How Will You Produce Your Products?
Next step in production, once you have the shoot itself, there's still more to do before you're done with these images. The next thing is how do you prep for the sale? What are you going to do to these images before your client sees them? Are you gonna go through and re-touch every single image and make it its best because you want it to be perfect? Hummm, remember that 80% rule. How does your client see the images? Are you gonna post them? Are you gonna share them? Are you gonna put them on Facebook? Are you gonna have them come to you? Are you gonna walk them through it virtually on a computer? What's that gonna look like? How do they order an image? Are you gonna be sitting right next to them whenever they place their order? Are you gonna let them go home and think about it for a while? Are you gonna send them some proofs home and then they say, "Yes, this is the one I want"? What is that gonna look like? You need to have answers to all of these questions. And then have they signed ...
a model release? Can you use these images anywhere for your marketing? This is a big deal, okay. So these are all questions that you need to have the answer to before you ever sell a session, what are these steps to go through. Okay, and then even more importantly, how long until you deliver the order? You know how long they want? Now! (laughing) "I want my images right this second!" So you need to have a really good answer for however long that is. Can you turn it around in a day or two? Do you wanna do that? Do you want to turn it around in six weeks? And if so, why does it take so long? It's a question that you're gonna be asked. Well, we handcraft everything, and Peter personally handles everything. And so we wanna make sure that we have plenty of time to make sure that it is the best possible image for you and your family. It's gonna take four to six weeks to be able to do that, okay. Reasonable answer, right. And then how do you create the product? You have to upload it through rows to your lab and click a couple of boxes and then it ships to you automatically? Is it something that you're printing in-house? Is it something you have to ship around the world to get created? What is involved in actually making the product? What is the ordering process? The good news is you guys are gonna order some samples, so you're gonna know exactly what the ordering process is. So you can factor that into your production and what that looks like. And then how will you package your order? Are you just gonna hand them a framed photograph? Maybe? Are you going to put it in a velvet bag? Are you going to wrap it with craft paper? Put it in a plastic bubble wrap thing? What's it gonna look like? There are all different kinds of ways to do things. Make sure it aligns with our style, your personality, and the level of service that you are going to provide to your clients. And then, how are you gonna deliver the order? Are you gonna take it to their house and hang it yourself? That'd be pretty cool, wouldn't it? Or does that take way too much time? Are your clients four hours away and that doesn't make any sense at all? Are you gonna have it shipped to them? Are they gonna come to you to pick it up? These are all things you need to think through as you're starting your business. All right, and then really important, how do you archive your images? So once you're done working on them, where do they go? 'Cause they can't just sit on your computer. That will fill up very quickly. How do you get rid of those? How long do you save them? Do you have them backed up in multiple locations? What happens if there's a fire? What are you guaranteeing to your clients? Can they place an order at a later date? So if there's an issue or a hiccup in your sales process, they may say, "Well, I really need to think about it. How long do you hang on to these images? Can I order later?" Better have a really good reason to say no, right. So can they place an order at a later date, and is there a penalty for that? Probably should be, 'cause you really want them to order right there on the spot. And then, how long do you guarantee your archive? This is a particularly important question for wedding clients. How long are you gonna keep the images? So in our almost 20 years of business, have we ever gotten rid of a single image? Absolutely not. How long do we guarantee them for our clients? One year. Because I don't know what my life is gonna be like in three years, right. If I say I guarantee them forever, I better have a way to get them to them forever. That is a long, long-- I might retire someday. (laughing) So make sure that you have a policy in place for how long you're gonna guarantee your archive, okay. And then the follow up. This is really important in this whole production process. This needs to be part of your system. Do you ask if they're happy with their order? Do you like them? Are you enjoying your images? What do you think? Is there anything we could've done better? They'll tell you, and then you know, and then you know what to change. And then the next question, really important, when is your next session? Or if it's fine art, have you looked at our other gallery? Have you thought of another area of your home? Do you ask for referrals? Do you ask them to tell their friends and family about you? This is how you build a business, ask these questions. And if they love you, they are gonna be so excited to share you with the world. And then, do you have the option for additional sales? What might that look like? Maybe they're not done yet. What if they spent $10,000 with you and it was just the tip of the iceberg? Wouldn't that be cool? Give them an opportunity for more sales. Okay, so we've talked about products, all different kinds of things to offer. We talked about the session itself, what that might look like and what is involved, and then we talked about producing your products. These are all really critical things. It's part of the product development guide that is in the bonus materials to walk you through each of these. Write it down; write them. Write all your ideas down and then hone in on what's really important for you and your business. Because the more dialed you have all of these answers, the better you're going to be able to communicate with your clients and the more professional you're going to sound. So I think we just have a little bit of time for questions. That was a lot of material.
Some photographers, I think, try and make a distinction between being service-oriented versus product-oriented. Do you talk about that?
I do, in fact, when we talk about pricing we're gonna spend quite a bit of time on that. You definitely can't do both. So I always say service is your golden ticket. So if you can provide service better than anybody else, you're going to be able to charge a more premium rate for what you do. And clients are gonna come back to you again and again and again. Because the competition out there is fierce. There's a lot of great images out there. There are a lot of great products out there, but there's only one you. And so if you can provide top service, you can distinguish yourself from your competitors.
For digital files, if that's the primary focus with your business, do you sell those products to your clients or do you offer a lease use of them?
Okay, so talking more about copyright, then, in digital images?
So we never give away our copyright. We have a shared copyright for our commercial clients, depending on how they choose to invest with us. There are different criteria, so it might be a single use of that image. It might be unlimited use. There's a huge difference in prices. For our wedding and portrait clients, we give them access to use those digital files for personal use. So they can have them printed, they can share them on social media, things like that, but they can't use them for a commercial application. So that's how we handle that authorization to use the images.
"If you are serious about starting and running a successful photography business... this IS the road map to follow!"
-JB Photo Design, CreativeLive Student
When starting a new business, you will make hundreds of decisions, and many of those can be costly and affect the future of your business. Most photographers have little direction available on how to take these critical first steps to set themselves up for success.
Kathy Holcombe and her husband Peter have built multiple photography businesses over the last 15 years. Kathy will share what they have learned so that you won’t waste time, money and resources trying to find the perfect formula.
You will learn how to:
- Define your brand
- Set up social media channels and a business website to support the vision of your brand
- Develop an effective strategy for marketing to your ideal client
- Develop a product line and profitable pricing structure
- Develop a sales strategy to maximize your time and sales average
This class is for anyone who is standing at a crossroads, wanting to start a photography business, but not sure exactly how to go about it. You’ll not only learn how to get you started, but also how to turn a profit through your photography in your very first year of business. Skip years of trial and error and invest your precious startup dollars in strategies, tools and equipment that will immediately start making you money.
"You don't need to be a beginner to get great info from this class, it's packed with ideas and tips that even an experienced pro can put to work and take to the bank literally the next day. I highly recommend this class."
-Jeph DeLorme, CreativeLive Student