Having the ability to be upload images to a dedicated website for my clients to view and purchase has been a vital part of my business since moving from film to digital in 2009  (that really makes me sound quite old!) and bearing in mind how much competition there is out there offering similar services I've continued to use the same company, theimagefile

I have a number of reasons why I've continued to use them but the main reason which is head and shoulders above anything else is the quality of service; they really are on the ball. Whenever I've had any questions or need something doing it's always done quickly and efficiently. Over the years I've occasionally phoned for advice and they're happy to talk me through it and explain it in a way I understand without getting too technical.

The Image File offer a range of different services including Website Design, Blogs Sites, Sales with e-commerce and Order fulfilment. I use them for one service and that's for uploading images online for my customers to view and purchase prints.

On both my social and commercial websites  www.abraxasphoto   abraxascommercialphotography  I have a little password box for clients to enter a code which directs them straight to their images, in some cases the images are available for viewing only (mainly for commercial proofing) but for social work such as weddings my clients can view and purchase prints and other products. The great thing about doing it this way is that when my customers go to view their images they are taken to an 'on-line' store that's branded in the same style as my website. So my customers don't feel like they're being taken to a third-party website, it all looks like part of the service my businesses offer.

Setting this process up was easy as the Image File does it all for you (well they did for me anyway!), I had to get my website design company to set up the small password entry box on my wesbites, but after that it was all done for me.

Uploading images is really easy and done through Filezilla an FTP program, I simply drag the images in to a Filezilla window and leave them to upload on to my Image File homepage. On this page I set up folders for each individual customer and once the original images have been uploaded to my Image File homepage I just move them to the customer's designated folder.

Within that folder I set up a password for the customer to use, so you choose what the password will be, I can type in dedicated messages for that particular customer. In other words it's not the same system for every single customer, I can choose exactly what I want to do for each and every customer.

If you're not familiar with the process of selling prints online it's good to know that it's really easy for your customers. They go to your website and type in the password that you've given them in the box you've created (which should ideally be on your homepage), if your website company can't do this or you use one of the free website templates and can't do it yourself the Image File I'm sure will do this for you. 

After entering the password your customer can start viewing their images and to purchase prints they click on their chosen image and choose what they would like to buy. They also have the ability to crop images, change to black and white etc; once they've chosen the images they go to the shopping basket, make payment and receive a confirmation email.

In a few days your customer receives their prints and you haven't done a thing!

So let's fill in the missing parts here; when your Image File page is all set up you can decide how your images are printed and sent to your customer.

Firstly you can choose to do the work yourself; in other words you list the products you would like to sell (eg 7x5, 10x8 20x16 prints etc, lustre, gloss, frames mugs, canvas wraps etc etc etc); and then choose the price you would like your customer to pay you.

When your customer places an order, they pay online and you receive an email to notify you that an order has been placed and paid for.  From here you print the images yourself (or send them to your lab) and then post them to your customer. Job done.

Alternatively you automate this whole service so all you have to do is.....nothing. 

When setting up your Image File page for the first time you have the option of deciding if you would like to print and post the the order to your customer or you can choose to get the Image File to do it all for you. The Image File are not a printing lab, so they give you the option of choosing from several different labs such as Loxley, One Vision, Simlab and a whole lot more to print and post your images directly to your customer.

So if you were to choose Loxley as your preferred lab you choose the price you would like your customer to pay and you set the postage fee you would like your customers to pay. The option shows you what the lab charges you and you then decide what your customer pays.

So your customer now places their order which goes straight to your chosen lab (eg Loxley), they print your order and post it to your customer and the beauty here is that the order looks like it's come from you as any paperwork enclosed with your order is branded with your name!

You'll receive an email from The Image File as soon as your customer places an order and that really is it, everything else is done for you. The money your customer pays goes in to your account and you simply withdraw that money less costs.

I'm sure The Image File would love to hear from you, so if you'd like to offer this service to your customers give them a call on 020 8166 5688

If you're off to the www.photographyshow in the next few days be sure to visit the Image file stand.