Creative challenge: dream up the ultimate photography system

I hope by now you’ve all had the chance to read my last long post about PhotoMerchant alpha testing. We’re still accepting alpha-testers, so if you’re interested, drop me an email.

Since then, we’ve been pretty busy working on the development of PhotoMerchant. The last post gave you a good outline of the features you can expect to see in the application. Right now, we’ve got the core structure and functionality working, and we’re focusing on some of the advanced features and the interface development as well as printing house integration for 4 countries.

To give you some more context around the application, PhotoMerchant is my answer to the issues I’ve been discussing over the last few weeks. In my work as a photographer, I recognised that the workflow issues, all that processing time, the difficulties in putting together online selling sites – there’s just so many ways that photographers could benefit from some online tools to help automate our work. I did a lot of searching to try to solve the problems I was having, but nothing really did the job.

PhotoMerchant is different because it’s for photographers, and designed by photographers. It’s different to something like Flickr – Flickr allows you to store, categorize and share your photographs. PhotoMerchant is similar, but it goes further. You’ll be able to customize your site so it looks like your own, share your photos with everyone or just specific customers, and your customers can order their photos via the site.

I mentioned the College Ball photoshoot a few weeks ago – for me, that’s where the idea of PhotoMerchant started. All the time and effort I had to put into solving those workflow problems when dealing with 400 remote clients… with PhotoMerchant, the next time I do a shoot like that, those problems will be almost non-existent.

Well, I could go on quite a bit about PhotoMerchant (and I haven’t even started talking about our design and development team yet!), but today I want to give you a creative challenge:

Have you ever just wished there was an easier way to do things with your photos? If you could dream up the most amazing ‘system‘ to help you with photography, what would it be?

I’m not going to limit you to just workflow and online sales, which is where my interests are – this is a creative exercise for you. Dream big!

Of course, I’m dying to see whether you can come up with something that PhotoMerchant doesn’t already do!

Very soon I’ll begin to release meaty details about PhotoMerchant and what you can expect. In the meantime, I’ll continue to post tips, business ideas and other tidbits relating to professional photography.

Before I go, I want to leave you with a tiny anecdote – when I was a kid, we moved into a house that had a dishwasher. Mum was so excited. I wrote about it in a letter to my aunt who was living in a remote village in Papua New Guinea at the time – she responded with, “Well that’s great – I also have a dishwasher that washes, dries and puts the dishes away.” I’ll never forget the wonder of imagination, thinking of that amazing machine way out there in the jungle… until Mum explained about the housekeeper they’d hired!

So, go – unleash your imagination and leave a comment.

Written by

Derek is Engineering Czar and Co-founder of Fotomerchant. He once picked up a camera and started shooting but everyone screamed so he stopped.

  • Stacycava

    I just started the Free Trial with Photomerchant and so far i am impressed… But I am wondering what Photo Lab is Photomerchant associated with?
    Stace Cavanaugh

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for your kind words! In the USA our print lab is the highly respected Burrell Imaging ( and in Australia we use the also highly respected Nulab Professional Imaging ( You might want to do a test order so you can see what the process is like and get a feel for the amazing quality of the prints and products.