Instagram’s Square Images “Very Hot” With Millennials

Pechman Photo Fun StripsSquare format producing that “Polaroid Look” is very much in demand. No, not large prints per se’, but as a retro product we at Pechman call ‘Fun Time Strips.

Millennials going “retro” with Photo Strips Thanks To Instagram

Think back to those days when the “photo-booth” was popular. Teens could purchase prints in a matter of minutes at the local dime store, etc. Everyone crowded into those booths or just a teen couple on a date to see a movie or go bowling. That provided fun for them and a means to preserve memories.

~Did you know that teens are purchasing older Polaroid cameras and taking square pictures? And that film is not cheap.~

Being “square” is the in thing.  “Square is the new “cool.”

Fun Time Strips are printed with 3 or 4 images per strip. As “retro” each strip has colored borders which you choose. As a bonus, Polaroid Look-a-likes, 3.5×4 in size has a 3.5×3.5 square image with white borders.

All these Fun Time Products are in Pechman ROES right now.

Our Fun Time Strips can be used in many ways:

  • Promotional items
  • Add-ons to your existing portrait print or wedding packages
  • Post session activity after “your close” or as a “closer”
  • Also as one of your “Email Sales Products” doing a “senior roundup” or “wedding finale.”

Professional Photography Isn’t Just A Bowl Full Of Cherries

Ironically one of the tough parts of being self employed is one of the alluring features of being self employed, no boss telling you what to do. The downside, you have to be focused on goals, plan your time and follow through. You have to be responsible to yourself and make yourself do it.  Time Management is what I am getting at here.

Make a list of what you need to do and what you want to accomplish. Prioritize the list, review it frequently and use your appointment schedule to keep on track and do the steps that will provide you with the greatest return for your effort

Time management, goal setting, prioritizing your to-do list, there are multi-day classes on each of these topics. A lot has been written about them. The most important issue is that you first recognize you need to work on these skills. Then follow through by being honest with yourself and committing to keeping your schedules.

A key part of goal setting in addition to reviewing your goals daily is sharing these goals with a few key people in your life. This gives you a little more sense of feeling obligated to complete the task, sort of having to report to a boss. They aren’t your boss true, you still don’t want to look bad or lazy in their eyes so you push a little harder to complete the task you assigned yourself.


Jump Start Your Spring Portrait Sales

Live animals in studio for small children.

Pet promotion working with a local grooming salon.

Portrait fund raiser with church or civic group.

Business Portrait refresher trade in program. Offer past customer trade in, upgrade, renewal of their portrait at a discount. Special days only.

Police, Fire, EMT, Judges, Politician, Civil Servant promos. Roster boards / composites or portraits of retirees.

Sales calls on all nursery schools in your market. Spring promo portraits.

Reach out to all dance schools showing custom premium action dance photos. Also offer basic posed dancer and group photos. Two different programs for them to choose.

Contact me with your thoughts or questions. I would appreciate hearing any promo ideas you have. Usually these discussions bring out many new and improved ideas. Give me a call to jump start your Spring Sales.  Your blog comments are also welcome and appreciated.


Boost Revenue With Mini-Sessions

Why Mini Portrait Sessions?

Mini sessions are a great way to boost business anytime of the year. One caution, do not over do it, because consumers soon may expect it instead of a regular session.

When doing mini sessions, a photographer should have a defined set of goals while keeping in mind that these sessions are only 15 to 20 minutes long. KIS–keeping it simple applies given your time is valuable. Themes should closely align with the needs of your clientele. Think of these sessions as “Lite” or “Petite.” Market as such. Mini Session link examples: LINK 1  LINK 2

1. For portraiture keeping up with stages of a child’s growth or a cute phase.

2. For special gifts for grandparents.

3. Up dating a family portrait with new child.

4. Need current image for Greeting Cards.

5. Engagement sessions for brides on low end budget.

6. Not for seniors, except for last minute year book photo.

7. Mom’s or Dad’s recent promotion or wedding anniversary.

8. Fast and easy pet sessions.

9. Great for “theme style” portraits for children: fairies, Halloween, Thanks Giving, etc.

10. Some photographers have a special day theme each month just for mini-sessions. Great for infant photography programs–3,6,9 &12th month portrait.

11. Impromptu family reunions–group shots only.

Suggestions to help:

1. Keep images down to a conservative number: 1 per minute or max. 30.

2. Use outdoors when ever possible, same location. Have rain make up date set.

3. Reduce the customary session fee up to 50%, but not the individual print price. Instead establish unique mini session packages to establish a sale price.

4. Relying only on “Image Posting for proofing” will result in lower sales or aces.

5. Face to Face selling will result in higher sales averages.

5. Don’t like to sell or don’t have the time, sell packages so that lowest priced package + session fee is $200 minimum.

6. Mini session revenue average should not be lower than 50% of your regular sitting average. Example: $400 x 50% = $200. Yours may be higher or lower.

7. Use coupons for Greeting Cards to remind clients to place their orders early.

8. Token of your gratitude: Place several images on FB, etc. for them only after they make their purchase.

9. If some consumers don’t want prints: Disk is default at $200. They should know this up front. Editing for other than bloopers at additional cost.

10. Establish a referral program.  Keep all email address for future mailings.

Some of our clients are doing mini-sessions right now. It’s is a tradition for them.

Looking forward to discussing the pros & cons of Mini Sessions with you via comments or your phone call.

To your success,

Steve and Frank

PS: Mini Sessions–a great way to build up a client base.

PPS: Try our video-slide show program–Free for 30 days.

Innovative Products Will Save The Portrait Industry

Found: One Possible Solution to Save the Portrait Industry.

Look out! There is a fork in the road ahead. Turn right or turn left? Soon a decision must be made.

~Professional photography is waiting for the next innovation in portraiture to launch a new era of consumer demand.


~By innovation we mean products beyond where the industry is today. For one major reason, we would certainly place our bet on technology leading the way. That’s because consumers under 30 years of age are totally engrossed in everything technology.

~Current product life extension of portraiture isn’t cutting it: even with prints on metal, print wraps and floats, images on ceramics, wedding albums with exotic leather covers or as press books (a.k.a. children’s Dr. Seuss books).

An all important question.

Are Seniors and Brides really waiting in lines to book appointments to get their hands on a metal print or a press book? Millennials are balking at such products as we speak, more so everyday. Ask any professional photographer, even the “home run hitters”, their answer is a resounding, no. If Millennials do call and book, they want that disk before they are willing to purchase anything additional.

Traditional marketing methods, Internet and Cloud Marketing are not producing hoped for results.  Apathy is just too intense, even with some Moms, which puts a dent in not only your income, but also greatly impacts photography vendors, suppliers, labs, Kodak and Fuji as well.

OK. What is the answer? Imaging technology seems promising.

Like the digital camera, imaging technologies are fantastic tools in the hands of professional photographers. New products must be developed by professional photographers who are willing to explore cutting edge “technology and software.” Such products must attract millions of apathetic consumers back to professional studios.

” Steve has an idea for you that uses current technology borrowed from advertising agencies to create immediate impact.

IMPACT is what professional photographers need right now. Steve recognizes his idea is just the tip of the iceberg. Brainiac pros need to explore my idea’s potential, he says, and run with it.”   Read on.

How so? First and foremost, photographers are on the front line. They should be conducting research for new product development ideas given they are in constant, face to face, contact with the buying public. This is where market research must take place given the numerous paradigm shifts caused by the digital age.

When we ask the big suppliers if they are in direct contact with the buying public, their answer is “minimally” at best. Why so? The major reason is nearly zero revenue in pro and amateur film sales and reduced usage of photographic paper no longer warrants extensive marketing research. What does that mean? Mostly that photographers, album suppliers and labs basically are on their own. There is no calvary coming to save the day. It’s up to us. We must team up.

Second, no matter what technology is going to be used, the professional must sell an “image.”  Any forth coming innovative process is still all about “image creation” that the consumer is willing and eager to purchase.

There are two parts to the long term solution: 1. image creation and 2. the medium by which the image is shown. Right now the millennium consumer is overly interested in the Cloud medium: Facebook, etc., while shunning anything hard copy.

A world wide problem has ensued. Far too many consumers have arrived at the conclusion that they or someone they know can provide all those important image creations, more or less for free. Uploading to Facebook is a simple task for them to accomplish on their own with wireless technology: cell phones, Ipads, etc. Also, an avalanche of free APPS is not making life for the pro any easier.

In summary:

What needs to happen is a major paradigm shift in the image creation process far beyond what the consumer can do for themselves, even right now, with or without major changes in technology. Results must easily create consumer demand. That is key.

Solutions are all around us right now, but they have not been assimilated into portraiture, just yet. Call to action: We all can help each other find the right direction with the right technology if we work as a team.

Here is Steve’s solution that must be explored more in depth: Live Pictures a.k.a. Cinemagraphs. You be the judge if cinemagraphs will renew consumer interest in professional portraiture.

All we ask is that you take a good look and consider all the possibilities of Cinemagraphs & Tutorials  before your competitors do.

Consider your website and Facebook page drawing renewed attention using the Live Pictures concept.

Your comments are welcome and will be appreciated by everyone. Sharing knowledge is a gift.

To your continued success, Pechman Marketing Team


Where Has All The Senior Portrait Business Gone?

Where Has All The Senior Portraits Gone?

Studios have misunderstood the shift in the market.

Less money to spend, more new exciting things to spend what money they have on and an increase in newbie wanna-be shooters are some of the causes that have gotten people out of the habit of having professional portraits made.

Studios have not yet I believe accepted the fact that in all their years of marketing their senior photography it is doubtful that they ever convinced a student or parent to have senior pictures made.

What they did was get a person who had already planned on having pictures taken (a habit, tradition began with the use of ego’s) to choose their studio for the work. That is not the same as getting someone to decide to have a portrait made.

The fix in 2014 to the senior photography market is learn how to persuade a person to have a professional portrait made of themselves and purchase photo prints. To convince someone to have a portrait made you have to discuss benefits not features. You need to appeal to their emotions and ego. They want to be remembered, not forgotten. Their graduation is a major accomplishment in their lives deserving respect from others as well as themselves. DIY efforts and part time disk only wannabees show no respect to the achievement. Cell phone shots and selfies are fun but they are also everyday routine parts of their lives. Everyday and routine are not in the same class as special achievement. These types of images are disrespectful of the students hard work.

In the beginning professional senior portraits were assembled into a beautiful piece of artwork, the class composite. If you get a chance to see some of these from 80-100 years ago they were truly beautiful pieces of art. These were displayed in schools for years showing later students those that came before them and had made the cut, got the grade and graduated. They accomplished something to be proud of and were remembered. We need to get this feeling back. Maybe we can’t do the class composite. We can however have the family preserve and enshrine this accomplishment in their own home showcase of honor. A picture wall with all the generations and achievements of the family.

As always, if this stirs up any thoughts or you have an idea to add or debate, please let me know. Comments and critique are welcome and appreciated. Everyone will benefit from your insight and contribution.  Steve

Living Portraits – The Future of Photo Marketing

Photography has always evolved along with advancements in technology. From plates to film, from black & white to color, from analog to digital and now from still to motion.

Living portraits evolve the art of photography by adding a seamless element of motion. The effect is simply mesmerizing.

Living portraits or cinemagraphs™ are a fun product that can be used to excite your younger clients and generate portrait sessions where you will have the opportunity to sell additional classic prints. Living portraits can be made with Photoshop or with specialized software (Flixel).

The design collaboration with your client will lead you to some amazing images. During this process you will have the opportunity to build a strong relationship that will lead to better sales, happier customers, less stress, fewer complaints. All in all, a good thing.


Future Proof Your Family Photo Memories

Trusting your families photo history to electronic storage only is a bit risky. Take Facebook as an example, most high school age students no longer hang out there. So all those pictures stored there  mean nothing to them.  One simple, inexpensive, highly reliable and very safe method for archiving a families photo memories is to select the most important milestone images and have a hard copy Kodak Photo Print made. Store these prints on a shelf or in a safe in an archival quality print box. Years from now any print can be rescanned and additional hard copy prints can be made for any family member. No need to search through folders of files, old cell phones that no longer work or some cloud that went out of business. A source for archival print boxes is the University Products Company. Your studio can create a product or service to clients by bundling a print box and say 25 5x7s to get them started with their Memory Collection. Place a retail price on the box, maybe have a discounted price with a package or print bundle purchase. You could also gift a box or small bundle of prints with a large order. There are a lot of ways to engage your clients in this idea of preserving their memories with the safety and reliability of hard copy prints.

Stand Outs – A Modern Alternative To Canvas Wraps

Stand Outs –  What are they? A modern alternative to canvas wraps. Stand Outs feature crisp clear images, brilliant colors and sharp edges.

Sell Stand Outs in groups of 3 or 4 images as a cluster arrangement. People want to use multiple images vs just one large print. Later you can show your client how they can add other events in their family life to create a family photo wall tribute. Some examples could be a photo restoration of great grand ma you made for them. One of their children had a super year in little league and won an award. Graduation portraits of course. Fluffy the cat should have a spot on the wall.

You could create a loyalty club program for customers purchasing ‘Stand Outs”. They receive special promotions and discounts for repeat visits and purchases. Always include a coupon or reminder in every package you deliver.

Sell Benefits Not Features

Insurance Sales, The Memory Insurance Kind, with a portrait policy. Yes, professional photographers are really in the memory insurance business. This is “the benefit” you provide your portrait customers. The beautiful portraits are just a physical means to the emotional benefit.

Enjoy, the most powerful and effective word you can use in your portrait discussions. Ask every client where they will enjoy their portraits.  They very likely will be a bit puzzled, explain that during their busy day when they have a brief moment to catch their breath and look up and see their family portrait, where would that be? During this simple exercise your potential customer has imagined themselves in the future with the portrait you have not as yet been hired to make.

Sell Emotions, work on peoples pride and satisfy their ego.

Some thoughts to remember and discuss with your customers.

People have been using pictures to preserve memories, today’s important events for tomorrows generations, for thousands of years. (think cave drawings, they lasted)

Photo prints can be held, you can touch them and feel them. In a way it’s like touching the memory. Prints are the method of preserving these moments and allowing you and your children to enjoy your memories for many years.

It seems today’s high school senior is heavily into themselves. Present your services to them in a manner that shows them how photography and prints (just like cave drawings) will take their lives and existence permanently into the future. They are and will be relevant.

Remember, emotions, ego and benefits sell things, Logic and features (maybe a special sale) keep the deal done and allow the customer to save face when explaining their purchase to friends.