It can be tricky to keep up with the evolution of the modern consumer and to keep an open mind about how you should adapt your business to the ever changing landscape, especially with the speed at which technology is changing. More photographs are being taken than ever before due to the fact that everyone now has a camera in their pocket. So what does that mean for professional photographers like you?
Well for a start, we know that most consumers want a digital copy of their photos. It has become the norm. And we're glad to see that many photographers have embraced that change rather than shying away from it, but does that mean professional photography has to become a digital only service?
Being a photographer isn't just about taking pretty pictures. It’s about capturing and preserving moments in time. It's about creating a connection with your client, and creating memories that will last a lifetime and beyond. Anything less and you’re doing both yourself as an artist and your clients a great disservice. It’s also a business and possibly your main source of income. It's all well and good giving your clients a USB with their digitals but why stop there? What's the point of creating a beautiful picture that nobody ever sees? And what’s the point in working your a** off if you’re not making a decent living from it?
The thing is, a lot of photographers believe that people don't want to buy prints any more and that is simply not true. Print isn't dead, it's simply evolving! According to Polaroid President and CEO Scott W. Hardy, the demand for the instant photography experience has grown significantly in recent years. He says “Instant photography offers users something tangible and physical in today’s digital, often transactional world”. FujiFilm have also seen a dramatic increase in their sales of instant cameras. In fact, in 2015, the Fujifilm Instax became the top-selling camera on Amazon during the holiday season and their numbers have continued to rise since. Sue Richards, HP’s vice president sums it up nicely when she says “People have a deep emotional connection with their photos. They are the physical manifestation of your most cherished memories”.
So how do we learn from that?
Well, we know that people love to reminisce – it’s part of our make up as human beings. We know that they feel a stronger connection to that memory when they have a tangible image and we also know that they love the “instant photography experience”. So, how can you as a professional photographer service your clients in a way that fulfils all of their desires, generate more revenue from your sales and ensure a sustainable and profitable business for the future?
The answer is simple: Start with print.
For most photographers, taking the pictures is the easy part or at least the bit they enjoy the most. For many, it’s the business side of things and selling in particular that they struggle with and for that reason, many photographers take the “digital only” service route. However, if you want to truly succeed, you need to start thinking differently and it’s easier than you might think.
The most successful photographers we see in the industry are doing IPS (In-Person Sales). Some people choose to do this by way of a digital viewing where the images are shown to the client on a screen or via projector. Others choose to do a print viewing where they print and mat 20-30 images to show to their clients at the viewing.
The beauty of doing a print viewing is that you’re actually ticking all of the boxes for your clients, while at the same time taking the pain out of selling. The prints will do the selling for you. Once you have fully prepared and educated your clients on what to expect, then the job of selling becomes easy. Your client will see their prints, hold them in their hands and create an emotional connection with them. You just have to allow it to happen. Your clients can choose the ones they want, (in many cases they take them all) put them into their beautiful folio box and leave with it on the day. Now you’re satisfying their need for an “instant photography experience” and they have a beautiful, professionally produced heirloom product that will stand the test of time. You can sleep well at night knowing that your artistic creation is out in the world to be enjoyed for generations and not just floating around a digital cloud or on an electronic device.
So, how do you see your future? Do you want to…
It’s time to take the next step. It’s time to sell value, it’s time to sell print!
Meet Jo and Luke
Jo and Luke specialise in Newborn photography but also offer maternity and family portraiture. When they adopted a Print Viewing Sales Process into their business, they more than trebled their Average Order Value. Their story is truly inspiring.