Photography Business – The Print

The print is the secret!

People have been asking me how to improve their photography business, simple it comes down to the print! The past couple of weeks I have had a chance to sit down with a number of photographers.  I have been hearing a lot of the same things from these people and I thought that it would be worth sharing with others. The main issue is how do you impress your customers, set your business apart from others and improve your sales?

Several points keep coming to the forefront

The print
Set yourself apart with the print!

1) For those that do shoot & burn weddings (shoot the wedding and burn the digital files to disk or USB for the client) I have been hearing a number of photographers mention that their customers are complaining about bad prints.  Their clients are taking the images to a discount lab to get prints made. When they get the prints back they are coming back horrible.  Most times the photographer does not know how their client feels as they don’t hear about the bad prints. The clients think it is the photographer ~ because the lab says it is not them.  If the photographer hears it is through a third party and the bad printing has damaged the photographers reputation.

2) Many photographers have seen a drop in the number of assignments they get.  A couple photographers actually inquired of past customers and received some feedback.  One of the biggest points is that clients were not happy with the final prints. Many clients mentioned that it was a pain to go and get the prints done themselves. All had mentioned they were having prints done at a discount lab.

The common statement went something like this…….

“…. the photographers service was great”. “We were not happy with the way the final prints looked”.  “The prints looked like the ones that you get from a one hour lab ~ not professional prints”.  “It took me a week to get a couple pictures done properly. It was a HUGE waste of my time”. One photographer actually brought me a couple of files to print. Their customers had them done someplace else. They wanted to see what their client thought. The response from their client was “These are amazing, we never thought that the printing would do that!!!!”

3) Many of the photographers also mentioned that they needed something to add a WOW factor to the services that they were offering.  They have been giving clients 4×6 & 5×7 prints. The small prints were not impressing their clients.

The consensus

In just about all the comments one thing was clear. The photographer’s clients want/demand something more than a cheap 4×6 or 5×7 one hour print.  I have been saying for years that if photographers want to survive that they need to set themselves apart. Something more than what uncle Bob is doing ~ usually for free because he is a relative and wants to be helpful.  Uncle Bob can have the nice camera. Many times he is handing the wedding couple a disk and that is it.  Or he is printing some prints at the one hour place and handing them to the couple.  The problem is if that is what the “professional” photographer is doing we are not setting ourselves apart and WOW’ing our clients.

So what should professional photographers be doing?

First, every client should be getting a WOW picture.  Something that stands out like a 16×20 or 20×24 portrait fully finished!! Second you should be providing your clients with some professionally printed images that they can show friend’s and family so they can see what a great picture looks like.  Prints that they cannot get at the local one hour!

Finally if you are handing over the disk to the client make sure they know the difference in the printing that they will get.

Remember we need to set ourselves apart for the positive. One of the best ways to do this is with professional printing!

To help with giving some wow to your photography we are offering a coupon for a discount in printing that you can give to your client to get professional printing.  That way they will get the best image possible from your files.  Drop us an E-mail and we will run off some discount coupons for you!

Getting great pictures!

Meadowlark Spring 2018
Meadowlark Spring 2018

Great picture

Getting a great picture is as much good fortune as anything.  I know many great photographers that understand their camera inside and out but they do not get any really great images.  I know other photographers that struggle to understand ISO and shutter speed but they get lots of great images. So why the difference???

Read moreGetting great pictures!

Bad photos… is it the photographer???

So you hired a photographer and you now have bad photos, so is it the photographer or is it you????

Over the years being in the photography industry I have taken many photos and have talked to many clients and photographers. I have heard many times from clients that they had hired a photographer before coming to me and they were really unhappy with the photos (never heard from most after I took the pictures what they thought of the work that I did), I have also talked to a number of photographers that have told me they heard that one of their customer’s were unhappy with the work they did.  So after a recent incident a client of mine had with another photographer it got me thinking of some of the problems that I have heard about, or experienced, in the past with photographers, is it really the photographer or could it actually be the client that caused bad photos?

Read moreBad photos… is it the photographer???

Yes I am the boss

It is a sentence that I don’t often use. “Yes I am the boss (owner, CEO, cleaner,repair guy, marketing guy, etc). I am the guy you are looking for”. Mostly I use it when someone does not expect that I am the person they have come to see.  In fact I think that the only times that I have had to use it was like today. When I was washing the floors and cleaning the bathroom and a customer stops in. There I am doing my daily & weekly janitor work.

What is most surprising to me is that some people think if you own your own business that you don’t do the dirty jobs.  It may come as a shock but I do more housekeeping being the “boss” than most employees do at their jobs.  That involves cleaning the floor, toilet, sink. Taking out the garbage, filling holes, painting, replacing light bulbs and a lot more. Being the “boss” does have some advantages. But at the same time it also means that there is no one else above me to do the work or look after the problems.

Read moreYes I am the boss

Giving great customer service even when busy

Great Customer service, it has been a while since I was able to add to my list of companies that give exceptional service but today I did find one. On the weekend I was on my way back from Waterton and got a rock chip in the windshield. Called Benchmark glass and was told that they could fix it, and would take about 30 minutes, he told me to swing by around 10:30 and they would see what they could do. Unfortunately I was not able to make it then but decided later when I had to drop off some items close by that I would stop in and see if they were busy. Found that they were booked solid and I told them that I would come back tomorrow. Well to help stopping the chip / crack from spreading they have little stickers that you can put over the rock chip to keep water from getting in and hopefully stop the spread. What a GREAT idea! I may not be able to get in to get the chip fixed (as much my fault for not having time today to do it as anything) but at least with the sticker (I call it a Band Aid for my car) that I can prevent further spread. It may not cost a lot to provide these but it is a great idea for the customer. I would suggest to anyone that has a good windshield to stop by and get a set of these to keep in the car, they are free and can prevent a lot of extra costs. Funny how great customer service can be provided by the littlest things!

Are you shooting enough???

When you are taking pictures are you shooting enough images of each pose? I have the privilege of seeing a lot of AMAZING images that people bring to me to print.  I have seen pictures from just about all the local photographers and many national and international photographers.  I have to say that some of these pictures are beyond amazing!  One thing that I am seeing more and more with photographers is the lack of shots of various poses, a photographer will set up an amazing photo making sure everyone looks perfect and that the lighting is perfect then they will only shoot one or two images of that pose.  Now in reality there is nothing at all wrong with that, it is the way we did it when we shot film, we did not have the freedom to shoot 5 or 10 pictures of each pose so we would only shoot one or two.  But with digital it costs no more than a few seconds to fire off a couple extra frames of each pose.  Now before I go further I am not talking about setting your drive to warp speed and taking 200 images of every pose, that is going to the extreme the other way.  What I am talking about is taking 4, 5 or even 10 pictures (if you have a large group) to make sure that you get perfect expressions.

Last week I had a lady bring me in her daughters images on DVD as she wanted some prints.  To say that they were good is an understatement, the worst ones on this disk were better than 99% of photographers best images – I would have loved to add any of these images to my portfolio except for one thing.  The posing was perfect (ZERO room for improvement), lighting was amazing (On the entire disk I saw 1 with lighting that was not 100% perfect), lens selection was fantastic and the expressions were okay – and this is where the problems were.  Just about every image the expressions were off, like the people were caught before they had a chance to smile or they were caught just after smiling, and the worst part was that for each amazing pose there was only one image to choose from.  Every picture that this lady wanted printed she asked “Is there one with better expressions?” And there was not.  It was sad seeing this as I know that a couple more images shot of each pose and they would have been 100% perfect, and the prints would have been amazing.

This is not an isolated case as the same day I got to see another photographers work that was also great.  The client had over 100 images to select from but there was only around 25 images in total, the photographer made a B&W, a sepia, color and a color with reduced saturation of each image.  So the client kept asking me if there were better smiles and I had to say that sorry they only had 25 images from a huge family shoot to chose from and the rest were the same just different colors.

This is also something in shooting nature images that I see a lot. A photographer goes out and finds the perfect location for a picture then waits and waits for the perfect lighting to happen and they only shoot one or two images before moving one.  If you have taken the time to do all this why not try different angles, lenses, crops and exposure settings instead of only a couple images.

Again don’t go overboard when doing this but make sure that you are getting a selection from weddings, families, nature and wildlife so you get the best image possible!