We had a chat with Whitney and David to learn more about their photography business, and what motivates them.
A little bit of background on David & Whitney
Whitney Scott Photography is based in Arkansas and started as a family hobby. Whitney has loved photography since high school, and David is the ultimate computer geek! A business in photography was the perfect blending of their talents that has gone from strength to strength since it began.
The Scott’s have photographed a little bit of everything, from the CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies, to magazine covers, to big rig truck calendars and once, a model in a ballgown they created out of trash. Most. Fun. Ever. The heart and soul of their business, however, is the everyday families whose relationships they photograph in ways that capture personality and connection. They are sought after educators in the professional photographic community and can frequently be found speaking at conferences and workshops across the US.
This year they've embarked on a new venture with fellow photographers, Tavis and Amy Guild, with Tribe of 5, a collection of coach-led mastermind groups designed to give photographers support, community and accountability. You can find out more about it here.
Understanding how to better connect with your clients is critical to the sustained success of your photography business and bridging the value-gap is an important piece of the jigsaw.
This is part one in a series of posts that will discuss exactly how you can do this. In this first part, we will look at why clients ask for digital files.
Fed up with clients asking “What do you charge for just digitals?”
This question tends to cause a huge headache and boiling frustration for the photographer as they know that it's difficult to create a sustainable, profitable business selling just digitals.
Apart from the personal irritation this request causes, photographers know there is a much bigger and more important reason why it is wrong for your client to just buy digitals.
Printed portraits trigger happy memories in your clients' minds for decades and generations to come. Sales of printed products also tend to command a much higher AOV resulting in increased sales.
As a bonus, research shows that happy memories help contribute to a healthier mental state - even better for the general population!
Why do they want "Just Digitals"?
Before we look at ways to combat the "digital only dilemma", let's analyse why consumers might be asking the question in the first place.
In my analysis, I tried to remain objective, and some of what I suggest might initially hurt some people but I strongly believe that as an industry we need to wake up and smell the coffee - quickly.
I believe that we as vendors have got it wrong, that established photographers have got it wrong, that our associations have got it wrong and, that many of those teaching photography have got it wrong.
Many of us collectively fail to understand what the consumer is actually saying when they ask “What do you charge for just digitals?"
What they are actually asking is “Can I buy the digitals too?”
Why does the consumer want the digital files?
We live in the Digital Age. Most consumers nowadays use social media in some form or another. While they may still want to buy Folio Boxes, Wall Art, Albums and Prints from you, they also want a copy of the digital files to share on their timelines, or to show friends and family when they meet for coffee. Some people also want them for safekeeping in case anything ever happens their prints or indeed the photographer who created them.
Why do we not actually hear what they are saying?
It's because we have been conditioned to see ‘Danger’ when the consumer asks for "Digitals Only".
The biological human reaction when we anticipate ‘Danger’ is for our adrenaline to start rushing, which causes us to make irrational decisions around whether we ‘fight’ or ‘flee’ instead of trying to truly understand the question, and why our prospective client is asking it.
Let’s try to change our mindset as an industry from one of ‘Danger, Danger, Danger’ to one of ‘Opportunity, Opportunity, Opportunity’, not just to survive, but to prosper.
So how can you turn the desire for digital files from the consumer into an opportunity for your photography business?
Find out in the next post... stay tuned...
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