I have made a change to where I host my photography, I decided to give ClusterShot a try. Why? I like the professional look and the watermark tool that comes with the Pro Account. The site looks professional, simple and easy to navigate (no print/print shop tie up though, something to consider if that is important to you). Storefront features are still a little bare bone at this juncture being a new site. The photographer sets the selling price and, hopefully ClusterShot do a lot of marketing and get pageviews and buyers to the site. For me, it is a place to showcase some of my work. On my part, the gallery links on my blog will help drive traffic to my storefront. I have only just joined, so this in some ways is still a test drive. So far so good, and yes, I closed my account at Smugmug (no major reason that prompted my decision but the simple look and feel of ClusterShot fits my need better).
If you want to check it out ClusterShot, here is a link to my ClusterShot gallery
Now, onto other avenues to sell one's work. I have had a store on CafePress for some time now, never gotten around to updating it with my latest images since setting it up. Occasionally there would be a sale or two here and there, nothing to shout about but it always puts a smile on my face each time. It is nice someone likes my photography enough to want to buy something with my photography on it:) Most folks found them through web searches, perhaps for a specific gift for someone or for themselves, a unique T-shirt, sweat shirt or a cotton tote bag (my favorite). Here are two of my own favorites:
I have always loved everything cotton, T's, totes. I find them comfortable and durable. This preference is probably rooted since childhood growing up in Southeast Asia. With day time temperature often in the high 90s if one is not standing in the shade, a cotton T-shirt keeps the sweltering heat at bay and one's body cool whether rain or shine. I recalled while we were on our sailboat anchoring in Bahia Santa Maria on the Baja coast, we exchanged some old T-shirts (we did not have any new ones barter) for 3 fresh gigantic lobsters from the Baja fishermen (they never tasted so good). So I am old fashioned, I treasure my comfy cotton t's until they are totally worn out. Also, cotton is a natural material, so it is more bio-degradeble and better for the environment than many man made synthetic material we clothe ourselves in today.
Anyway, not to digress. Back to stock photography. Things have been a little tumultous of late, small sites getting acquired by the big guys and even smaller ones had disappeared as recession hit severely affecting demand for stock photos by the advertisers and web designers. Many saw their income from stock photography sites stagnant and some saw significant reduction. However, it is a good time to bury deep and perfect one's craft, tighten's one photography portfolio, by that I mean focus on a genre or two one excels in and be really good at it. Most important of all, I think enjoy doing photography. Used equipment have gotten much cheaper of late. I found myself acquiring an extra camera equipment or accessory here and there like in the case of the RB67 ProSD camera set for a mere $280. Finally it does not hurt to explore new avenues to sell one's photos, whether that is on CafePress, ImageKind, Etsy, Blurb, or a host of others.
Last but not least, it is important to have a website/an online gallery to showcase one's work if one could find a reasonably priced deal. It all depends on your needs and the message you want to communicate, whether you do this for a living or as a hobby. In my case, ClusterShot works for me and so I decided to use the site to show my photography.