Nature and Wildlife photographer Mike Cavaroc is not one to leave things to fate. When he was unable to fit a photography course into his schedule at art school, he bought himself a Canon Rebel and learned as he went along. When inspiration struck during a visit to Grand Teton Nation Park, he dared to leave a life and web design in Arizona to pack up and move outside the park. When opportunity strikes, Mike is all over it, because his success did not happen by chance, it was created through innovation and initiative. His work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Outdoor Photographer, and National Parks Conservation Association.
Mike joined PhotoShelter in 2007, when he began seriously pursuing a photography career. With his background in web design, Mike could have built a website from scratch, but having fully committed himself to his photography, he did not want to waste time on the development and upkeep of an e-commerce site. Instead, he turned to PhotoShelter, where he was able to build a truly unique custom integration with his self-hosted blog using the manual website templates accessible to all Standard and Pro subscribers. The functionality he needs is already built into every PhotoShelter site, but Mike is able to retain control over the design and content on the site. "Having a website that displays my photos well and works as needed is vital and PhotoShelter has provided that and much more, allowing me to customize my website in a way that I feel is best for my branding, photography and visual style," he says.
A personable guy, Mike often makes clients out of the people he meets in his travels. "I stop and talk to a lot of people whether I'm simply shooting around Grand Teton National Park, on a road trip far away or just chatting with random strangers in passing," he explains. "They'll almost always walk away with at least one of my business cards, on which my website is clearly listed front and center." Both prints and licensing are available from his site, and the majority of his revenue comes from the former. Though he might prefer it, Mike cannot always engage his clients face to face, so he also uses a mailing list and social media to reach them. He saves himself a few steps by using the share tools in his account to post new gallery updates to Facebook and Twitter. "The social media expansions help tremendously in getting necessary exposure and the efforts PhotoShelter has made in assisting with SEO are unparalleled in any other service."
Mike is very thorough when it comes to SEO, because he understands that a well optimized site means more exposure to potential new clients searching for photos on Google. He has added descriptive titles to every page, keyworded and captioned every image, and is using Google Analytics, all of which contribute to his 99% SEO grade. Blogs strongly support SEO, so he updates his frequently with new content that links back to his PhotoShelter galleries. All public images and galleries in his PhotoShelter account are embeddable, so he can insert them directly into blog posts anytime he wants. "It's just a few clicks to get it to scale to any size I need it to, very easily customizable and will always point back to my website" he points out.
"It's important to keep the option of reinventing yourself open."
Not one to allow his site to become stagnant, Mike is often among the first wave of PhotoShelter members to adopt new features. "The Portfolio and Photo Wall were both welcome additions that I was quick to take advantage of for some extra bells and whistles," Mike says. He is equally willing to explore new opportunities and directions for his business. "I think because of how quickly technology is advancing these days, it's important to keep the option of reinventing yourself open," he explains. Mike finds himself shooting just as much video as he does stills nowadays. He also runs a wedding and portrait business, Shot22, along with his partner Katie Tufte, from a second PhotoShelter account. He has even found a way to monetize his PhotoShelter expertise, moonlighting as a PhotoShelter Certified Consultant, helping others achieve success with PhotoShelter's tools. "Simply stated, my site wouldn't be anything without PhotoShelter," Mike says. "I've seen my sales grow and it's helped me to spend more time outdoors with wildlife and less time on the computer."
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