The beginning of a new season, such as the upcoming Spring Season, brings a lot of questions my way. Questions from leagues and their board members. Questions like, what is your best price? What can you give our league? What is your turnaround time? All viable questions but what really is expected when you hire a photographer for your league?
Here are thoughts from my side of the fence. When I take on a job, be it a school or a league, I put my heart and soul into the job. I take each job personal and try to treat each customer as I would like to be treated. I guess you could say I wear my heart on my sleeve when I do my job. I try to connect with my customers. Weather at the camera, in the board meeting, on the field or in the coaches office. I want a connection, and hopefully a connection that will last a long time. I realize that photography companies have created monsters by paying crazy rebates or percentages back to leagues. Sometimes that is hard for me to accept. Especially when contacted by a league who had a horrible picture day the year before, got sub par products, but got a huge check. I try to keep my pricing at a very comfortable level for both the customer and myself. Sometimes I loose job opportunities because I just won’t pony up the amount of money the league or organization wants. Here is my thought on that. I want each person to be able to have a memory in photographs for their season. I will treat you fair and give the parent a good product at a great price. I try to go overboard to give the customer everything they request. I just can’t bring myself to increase the price on a package or product just to increase the money for the client. Let me give you a short example of what I’m talking about.
The other day a new customer of mine gave me a price list of a competitor. I broke that price list down with a fine toothed comb. I was amazed. First the price list was soooooo confusing. Secondly I could not believe the restraints this company put on the customer. They could not buy ad ons without buying a package nor could they place late orders. I looked at that and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. You don’t bring a payment you don’t get a photo. I really differ here, I take photos of every child so no one feels left out, also you can purchase anything you want, and I have even been known to break up a package just to fit what the customer wants. The cheapest product you could buy, from this competitor, was a team photo at $11. So next I broke down the price list, The Picture Guy offers 12 different combinations under $10 dollars, WHAT A DIFFERENCE!
Another thing I believe that sets The Picture Guy apart is my service and my compassion. Here are a couple examples. Many times I work situations out with customers to help out the family who may be struggling. I am very happy to give a complimentary photo to those who can’t afford it. When I take the job I want to become part of the family. Often times I have designed memorial photos for coaches, or players and even board members who have passed away. I even try to find that special photo to put in a poster. Like the one that is with this article, the soccer players mother and grandmother are in the background, just for added memory value. Last season my heart was broken when just after picture day a little girl lost her mother. The family contacted me and the next day we had photos, custom photos to display at the memorial. That is just who I am and the approach I take to my business. I know that it doesn’t fit the mold of big business but I want my photos to become precious memories and not memories lost because of cost.
So I challenge you if you are a board member, Athletic Director, Principal, stop and look at the value not just the dollar sign. It’s NOT all about the price.