Happy Monday all you lovely photographers out there! There has been something that I have been thinking about for quite some time and I decided that now, before our How to do IPS (In Person Sales) Meet-up, would be the perfect time. So, here is the question that I have for you…
Professional Photography Commodity or Service?
I can hear you all screaming at me from behind the computer “IT’S A SERVICE!”
Now, I want you to read this quote:
“Time is free, but it’s priceless.
You can’t own it, but you can use it.
You can’t keep it, but you can spend it.
Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”
~ Harvey Mackay
Now, this quote isn’t talking specifically about photography but if you look at the last part : “Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back” and put it into context, then you can see how photography can easily become a COMMODITY! This is a scary thought. Once something is a commodity it becomes about price right? Well, not necessarily!
I know, I know! We have been taught that it’s about our personality, who we are, and our style. In a lot of ways, this is correct. People value us for our style and how we act towards our clients. We have to provide a service that our client wants and give them an experience. This is the service side. This is were you make it about YOU. But that’s not the whole picture.
Imagine that you have never had wine in your entire life. Then you go into a fine dining establishment for the first time hoping to get an amazing and delicious wine. You look at the wine list and OMG – it’s a page long! At the top you have wines that cost $5 a glass and at the bottom you have wines that run $40 a glass. What do you do? The human brain kicks in. You don’t want the cheap wine because you assume it won’t be that great BUT you also don’t have $40 to blow on a drink! Logically you will buy something in the middle or even lower middle to fit your budget.
You and I both know that this is what we would do! Now, How is this different then a client looking for their photographer? Your client knows they want nice photos. Their end goad is to have an album and hang a few canvas prints on the wall. They are filled with a sea of options with wildly varying prices so they just randomly choose one in the middle somewhere. This is why selling you is important. You need to stand out and get the client to book you.
Now, let’s take this a bit further. Their end result was what? To have nice photos to make an album and canvas art. This makes photography a commodity. Without your beautiful images you couldn’t make the product. Now, how are you servicing your client so that they can truly get what they want? Do you send them an online gallery like PASS or Pixieset? Is that where you stop?
Remember what you learned? Photography is a commodity so people WANT TO BUY ART. Yes! Many photographers are scared to sell to their client thinking that they are being pushy or salesman like but the truth is that this is why your clients are coming to you. They are BEGGING to be sold to! My first IPS (in person sales) meeting was met with an exciting ” Oooh! Is that the photo reveal where we get to buy more stuff ?!? ” to which I said “HECK YEAH!” – It was so easy! I dint have to sell them because they are already sold. They WANT art in their home and they WANT albums to share. They want the final result of your images which is a commodity – an item to be sold and purchased. An item to hang in their home to Remember the time that can not be gotten back.
So, Professional Photography Commodity or Service? Yes, some part of photography is a service but don’t forget its also a commodity and that’s not as scary as it seems. Just make sure that you are covering both ends in your business so that you not only stand out but also walk away with more money and even happier clients.