Saturday, November 14, 2009

Between now and January 1st 2010...


I have a three prong attack for this blog between now and January 1st:

1. If you are a pro photographer (translation = if you make money with your camera either full or part time) I want to make you more successful next year. It's actually something I am going to do for myself and hope you will come along for the ride.

It's a jump start on my new years resolution. In 2009 I have worked too inefficiently and left way too much money on the table either because of poor implementation or worse, no implementation (another translation = laziness).

It's been like driving a car in need of a tune-up, it still works, but with a little effort it could work sooo much better.

My plan is to take the things I have learned this year and incorporate them into my studio workflow to increase efficiencies while presenting my work in the best way possible, this will serve my studio and my clients better - win/win.

To give you an example of one thing I do poorly is product presentation, when I finish processing the images from a shoot I upload them to an online gallery where the client can view and order if (and when) they want. No input, no direction, no assistance from me.

That's it - that's the extent of my sales process.

I have learned from other photographers who do online sales and those who do in studio projection presentations and my plan is to incorporate both.

Bringing each client into the studio to present their images in a relaxed and fun atmosphere will not only be a better sales tool, it it will also help develop a better relationship, a stronger bond with my clients.

If an in studio presentation isn't possible I have learned from Joyce Smith how to present images online in such a way that it maximizes sales.

Where I host my images needs to change as well. I currently use SmugMug Pro and there is nothing I dislike about them, they do a great job and I was perfectly happy with the arrangement until I was asked a question that made realize I needed to change what I was doing. "What do you say to folks when they ask why they can order images directly from SmugMug at a much lower price than they can from you?" It was a good question and one I still don't have an answer for.

I can tell them until I am blue in the face all the time and expense (studio, software, etc.) that goes into producing their image but all they hear is "blah, blah, blah" as the look at their SmugMug print price for an image uploaded from their point and shoot camera and wonder why my image that is the same size is 3 times more.

I need to remove that obstacle, I need to find a lab that does not sell to the public.

So for the rest of the year I will be sharing/reviewing products that have helped me (and hopefully you too) run a better studio in 2010.

2. If your only interested in photography as a hobby I am going to share with you products that will help make you a better photographer or at the very least make it easier and more fun. So there will be stuff here for you too.

3. Re-invigorate our Flickr group. It has languished as other things positioned itself for my time. If there are things you would like to see, or happen at our Flickr group PLEASE let me know by posting a comment here or drop me an email.

So, there you have it, the Weekly Photo Tips plan for the rest of the year.

11 comments:

Daniel said...

Sounds like a great idea (3 actually) to me, Scott

Hopefully I can find MORE time to follow you closer.

Jodi Renshaw said...

Looking forward to it!

I am in the process of opening a studio in downtown Bangor. It is called Studio 36 --- at 128 Hammond Street. I am so excited. We will be doing portaiture/studio/outdoor sessions as well as renting out the studio to other photogs who do not have their own space (lighting & backdrops included). We will also be hosting some killer photography classes.

Any and all advice is appreciated :)

~ Jodi

Kirk said...

I am looking forward to the upcoming post, and what yu help you sell more.

I know that smugmug is a little like flickr on steroids, but have you considered Zenfolio for a platform

Scott said...

Kirk,

That is one of the options I am considering, do you use it?

Scott

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the input to making my photography better but....there are so many great products, DVD's and books out there that you could go into debt buying everything you think will help you.

Adam said...

+1 for Zenfolio. I use it and my only complaint is the lack of customization options for the galleries (you can choose several different gallery templates, but you can't actually go in and edit the layout, color scheme, etc...). For $100 a year, though, you can't beat it for and eCommerce solution. They partner directly with MPIX and a few other labs and allow the customer to order directly online. You can sell the prints for cost, if you're so inclined, but you can also provide your own pricing. Zenfolio charges the full price (and automatically applies state sales tax), takes out the cost of the actual print and a nominal service charge, and puts the remainder in your account. You can get disbursements through either Paypal or check. Very easy to set up and work with.

Scott said...

Hey Anonymous,

I could not agree more… it is possible to get DVD’d into the poor house. I would wait until he end of the year before making a decision as I have a bunch of things left to review and after seeing them all it would be easier to pick what might be the best fit.

I also try to balance out with as much (worthy) free stuff as possible, so that the only investment folks have to make is their time.

One thing I have done (often) in the past is to go in with several other photographers on a purchase that we all thought was interesting, it saved a bunch of cash.

Thanks for coming to the blog and for your input,

Scott

Scott said...

Adam,

Thanks, I have heard from several folks about Zenfolio and all positive.

I appreciate you taking the time to leave your input.

Scott

Jason Anderson said...

I don't understand the Smugmug question. Are people able to go to Smugmug and get pictures you have taken from them directly? If so, then something is definitely wrong because I have a smugmug account and I am able to control the pricing of photos on the site. I make sure those prices are consistent across the board, so if people order from me or order from Smugmug direct the prices are the same.

Scott said...

Jason,

The problem (for me) is if I charge more than what SmugMug charges for prints the client sees it as me “taking” their money when in fact my price has to cover a studio, image processing, etc… essentially the cost of running a photography studio.

So what I will be looking for is a vendor who caters to pro photographers only, this way a client can’t compare the price they can buy for vs. the price I charge from the exact same vendor.

Hope that makes sense, it sound convoluted as I typed it.

;)

Susan said...

HI Scott,
I am a newbie photographer, which translates to a value identity crisis in which I take too much time in my workflow and don't want to charge enough for all of my clients. I am really interested in your resolution, and appreciate how it might benefit me! Thanks!
Susan