by Skip Cohen
A while back my good buddy Terry Clark talked about one of the keys to success, "Find out what all your competitors are doing, then do something different!" Or, another way, look for what's not being done in your market and then do it. It's a concept that's easily understood, but so few photographers really step up to the plate and work to make themselves different, especially in terms of their presentations to clients.
One area that's so often overlooked is the final presentation to the client, especially in the world of albums. You've all got a lot to choose from when it comes to albums, but for me, there's nothing that beats some of the Venice Album products. While they've been in business for close to fifty years, they've only been on this "side of the pond" for a short time, but that doesn't take away from the "wow" factor with some of their products.
I'm just using these random product shots above as examples, which were all shown recently at PPE in New York. The first one is "Amalfi" and it's leather and lucite, allowing the first image in the book to become part of the cover presentation. The second one above is a customized album box, but here's another way to use it.
Imagine the power of showing a bride an album with one of her favorite images on the box that matched the album cover, but then also having another box made up that could be filled with individual matted prints, each one signed by some of the guests at the wedding. It's not a new concept, but it's certainly a new presentation with the album and box being a matched set.
You've got to make your work look different from your competitors, but at the same time, you've got to plant the seeds for new ideas with the client. Those photographers who I consider successful in the wedding arena, have multiple books showing a variety of presentations. At the same time, they demonstrate diversity in their own work in the contents of each book. Remember too, a wedding album is a critical component to part of your "demonstration" to the client. (Check out Scott Bourne's Marketing Monday post yesterday.) The albums you show clients don't always have to be an exact duplicate of an actual wedding. They can be a collection of some of your favorite images and techniques - shown in different books and used to show your diversity.
Just remember one critical point...every bride wants her story to be unique and that includes the presentation. Yes, she's seen other albums and typically has a general idea of the look of her album, but she needs to be reminded by you, as the artist...
"This isn't about a book of pictures. This is about one of the most important days in your life and the wedding album is the only thing that truly lasts. The food will be gone. The band will pack up at the end of the evening. The flowers will die and you'll never wear your wedding gown again, but your album tells your story and captures so many important memories. It's the first family heirloom of a brand new family!"
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.