written by: Stephanie Mojica•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 5/29/2009
PhotoReflect.com has a lot of excellent features that make putting a digital photography business online easy. However, due to its somewhat potentially expensive cost structure, this website is recommended with reservations.
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PhotoReflect costs have some pros and cons in the structure that existed as of May 2009, and these costs may prove to be a factor that would cause some digital photographers to choose to avoid using this service.
The primary advantage of PhotoReflect is there are no monthly or annual fees, nor are there charges for uploading digital images or setting up an account. This at first glance appears to set PhotoReflect apart from some of its competitors, which can charge hundreds of dollars per year for basic membership, uploading, and setup fees.
However, this may be better for some photographers than the current structure of PhotoReflect - they charge as much as 18% commission on each order placed through the website. This means for every $50 made on the website, the entrepreneur retains only $41. Very high volume sellers will have the commission fees slightly reduced as their earnings rise, but the lowest available percentage is still a somewhat steep 13 percent.
For those who want to do occasional orders and don't mind losing as much as 18 percent per order, PhotoReflect may be an ideal choice. However, paying a lot of 18 percent fees can really make it where another website might be more appealing.
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PhotoReflect works best when used with the free software that is issued to any digital photographer. However, there is one distinct disadvantage - those who use Mac computers cannot send their orders to a photo lab as of May 2009. This may turn off customers who can only use a Mac computer. However, those with PCs should find the features of the PhotoReflect software quite easy to use. It allows users to fully manage all the images they wish.
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One advantage of PhotoReflect's pricing structure is that digital photographers may upload unlimited images without upfront cost, thus decreasing the risk of paying to upload photos that just might never sell. The utility is fairly easy to use because of the software offered for free to new and potential customers.
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PhotoReflect, when used with the free software, does offer basic photo editing functions such as sharpening, cropping, and removal of red eye. While these functions of course will not replace commercial software such as Photoshop that can do extensive photo retouching, this is a good option that also does not charge any upfront fees for use.
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PhotoReflect takes all the busy work out of a digital photographer's payment processing, whether for a shoot or prints. They accept both credit cards and checks, and send out regular checks to members.
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Watermarks and Copyright
When uploading images to PhotoReflect, users may choose to have watermarks placed on the images so visitors cannot go print the digital photos somewhere else and cut the photographer out of the revenue loop. In addition, printed images can also carry copyrights so buyers cannot go get their prints copied somewhere else. While of course such measures always have the potential to irritate someone, it helps keep people scrupulously honest and avoids taking due revenue away from the digital photographer. Thus, this is one of the greatest advantages of PhotoReflect that is not necessarily always offered by some of its competitors.
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Pricing of Photos or Photo Services
Despite PhotoReflect's somewhat high commission, they do allow photographers to set their own prices whether selling images or setting up a shoot. This is a good advantage, as some competing sites do take a larger or even complete role in setting prices.
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Order fulfillment appears to have no real problems, unless you are a Mac user wanting to use photo labs through PhotoReflect. PC users can choose to have their orders sent to the lab of their choice or use one of PhotoReflect's partner labs. The process is relatively seamless, but those with Macs will have to choose their own lab outside of the PhotoReflect community.