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Author Topic: Asking for feedback  (Read 4087 times)

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« on: April 20, 2011, 19:48 »
0
Many of you know that I sell my stock photography from my own site, www.elenaphoto.com.
We have re-worked the layout extensively for it to look more professional and user-friendly.
However, sometimes my customers still have questions like - can we be sure it's your own work and the images are not stolen form somewhere? Of course, I assure them, all work presented on the site is 100% my original work, and I can prove it, but I was wondering it there is something in the layout of the site that makes them doubt that... or is it just simple caution since there are so many cases of theft?
Thanks in advance,
Elena.


« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2011, 20:09 »
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I think (and this is just my gut reaction) it's that the site looks a bit like an agency, but it's just the work of one artist. It doesn't look like the artist portfolio sites (of which there are many) - not visually lush. I think people feel safe when they are dealing with the familiar or have the reassurance of something like the buyer feedback for amazon.com's small business sellers (e-bay has the same thing).

Whether buyers are worried about model releases, paying money to an unknown entity, possibility of images not being legit or some combination is hard for me to say, but I wonder if you had either some way for buyers to leave feedback or a section with testimonials from buyers, would that help.

I recently went to amazon.com to buy something (not a high price item) and it was only small sellers who had the item I wanted. I was leery of going ahead but looked at the buyer feedback and there were lots (12K+ and almost all was positive). Reassured, I placed my order (and everything was fine). I then went and left feedback for the seller.

Buyers were nervous about microstock at first, but have by and large come to terms with it being an OK way to buy (in spite of Getty sales reps trying to discourage them in the past). It may be that until enough artist sites are out there or there's some "seal of approval" that reassures buyers you're on the level, you'll get this sort of question.

« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2011, 20:14 »
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I think, and I'm hesitant about that myself a bit as well, that you should put a nice portrait shot of yourself on the front page as well.

Like a little bio section - for instance where you have your social networking links, move those down and add your image with a couple sentences explaining who you are and what you're doing here.

People like having a personal relation to the one they do business with, at least they "know" where the images are coming from.

I'd also add a section on your site that showcases some of your images in action and maybe you have some customer feedback that you can add to the page with a link to their company (ideally). Also post images of you at work on a shoot. That shows that YOU are the one taking the pics.

Anything that shows how professional you do business with everyone.

My 2 cents.

« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2011, 20:15 »
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Elena, the only little thing that I can see is that you accept Paypal and nothing else.  I know it's very expensive to get a merchant credit card account - but maybe buyers see this as a little "unprofessional".  I don't know - the site is definitely looks "Professional" though.

Click_click's advice is good too.

« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2011, 20:45 »
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Thanks very much to you all - very useful feedback! It is true, the site could be more personal and more interactive.
We do actually accept credit cards, through Paypal business account, but that too should be made more obvious.
This is very helpful, thanks again.

« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2011, 00:19 »
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Interesting topic. I haven't had any complaints about ownership, but that doesn't mean that some people aren't thinking it. I like the testimonials idea. I may have to work on that.

You do have a lot of info pointing to your actual identity, so it is hard to say what people's issues are. Maybe, a more personalized bio in your about section (less third person). You could feature process things or shoots from your blog on the home page or maybe in your bio. Maybe, a link to what's happening now in Elena's world on the about page.

As far as design, I'm not crazy about the blue gradients. I think the design could breathe more too, but I'm picky and opinionated.

redwater

  • retro stock illustrations
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2011, 00:52 »
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very professional website and very hard to nitpick in terms of design. i guess, maybe some buyers have not yet embraced the idea that artists do sell direct.

rubyroo

« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2011, 00:54 »
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I agree with Jsnover that it has an 'agency' feel.   I think, if I were a buyer, I'd get a more personal feel if I saw a photograph of you on the 'About Us' page, and the front page actually.   But also, when I click on the categories, it would feel more like an individual's work if there were some personal statement at the top of each section.

e.g. 'My people shots encompass...'
       'My food shots are styled in-house and aim to....'

etc.  

Some sort of watermark - even a small and unobtrusive one - also helps to consolidate that sense of personal ownership, I think.  (ETA - I see now there is a watermark, but it's so unobtrusive it took a while to notice it was there).

On the 'About Us' page you use the words 'We' and not 'I', as well as 'we present' and 'her' which makes you sound more like an agency 'repping' a photographer, than the individual herself.

Just my tuppence.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2011, 01:12 by rubyroo »

« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2011, 09:21 »
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Nice to hear more feedback! There are a few things that I'd need to work on for sure.
@cthoman - design-wise, we had a professional graphic designer consulting us. He'd have us more stuff changed, like color of the links and smaller things like that but we had to stop at some point - improving the design of your site can be a never-ending process.
He also hates drop shadows with passion. Must be a designer thing ;)

« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2011, 09:32 »
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LOL. I completely understand. It's hard to resist a design tweak here and a design tweak there. Then the next thing you know, it's a month later.  ;D

« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2011, 10:01 »
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Maybe the confusion is because you are presenting the site as a 3rd party, not yourself.

« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2011, 10:15 »
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Site looks great to me.  

I think your customers' questions are more representative of general concern about the abundance of pirated images on the web (Heroturko, etc.), rather than a specific criticism of your site.  

IMHO it's a good thing that customers are asking these questions and going out of their way to buy legal images.  :)

Could be the reason Cory isn't getting the same questions is because he is strictly vectors, and it is easy to spot his particular style in his drawings.  Whereas with a large photographic portfolio it might be harder to tell they are all done by the same person.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2011, 10:18 by Snowball »

lthn

    This user is banned.
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2011, 15:46 »
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To be honest it's a bit unstylish 'square' design, especially for such lively shots. It's a bit like an IT-guy's, or a smalltime local dentist's homapage with that high conrast blue-white theme. Some more delicate styling would serve those shots better. Imho. It looks ok for functionality to me, except for that blue-white thing dominating over the photo showcase (which could be bigger)

« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2011, 16:07 »
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What's funny is that, as a buyer, I trust sites like this more that general agency sites.

« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2011, 16:17 »
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What's funny is that, as a buyer, I trust sites like this more that general agency sites.

Yay!....  ;D

tab62

« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2011, 20:08 »
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Hi Elena,

Here is what our company Webmaster feels why you are ask these questions from the buyers-

"I think it's a great site. A lot of work went into this one. I think, from my perspective, the reason she gets asked that a lot is that she has 11,000-plus images. That's a lot of images from one photographer on a new site, so that's probably the only reason why."

« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2011, 22:23 »
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Hi Elena,

Here is what our company Webmaster feels why you are ask these questions from the buyers-

"I think it's a great site. A lot of work went into this one. I think, from my perspective, the reason she gets asked that a lot is that she has 11,000-plus images. That's a lot of images from one photographer on a new site, so that's probably the only reason why."

Thank you for your feedback! It could be why, too. It took about 5 years to create a portfolio that big, but the site is new so it might look like it came out of nowhere. Not that every customer asks about it, most of them actually don't :-) , it's just something that I didn't think would cross people's minds when they see my site.


« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2011, 04:27 »
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Hi Elena,
Your site is absolutely fabulous.  The only thing that struck me as a sign of a potentially fraudulent operation has already been said by other posters.  It is the confusing use of "we" and the third person on the About Us page.  I'm sure it would be easy to readjust the text.   You can keep using "we" throughout the site if you set aside an area where you have a statement from yourself using the "I" which you sign with your name - - and maybe also introduce who "we" or who the team is. Saying how many years you have concentrated full time on meeting the needs of the stock photography market might also put to rest the concerns of people who think you have too many photos.  Clicking around I finally did find your profile page which does have a reassuring personal story and the obligatory photo.  I can't see how anyone who got that far they would still think there was anything fraudulent but it is possible they are put off before getting there.  Making it easy for people to contact you with questions is reassuring.  Being based in Toronto also sounds reassuring!  Do you think anyone might think your Russian name is a sign of something fishy?  I would hate to think you are being discriminated against.  

OM

« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2011, 06:24 »
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Many of you know that I sell my stock photography from my own site, www.elenaphoto.com.
We have re-worked the layout extensively for it to look more professional and user-friendly.
However, sometimes my customers still have questions like - can we be sure it's your own work and the images are not stolen form somewhere? Of course, I assure them, all work presented on the site is 100% my original work, and I can prove it, but I was wondering it there is something in the layout of the site that makes them doubt that... or is it just simple caution since there are so many cases of theft?
Thanks in advance,
Elena.


Great site! I think you may be suffering from that first sentence......."We present a collection of Royalty Free (RF) images by one of the best-selling stock photographers, Elena Elisseeva"

It sounds as if a third person is representing you. Maybe, "I proudly present my collection of royalty free images. I am Elena Elisseeva, one of the world's best-selling stock photographers and this is my site." Perhaps you could present what you consider the advantages are to buyers of using your site compared to those of the larger agencies......convenience of pay per download instead of having to buy a bundle of credits, etc?

All my copyrights is belong to me! ;D

« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2011, 07:29 »
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Elena;

I agree with the others, great site but I would change "we" to "I"; you may indeed have staff than helps  you with day to day operations but you are the guts of the operation and I feel you need to be the highlight.

« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2011, 13:03 »
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Thank you everyone, this is very helpful.
I also considered at some point if my russian name would be a problem - sadly, my former compatriots give a lot of reasons for mistrust. I wonder if I should have changed it at some point. Yuri Arcurs is a pseudonym - he realized early enough, before he became well-known, that his unpronounceable last name could cause some obstacles.
But then, Arnold Schwarzenegger didn't change his name, and things worked out for him ok:)
I'll be in Greece next week, and I am not sure if I'll be able to reply to any future posts; but I do appreciate all the comments and suggestions.

« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2011, 15:02 »
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Elena; I see no need to change your name; it is not that difficult nor does it sound all that Russian; then again I am biased toward Russians


 

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