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Pictoart - Comments, Suggestions, Insults Welcome
I found your site to be exceptionally comprehensive and complete. No one could ever complain about not enough variety of styles/offerings or the absense of necessary info. My compliments for doing (building a very professionally looking and easy-to-navigate website) what many just dream about.
I was probably looking at it from a different perspective than potential customers, so take this with a grain of salt.
As one with a high degree of interest in various photo manuplation methods/styles/techniques, I was disappointed that the example "after images" were so small that I couldn't really appreciate the work you put into the manipulations. I couldn't tell, for example, how realistic the "inks" or "oil paintings" looked. If I was a potential customer and browsing your site, I'd want a better idea of a final result before taking the next step of contacting you.
Unlike brick and mortar stores where people can pick items up, see them up close, ask a clerk a question, etc., you are relying on (a) uniqueness [no problem there] and (b) visual appeal [not enough info to decide IMO] to get potential customers hooked.
I understand the concern regarding "If you make examples too big, they might get ripped off," but if they're "too small" resulting in customers who look, but take no action, it's a net loss.
Alas, I don't have any brilliant suggestions. You might consider translucent watermarking. This is a pretty nifty method:
I hope if nothing else this feedback inspires others to comment. Thanks for sharing your well crafted site. It will give others something to shoot for.
Best of luck moving forward.
I have some local advertisement going out next week for the site. I think getting people to find Pictoart will be the major challenge. Let alone getting them to part with their $$$. At least it is fun trying.
I'm aware of a few other businesses that offer this kind of thing (www.photowow.com, www.canvasondemand.com, www.photosyrup.com, etc.), with all the talent and skill of the folks I've seen postings from on this site over the last several months, I'm surprised there aren't hundreds of sites like Pictoart. :-) Oh-well, probably better for me that there aren't. :-)
For bandwith considerations, you might have two samples... one smaller and the other "the whole enchilada." (???)
re: Getting the word out...
a. Besides the traditional advertising consider getting plugged in with local school and/or kid sports photographers (t-ball, soccer, whatever) offering your services as an adjunct product to their customers. (They get the business and subcontract the "arty work" to you.)
b. Find some high school kids and offer to do some demo photos-converted-to-art of them. They'll show/tell their friends = instant word of mouth. Graduation is coming = great opportunity to for providing something unique (as in "Kewl!") = instant demand.
Bottom line: Kids = an unending (year after year) source of business + brothers, sisters, relatives, cats, dogs, horses, etc.
Good luck as your business grows.
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