You’ve probably seen the hashtags around the industry, the articles in the industry magazines, or the large banners at the big shows, but what really is the Power of Print? In my opinion, it is both the savior of our industry and also the only way we can preserve our family stories for the future.
© Two Elk Studios
I’ve seen it time and time again through personal relationships in the industry. When a photographer shifts from digital delivery to providing albums and wall art for their clients, their entire business changes. It changes the way a photographer considers telling their clients’ story. Photographers running print-based businesses will see a vast financial impact and also tend to derive more personal satisfaction from their businesses.
The Fundamentals of Shooting for Story and Print
Starting to offer albums and wall art doesn’t mean just choosing some products, slapping some prices on a price list and asking your clients if they want to buy anything. It’s a fundamental shift in the way you do business. And that shift requires us to re-answer our five fundamental questions: who, what, where, why and how.
Image © Lex Draijer
Why are we picking up a camera?
Fundamentally, why are we picking up a camera? Are we doing it for ourselves? Are we doing it for Instagram likes? Maybe, we are doing it so our clients will give us praise. If any of these are the reasons, we’ll fail at selling prints. Print is about one thing. Preserving a moment or a story for the future. It’s about capturing the story in a way that re-lives the moment again and again. It’s about making the viewer feel like they were there. And, finally, it’s about making the difficult choices about what will be printed and what will stand the test of time and be around for 100 years or more.
© Sander Van Mierlo
Who are we shooting for?
We have to really ask ourselves who we are shooting for. Are we shooting for likes on Facebook or Instagram? Are we shooting for ourselves? Are we shooting for our couple? Ultimately, I believe that when our goal is to shoot for whoever will view the photos in the future, we really capture what is important. When your clients open their wedding album on their ten year anniversary, what would they like to see? When their children sit down for a cup of hot chocolate and look through their engagement photos, what will be important for them? When their grandchildren open their wedding album fifty years after that, how will they understand the story?
So, as you enter this season, think about who you are shooting for, and as you make that mental shift, how will that affect your photography?
© Sanne De Block
Where will you choose to print your photographs?
Often, photographers who are just starting to print choose the usual suspects. They choose the standard canvases and photo wrap books. They look for the cheapest options out there. We really want to do the opposite. We want to search out products that are unique in the marketplace, products that your clients can’t get by ordering from a consumer site. That means that your canvases are professionally wrapped with a protective finish and professional backing. Your albums are professionally bound with cover materials they can’t find anywhere else. If your albums and wall art look like they could be purchased off Shutterfly, then your clients will not see the value in investing in something expensive. Think of yourself as delivering a family heirloom, not a cold product.
What are we offering?
Are we offering products or are we offering solutions? An album isn’t a book with a lot of images in it. An album is an opportunity to show your friends and family the story of your day. An album makes you connect with the photos and feel the emotions captured. Our album pricing should be simple and easy for couples to understand. The same goes for selecting a size and color options. Bogging down the clients with too many choices or confusing pricing takes away from the emotional impact we’re looking to make.
© The Harris Company
When offering wall art, are we offering just a bunch of different sizes, or are we offering collections that fit perfectly above a sofa or dining room table? We want to make it easy for clients to decorate their homes with our photographs and take the guesswork out of which photos to choose or which sizes will work best. Pre-built collections make it easy for clients to commit.
When it comes to what we offer our clients, we want to make it easy for them to say yes. Start with a slideshow - showing off not only their photos, but complete album designs, complete wall art mockups and complete card designs. Fundy Designer makes it simple to put together all of the above to deliver the highest level of client experience.
© Chrisman Studios
How do we shoot for print?
Shooting for a final printed product is a huge mental shift for most people. Over the many years that I’ve been in the business, I’ve helped countless photographers with their album designs. Time and time again, the problem isn’t related to their design ability but to the fact that they didn’t have the photographs that worked together to complete a cohesive design.
To better understand how we can shoot specifically for a design, you can enrol in Jerry Ghionis’ Fundy School course on shooting for the album. In this part of the course, he shoots a couple in a very tight space and then proceeds to design 15 spreads in an album. Click here to learn more. [Link: https://thefundyschool.com/p/shooting-for-the-album]
Going into the Future
If you are ready to add more printed products to your business, here are some more resources. You can download a free trial of Fundy Designer here [link to http://fundydesigner.com/downloads/]. With Fundy Designer, you can not only design and proof albums, you can also design wall art and cards. Additionally, with the suite of presentation tools you can present and sell your designs to your clients.
For more education, you can try courses on The Fundy School for free. Or you can purchase my best-selling album design and sales book here on Amazon [link: https://goo.gl/yzq7yY].
I wish you a fantastic wedding season this year. Feel free to reach out in the Fundy Storyteller Facebook group [link:https://www.facebook.com/groups/fundystoryteller/] if you have questions.
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