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Starting up an Online Photo Library

Does anyone have any experience in starting up a stock library?

Any thoughts on Royalty Free vs Rights Managed?

I was born and raised in South Africa and am now based in the UK. I would like to start up a library of Africa Images.

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Hm... no not really. I know there are some services which allow you to host your images and they charge you a small commission if you sell it through their network.

However, I don't have much experience in this area really...
I have been hard at work with this project. I found a back-end PHP provider that allows an Advanced Search, Lightbox and Shopping Cart. I have also done the design for the site... then had somebody do the coding for me...

I am not sure about the RF or RM route though.
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Hey Shelby,

I really know *nothing* about this topic (and am only using the common-sense definitions of RF and RM)... but I'll give you my opinion anyway! Big Grin Big Grin

If you imagine for a moment a continuum to classify images with the extremes at either end being "fine art" at one end and, say "junk clipart" at the other.

The continuum might look like this:

| <---------------------------------------------------> |
Junk Clipart Fine Art

Now every commercial image ever made fits somewhere on this continuum, and I think it's no surprise to find the general trend of prices would be cheap on the left and expensive on the right. I think you'd also usually find most of the images on the left are RF, while most on the right are RM.

All you need to do is take an honest look at your photos and try to work out where they fit on the continuum.... and by looking at images nearby from other photographers you might find the appropriate route.

I know it sounds like stating the obvious, but I think it is that simple. The tricky bit isn't deciding which route to take, its deciding where your images fit on the continuum!

But I guess that's all well and good if you have a reputation... If you are starting from scratch then you may need to do something to encourage people to give an "unknown" a go - get a foot in the door and some sales under your belt, etc. This might influence your decision and make RF more appealing... but only if you are prepared to let the rights to your images go forever.

Perhaps try both? Choose a particular category of (non-precious) photos to sell RF and sell the rest RM.... then see what happens?

It sounds like you are well underway with the project which is great. Keep us posted Smile I'm sure many of us here would love to learn from your experiences and hear about the challenges you face and how you tackle them.

Ironically I'm also setting up a new website at the moment (although not for the same purpose as you, but I will be hosting my personal gallery there) and facing similar challenges.
FWIW I'm going down the Micro$oft path using DotNetNuke (.NET framework) and MS SQL Server. I'm a VB/SQL developer by trade and have been looking for an excuse to really get my hands dirty with .NET - And DotNetNuke is an excellent open source VB.NET/SQL web portal application - perfect!.

Adrian Broughton
My Website:
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You can also visit me on Facebook!
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Einstein.
Ok thanks Adrian... I think it would be a good idea to have both RM and RF. My web developer can actually design a Rights Manages Calculator for me - however this will cost me more money, BUT I actually think it will be worth it in the end...
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