The world of professional photography has come a long way since the days of the darkroom and Ektachrome film. Although there are traditionalists who still swear by film photography, advances in technology have brought photography to a whole new level, both in process and product. In addition to innovation in photography equipment, there are many valuable resources online that are becoming essential tools for professional photographers.
Everything in a photographer’s world can now be managed online, including content, rights, business processes and client relations, to name a few. Aside from shooting the actual photographs, the Internet has made it possible for the rest of the business to be handled from the comforts of the studio with a few clicks of the mouse.
The following are five essential web sites for pros:
LiveBooks provides professional photographers (and other creatives) a powerful platform for establishing their web presence. By providing a wide array of beautifully custom-designed or pre-designed web sites, liveBooks offers the ability to easily manage content and a business online. LiveBooks also comes with a powerful SEO engine for maximizing web traffic, as well as the ability to analyze the click-through behavior of visitors.
Pricing: $39 per month
ShootQ is the Internet equivalent of a studio manager. As a completely web-based studio management solution for photographers, ShootQ is an online repository for client/vendor information, invoicing, contracts and more. Photographers can also take advantage of the automated reminder function for requesting payment from clients.
Pricing: Starts at $39.95 per month
Animoto is an award-winning web application that enables photographers to seamlessly turn a series of photographs into a dynamic video presentation. Created by TV and film producers, Animoto utilizes state-of-the-art technology to mimic the same quality you would expect from the silver screen. The service also offers a music library of more than 500+ commercially licensed songs to accompany videos.
Pricing: $249 for 1 year, or $99 for a 3-month trial
For any photographer who intends to use his/her work for stock photography purposes, LicenseStream is a site to consider. By keeping tabs on all licensed content, photographers can rest assured that their work is appropriately credited and paid for whenever it is used. LicenseStream also provides photographers with more autonomy over their own work, rather than relying upon stock agency representation.
Pricing: Starts at $49.99 per year for a standard account
There’s a saying in the business that a photographer is only as good as his or her lab. If that’s the case, LabPrints should be in every photographer’s bookmarks because it links them to professional labs around the country. The software also enables photographers to organize images, design layouts and albums and upload orders directly to the lab of their choosing through its LP Digital Studio software.
Pricing: This software is free, but additional services are fee-based