Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Embracing Change in a Fast Moving World

Things happen at an amazingly fast pace these days. Something happens, someone makes a video, sticks it up on YouTube, before you know it a meme has been born, and it is remembered for a long time afterwards.

As photographers, we're putting photos out there in a digital form. Our clients then take the photos and use them, maybe in ways we didn't intend originally. What should you do? Should you embrace it? Enable it? Or be angry?

How you choose to react can impact how people feel about your brand for the long run. More & more people think that if they have the files, it is ok to upload them all to Facebook, Flickr, or wherever else. Sharing them with their friends. From their perspective, they've done nothing wrong.

I plan to provide all of my 2009 clients with a web-ready DVD, along with instructions that those images can be posted anywhere and everywhere. I *want* them to post them all over the place. I use the Mogrify2 Plugin for Lightroom and put my logo on every file on the DVD. Whenever someone sees the images, they can easily look me up and hire me for their own great photos. My clients love the idea, and I love that I'm giving them a way to spread the love.

I've been thinking about all of this for a few weeks now. Peter Shankman, the man behind Help A Reporter Out - aka HARO, came to Houston recently to talk at an ISES meeting about things like Twitter, Facebook, and your business. You know I couldn't pass that opportunity up!

At the end of his presentation, he closed by showing us the following video. First he told us the backstory. Basically, there was a mime. Everyone hates mimes, probably even more than clowns. So the mime came up with a routine to this song, Torn, by Natalie Imbruglia. (You can check it out on YouTube.) Originally, when "the Man" got word that he was doing this performance to a song, they were not happy. Copyright issues, performing to a song without the proper license (you know, sort of like when people put your digital files on Facebook even though the license doesn't cover that), and cease & desist letters were going to go out. But then the artist's manager found out about it. It was already a hit on the internet. They stopped and realized that they could take the other route. They could tap into the buzz already generated, and use it to turn it into something so much more.



What are you embracing as technology moves at such a breakneck speed? What are you doing to make sure your clients have the best experience possible while working with you, and that makes them want to shout from the rooftops about your work? I would love to hear your feedback - please share!

UPDATED to add: Don't let all the technology changes leave you behind, leave your clients confused, or ... well, ok, we just wanted to add this funny video that Anne sent to me that ties into the fast changes in our world:



Make sure your clients don't feel like that. "wub wub wub..."

Christine Tremoulet is a Houston, Texas Hot Mama Boudoir photographer and wants you to have a Business of Awesome. She also runs Wholly Matrimony, a destination wedding blog. She is a creative geek, having blogged since 2000 at BigPinkCookie. When she isn't taking photos or knitting, she is busy devouring all the info related to Marketing & Social Media and its powers that she can find online. Follow her on Twitter.

16 comments:

  1. First of all, thanks to all of you ladies for sharing your advice, suggestions, and insights. I've learned a lot reading through this blog, and have been confronted with ideas that I never would have thought of otherwise. So, thanks. :-) Now my question--on the DVD that you provide to your clients, are the images high-resolution so that they can make their own prints? Or are they just intended to be shared online? Thanks, again!

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  2. I love this! We have been giving away the digital files for the last 5 years and pretty much our clients have done all our advertising work for us!

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  3. I agree with mike and deb above.

    Not only do all of my high-end wedding photographer friends (I am not one, but love reading this blog) give away their CDs with hi res photos, but I'm in the advertising business and because some photographers will now give a flat day rate, images included ––sometimes for less than an old scrooge who keeps his images under lock and key –– it's hard NOT to choose the ones that are more open with their art. Like Mike and Deb say, there's no better advertising than word of mouth.

    Also, as a recent bride (and art director) it would have been hard for me, if not nearly impossible to justify paying $15.00 per 4x6 that I would have had to order from my photographer, when I can color correct (properly), crop, size, and order prints on my own. I will say that my photographer won my business in part by allowing me to spread her great talent!

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  4. ONE MORE THING ... Not to be a posting hog, but might I add that although my photographer ultimately raised her rates to accommodate for about $700 for the CD (I only know this because she is a close friend who has come to me for marketing advice), most clients wouldn't see that. They would just see the incentive to have ALL of their high-end photos to use as they wish. This doesn't prevent my photographer from making money on other things, like expensive albums, etc., but it does free her up from the little things that aren't as profitable overall!

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  5. I'm a professional photographer in my mid 20's. Last year was my first major year in wedding photography and over the course of the year I had 10 weddings without trying. I think this is due to a still close-knit community of friends fresh out of college, my blog + twitter + facebook. These were free ways to channel images to people I knew so I am pretty thankful for them.

    But at first I felt kind of sketchy about people using images in ways I hadn't thought of. Especially them taking them the time to upload EVERY image from their wedding (think 800-900 pictures) including images I probably should have cut out in the edit but I was still green and thought I should include everything even if it was sub par.

    A few weeks ago, I added a feature similar to your idea that I thought was rather clever. A folder that had a selection of 60 (the size a facebook album will allow) of low-res (resized) edited images that told the story of their wedding day.

    I still include all the high-res dig. files but this was a way of guiding the client to show a better selection.

    I'd love to hear other people's similar ideas.

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  6. laura, my photographer did something like that, where she gave us a slideshow that told the story of about 60 photos. so, these were the first ones we got, and the best of the lot. therefore, these are the ones we (as clients) put up and shared. they are also duplicates of about 20 that the photographer put on her blog.

    so, i agree that there are ways you can "guide" the client". =) it works.

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  7. Diana, I will be providing them with two disks. One with high-resolution image files intended to be printed, and one with the watermarked files intended to be shared online.

    I've encouraged clients to take them from my blog up until now, but the Mogrify2 plugin for Lightroom makes it *so* easy to place the watermark on every image. That way, they aren't limited to the ones that I post! I'll also be printing up a card that goes out with each DVD that explains the intentions of the two disks, and how they can use them.

    Julie, the idea of giving them 60 - the limit of a Facebook album - is brilliant!!!

    Mike & Deb - 5 years ago, I chose my wedding photographer because he was the only one I found that gave away digital files, and I think it freaked him out a bit that I requested a contract addition allowing me to post selected images online with attribution to him. In the end, it got him a lot of other weddings! When I started my own business, I immediately set up my pricing to include DVDs of wedding day images on all packages.

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  8. I don't do a whole lot of weddings yet, but I do offer my portrait clients around 5 tagged to them in facebook... that way, it has my watermark and if their friends click, it takes them to my folder... which has more work that they can view of many kinds. Tagging is great because you can add members of the fam... say mom, dad, a couple kids are in the photo? That's reaching 3-4 groups of friends... pretty sweet!

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  9. That video, hilarious, and a great representation of the ultimate point about embracing technology! There's a lot of 'free' promotional opportunities just laying there...waiting for us to see them!
    - Lori Moss

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  10. Tagging photos is such a huge thing... I go so far as to import my blog posts to Facebook, and tag the people there too! It works wonders!

    It doesn't hurt to add a clause into your wedding contracts where they must link to your site when showing any of your photos online. Most clients will gladly do this!

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  11. Another fun example of the power of new media/youtube and marketing:

    There was a flaw EA Game's Tiger Woods game that allowed Tiger to walk on water. It got dubbed the "Jesus shot" and two guys on youtube made a video about it that went viral and got played on TV. EA could have been jerks about it, and tried to pull the add off youtube, but instead they went with it. They shot a new commercial featuring Tiger showing him actually walking on water and doing the "Jesus shot". And the end of the commercial the screen goes blank and it says "It wasn't a flaw. He really is that good." or something to that effect. It was a hugely successful ad and people loved it.

    (Would post a link to an article about it, but I'm not sure if it's allowed.)

    I love hearing stories like that. The internet is changing everything, and we either can get hip to it and make it work for us, or be swallowed whole. I don't get the people that want to fight to keep the status quo. They are wasting so much energy and it's like putting a house of cards in front of a steamroller - it's totally futile.

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  12. Love this idea of a "web CD". I think the video you showed illustrates this principle so perfectly. You can't stop the flow of information in the digital age. Would you rather have your clients taking screenshots of their online slideshow and posting them?

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  13. that was amazing. instead of being "torn" up, they got to get together and made it work. love it! and i love the idea of web CD.

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  14. This is amazing! I've always loved Natalie Imbruglia and this just proves to me what a truly good person she is.

    Christine you have an amazing idea here and I give kudos to you! I just might follow your lead here! :)

    This makes me want to blog.....

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  15. This idea is just one facet on the large stone of copyright management. The EA example is good, but having worked in the music industry, I find it closely resembling the struggle between the record companies, musicians, and downloaders. It's always been amazing to me how short-sighted the "business minds" at those companies are! You simply cannot beat technology. It will always win, so why not be ahead of the curve - then you'll ride the wave rather than being swept under the current!

    Christine, your idea is great. To me it's a no brainer for photographers! Including instructions is the key I think - so they understand the difference between the files.

    Courtney - I like the idea of tagging through an album as well. Though - the tagging thing on Facebook bugs me, because my friends tag me in photos that I would rather not have online :D

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  16. Great article.

    We offered CDs for several hundred extra for about 6 months and got burned. People got cheap and nasty prints at easily accessible places. They were oblivious to the poor print - all they could see was their cute toddler and all their friends saw was a dodgey photograph. No word of mouth referals - the word of mouth sales were non existent. We stopped and will never do it again. We asked our clients why they wanted the files. All agreed - pro lab prints were SO much better and ..they just wanted to blog/facebook the images. We now GIVE each client 10 facebook images, with our website on the bottom. Word of mouth via facebook is huge for us and working well. We say spread the love.. and we keep the high res files safe for reprints :)

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