Charles Basenga Kiyanda

Vacation encounters

I was on vacation in Québec for 3 weeks over the holiday period. I took some of that time to go back to my home town of Rouyn-Noranda and visit friends I hadn’t seen in a while and introduce them to my fiancée. One of these people is a photographer I worked with about 8-9 years ago. She has her own photography business and has recently had to deal with some competition copying her style. What I found interesting through our short discussion was that whe now sells away the rights to the images with the contract. What does that mean? Well, you hire her for a photo shoot. She comes over/has you in the studio, takes all the images she needs, prints whatever you’ve ordered and calls you back to pick up your order. You then walk awway with whatever prints you’ve ordered and a CD of high resolution images you can print off as you like and use as you like with her blessings. Her competition doesn’t offer that. My first question (which is probably what everybody who’s interested in photography asks) was:

Don’t you lose money?

Her answer was interesting. Basically,  yes, one ends up making less money on some contracts. With wedding contracts, people usually want a lot of prints so you lose some money on that. With a lot of other contracts (I’m guessing stuff like commercial contracts, taking portraits of all the employees), where the client isn’t interested in getting 12 million extra sets of prints, you don’t lose that much money.

My  friend’s answer to the loss of revenue from prints?

Step 1 was to increase the price of her packages. Not enough to cover all the revenue loss, just part of it.

Step 2 was to get rid of the storefront. She now works out of home and rents a place for studio shoots when needed.

Step 3 was to realize that once you give the hi-res images to the client, people don’t come back to you asking for one 4″x6″ print of the bride because one of the kid lost it. Time is money.

All in all, we basically have here an industry being rocked by technological changes, which impacts professionals. Some professionals complain, some change their business model.

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