Are you a magazine person? I am. I get a bunch of them delivered to my office each month, and I stack them along the side of my desk for spare moments I can sift through them.
Yesterday as I was getting ready to head out to teach a class, I had a few moments to spare. So I grabbed the latest copy of Rangefinder, and started reading.
What do you do when you read a magazine? Do you simply read it and put it away? Or do you read every article and every ad as if it had potential to change your business?
I do the latter.
If you’ve never tried this, run out and pick up a magazine and give it a try. It doesn’t have to be a photography related magazine like Rangefinder; try it with a business magazine like Inc or Entrepreneur. Any magazine will give you a bunch of ideas on ways to help improve or increase your business. Let me give you some examples of what I found in Rangefinder. (May 2010 edition) ( I would highly recommend this magazine if you don’t already receive it.)
1. In the article “Caution To The Wind” featuring photographer Michael Clark, Michael made a great comment.
“My conversations with the camera makers have led me to understand that they are looking to create cameras that can recreate a scene exactly as it appears to the eye with just the push of a button. When it gets to that point, we as photographers – and more importantly as artists – will have to bring something to the image much more than just what is in front of the camera.”
Yep, couldn’t agree more. With all of the tools digital has brought to the table, to be an artist, you need to look beyond what the average person sees. It’s about creativity. Looking for backgrounds most will never see. Looking for angels most never experience. Doing something creative in your presentations – something that completely sets you a part from the competition.
So this motivates me to do something with my business very few are doing. Look for the thing that makes you different, and do it.
2. In an ad for Zookbinders, they are now offering soft cover press book value packs for $100. Which means you can get high quality mini-albums, 4 to 12 of them depending on the size, for $100. What if you added that as a bonus to your wedding clients? Get a mini bridal album in soft cover format for your parents, grandparents, family members, friends, for a special price – if you buy a large album for yourself? Set a deadline and you have an even greater strategy, and chance to make this sale worth more to you.
3. Ever heard of Canvas Splits? It’s a new product offered by Nations Photo Lab. Instead of fighting to sell your clients on a large wall print, offer them a Canvas Split instead. They still are buying large wall prints – up to a 20×30 in size – but because of the exciting new look, it makes your clients say “Wow”. And of course, “I have to have one.” Price it high, then add it to your larger packages as incentives for them to move up.
4. Are you designing albums? Then you have to be inspired by this years album award winner Dawn Shields. So many photographers today hand over a stack of images (okay, a CD of images) to their clients and expect them to pull out their favorites to put into an album. Look at your album as a piece of art, and create it yourself. Dawn won the award because of the amazing thought process she put into her album. Each page was designed to tell a story. Each page works to capture the next chapter in the book. You move through the album, discovering more information about the person it was created for. That’s storytelling. And that’s what will set you apart from all the other photographers that simply hand over the CD.
5. Ready for more than weddings or portraits? I loved the articles on nature photography, and the images were amazing. If you’ve ever had a desire to step away from the traditional business model of weddings and portraits, these images could do just that. They motivated me to travel more and keep developing my stock image line. How about fine art photography? And what about gift products like notecards and coffee table books. Better yet, how can you incorporate that concept into new technology with smart phones and apps?
Ahhh, the world is so full of potential. Just pull out your latest magazine, and start planning.