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Knowing What To Sell

Peter Eastway, GM. Photog, Hon. FAIPP, FAIPP

Some photographers tell me their clients only want digital files. They don’t want prints, they don’t want albums, they don’t want glass blocks. Just the digital files. Why?

What has changed over the years that suddenly people no longer want or need physical photographs (if this is really true)?

I’m going to suggest that there are three reasons that contribute to this behaviour.

Retain Control

The first is our own fault because we have burnt our customers. Not us, of course, but there are high pressure salespeople working for photography studios and when you burn someone, everyone knows. Do a job well and a client might tell their mother, do a job poorly and they will tell 50 people.

So how does this affect a client’s behaviour?

Very simply, they want to own the files so they can’t be put in a position where we can hold them to ransom. They don’t want to absolutely love the photographs and then fork out thousands of dollars they don’t want to spend.

Asking for the digital files gives them control.

Do It Yourself

Don’t feel bad about everyone wanting to be a photographer. Just look at how many people do their own home renovations (no work for builders) or cook their own meals (no work for restaurants). People love the idea of putting ‘their’ photos on Facebook, or they can make ‘their’ album or have ‘their’ print framed at a fraction of what we want to charge them.

Whether they actually get around to doing it is another matter.

No Idea

So, when people ask around about photography, they don’t always talk to photographers. They don’t necessarily know what is available.

Based on the photographers who are still selling physical products and comparing them to the photographers who say they can’t, I think it’s simply because neither the photographer nor the clients know what’s available!

This is a gross simplification, of course, but it’s partly true.

A lot of new photographers to the profession simply don’t know what’s out there or even how to order it. So they don’t.

And a lot of new clients only meet these new photographers, so they don’t get told what’s out there or what’s available.

I can see this as being a big opportunity!

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