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NEWSLETTER FOR AUGUST 1989    VOLUME No 100

LOOKING AFTER YOUR CUSTOMER
I have finally found a Company here in New Zealand that sends letters to their Customers thanking them for their transactions.

I recently had the opportunity of buying a car from a Company and the Company I selected was one in Manurewa after shopping around about five different Companies that sold the same car.

This particular Salesman said, "Look I want your business. What do I have to do to get it?" and of course I told him.

He finally agreed to the deal and I was the proud possessor of a new vehicle. That I expected was the last of that.

However, a few days later I received a letter from him, a copy of which I have enclosed. You will note that he is asking for names of my friends that could be interested in purchasing vehicles. There has not been a telephone follow-up for this particular item, so he does get some minus points for that.

The next thing I received was from the Service Department thanking me for letting them service the vehicle!

Have you ever heard the likes of that, a Service Department thanking their Customer for allowing them to service the vehicle? Absolutely ridiculous, but it happened and he is also telling me that if he is able to assist me or my friends, to contact him.

I would have to guess that this particular Mitsubishi Garage is going reasonably well. If they are not they should be.

BUSINESS CARDS
I am still amazed at the number of photographs who do not have Photographic
Business Cards.  In these supposedly hard times where I hear people saying there are not enough people having photographs taken, I am surprised that Photographers themselves are not showing people the way to use photographs.

The First Step along this will be to have a Photographic Business Card of yourself promoting YOUR Photographic Company.

The Second Step will be to have a Personal Business Card of yourself, wife and family.

Again this you can pass out and again that will promote Photography. Display a family group of your own and let people see you use Photography.

Promote Photography every step of the way, so that you are able to stay in business.

NEWSLETTER FOR NOVEMBER 1988 VOLUME 101

PHOTOKINA REPORT
COLOUR COPY MACHINES
Naturally there was a few Colour Copy Machines on show at Photokina. If one examines the reason varying manufacturers make pieces of equipment, one soon realizes that it is to sell sensitized surfaces.

 Colour Copy Machines, now that the technology has been perfected, is obviously the next big possibility for the sales of sensitized surfaces.

 There are two machines of note at the Photokina display. One was by KISS, so they will be actively be promoting those machines to all of their outlets throughout the world and it does look like at last they have made something that is good. The other is Fuji and their machine uses a new low contrast positive paper that they have developed specifically for this machine. The copies from this machine was that while you or I could probably see the difference, I am certain none of the retail public will ever notice it.

 Talking to Kodak here in NZ. they tell me that their Copy Machine also uses a new sensitized service, which has the same characteristics.  So, now it is just a matter of time before these things start breeding like rabbits.

 An additional note on these Copy Machines. There is in an Auckland Newspaper every Saturday1 I am told, an advertisement looking for copying and it mentions bring in your family portraits, wedding photographs etc for copying.

NEWSLETTER FOR MARCH 1989                        VOLUME 102
WEDDINGS & VIDEO
One or two Photographers are talking about how sometimes it is harder to book

Brides on high priced Wedding Fees and they are talking about a reasonably high loss rate.

 I believe that when ever you do look for the top end of the market, you possibly do have a higher then normal drop out rate from people enquiring.

However, some of the problem may be that you have failed to convince the Bride as to why she should spend the extra money. Alternatively, you sell the Bride but some other member of the family that is paying the account remains unconvinced. With all the pressures on the Bride at this particular period, it may be one that she feels like giving up on easier or can be convinced that she can save money.

A way to show the Bride what she is getting is to lend her a 15 minute video tape showing yourself at work, showing yourself interviewing, album planning, preparing, everything to do with the Wedding.

I would even go as far as to put a count-down clock in with the video so that they can see how much time you do spend on a Wedding.

I would even perhaps consider starting off with a freeze frame of the Bridal couple walking out of the Studio with their album, with words like...

"This is John and Maryanne, they have a Wedding Album that they will treasure for the rest of their lives".  Then a freeze frame of you the Photographer with the words "This is Mr High-speed Vericolour, by the time he has delivered this Wedding Album he will have spent 214 hours either with this Bride and Groom, or working on their photographs".

It would move into you greeting the Bride and Groom at the original Wedding interview and work your way right through the Album, with this clock forever ticking in the background. It should be a maximum of fifteen minutes in length and should sell the sizzle instead of the steak.

This must be Professionally done and must be brilliantly done. What you are telling in this video is why they should book you and what difference there is when they book you compared to anybody else.

ADVERTISING
We have been dealing with at the Lab, one of our Clients Customers, who called in on their way north. Their son was killed in an accident sometime before Christmas. They are now trying to make one photograph out of two photographs at an extremely high cost and I was talking to them   

I said, "Why didn't you have a family group photograph taken before the accident?'1

They said it was basically because they had always been together and they kept on putting it off and also what they thought photographers would charge.

This leads me to believe that one of the concepts of advertising that we should have is to emphasize how little it will cost and to advertise that it must be done now for "Memory Insurance."

Incidentally this woman did have a group photograph done after the accident of the members of her family that were left and her method of choosing a Photographer was, at Christmas time telephoning round all of the photographers in the Yellow Pages as her other son was home and the first one that replied to the telephone got the job.

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It makes me think that perhaps a lot of business is missed at Christmas time with families coming together and because your Studio is closed, you are not utilizing the time when families are together.

Sure, a lot of people are on holiday, but the location of their holiday may be your town.

THE PROFESSIONAL MARKET IN N.Z.
It is my belief that the Photographers need to have a much higher profile in their areas than they are currently doing and I think a lot of this is to do with the movement from Main Street Shopping Centers to their homes.

A lot of it has also to do with the changing of the business trends and consequently the number of people and the type of people you have visiting your Studio.

In the 60's and earlier Wedding and Portrait Photographers had a percentage of their business coming from candids that they took at receptions, at 21 st's, at Balls, and at public functions.

This generated quite a flow of candids through their studio and consequently generated a lot of people coming into their studio to look at proofs.

It basically meant that the majority of the population within the towns at some stage or other stepped inside a Photographic Studio to look at some candids of photographs that they had taken.

More importantly still, large numbers of teenagers who were attending these functions were in the studios often as much as once a week. These teenagers got to know the local Photographer and often the Photographer would get to know the people very well and be on a first name basis with them.

When these teenagers came to get married, who do you think they thought of as a Photographer why the guy they had been visiting almost once a week for the last two to four years.

We have lost all of this, often the first time a girl has been into a Photographic Studio is when she ventures in there to ask the price and to look at the photographs.

We have to get our wares out and become friends again with all of these teenagers. If we can't do this we at least have to get our name and our product known to them.

One area that I can see that is still available to the majority of studios are sports teams. Particularly those of sports teams of women. I know sports teams create major havoc within the business but consider the exposure that these people have to your studios when you are looking at if you will photograph these sports teams or not.

Consider the opportunities of displaying your wares with these people whilst they are waiting for the other members to arrive.

Use these opportunities of photographing sports teams of impressing these people and impressing your name and your ability on to them.

Sports teams could be a valuable source of new business.

If you are considering doing sports teams, get the money on the evening and whilst you collect the money you can also collect the person's name and address and this will help you build up a mailing list.

Sports teams can be a means of building your business as well as making a profit on the evening.

So if you have not considered doing sports teams previously, think about it and think about the opportunities you are missing.

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY
I have just had a bride in the Lab that works at the local bank.

She has just been transferred in from a country area that is even more country than Pukekohe.  

She had recently got married and the only Photographer she could get for her wedding day was, let us say 'Photographer B'. "Photographer B' was doing Wedding Photography as a part-time job and was trying to "Break into Photography" on a full time basis.

"Photographer B" showed this Bride some weddings that had been done and the bride looked at them and they seemed, to her, to be quite good.

They were all done in the Summertime.

Now this bride got married in the Winter and it was a wet day.

She ended up with 130 photographs in an album and it cost her $800.00.

I was involved because she brought the album to me because, in her word's, " all the photographs out of focus" and she wasn't very happy.

However looking at the Photo's they were not to bad to me . When I asked "where were the out of focus photo's" I was shown some the Photographer had used a soft focus "Glass" in front of the lens.

She didn't have a good one of herself and her husband for an enlargement and was basically looking at me to say that "Yes, the photographs were out of focus and yes, the Photographer didn't know what they were doing and yes, she should get a major refund of her money".

Unfortunately looking through the album I formed the opinion that they were done by an advanced amateur, that the processing had been done in a Mini Lab, the ones that were out of focus were done with a soft focus and whilst the soft focus in the summer looked good outside with available light once you use flash, she got a completely different effect which wasn't good.

I had the unpleasant job of telling her that first of all to get 130 photographs in an album for $800.00 she had probably paid a fraction too much. The photographs were just average and really what she was looking at was the difference between a part-time photographer and a Professional Photographer.

She said she wouldn't have minded paying more, had the photographs been better, but unfortunately this decision was made after the wedding, whereas before the wedding simply because the photographer had a camera, had done weddings before, the bride naturally assumed that she would be able to get photographs at least as good as what she had been shown by the photographer.

She unfortunately placed her once-in-a-lifetime wedding in a once-in-a-while photographer's hands.

She wasn't aware you just have the one chance to get good wedding photographs and unfortunately because the other photographer had been booked in the town, she had to settle on this photographer through lack of knowledge.

No! The person that wins all the prizes at camera club will not necessarily give you the photographs you want.

No! The person that lives next door that has done wonderful travel photographs will not necessarily give you the photographs you want.

No! The person that is just learning to do wedding photography and wants to become a full-time photographer will not necessarily give you the photographs you want.

Yes! You get precisely what you pay for in every field of business and photography is no different.

Yes! If you pay too little for wedding photography, do not complain about what you have received.