Monday, June 17, 2013

A Tiger Doesn’t Lose Sleep Over The Opinion Of Sheep

While winding down my evening, I actually found intelligent life on Facebook (or at least someone with the good sense to post this quote.)

"A Tiger Doesn’t Lose Sleep Over The Opinion Of Sheep."
You're thinking "What's so great about that?" Let me tell you why this is something photographers everywhere should embrace.

It seems that almost daily there are new photographers popping up everywhere. The photographers who are already in business often cringe and then make a comment about "mommies with cameras" or "wannabees" or something along that line. In many cases, they feel their own business is being threatened by someone who has moved into the area, purchased a DSLR and a copy of Elements or maybe even Lightroom, and is not telling people they're professional and undercutting the market with their pricing.
These new photographers often have minimal training or feel that since they've watch a class online, they now know what they need to do. Some are offended at the thought of raising their pricing to a decent level, championing the "I want photography to be affordable for everyone" cause, even though it will ultimately cost them their business.

The funny thing is, many of those who are complaining the loudest are the ones who were the most recent newcomers before this batch came along. "OMG, this new person is selling a DVD of images for $100!" (even though they themselves have just been educated to the point where they have stopped selling files and now sell product.)
You can almost watch the herds wander one way and then another, often following each other blindly. None of the "sheep" really know where they are headed, but there's always one who will garner enough attention to get everyone to follow them for a short period.

Now, notice how those who are established in business react. The experienced professionals go about their business in a steady manner, keeping a watchful eye on those around them. Because the tiger has his foothold in the jungle, he isn't concerned with the antics of those around him (unless it's another tiger.)
Jump into any Facebook photography group where this very thing is being discussed almost daily. The responses are nearly identical and come in chorus-like fashion.

"I can't compete with that!"
"Don't they know they're losing money?"
"Should I lower my prices to match theirs?"

Then someone with experience and the voice of reason will pop in and drop a pearl. 
"People make decisions based on quality as well as price. When you put these two things together, it's called 'value'. That's what good clients really want."

Set yourself apart from the sheep of the industry. Be the tiger and take care of your business first.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Selling Only a Disk of Images is a Disservice to Your Clients - Part 2 of 2

So . . . why do photographers say that selling only a disk of images is a disservice to your clients?

As long as we're on the subject of selling a disk of digital images, let me tell you a true story.

A funny thing happened to me last December . . .

I had a colleague from another FB group hand me a session he couldn't cover because he was going to be out of town. He'd told the client that he'd photograph her family and "give her the files" for $300.

During the session, I mentioned to her that I could honor his original agreement, or I could walk her through the ordering process the way I normally do.

Her first question was "What do I do once you give me the disk of files?"

This wasn't a dumb woman; this was a woman who is a corporate executive. However, she doesn't have access to the labs we do, she doesn't know about mounting or finishing. She just wanted a nice family portrait on the wall.

She and her husband returned to the studio to view the images. We went through the view and order process together . . . and $1200 (yes, twelve hundred) later I had an order. A framed wall portrait, some smaller gift prints and a boatload of greeting cards later, she walked out with a huge smile and I had a happy client.
The truth is, many people simply don't know what to do! We - as professionals - are doing them a HUGE disservice to hand over a folder of files. "Edited" or not . . . they have no clue!

It would be like going to a restaurant and having the server thump a raw piece of meat and some uncooked vegetables in front of you, demanding the price of the finished meal in the process.

Operating a service-oriented professional photography business does not mean shoot and burn! It means helping your client place the order and getting them the product they really want.

If you're not willing to help them with this process, who will? If it's too much work for us to do, how will someone who does NOT have the software and knowledge be able to figure it out?

Take the time to work with your clients and help them get to their ultimate goal . . . printed photographic products they can enjoy and display for years to come! 

- David Grupa