Albums, Digital Files, and the New Generation

There’s some really interesting discussion going on at DixiePixel Photography’s blog post on Albums vs. DVDs. While some of what she says is technically true – many brides only ever manage to post their images to social networking sites – I can’t say I completely agree with her point of view. People seem ripe and ready to toss off insults to social networking on their blogs and on Facebook Chat and very occasionally in actual conversations. The irony never ceases to amaze me. Despite that, it’s hard to ignore the fact that myself and many others in the digital revolution may only ever see my friends Wedding photos on Facebook. If I were at their house and they had an album on the table I might not even take the time to look at it. I consider the internet the perfect lightbox on which to display my images, but I confess I have a love of paper. I haven’t had the chance to make an album for a bride yet, but I think I’ll be making several quite soon.

The true crux of the issue is this – albums are expensive. The average bride is no longer willing to part with the grand or so it takes to get a coffee table book with most photographers, whether she cares about heirlooms or not.

I decided early on in my business that it wasn’t a losing proposition to look for and offer products at reasonable prices. I also decided on a policy that a lot of other photographers think is the death of the industry – always including a DVD and printing rights. It took me awhile to come up with suppliers that suited my needs for products, and then decide on prices that stiffed neither myself nor my clients, but now I feel like I’m succeeding. I’m seeing a lot of happy customer faces when I tell them that albums with Admire Studios could cost as little as $150 for paper albums and $250 for photo print albums, design included.

I went into a customer’s house awhile back and my photographs are covering their house in pretty frames. It was such an honor to see. But that’s not the norm. Because let’s face it. If you’re like most busy people I know, you will NEVER have time to actually design your own album or print your own prints. Let me do that part for you, and I promise it won’t cost a month’s pay. There’s some crazy prices in this industry. I won’t say who, but the photographer who did my husband’s college grad photos put a little price sheet in with them that I discovered a few days ago. His price for 8x10s was nearly $40, and that was a couple of years ago! What insanity. I took my own grad photos with a tripod, and they are some of my favourite photos of myself to this day. I did that 1. because I am a pro and knew I liked my own style, and 2. because I was pretty poor at the time and didn’t want to settle for less that beautiful portraits for my only college grad. Hopefully I can save someone else from a tripod this grad season…

No matter what, I’m going to keep trying to make albums and other print media affordable to my clients, because it’s really only the cost that’s holding people back. I’m not keeping my prices low because I don’t think I’m valuable, but because I think my services are invaluable and I don’t want to see people with a dusty disc in a desk drawer if my prices are what’s stopping them from having prints and albums. I’m not doing it as some sort of marketing scheme – I’m doing it because if I were a consumer and I saw what Admire has to offer in the industry, I’d be thrilled.

After a considerable amount of work, I’ve just released the Admire Services and Pricing Catalog in PDF format. I also just finished a miniature re-design on Admire Online. And there’s a whole lot going on with Admire! Just had a phonecall today that may mark the beginning of a very busy era, and I am putting up my long awaited show at Calories in Saskatoon this weekend.

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