Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Lesson I Learned at the Framers Today

I recently an incredible honour that included a nice certificate and medal, something that I will always treasure. So I decided to get framed and took it to the wholesale framer I had been using for about 30 years. I showed them the certificate and medal and a photo of the kind of frame/matting I had in mind.

I was handed some mat samples and that was it. No advice, no help, no nothing. I was clearly in over my head. Double mats, shadow boxes, double opening were just not something I was able to figure out  myself.

So I packed up my stuff and drove to the framer my mother has been using for 25+ years. I was willing to pay full price for professional advice. I got here and went through the same routine of showing them my stuff and my "can you do something like this" photo.

Well she started studying everything, matching colours, matching styles and textures. It was a delight watching her work. Out of the thousands of frame samples they had, she walked over and picked the one that was the same colour and edging as my medal.

As you can imagine I ended up paying much more than I had estimated it would cost me at the wholesaler... about three or four times more.  But it was so worth it to get an end product that I knew I would love.

This frame will be on my wall for years and will be on display at my funeral when the time comes.

This is all making me rethink my selection of frames in our studio. Offering inexpensive frames to your clients may not be doing them a favour after all.


For the first time today I went into Vistek (Ottawa) nice. Service was great, nice big bright store and they had what I wanted. Henry's, my regular place to go when I need something local, didn't have what I wanted but tried to sell me something "that would probably work just as well".

Glad I went into Vistek today, saved $3 too.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Photography's "False prophets"

"False prophets" a cautionary warning in most religions, but professional photographers need to be warned too. Studio Marketing "Experts" claiming they have the secret, "a new system" you can buy. Beware the fakes, or those selling outdated ideas.
I am so tired of the hypocrisy, and the contradictory information.  Praying on photographers during this down economy. I see it too often.
Nuff said.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Storage of clients files? Forget it.

I have come to the conclusion that computers are too unstable for me to promise storing clients digital files for a year, 5 years or forever.

You do your back ups, but I figure computers, hard drives, CD's are not made to last.  It would be irresponsible to make a promise I may not be able to keep.

Sure I could do multiple copies, and store another copy off premise in the case of fire or lightening strikes etc.

What if I had a stroke and forgot the passwords?
What if in the future jpgs, RAW, psd files went the way of 8 Tracks, or Batamax?
Nope, too many things to go wrong.

Currently rejected RAW files are deleted as soon as the order is delivered. If they order pose #4, #17 and #33... all other files are deleted. Everything (RAW, Jpgs and psd files) from #4, #17 and #33 are stored for a short period, but nothing is promised.

If they want to buy an 8x10 for Aunt Lucy, they better buy it now.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Is this the death of the pro lab?

I was stunned when I heard that Art Leather had shut down. The world's most successful wedding album company. Times are changing I guess, and the desire to have a quality leather wedding album had dropped to the point they had to close.

Are the pro labs soon to follow? The pro labs used to provide quality you could only get from a pro lab. Now the one hour lab down the street offers comparable quality for less, and in an hour, and without the $10-12 shipping fees. No more lost orders, 2 week delays, or ordered that get shipped to the wrong studio.

And how many people are getting prints made anyway, many photographers are just selling the CD.  The images get emailed, put on Facebook, or just viewed on a computer.

Unless the pro labs can offer something you can't get down the street they may be doomed.

I suggested to one lab maybe they should start offering Fine Art quality photos on luxury papers, but I got no response.

Time will tell.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What do car repairs have to do with marketing photography?

This week I brought my car in for $1214 worth of repair work to the local Canadian Tire.While waiting for the shuttle to take me home, I noticed the waiting room had no free coffee, no free donuts and a few other things I enjoyed when I had taken my car to the dealer. There would also be no free car wash after the repairs were done.

Fine with me I thought, I knew CT would do an excellent job and save me $100's over the price the dealer would charge.  It was a conscious decision I had made to give up a few perks to save money.

On the drive home I had to wonder if during this down economy if people would prefer a cheaper studio over a premium studio (given that the quality was the same) and forgo the fancy glitz and packageing to save money. Really goes against all the guru's claims that a high end boutique studio is the only way to go. 

But as small business owners  that's our strength right? To be flexible, read the market and adapt.

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change."Charles Darwin

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Digital Only Studio?

I have been so frustrated with the slow service of the "pro labs" that I am seriously thinking of going digital only, no prints. On my next eNewsletter I will be asking my clients there thoughts on this.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Generic means Cheap

I was watching a business show this morning, she was consulting to a struggling martini bar.  At one point she said something like "Generic means Cheap".  It wasn't until they started doing things that made them stand out from all the other bars that they started making money. 

I thought what a great lesson for photographers. If you are "Generic" is in the same as all the other photographers out there, then you will have to be the cheapest to survive. None of us want that.

Same old lesson, you need to be unique to survive.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Apple Boxes

I've used Apple Boxes for years when I needed to make someone a little taller in a group shot. I have even used one to help me change a light bulb in the studio.

I was watching a DVD and the photographer stands on one to get a higher shooting angle. So simple I thought and on the last half of my last business portrait shoot I stood on an Apple Box and got a few high angle shots.... guess which ones they chose?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Boring = No Sale

We took Judy out for her birthday last night to a fancy restaurant. The food was perfect, very interesting menu items. Creative and unique.

But when it came to dessert, and we all wanted some, the dessert menu was boring, nothing creative or exiting. Nothing you just had to try.
Although we all wanted dessert, no one ordered any.

Must be a lesson in there somewhere for us photographers.