Monday, December 14, 2009

Redefining the traditional business model

Anyone who has been in the photographic industry for more than ten years can attest to the fact of how greatly the industry has changed. We have seen major changes in the way we capture and manipulate photographs. This in itself has caused a fundamental shift in the way professional photographers do business.

In recent weeks I have paid particular attention to what is happening in the consumer photography market. After all, like it or not, the changes in the amateur market are what drives change in the professional market.

Recently I was reading a trade magazine for photographic retailers. The article discussed the wave of new technology and how consumers would be flocking to embrace the new opportunities to save and utilize the photographs they had taken.

The one are which really caught my attention was the availability of digital press products, particularly press books. At first I was frightened by the idea that the consumer could walk up to a kiosk and walk away with a finished digital press product.

Then I began to think about how the professional photographer could embrace this technology. It occurred to me that there was a wonderful opportunity in this new technology. What if the portrait photographer was to present their customer with a more illustrative storybook concept in capturing the portrait session?

You can leverage the strength of the retail photography market to grow your portrait business by offering these creative portrait sessions. The children and family markets seem to be the most logical areas to promote the storybook concept however the concept can be adapted to other markets.

In the past we have looked to offer portrait package or wall print discounts to solicit sessions. With this new opportunity your lead marketing product could be in offering a portrait story book. Think of the opportunities you have to utilize your creative abilities to create custom storybooks for your clients. You may also want to consider creating theme books which can be used in promotions. For example you may want to offer several theme day promotions throughout the year where the storybook is the hook in the offer.

The price point of having these books printed makes them a very attractive lead marketing product. Once a theme is created it can be duplicated for other clients. You can personalize the books with their session images and incorporating them into the text of the story.

Yes it is true they can order similar products for themselves but what will set you apart is your ability to capture the emotions and poses which will help illustrate the storybook. With the low cost of duplicate books you have a great opportunity to sell additional copies for grandparents and other relatives and maintain a strong profit margin.

In addition you maintain the integrity of your print sales and it will also allow you to consider some great add-on sales. These items would include the new jewelry and other digital product. Another idea I really like is in offering photo charms as an incentive in your session promotions. This is an especially strong idea in your newborn and first year children’s promotions. What mom or grandmother would not love a charm bracelet with photo charms of their children?

So as we move into a new paradigm of marketing in the photographic industry we can either embrace the new technology or allow it to be an excuse for not succeeding. If you would like assistance please contact me for more information on how to utilize these new products in your business.


Kevin said...

Nicely said Stacey.

M-G-D said...

That was really informative, Stacy. Thanks for the contemporary view on studio sales!

M-G-D said...

Thanks for the contemporary view on studio sales, Stacey! That was a really informative article.