Photo Sites Shedding Light on Creative E-Commerce

Photo Sites Shedding Light on Creative E-Commerce

(NewsUSA)- While many have taken up photography as a fun hobby over the years, today's high-tech world has taken the once simple pastime to an entirely new level. Elaine Hoffman, a full-time therapist and amateur photographer, frequently uses online photo services to create greeting cards for friends from her favorite collections of floral images. But until recently, she'd never considered a second career in greeting card design.
"My friends kept saying, 'You should sell these!' So when I found a Web site that allowed me to set up my own store, I thought I'd give it a shot," Hoffman said.
Millions of digital photographers like Hoffman have discovered the benefits of online photo services as a way to share images and create products like greeting cards and books. According to a report released by InfoTrends Research Group, photo sites generated more than $400 million in revenues from both prints and photo merchandise in 2006 alone -; and now consumers want a piece of the action.
This rise in the popularity of digital photography has spawned many new Web sites that go beyond sharing photos -; in addition allowing users to set up their own stores. Sites such as PhotoWorks.com allow members to host personalized "storefronts," each with a unique Web address. This type of site has begun attracting more and more users with its offerings of customizable photo products such as cards, calendars and gifts -; but above all, allowing regular consumers to sell these products by themselves with their own photos and designs.
"I was surprised by how easy it was to start selling my work," Hoffman said. "I'm not getting rich off of it yet, but it's great to make some extra cash while doing something I love."
As photo sites look to combine e-commerce with self-publishing, this new consumer-driven marketplace is opening doors for amateurs and professionals alike. Thanks to new advances online, children's book authors may start publishing their ideas without agents, novelists may sell their work without fees and shutterbugs can start turning a profit on their favorite snapshots. For more information about setting up your own PhotoWorks Storefront, visit www.PhotoWorks.com.