like a freelance writing business than a sideline gig.

It’s not enough to simply enjoy writing. You also need to know what type of writing is currently in demand and have expertise in topics other than writing.

Then, of course, you need connections to clients who will pay good money for above-average content from writers who don’t need much training to get started.

Without a business-like approach to finding a few good, steady clients, you can quickly find yourself doing nothing but low-paying jobs for difficult clients. Or, you could spend more time seeking work than working for pay.

 

illustration of freelance writer at keyboard
Copyright: greyjj / 123RF Stock Photo

One company that can help you get up to speed on the business of freelance writing  is Contena. This subscription-based platform offers online training and coaching plus a steady stream of inks to job openings for independent writers.

Contena Academy

The six modules in Contena’s online academy explain strategies for building a steady income, creating writing samples, building a portfolio, crafting article pitches, and landing  the best clients. Many freelance writers spend months learning these skills the hard way — through a lot of painful trial and error.

Contena Scout

The Scout service helps you find the best available writing jobs by category, pay, and other criteria. Listings include part-time, full-time, and temporary writing assignments in fields such as education, real estate, business, health, and marketing.  Recent job postings included health news writers, web copywriters, science content editors, social studies curriculum writers, and tech and gadget reviewers.

Contena Scout screen grab

Contena Submissions

If you prefer coming up with your own ideas for articles, you can pitch story ideas to publishers listed on Contena’s Submissions section. This section lists companies that pay for submitted articles.

Contena Alerts

Contena Alerts will notify you about jobs that arise in your area of expertise. If you apply quickly and provide writing samples that reflect your knowledge, you can increased your odds of winning that job.

Contena Coaching

One challenge of working independently is that you don’t have supervisors encouraging you to continuously update and improve your skills. If a freelance client is unhappy with the quality of your work, they simply hire someone else. If you subscribe to the Platinum level service, your Contena coach will review your pitches and writing samples and provide constructive feedback for refinement. Your coach can also work with you on effective marketing materials.

Like Online Dating: You’re Seeking Good Matches

Freelance writers build successful businesses by developing lasting relationships with a few wonderful clients who pay them well for a defined amount of work each month. So, subscribing to Contena can be like joining an online dating service.

Contena can help you identify good matches for your specific writing skills. But it’s up to you to build the long-term professional relationships that can help your writing business grow. If you connect with clients that will pay you thousands of dollars each year (and provide word-of-mouth referrals), you won’t need to subscribe to Contena for long.

And once you build a steady, predictable income from a few good clients, you will feel more comfortable devoting a few hours a week on personal writing projects that might never pay off. If you are just starting out as an independent writer, you will soon learn that time is your most precious resource.

If you squander too much time chasing low-paying jobs, the amount of income you can earn each year will be limited. So be smart. Consider getting some training and coaching before you start pursuing the best prospects for your business.

For more information about Contena, click here.

Pixels.com Offers Alternative to Traditional Art Licensing

If you would like to sell more of your designs, art, or photographs, now is a great time to check out everything that’s possible through Pixels.com. Their “set-your-own-price” alternative to traditional art licensing gives you greater control over how much you can earn from the sale of your images.

Pixels.com is global print-on-demand marketplace that allows design enthusiasts to choose which images they would like to have printed on more than 25 different products, including framed prints, metal prints, wood prints, greeting cards, T-shirts, hoodies, tote bags, duvet covers, men’s apparel, women’s apparel, throw pillows, shower curtains, beach towels, smartphone cases, and more.

Custom tote bag with starfish image by Katherine Young
Tote bag printed with image by Katherine Young-Beck

Pixels handles all the details associated with printing, matting, framing, packaging, shipping, insuring, and customer service. Orders placed through Pixels.com go to one of 14 production facilities in 5 countries around the world. This makes it easy to print and ship your products to customers anywhere in the world. For example, if a buyer in Germany orders a product decorated with one of your images, the product will be printed and shipping a facility in The Netherlands.

The Pixels site, which attracts 5 million unique visitors per month, typically receives a surge or orders in November and December from holiday gift givers.

You Set Your Own Prices

Unlike licensing deals in which the publisher sets the price and dictates the amount of royalties you will receive, Pixels.com lets you set the price for the products made with your images.

As a seller, you will see a base price that covers production and fulfillment costs for each item. The amount you add as the mark-up will be the selling price. When the product sells, you earn 100 percent of the markup amount.

You can also choose which of your images you will permit to be printed on which products. For example, a high-resolution nature photograph that looks spectacular as a large metal print might not look the same on a beach towel or duvet cover.

Pixels.com was founded by Sean Broihier, the self-taught programming whiz who started the Fine Art America platform in 2006. Pixels.com complements the Fine Art America site by appealing to a broader base of customers who may be interested in photo merchandise, fashion apparel and accessories, and home decor items.

Sean Broihier was one of the first e-commerce entrepreneurs to enable all living artists to sell their artwork online. He said the “set-your-own-business-model” has been a big driver of the growth of the platform: “It has always been my opinion that artists should be able to set their prices as high or as low as they want to.” If an art publisher chooses to sell a canvas print for $50 and offers artists a 10% royalty, the artists shouldn’t have to decide whether or not they are willing to accept $5 for the sale of their art on the prints.

Multiple Options for Sales and Marketing

Over the past 11  years, Broihier has really listened to the concerns of artists and photographers who sell their work on the site. So he has continuously developed tools that enable you to adapt to all the different ways that art is now discovered, promoted, and purchased.

For example, here are just a few of your options. You can:

  • Sell Pixel’s print-on-demand products through your own Shopify store.
  • Sell print-on-demand products through your own branded storefront hosted by Pixels.com
  • License individual images and set your own terms for royalty-free and rights-managed licenses.
  • License images for streaming to digital displays.
  • Connect directly with buyers who express interest in buying one of your originals.
  • Print sample products for display at art fairs or in your studio. You can also print sell sheets that show potential buyers how your art will look of various products and explain how they can order them.
  • Publish news releases, blog posts, e-newsletters, and e-mail marketing programs through Pixels.com.
  • Run automated marketing campaigns on Facebook and Twitter

You can even use an iPad app as a sales tool. If a potential buyer of your art wants to preview how it might look on their walls, your can use the augmented reality interface on the Pixels.com iPad app.

The Pixels app takes the guesswork out of buying art online. After the customer the size of the print and how it will be matted and framed, the buyer can view an actual-size preview on their own walls. They can even see what the finished product will look like from different angles within the room.

Everything the viewer sees is perfectly to scale. For instance, a 24 x 36 inch canvas print will appear on the wall at exactly 24 x 36 inches. As the individual walks around the room, the app uses the iPad’s video camera and a unique tracking algorithm to keep the image perfectly positioned in the desired location on the wall.

Pixels.com also has deals with retailers such as Deck the Walls, The Great Frame Up, and the Framing and Art Center to sell artwork at more than 150 retail locations in the U.S. and Canada.  Plus, Pixels.com has special programs available for large-volume buyers in the hospitality and design fields.

Special Features

If you want to see the types of art that buyers purchase through the Pixels.com each day, you can see it. Pixels.com also publishes real-time comments and reviews from customers who are (and aren’t) totally satisfied with the ordered products.

You can also join online communities of like-minded artists.  The site includes more than 1900 groups dedicated to topics such as office decor, self-promotion, historical buildings, the Adirondacks, orchids, and photographs edited to look like paintings.    

If you would rather spend your time creating more art than worrying about how to get it reproduced, promoted, and sold, Pixels.com can help.

The site was set up to power sales everywhere artwork is bought and sold: “It doesn’t matter if you want to hang your artwork, carry it, wear it, license it, or stream it.” Millions of buyers all over the world decorate their homes and accessorize their lives with Pixels products

Research Shows Stable Hiring Environment for Creative Professionals

The employment outlook for creative talent is expected to remain relatively steady in the second half of 2017, according to a survey of advertising and marketing executives by The Creative Group staffing firm.

Just 9 percent of the executives surveyed said they plan to expand their teams. The majority (64 percent) anticipate maintaining staff levels and hiring primarily to fill vacated roles.  About 4 percent of executives said they planned to reduce positions and 21 percent said they would be freezing employment (not filling vacated positions or creating new positions).

The executives who said they plan to add staff will be adding employees in one or more positions, including:

  • Account services: 24 percent
  • Mobile design/development: 21 percent
  • Marketing research: 21 percent
  • Public relations: 20 percent
  • Social media: 19 percent
  • Customer experience: 18 percent
  • Web design/production: 18 percent
  • Digital marketing: 18 percent
  • Print design/production: 18 percent
  • Brand/product management: 17 percent
  • Interactive media: 17 percent
  • Copywriting: 16 percent
  • Media services: 16 percent
  • Content marketing: 15 percent
  • Creative/art direction: 14 percent

Recruiting Challenges Persist

Forty-five percent of advertising and marketing executives said it’s challenging to find creative professionals today. Hiring managers at large advertising agencies (100 or more employees) expect the greatest difficulty, with 67 percent reporting it’s somewhat or very challenging to identify the talent they seek. According to survey, the hardest roles to fill are those in media services, customer experience, and account services.

To overcome recruiting challenges, companies may expand their search geographically. Forty-five percent of executives said they are now more willing to look outside their city or state to find the right person for a creative position than they were three years ago.

“Demand for digital content and services continues to grow, and companies struggle to find professionals well-versed in the latest platforms and strategies used to create unique and positive customer experiences,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. “Given strong competition for these highly skilled individuals, employees need to take a proactive and streamlined hiring approach to secure top talent.”

The Creative Group Blog offers tips on hiring creative professionals in a competitive market and advice for job-seekers.

About the Research

The national study was developed by The Creative Group and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on more than 400 telephone interviews — with approximately 200 marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees, and 200 advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees.

The Creative Group specializes in connecting interactive, design, marketing, advertising, and public relations talent with the best companies on a project, contract-to-hire, and full-time basis. Visit roberthalf.com/creative group.

The Creative Group Hiring Climate Infographic

 

 

Online Art Sales Reach $3.75 Billion in 2016

If you sell art online, you might be encouraged by some online art sales statistics reported in the 2017 Hiscox Online Art Trade Report. Hiscox is an international provider of specialized insurance to small businesses and property owners.

According to the Hiscox report, online art sales reached an estimated $3.75 billion in 2016, up 15 percent from 2015. This gives the online art market an 8.4 percent share of the overall art market (up from 7.4 percent in 2015).

The online art market is predicted to reach $9.14 billion by 2022.

“For those who say the online art market has had its day, it hasn’t even had it’s morning yet. It’s still waking up,” says Robert Read, head of art and private clients at Hiscox.

 

Cover art: Insecticide 13 by Mat Collishaw (photogravure etching, 2009), purchased through an online platform by Hiscox in 2017.

 

Key Findings

Most online sales are for works priced below $5,000. In the 2017 survey, 79 percent of online art buyers said they spend less than $5,000 per piece. This is up from 67 percent in 2015.

People who have purchased art online once continue to buy art online. About 65 percent of previous online art buyers purchased more than one artwork in 2016.

Fully 91 percent of online art buyers surveyed said the quality of art available is one of the most important elements in their decision to buy art online. They reject the notion that the online art market is a dumping ground for works that can’t be sold offline.

Some art lovers continue to be hesitant about buying art online. Some fear the physical art will look different from the online image. Or, buyers worry that the condition of the artwork might be different from what was anticipated.  About 73 percent of the hesitant buyers surveyed said they would like to speak to a human expert before making a decision to buy art online. Others would be interested in reviews and feedback from previous clients. Shipping options and return policies also matter.

Instagram has overtaken Facebook as the preferred social media platform for promoting and discovering art. Fifty-seven percent of art galleries said Instagram is the most effective in terms of raising awareness. About 35 percent of galleries said Instagram is driving direct sales, compared to only 7 percent of respondents who mentioned Facebook.

About $720 million in online art sales in 2016 came through online auctions by Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Heritage Auctions. This represents about 19 percent of online art sales.

For most traditional galleries, e-commerce isn’t  a major sales channel. About 59% said online purchases account for less than 5 percent of their sales. The 18 percent of galleries that derive most of the sales from direct online sales deal in collectibles such as watches, design, furniture, and photography.

About 49 percent of galleries who sell art online do so through a third-party e-commerce platform.

Some online art platforms (29 percent) have either established a brick-and-mortar gallery space or are thinking about doing so.

What’s Next?

The report predicts online auctions will become a key battlefield this year. Virtually every online art platform has started to offer an online auction services.

To help further grow the market, online art platforms will seek ways to build trust with current and potential buyers. Expect them to offer buyers more background information the artist and the object. They may also boost the educational experience by producing more informative and interesting content.

Methodology and More Information

The 2017 Hiscox Online Art Trade report is based on a survey of 758 art buyers from ArtTactic’s client mailing list and a survey of 132 galleries and dealers representing a wide range of art and collectibles. The report also includes insights from one-to-one interviews and online surveys of key staff at online art platforms.

In the free, downloadable report you can also find profiles and ranking of the Top 25 Online Art Platforms.

To further educate both art buyers and artists, Hiscox publishes informative posts on Online Art Market Insights.

 

Freelancing Guide Explains Financial Considerations in Plain English

Some people envision freelancing as an escape from some of the more unpleasant aspects of full-time work — difficult bosses, office politics, rigid schedules, daily commutes, and unrewarding work. The truth is: freelancing may not really be much of an escape.

Yes, you do get the flexibility to work when and where you want to. But you won’t always be doing work that you love. Often, you must act as your own accountant, marketing person, and IT guy.  (Your computer will crash when your workload is the heaviest and the deadlines are the tightest.) Freelancing can quickly become like a never-ending job search as you keep your eye out for new opportunities and write proposals for potential new clients.

Freelancing Guide Symbols

Unless you prepare yourself for the realities of freelancing, you may struggle with an unstable and unpredictable cash flow, unexpected expenses, and the challenges of doing unfulfilling work for many difficult bosses.

Ultimate Freelancer’s Guide Tackles Financial Angles

So before you ditch a relatively decent and stable full-time job, you might want to take a deeper look at some of the financial realities.  One good place to start is “The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Getting Jobs, Getting Paid, and Getting Ahead.” The guide was published by The Simple Dollar, a top personal finance blog.

The guide consolidates a lot of practical advice about some of the pain points and long-term challenges. For example:

  • Income isn’t guaranteed.
  • Not every hour you work is billable.
  • Employers don’t pay for your benefits (including holidays and vacations).
  • Financial due diligence is a must.

The guide notes that, “You need a head for business, especially when it comes to finances and expenses. It’s not just about taxes; you also have to learn about accounting, billing, licensing, and contracts. All of that extra work can be tough if you’re slammed during work hours with freelance projects.”

Useful Advice

In the section of the guide about “Business Structure and Registration,” the authors discuss the advantages of formally establishing a business if you’re planning to build a long-term freelance career: “A registered business can shield you from personal liability and provide tax advantages. Less tangible (but equally important), a registered business builds legitimacy, so your clients forget you’re working from home in your pajamas.”

In the guide, you’ll learn about the need to set aside sufficient funds for estimated quarterly taxes and retirement. Setting aside funds can be difficult because when you freelance: “It’s tough to predict when money will come in and easy to say, ‘I’ll save when it does.'” Many new freelancers forget about taxes and some report that they haven’t been able to pay their taxes at some point.

In order to stay in the black throughout the year, you need to book a variety of projects and should know where your work will be coming from for at least the next six months.

When pricing your work, don’t make the mistake of basing your rate on the salary you earned as a full-time employee. Your take-home pay didn’t take into account some of the new expenses you will face as freelancer, such as FICA taxes, health insurance, materials, and travel.

If you are offered a project that will take several months to complete, don’t be afraid to ask for an up-front deposit. Your client shouldn’t expect you to devote months of your time to an assignment, then wait an additional 30 to 50 days after the project is finished to get paid.

The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guide consolidates a wealth of other practical advice about

  • managing your finances
  • what to do if you’re not getting paid
  • setting your freelance rate
  • how to find great freelance jobs and submit proposals
  • building your brand, portfolio, and professional network

Whether you choose to build a career as a freelancer or find yourself doing freelance work out of necessity, The Simple Dollar offers sound financial advice. Their tips and recommended resources can help you avoid some painful lessons that can wreak havoc on your bank account.