There’s an old saying - all things must pass. And so it is with our WordPress blog.
We began that missive many years ago, as a means of promoting our photographic efforts. The WordPress blog was our first try at venturing into the wide world of the internet, and for a time, it was our sole on-line voice.
Not long after we started that blog, we signed on with an on-line stock photo agency. This agency had pioneered what became known as “micro-stock,” meaning one could license a contributor’s image for less than a dollar per. This would, so the agency’s creators claimed, open the doors to a massive new audience of people who needed images for anything from school projects to newsletters, and who’d been unable to afford the higher-priced product offered by the major stock agencies. And the low prices meant that a given contributor’s product would sell LOTS and LOTS, therefore adding up to real money in fairly short order.
We gave it a try, but it didn’t take long to realize that, in order to get ahead in the game of micro-stock, one has to upload THOUSANDS of images and work steadily at doing so, constantly uploading more and more new images. What was advertised as a way for up-and-coming photographers to get a start, quickly became just another sort of full-time, low-paying job. And then the founders of the agency sold it to one of the major stock companies, while promising that the agency would not change. Of course, it quickly did. So we bailed.
Next up, we signed on with a company that offered what was referred to as “Print on Demand.”
All we needed to do was to upload a selection of our images onto a special page given to us by this company. Thereby, the company provided us a way to display our work, and we could set our profit level, and they’d handle the printing of orders, and would even frame and matte them, and do all the shipping and billing. All we had to do, it seemed, was to wait for the money to roll in. It seemed to be bullet-proof.
But, of course, it wasn’t that easy. We discovered that the company’s proprietary search engine was weighted to favor the contributors who who’d already started to move product. No sales yet? You’d be lucky if your images appeared any earlier than on the 12th or 13th page of search results. Obviously, this is a galactic catch-22. You can’t sell if you’re not seen and you won’t be seen unless you sell.
While spending some time on contributor forums, we discovered that many others were aware of this finagle, and were also not happy with the situation. So we moved on in search of a better mouse-trap.
We took our offerings to other print-on-demand services. One, a service which some people we highly respected had recommended, started out well, but less than six months after we started, they without warning eliminated sales of prints and turned into just another contributor-fed micro-stock agency. We’d heard that song already, to we stepped on over to another print-on-demand service, which set us up with a nice website, one which allowed for a moderate level of customization.
As before, the company would handle the printing, framing, billing and shipping of our product, and we could specify how much profit they’d add to the bottom line. The search engine was better than was that first one we’d encountered, but not by much, and we were less than pleased with our ability to make our site look, feel and work the way we wanted. But we decided to give it some time. We stayed with this agency for a coupla years.
All the while, we soldiered on with the WordPress blog, which is sorta decent looking and easy to customize, but we’re not allowed to directly sell anything there, so it hasn’t worked as well as we’d hoped.
At long last, after wading through all those other approaches, we determined that the best way to meet our goals was to take the bull by the horns and do everything ourselves. We began by purchasing a very nice and fairly expensive wide-format ink-jet printer and a modest stock of premium quality paper, so that we can produce our own prints. We added a postal scale and opened an account with Uncle Sam’s Pack-Mule Service.
After some considerable research, we came across a firm which specializes in on-line commerce - or eCommerce, as they call it. You’ve likely seen many websites on-line that are a part of this particular system. They provided us with a basic website design, which we were allowed to alter to our heart’s content, and they notify us when orders come in, plus they handle collecting payment and sending same to us. Next thing we did was to visit Danica Patrick’s sponsor and get ourselves a distinct website address.
And so, just like that, JaiGieEse PhotoArt was born. In case you’re wondering about that company name, it goes like this.
We’d operated a free-lance graphics design business many years ago, and we began with a name we’d thought to be kinda snappy. - GraF/X Design - but one evening, we decided to Google that name so as to see whether we were making a splash. What we found was dozens of hits - on other businesses. Seems that lots of other folks had the same or similar idea as had we.
So we changed the business name to - jondesign. Seemed to be unique, but after a while, we discovered a few other businesses using the same or similar names. Among them was a fellow who apparently writes some kind of software, and we quickly discovered that he’d locked up all possible permutations of “jondesign,” so far as website addresses are concerned.
And so, it was time for try number three at finding a name for our business. Did quite a lot of head-scratching and after a false start or three, we settled on “JaiGieEse Imagery/Design.” Time passed, and we elected to de-emphasize graphics design work and concentrate on our photography - so “Imagery/Design” became “PhotoArt.”
Now, the first part of our logo is a sort of phonetic play on our initials. You pronounce our company name as if you were just saying our initials - to wit, “JGS PhotoArt.”
So. Now we had a way to manufacture a product and a sure-fire company name and a decent website host and we were in business, We began with a very basic - read “free” - website theme, and it’s been a decent starting point.
But not long ago, after a stretch of somewhat lack-luster results, we decided that we need to put forth a business image that will more effectively display our work, be easier to navigate and so on. So we’ve reached into the shallow depths of our finances and plucked from therein the monies needed to purchase a professionally designed theme. We’ve spent the last coupla months customizing same and now, the new and a lot nicer JaiGieEse PhotoArt Shop is on-line and open for business.
Thing is, the new site design incorporates a blog right into the main page, and therefore, we no longer have need to spend time maintaining the WordPress blog site. And so, that blog page will cease to exist in the near future - like, probably not more than a month from now, so’s we don’t leave anyone wondering where the hell we’ve gone.
Our thanks to all those who’ve stopped by the original blog over the years, and to WordPress for allowing us to put that blog on-line.
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Our collection of photo books: FORTRESS: A Photographic Odyssey and The Thompson Family Album - are on sale for 40% off through December 29.