Thursday, August 05, 2010

Business Day Thursday: Friday Photo School Tomorrow; Going The Extra Mile and More

Good Morning Everybody,

We arrived into Chicago, actually Oswego, Illinois about 6:30 p.m., got settled into the hotel and headed right over to Friday Photo School.  WOW!  What a place – about 7,000 square feet of studio area with all the latest greatest high tech video equipment and gadgets in the world.

Friday Photo School2 Don gave us the quick tour and we headed to dinner to discuss just what the plan was going to be for today.  I am the first person to broadcast out of their new studio so it will be a big learning process for all of us. 

We are spending the day rehearsing  just to see how all the pieces come together.  We are mixing a lot of elements together along with LIVE demos and we have to get the timing down to the minute – otherwise, according to Don,  it’s mucho bucks more for the additional bandwith usage.

So, that’s our plan for today.  But before we head over, how about we get on with today’s post.  Here we go…

Going The Extra Mile and More

Every year one of the local private high schools books us to shoot their graduation. Originally we got the first booking because one of the moms at the school, a great client of ours, lobbied for our involvement in the annual event. It's nice to have clients in high places ;~)

The original request was to just shoot the graduates as they received their high school diplomas. We quoted a price, the school agreed and everyone was happy. But for me, when I book any job, I'm always looking for ways to "sweeten the pot" for the client. The same was true for this event.

Hit the “Read More…” link below for the rest of the story.

Spicing Up The Booking

0004-CCDS10-0377-DZ_CCDS G10-Edit When we first booked the graduation ceremony, I offered to do additional photographs of the graduates and their families in front of a canvass background at a super reasonable price - more of a complimentary service for the school and not so much of a profit maker for the studio. It was offered more as a "good-will-builder" that would hopefully lead to future bookings.

Well, that great idea quickly went south the first time around.  I was thinking mom and dad and graduate in front of my 7 foot background.  Before long we were getting requests for much LARGER groups that included grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins - you get the picture. 

0006-CCDS10-0697-DZ_CCDS G10-Edit-2 Needless to say, Photoshop and a lot of time saved the day in stretching that original 7 foot background upwards of 20 feet wide!  This year we scouted the outdoor locations around the school property and located a really nice outdoor location which was convenient and easy to get to and also worked great for our casual family groups. Thank goodness, no more heavy Photoshop.

Spice It Up Some More

0001-CCDS10-0783-NV_CCDS G10 In addition to the graduation service and the family portraits, we also include candid images of the entire event from the time the graduates arrived and donned their graduation gowns till the end of the graduation social and everyone left at the end of the evening.

This annual booking has become quite the event for us putting it in the same dollars per hour category as one of our weddings. It's always conveniently held on a Friday night and rarly interferes with our wedding schedule. We just completed our fifth year of shooting the event and I suspect we will get the call for next year too.

0005-CCDS10-1160-NV_CCDS G10 All the added services allow us to make it a great value for the school and a nice little profit center for us. The school LOVES our NO CHARGE services and really sees the value we bring to the event. So if you get a chance to photograph a graduation, remember to add all the extras for just a little higher price and keep you clients smiling. It’s ALWAYS about exceeding our clients expectations!

DAZNOTE:  We just finished a commercial shoot which I discussed  at DPT a few weeks ago. The client called just last week and lamented the fact that they wished they had gotten a few more shots of some of their products.

I quickly assured them that if if was something they needed badly for the catalogue, I would be happy to do the additional shooting for them at no charge. I knew it would only take a few more hours of my time and the clients was relieved to hear that they wouldn't be facing another day rate charge for the extra shoot.

Once again, it's how you treat your clients that makes all the difference in the world. Call me old fashioned, but I still believe it's the best way to build sound business practices.


Hey everybody, that's it for me today. We've got rehearsal this morning and then it's maybe heading over to visit our friends at Zookbinders, one of my favorite album companys,  to say "HI" and check out their new products. Their new product innovations are always a treat to see because they are so easy to work into our studio offerings. I’m excited!

Until then, have a good one and I'll see you tomorrow for a scintillating Food For Thought Friday: Are Wedding Albums Dead?

See ya' then, David


  1. David,

    I couldn't agree more. Giving extra is the best way to please the customer - and the best way to receive.

    Right now a bride is buy a 30x40 artistic canvas wrap from me of a portrait I shot during her wedding (a candid, no less). I found a lab for her that does special high-end wraps that I haven't seen anywhere else.

    Because it's my first time working with that lab I needed time to work out with them how to get the piece done for her. It's taken longer than normal, plus I had a shoot to do for a TV show (ABC Television filmed it, I shot the stills) which delayed things more. I proactively offered her a 16x20 paper print for the delay, and she is delighted. She says she wants several prints totaling 16x20 so she can show them off in the key areas of her home.

    Your Master Class reinforced for me in spades the principle of giving more than customers expect, and of the power of doing some things for no charge, and incorporating that principle will certainly be my business model going forward.

  2. Congratulations Robert and MUCH continued success!!

  3. Hi LaDawn, thanks! And much success to you and David on your Captured By The Light Tour this year! Looking forward to seeing you two again when you're in the San Francisco Bay Area.