SUCCESSFUL PORTRAIT PROMOTION 1978
A FASHION SHOP?
Do not schedule the appointments 15 minutes apart, but give yourself the same length of me you would give a normal family group sitting, which should be somewhere between 30 and 120 minutes. It is most important that you allow plenty of time to do this sitting and not to rush them, if you are to achieve the results that you wish.
OF EXPOSURES PER SITTING....
To get to and from the studio, they should bypass your reception room or your selling area, which have your gallery of originals hanging and you should pause momentarily and discuss this with them to sow the seed at an early stage.
1999 The next two sections are OUT OF DATE but I will leave them it in to give you some direction rather than none
THE FILM TO THE LAB
When they come back to discuss the previews with you, the first thing you must do before you try to start selling at all, is to get the free photograph out of the way. (Don't be tempted to give the value of the free print off the price of a larger photograph. Some people will ask for this, but point out that the free 5 x 7 is a gift from the retailer and quite separate from any other photographs they may want). Once you have done this and fulfilled your obligation to them and if you have done your job well talking about the galleries of originals, you'll find the rest just flows along.
1999 There are currently several schools of thought on sales and you would be well advised to check then out.
is most important that you do not use the print projector to
sort out which is the best preview. This should be done by just
comparing one preview with the other until you have got it down
to the various ones that they want. That is step one. Step two
is when you start talking about the size of the prints that
they want and this should be done with the aid of the print
projector, projecting them up to 20 x 24 comparing this with
all the other various sizes. You should be working towards a
plan for the gallery of originals at this stage.. answer any
questions that they have about price, but do not dwell on it
and tell them - "first of all let us work out what you
would like, then if it is too expensive, let us prune it down".
1999 The advent of transviews has changed the presentation of above
This I feel could be even improved if you were able to get the list of customers that these vouchers were sent to and on the last day very pleasantly telephone them and simply remind them that it is the last day for the offer.
name of the game on this promotion is to sell, sell, sell.
SOFT IS AN UMBRELLA
First of all the umbrella at a certain distance does give an extremely soft light, however at the wrong distance, the light is as hard as a parabolic reflector.
The secret of all this is to know precisely the distance that the light changes from soft to hard. The distance will depend precisely upon the distance the light source is from the umbrella and the size of the umbrella.
The way to find this out and to prove these statements I have just been making is to hold your hand in front of a piece of white card approximately nine inches from the card and move slowly away from the umbrella, observing the shadow that your hand casts upon the white card. You will note that the further you get away from the umbrella, the stronger the shadow from your hand becomes on the card. Once you are aware of this, it will help you when you are setting up your lighting on groups etc. and you have wondered why you sometimes get a hard shadow. If you want really soft lighting and you want the light source a reasonable distance from your subject, the only real answer is to have a real big umbrella. The lecture that I saw in on at the Long Beach Convention in California, where Larsens were presenting these facts, they showed some slides which were very interesting from the aspect that one slide showed a 60" umbrella and a 40" umbrella.
The 60" umbrella was a greater distance from the subject than the 40" umbrella, yet they were both throwing the same sort of light on the subject. The other interesting point was that from the subject's point of view, both umbrellas looked the same size because of the difference in the distance between the two from the subject.
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It has become obvious during my travelling around the country that a lot of photographers are not using a wedding contract.
I would recommend this because if a wedding has been booked three to six months ahead, by the time the wedding happens, the details that have been discussed are very blurry, both to the photographer and to the bride.
If they are not blurry to the photographer it is because he has written them down, if they are blurry to the bride it's because she has not remembered precisely what she has told the photographer.
For this reason I would seriously suggest the use of some sort of contract so that both parties know precisely where they stand. At Thorpe Studios, we had several various contracts over the years that we had pinched from other people and had made up ourselves.
I have one available that I made up which I found suited most requirements. I did find on occasions this got me out of what could have been a sticky situation, because of what one could refer to as the fine print.
All relied on the power of newspaper advertising and everybody found that the only person to make any money out of this type of promotion was the newspapers, because it simply did not pull in enough people to pay for the cost of advertising.
The conclusion everybody reached was that the only type of advertising that should be considered was direct mail advertising and to this extent a renewed interest was aroused in the letter writing computer.
Reviewing a customer complaint I think I should draw to your attention the fact that the old saying of what the customer is saying is not always what the customer means.
When you are dealing with customer complaints, this is very important to keep at the back of your mind. For example this case the customer was delivered some prints where the dress was almost white. The brides dress was of a light creamy shade and whilst there may be all factors as to why the dress came out white, the customer had some D & P prints that had a yellow colour caste in them.
Now to her the colour of the dress in the D & P prints were more like the dress than the prints supplied by the photographer. Perhaps it was over cream, but nevertheless it emphasised the point that she was trying to make.
With these facts I think the conversation should have gone something like this.
Customer. These prints of yours are no good, the ones I got back that Uncle Charlie took are much better.
You. (Laying both sets of prints out so that you can see them both). (The first things to find out is what the customer thinks is wrong with your photographs). Well Mrs Smith, in what way do you feel Uncle Charlie's prints are better?
Customer. Well the colour of the dress and the suits are a lot better.
You. (Now you've isolated the cause of the complaint down to the colour of the dress and the suits, at this stage a bell should start ringing and let you know that perhaps the dress was not white). Now let me see Mrs Smith, Mary's dress was slightly off-white wasn't it?
Customer. Yes it was a delightful shade of cream.
You. (This tells you that what she is actually saying is that the colour of the dress in your photograph is wrong, and the colour of the dress in the D & P photographs is closer but not perhaps exactly right). Oh I see and we've gone and made the dress white, well let us see if we can fix that.
Now what about the suits? Customer. Well Tom's suit was a nice shade of green, a lightish sort of green. You. Oh it was one of those colours was it.
(You also note that the D & P photographs have a slight green tinge to the suit, so you can't say that there is subject failure, even though the film may have been Sukura, printed in a Agfa machine on Fuji paper with May & Baker chemistry that was out of line).
Remember a customer, before they come in to complain, have worked themselves up into a state where they can come into complain and have justified the complaint to themselves and all of their friends have reinforced their justification.
They come in expecting to have a big resistance put up by you to correct their complaint. If you can take the wind out of their sails right from the word go by indicating that yes, they do have a complaint, often you can get down to the nitty gritty without any bad arguing right from the beginning.
I find the following phrase used to work wonders.
"I am sorry you are disappointed in these photographs, what can we do to make them right."
Right away the customer is no longer on the defensive, but can talk to you like a normal human being. Somebody that is not going to tell them they don't know what they are talking about, but somebody that is prepared to listen to them.
SUMMARY OF A TALK BY GEORGE M. TRUMAN ENTITLED HOW TO PREDICT YOUR PROFIT TWELVE MONTHS AHEAD AND ACHIEVE IT.
was given at the NZPPA Nelson convention.
Wedding anniversaries. A note should be sent to couples on five year, ten year and fifteen year. Write to them, offer to go to their house and do photography of their families, make it as easy as possible.
Bowling Clubs, he suggested that perhaps photographs of members at play with a telephoto lens from the other end of the green.
Banks etc. Perhaps offer to organise an annual publication for them this is for a firm that changes staff a lot. In other words it is a year book of the staff.
Saturday morning, get out there and photograph the juniors in action. Any sports in actual fact could be good, yachting in particular. Take them and then sort them out. If there is any industrial building going on offer to do regular photographs even if it is on speculation. AMP shows - photograph the farmer and his bull, or whatever.
Retails outlets, offer to organise householders for them and of course you'll do the photographs. Set them out, because often they don't know how to set them out. Get the copy, get it all organised. Motels are another good thing in this avenue.
The standard of photography he commented in the retail business is dismal real estate agents are a good example of this.
If you sell film and cameras why not organise a safari with four of your customers, just you and your customers, take them out show them what a tele lens is like. If you can teach people to take good photographs they'll take more photographs. If you can teach them the difference between good photographs and bad photographs they'll appreciate your photography assuming that it is good.
You have to decide exactly what your business is and expand it with the changing world. The book called Future Shock said that the only thing that is constant is change. Half the children at primary school today will work in jobs that don't exist today, you must move your business as the technology moves. He gave the example that the Railways thought they were in the Railway business, where in actual fact they were in the transport business, and should of course have moved into aircraft.
Currently the Railways in America are almost out of business.
If your studio is in your home measure out exactly what you use for your business on a square foot basis, divide this into the total square footage of your home and the resulting percentage means that you can claim that percentage on your total expenses of your home i.e. power, water rates, painting, etc.
He made the point that if your business is freehold and you owe money on your house, all the interest that you pay on your house is paid after you have paid tax on it, whereas if you owed money on your business the tax is deductible before taxation, therefore if any money is owed at all it should be owed by the business rather than you yourself. Even if your business has to loan you the money to do this. He made the interesting point that every nine years on the average everybody changes houses in New Zealand.
He then went on to mention how to handle bank managers. His comment was to talk to him once a month at least. Remember that in some banks the manager sees every cheque over a certain amount. So you should tell him that you are writing out a large cheque because the chances are that he will see it anyway. Tell him what the cheque is for i.e. if you are buying a new car, just ring him up and say "Hey Bill I am writing out a cheque for the new car, the old one's clapped out" etc.
If you are operating on overdraft whatever you do you should come out of overdraft at least once a year. By doing this you allow your bank manager to get your overdraft passed head office. Even if it means not paying your accounts for a month, the main thing is that you do come out of overdraft.
He said in times of inflation borrow like mad as long as you can repay the interest, because the money is depreciating so reasonably fast. Life insurance he said is now a no-no as far as endowment policies are concerned and he says to take out term insurance which I presume maybe just straight life, but you should make the policy out in somebody else's name.
If you are owed any money the way to get paid is to ring him up if it's a large amount. Write down exactly what he said i.e. if he said I will pay you on Friday, and he doesn't pay you on Friday, ring him up, find out why and write down whatever he says to you each time. Each time you ring him lay the ground work for the next phone call until you finally get paid. This is much more satisfactory he said than going to the debt collectors.
The new poor in New Zealand are now the young families, old people are the new rich so you should be aiming a certain amount of your business for them. Hire purchase is good for young families, you can make a good profit from hire purchase if you carry yourself. Alternatively finance houses will provide the money.