Wall Portraits Alive And Well

I saw at my 2nd cousin’s house this weekend evidence that displaying wall portraits is very much still “alive and well” with the younger generation. Heather and Peter are in their mid 20′s, finished college and just had their first child.

On their family room wall, proudly displayed was a 30×40 collage style mat filled with multiple professional 8×10 and 5×7 family images. Background color was a brownish mat with cut outs for prints in a thin metal frame, no glass. They must have purchased it at Michael’s. Also saw professional baby pictures as 8×10′s in paper easels on end tables. As a young family in a difficult economy, they still managed to find a way to display their prints within a limited budget.

Again, what I saw was a host of pictures, not just one print or two displayed as “hard copy.” There was a lap top computer sitting on the table. No one said, ”Let’s gather around to see our pictures on the lap top.” Also on the coffee table was their wedding photo album proudly displayed for all to view.

So what is my point? Traditional portrait values are still very much present in professional photography. Plenty of clients still want hard copy professional photo prints. Far too many professional photographers are psyching themselves out to believe the contrary. Middle class families can still afford a $25,000 automobile. Are auto dealerships’ lots flooded with $14,000 cars thinking that is all the public can afford? No! The general public wants value though. The “value concept” is what professional photographers need to concentrate on and provide that: great posing, composition, lighting and price-packaging for variety. Auto dealerships could never survive selling entry level $14,000 cars nor can you and the portrait industry survive by selling “shoot & burn CDs” alone.

How Portrait Studios Grow Profits

Fact. Disk only photography coverage today for portraits and weddings may seem cheaper but in the long run of life and memories are very expensive and of little true value. A disk only coverage is really a disservice to the wedding couple and their families.

SB Atkins Photo ©2011

Family Photo

Reason. Disks of images are never shown again or even very much at first. Disks have a very low long-term archival stability. Additionally, ask around to find someone who can show you a Sony Beta video tape or for that matter, how many VHS tape players are still being used? CD’s are only a few years, if that long, away from non-use or existence.

People who think a disk is ok for today because they plan to get a wedding photo album or maybe some quality professional photo prints made are really fooling themselves. People’s natural tendencies are to procrastinate. The cheap disk will get lost in a drawer and be forgotten until it is to late to rescue the images locked inside and have an album or prints made. By the time someone finds the disk it will likely be to late.

These disks will be found someday by kids going through grandma’s old stuff. The kids will likely think this shiny circle is probably some kind of tree ornament. Some other lucky kids will find a book or box of photo prints showing mom, dad, grandma and grandpa at a wonderful old time party.

Now which set of kids will be your customers?

What are you allowing your customers to leave their kids?

If you don’t explain this to your customers everyone, you, them and most importantly their kids all loose.

Family events deserve professional photography and these memories deserve to be printed and preserved.

Professional photo printing and Wedding photo albums, the caring solutions to the disk only photography problem.

Stop Missing Profits – Improve Your Photo Studio Bottom Line

Photo Dust JacketsWedding photo albums using custom collage designs are highly profitable. Most brides who only take your image disk statistically will never get professional photo prints or a photo album made. Those professional photographers who perpetuate the disk only business model are doing themselves and their customer a big disservice. Some photographers have had trouble selling albums and prints after the wedding because they have not presented the products correctly and possible they have priced these items to high. The photographer forgot that they had already been paid to shoot the event and deliver corrected files. In this situation, prints and albums would be priced to include only the labor and costs to produce these products, not the labor at the event.

If you are not selling enough books or prints you might try two things. Rethink your presentation of these items. Be sure to present these products showcasing the emotional  appeal and long term family memories value that they provide. Consider different pricing levels. Experiment with both items until you find the sweet spot.
When you show your photo books have 2 or 3 styles  to show and have a couple of options available. This makes your customers decision, “which style and options do they want” vs “do they want a book today or  later”. Photo dust jackets with a leather cover or a full  photo infused leatherette cover are two popular options. Presenting two sizes of books, “The Grande” (24×12) pano book or the “Deluxe” (20×10) book makes a good choice to offer.
Remember to test, experiment, ask questions of your  customers, keep speaking about the memories and emotional value of the products. You will improve your profits while providing your customers with treasured memories.