Choosing a photographer
Vintage Photo Books

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He went on to say that every one of us has predictable failure patterns.

Greg Woznick, who was the lecturer, says that he is one of 12 people qualified to teach this management faze which was developed by Taibi Kahler, Ph.D.

I found this particular programme extremely interesting, I made miles of notes and it is really quite involved, so much so that this is all I will be putting in the newsletter about it except if you ever have the opportunity to attend this type of programme on information developed by Taibi Kahler I would urge you to do so.

Improving Customer Relations

This basically was titled 'an experience in how to be happier in your job' and again was Photo finish orientated but again I made miles of notes.  Here are a few of the one line headings.

  • Good ideas are like slippery fish unless you gaff them with the pencil.

  • We learn by repetition.  Repetition is the mother of skill.

  • Ideas and your handwriting cool with time.

  • What are you going to do differently?

  • Things will get better for you when you get better?

  • You need repetition time and time again to learn.

  • Use it or loose it.  You have 2 hours to take action after a seminar.

  • People are number one.  We are looking for people skills.

  • If you are grouchy do not answer the telephone.

  • Learn to laugh at yourself.

  • If you don't like what you are getting - change what you are giving.

  • A bad idea with support is better than a good idea without support.

  • Who do I spend my time around, how do they affect me and is that okay?

  • Sib-kis means see it big - keep it simple.

  • Review the days events each day.

  • Listen to me very carefully but do not watch me very closely.

  • Communication is 55% body language, 38% voice inflection and 7% words.

  • The customer comes first.

  • The customer pays your wages.

  • Make your customer feel important.

Each one of these above headings has got sufficient material in it to develop into a complete seminar so you can realize why I enjoyed this particular seminar.

Advertising - The Difference Between Spending and Investing
This seminar covered quite a few aspects of advertising.  The way to, what to, why, where and all the other things involved in advertising.  It gave advantages in TV, radio, newspaper, direct mail, when to advertise, how to advertise and how much money to spend.  Again I made quite a few notes and here are a few of the headings.

Advertising is communication, however, you need a response which is the buyer. If you are considering advertising you should select adverts and put them into 2 piles, what you consider to be good and what you consider to be bad.  This will aid you when planning your adverts.

  • People do business with people they like.

  • Advertising product and price does not answer the basic question, what is in it for me?

  • Photographers are basically in the memory business. You must answer the basic question, what is in it for me?

  • Every product has a feature what it is and a benefit and you must mention both. People will pay for quality.

  • If you want to see benefits being advertised watch the airline adverts. With most adverts people have to translate the benefits to themselves. Why do people want to buy portraits or wedding photographs?

  • In order to succeed you must appear to be different.

  • The best sort of advertising is free advertising so in your community do something newsworthy that the newspapers have to have to cover.

  • To every advert you see ask yourself does this advert answer the question 'what is in it for me? If it does then it features a benefit.  Otherwise it basically leaves you with a 'so what' situation.

  • This list below is a list of features and none of them are benefits - none of them tell you what is in it for you.

  • This suit comes with two pair of pants.

  • The hose on this vacuum cleaner stretches twice its normal length.

  • Acme Colour has a life time repair policy.

  • This camera is the newest in technology and design.

  • You use this camera with or without the automatic power winder.

  • This film is on sale.

  • Protection from this deodorant lasts for over twelve hours.

  • We can have this ready for you by Monday.

The Studios
I found the studios to be operating (the ones we called on) in an incredibly small amount of space.  They almost had no room to even turn around.  There was certainly no real space for a person to sit down to think and plan a programme.

In one studio you couldn't even lay out a photo album there was not sufficient bench space.  Some of the studios were aiming for a higher priced clientele but it is my feeling that before they can move on to these they will have to sort out their space because people that can afford to buy high priced photographs do not live in 500 sq.foot houses.  They usually live in houses of 3-5,000      sq.feet and consequently are used to a reasonable amount of space.

So when they go into a studio which is cramped for space they will naturally assume that it is not necessarily high class for this reason.

WEDDING PRICES
As I move around the country and find out what photographers are selling their smallest wedding photograph for, I am more than a trifle concerned.

I quite frankly don't think I could afford to have as many photographs as I would like as small as they are for the price most photographers are charging.

I realize these prices have to be charged for photographers to make an income but ask yourself if your daughter was getting married and I did the Photography and treated you as a normal customer and charge you my normal price ...  how many 13x10 or 13x13 photographs would you be able to afford to buy?

 

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Copies of my newsletter travel all over the world and one person in Canada that is on my mailing list sent me a letter with copies of price lists etc from Canada and I see that this particular studio which has a very nice price list, looks like a quality studio is selling 13x10 prints for $1 each.  On one of my next visits to the States I am going to check this out to see what the story is however that is the price that appears on the price list.

Now accepting the fact that photographers need the $6 - $8 for a 13x10 to turn a profit ...  Accepting the fact that the larger the photograph the customer has in their possession the better the advert is normally for the photographer.

Accepting the fact that the print cost goes up .63cents from a 13x10 to a 18x1~ ...12~ cents from a 18x1~ to a 25x20.....with a total difference between a 13x10 and a 25x20 of l87cents.

If one was to double this price differential and make an album of photographs in the larger size available to your clients at that price you might be surprised at how many large photographs you would sell.

You would be getting extra money because your current customers are buying your smallest prints now and by trading them up you get extra money you would not otherwise get.  You have more profits on the albums because you sell more pages and sell larger albums and the impact to the people viewing the album is certainly much better on 25x20's than they are on 13x10's.

This still has one or two problems with it in so much as what do you do with all your first run proofs?  Will they buy as many photographs?  What does it do to your premium coverage that sells from $1,000 - $3,000, these are very definitely problems.

It is very nice having a premium coverage of $1,000 - $3,000 and it is still probably possible by juggling a few things and perhaps including video and the time at the coverage but if you can increase your weddings because of this marketing move and make more money on every wedding then surely this is the name of the game.  For example you don't have to be very smart to work out that if you get an extra $100 for every wedding and you do 50 weddings a year that's an extra $5,000 going straight into your pocket.  Give this idea some of your positive thinking and let me know what problems you strike.

WHAT DO YOUR CUSTOMERS THINK OF YOU?
There is definitely a trend overseas to send out a questionnaire asking "how did you do" to the people that engaged you for their wedding, to the people to whom you took the portrait.  Ask very relevant questions - did they get as many photographs as they wanted? were they of the right things? were they of equal quality as to those shown in the studio? did they catch you spitting on the carpet? etc. etc.

Ask questions about what you want to find out and when you get the answers decide if they are of merit and make the necessary changes to your business so you get positive replies and when you start getting all positive replies change the questions.

Keep varying the questions so that you can fine tune your business to give your customers the things that they want ...  are you open the right hours? do they find your sales staff helpful? there are thousands of questions that you need to know from your clients so that you can stay in business ...  you are doing what they call market re .  All the large companies do it and because they do it they stay up as leaders in their particular field and stay the size that they are.

One word of warning, however, make the questionnaire simple and wherever possible give a list of varying answers and make no provision for the customers name and address to go on the questionnaire.  Give them a stamped addressed envelope with no codes or indications as to whom it came from.  If you get 12 lousy reports, it doesn't really matter who sent them to you it is time you started looking at your act.

COSTING
Costing of work is not complicated, in fact it is extremely simple if you do it methodically and if you do it methodically you can find out what every job you do costs you to produce and your potential profit.

First let us give you the world's simplest course of accounting: you have two sides on one sheet of paper one side labeled IN the other side labeled OUT.

Under the IN you will place all the money you get in from that particular job Under the OUT you will list all the money you have spent on that job.

When you have finished if you subtract one from the other you will get a result which will either be profit or loss.

You've just now successfully completed the world's simplest course on accounting.

The examples I'm giving you will get it down to your gross profit (that is before your overheads are taken out) and your accountant can give you a figure that you can apply to that so that you can in actual fact see what your nett profit is.

This is extremely important that you do these exercises for every job so that you know what proportion of your business is making money and what portion of your business is not making money.

The first essence of the whole costing exercise is a simple sheet of card somewhat like the photocopy listed as the "Worksheet".  This card should be designed to go into your negative bag so that approximately half an inch of it is poking out the top therefore it is easily accessible.  This sits in your negative bag because every time you handle any job at all you normally have to refer to your negative bag where the orders and negatives etc are.

The headings are headings that you will work out for yourself and you type them up onto a master on which you will draw lines and you'll find in your town somewhere a photocopier that can copy your master onto light card about the thickness of a photograph or a family record cover.  You should at any time only get sufficient of these cards to last just about a fortnight so that if one of your headings are wrong you can change it on your master and hey presto you have some more originals which fit the circumstance as you need them NOW rather than waiting for a couple of hundred to be used up.

I recommend that your normal headings are written in there and this will in actual fact save you work handwriting them in on each card because the more you have to handwrite in the less likely you are to complete the exercise.