Thursday, December 04, 2008

Business Day Thursday: A Bad Internet Day(s), Too Much Connectivity, and Are You Doing Your Customers A Disservice and Cheating Yourself As Well?

Good Morning Everybody,

Well, the weather is great, the food is delicious, but Internet connectivity goes from spotty to none on this trip. I was really bummed last night because I couldn't sit in with Tom Hogerty, Adobe's product manager for Lightroom, along with all the guys over at PhotoNetCast. Even as I write this, Google keeps telling me it can't save the post.

You know, it's amazing how much we are all connected, or said differently, how much we all feel we must be connect these days whether blogging, emailing, or "Facebooking." Wouldn't it be great sometimes, just to take a vacation from all of our "connectiveness?" It is hard to do in this day and age. Maybe we all just want to be connected too much - so much so that we miss too many sunrises and sunsets, so much so that we let too much of real life pass us by, so much so that we miss, in many cases a personal, physical connectiveness with our real next door neighbors.

On Tuesday, I just finished reading Malcolm Gladwell's latest book, Outliers - a great read, by the way - in which he discussed the little town of Roseto, Pennsylvania. It seems according to this book, the people of Roseto experience some of the lowest rates of heart disease in the country. And after many extensive studies it wasn't due to genetics, diet, red wine, or any of that.

It was discovered that it was due to their strong sense of community - a physical, emotional, spiritual connectiveness with each other that over all these years, has proven to be the best antidote for a stress related world. In a sentence - people nourish people. Anyway, as my mom always used to say - "You know, you always got take the time to stop and smell the roses." I think mom's right as I sit down here in Mexico lamenting my Internet woes.

Next week, when I'm back home, look for a fabulous post on the new Canon 5D Mark II - images and videos, too. Well, let's get on with our Business Day Thursday feature...

Are You Doing Your Customers A Disservice and Cheating Yourself As Well?
It has amazed me for as long as I've been in business how photographers present their wedding images in person to their clients as they move through the sales process. Too many photographers go out and photograph a wedding, working as hard as they can, doing whatever it takes to capture the images. I know, on a hot summer day in Cincinnati, Ohio, that as we rush from the bride's home, to the church, to the park, and finally to the reception they get the photographs we need that at the end of the day, when we return home, we many times just peel sweat stained suits off of our bodies. Let's have no doubt about it, weddings are hard work.

So with all this hard work, why do we photographers so many times just post our images online and let our clients make the final choices for their wedding album?

I think two things happen here. The first is that by putting our images up online, we spin the "wheel of misfortune" and hope for a decent sales result for our efforts. Folks, if you presold your client a 20, 30, 40, 50, or more image wedding album, then this prsold number is going to be how many photographs they will select from what you show them online. I would say simply, and unfortunately, expect your sale to go nowhere.

In addition to spinning the "wheel of misfortune," we are ultimately doing our client a disservice as well. You know as each of us goes out and photographs our wedding, we photograph what we see in our "minds eye" and what we feel in our heart when we press the shutter button. To not provide our client our insight into what we were thinking and what we were feeling when we were making those images, shortchanges them tremendously when they are making their final selection for their wedding album.

It reminds me of a story I saw recently on National Geographic TV. The picture editor insisted that the final photo essay, is always much better when the photographer is present during the selection process. Is this not exactly the same situation that we face in our sales presentations? The photo editor are our clients and it behooves each and every one of us to be present when the photo editors are making a selection for what they hope will be a very beautiful presentation of their wedding day.

This screams to me that so many photographers are simply shooting themselves in the foot - spinning that wheel of misfortune and hoping for the best sale. It is only when we are proactively involved in our sales presentation can we expect our sale to go anywhere. It is only when we are able to share with our clients what we saw in our "mind’s eye" and feel in our hearts, at the time we pressed the shutter release button to get those great images, it is only then that we can be instrumental in working together with our clients that we can help them build a wonderful photo essay of their wedding day.

So how do we do that? We invite our clients, which usually includes the bride and the groom and their parents, into our studio for a review of the images. Prior to the client’s visit, we put the images online so that they can select their favorites. Then, when they come to our studio they're actually just looking at their top picks. You can see exactly how we have everything set up in a previous post I did here at Digital ProTalk. Here is the link.

Sure, this sales method might take a bit more time to finalize a selection for your client, but I can assure you that the finished result will be a much more exciting wedding album for your client in a much more profitable result for you. My clients have been telling me for years that they love the fact that I take the time to work with them suggesting and recommending images that will enhance their story in the finished album. To do anything less, as I said, is a disservice to our clients and/or business.

Food for thought.

Related Links: Secrets To Sales Room Success

Hey everybody, that's it for today. Don't forget to check in tomorrow for another edition of Gear Bag Friday - Radio Transmitters and Receivers. Good stuff - see you then, -David


  1. I don't let my clients to select images for an album. If I do, they would end up with a family album, and not artistic album, I can do for them. I let them make changes and add/change/remove images. But after they see my selection, a few changes follow. I am in charge of album design and client has less to worry about.

  2. Very interesting post, food for thought. By the way I like the second picture, how did you make it so that the rays from the projector/beamer as so clear?


  3. I have to respect your dedicated work & wisdom in your presentation, and it would be a higher bar for us (or at least for me) to follow, and no surprisingly that you're in high demand for your services.

    Thanks for sharing, and love you put into the video demo.

  4. The idea of being your own boss and running your own business is exciting but how many people are successful in actually bringing this dream to realty, tough today internet provides an easy platform to be your own boss. All you need is a good ecommerce solution. my convenienced.