Revolutionize Professional Photography
There are a lot of industries that will be going by the wayside in the next 10 years because of technology.
Professional photography studios is one of them. Or at least, studios that charge you for each picture and retain the copyright to the picture in perpetuity.
We recently had our annual family portraits done at JC Penney, like every year. But this year will be our last year there. These places will be out of business in no time. Why? Because they think that because they took the picture, they own the copyright and can charge you a premium for each picture.
Do they have ANY clue as to how annoying that is to the customer? I tried to go to Walmart and use their scanner to scan one of the pictures so I could get it in electronic format to use for posting on one of my websites. They said they couldn’t do it because I didn’t own the copyright. This is absolutely incredulous.
This “hostage taking” way of doing business could be done without impunity because the photographer traditionally, through alliances with developers, owned the system by which people received their photographs and made such a big deal of the whole process. Even today, JC Penney takes almost 3 weeks to get you your pictures back. Can you believe that?
So, I want to assist in this industry’s demise as it operates today by sharing with you the idea that will change the face of professional photography as we know it.
If you have a flair for photography, hang a shingle and make a million off this idea. First mover on this will become quite wealthy.
Set up a traditional studio, with all the traditional backdrop gear and trained photographers… etc. But instead of using a camera that uses film requiring “developing”, use high res digital cameras. They are cheap enough and high res enough now a days to be more than sufficient to do the job. Then charge people per hour in the studio and when they are done with the shoot, all the pics that were just taken can be put onto a disk or several disks, depending on how many shots there were, and presented to the customer as they leave. In, out, no “consultation” (fancy term for selling you shots) and they’re done.
In this day and age of digital photography, the two tasks should be completely separate. The picture taking and the developing should be two completely separate operations.
Now, if you want to get a piece of the developing, that’s fine. Include info with the disk that shows them exactly how to get the shots developed and even partner with a developing company like ofoto.com to get a kickback each time a customer of yours uses their service. But don’t hold their pictures hostage as if you hold the golden key. This is so pathetic and hostile to your customer.
You could even have wardrobes for people to put on for the pics so you can facilitate impulse shoppers in a mall setting and charge extra for use of the clothes.
As for tracking the time, you could give them a slip at the door and when they enter the camera room, the slip is punched by a machine that keeps track of time. Then, when they emerge, their ticket is punched again and then you charge them for the total time that was spent in the camera room. I don’t know what that would be as it would depend on your expenses and what you have to make in order to earn a profit. But I can guarantee you’d have much happier customers because they can take their disk home and mull over which shot they want to use for what purpose and then have all kinds of options for printing them using a place like ofoto.com to develop them.
Specialization is the future of services. This has been known for a long time.
So either be a photographer or be a developer. PLLLEEEAAASSSEEE drop the scam of being both. It’s infuriating.
Mark my words, as soon as companies crop up that do what I propose in this post, you’ll see what I call the “hostage taking” studios drop like flies. Sooner the better.
Oh, and if you happen to be in this industry and you’re guilty of holding pictures for ransom, don’t be offended. Consider yourself lucky to have come across someone willing to tell you the truth and show you the way to survival in your own business. 🙂