Monday, October 29, 2007

A Sense of Immediacy

Yesterday (and that would be Sunday, as I am writing this) I did a family portrait. It was more for a friend than a straight-up client. (Note - they paid the sitting fee). I said it would be a few days for them to see the files, and they'd be able to see the images online. It was also done at the end of the day - you know- golden hour light. Park setting, creek below, family on a bridge. You get the picture.

So, what do they want?

(Continued after the Jump)

The photos now, of course. Yes, they saw them on the back of the camera and were happy. No, they don't need them until the end of November (or so they said), but they do want them now.

What do I do? What do I say?

Of course!

They want the online gallery. I'm working on it right now - the files are processing as I type this missive. By delivering to this client when they want, how they want...what will they do? Aside from place print orders, they'll tell their friends! "Man, this guy who did our portrait, he was so easy to work with, and we got our photos so fast it was crazy!"

Three years ago, I ordered 1,000 custom silk-screened CD's. It was somewhat costly, yet it's amazing how, when a client burns a duplicate of my CD (and few have figured out how to do that on the machine in their cubicle, surprisingly) and hand-writes with a Sharpie on it the information, how, somehow, they call and say "can we get a second CD burned and sent. We like the way yours looks." Sure, no problem. Those CD's have paid tenfold what it cost me, just because of the appearance of the disk. (For a CD output charge that's $175, a second CD runs 50% of that, or $87.50. Check pricing at dc photographer pricing, for more on those charges/fees.)

Yet, we are running short on those, with just a few hundred left, and more and more of our clients are looking for online delivery. No more FedEx/DHL shipments. Clients want them uploaded instead. I foresee a day in the next 12 to 18 months where a majority of my clients will have shifted to online delivery requirements, just as they transitioned from wanting digital over film. I already have over a dozen who want online delivery, and no CD's.

Anticipating what your clients want, and assisting them in getting exactly what they want, how they want it, and, where necessary, hand-holding them through the process in the beginning, will make you indispensable to them. Further, delivering it when they want it too, ensures you can continue to enjoy their good graces, and the longevity of benefit that accompanies them.

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

7 comments:

Jessica said...

I use almost exclusively online proofing and the clients seem to really like it. I do an in-person review session so I can make suggestions and show them the pictures on the "big screen" but then they get the online gallery to order from. And they can share that online gallery with friends (which has lead to other clients) and family (which has lead to add-on orders). Win-win! And sometimes I get orders in the middle of the night and I love waking up to a new order in my mailbox and making money in my sleep.

Ren West said...

Do you charge for the creation of the website, as you do for the creation of the CDROM? I've always thought the CD costs were so high (compared to the price of creating it) because it had to cover the cost of people sharing the images with others. The same would apply for the website, only it's easier to share.

Rob said...

I've been doing online proofing for the last two years for clients. It's probably the most cost effective way of dealing with clients especially if you don't run a studio.

I'm currently looking into online selling of prints, however I've not found a solution that's ideal...

The downside is that you sometimes get the client who tries and rips the shots off the site or the MySpace generation posting the shots all over their profile.

Pete said...

Watermarking, Rob, watermarking. Use a web host that allows you to watermark your proofs with your name and copyright across the middle. The final files the client gets are not watermarked, obviously.

I've only had one person (that I know of) swipe files this way for a myspace page and at least I get a credit!

John Harrington said...

Ren wrote:

>>>Do you charge for the creation of the website, as you do for the creation of the CDROM?

Yes, there's an online gallery fee as well, separate and distinct from post-production/processing charges. The details are on my pricing pages.

Thanks!
John

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Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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