This is part two in a series of posts that will discuss exactly how you can do this.
In our previous post we discussed why clients might be asking for "just the digitals" and the irritating effect it tends to have on photographers.
In this second part, we will look at why we need to embrace the change, shift our mindset about selling digital files, and how we might adapt our offerings so that we can bridge that value-gap.
Fighting back against the consumer who is asking for digital files is a recipe for disaster.
As ‘Tom Goodwin’ in his book ‘Digital Darwinism’ explains, in every era of innovative change, we as humans have reacted to each of the three stages of ‘Pre-Age’, ‘Mid-Age’ and ‘Post-Age’ in exactly the same way.
In the ‘Pre-Age’, everything was just great, with incremental innovations based on the era.
The Pre-digital era professional photography business model was built purely on selling printed products. The Photographer retained the copyright and the film negatives and if another print was required the consumer would have to go back to the Photographer.
One example of this in wedding photography was the order of re-prints from a Bride & Groom's family and friends after they had viewed the wedding album. Quite often this was the ‘real profit’ made by the Photographer, with everything prior just fulfilling the living and business needs.
It was truly the ‘cherry on top’. Everything was great.
Any industry innovation was incremental and revolved around a different album cover or a new frame, but, aside from that, the business model and the offering did not change much.
Most photographers had a studio on the high street and relied on footfall for much of their awareness and business.
Then along came digital.
We are still in the ‘Mid-Age’ of digital but will quickly pass into the ‘Post-Age’.
In the 'Mid-Age' of any innovation there is much upheaval, confusion as to what to do, and many companies and businesses that don’t adapt simply cease to exist.
We’ve all seen a prime example in our industry – the demise of Kodak!
With the development of digital, we've seen many changes to the 'Pre-Age'.
With the internet, photographers no longer need to be on the high street to promote their brand. Selling printed products is not the only way to sell photographs, and newer technology is causing disruption with the introduction of USB drives and online galleries.
Yet as an industry, we continue to see the request to buy ‘a digital image’ as heresy and question why the consumer even asks this.
If we truly want to bridge the value-gap with the consumer we need to figure this out.
In my humble opinion, to bridge the gap with the consumer we need to discover as an industry, how we can fulfil their inherent desire to have both the ‘Tangible’ and the ‘Digital’ while ensuring we have sustainable, profitable businesses.
Unless we do this, we will not survive.