We are living in a an unsure economic climate. You have seen this in your markets as people begin to hold back on their purchases, cut the size of their guest lists, scale down the size of their packages and look for the greatest value as they interview photographers. Even those who are willing to spend a healthy amount on their photography will nonetheless, be very cautious in their decisions.
Everywhere, in every market, at every level (even in the high society), clients are looking for lower prices, greater value and more security. You are now competing with a greater number of people who are offering more for less.
This economy has proven difficult for any business to survive. But as I told you last week in my introduction here on the Pictage Blog, I am determined to teach you what I know about post production so that your business can be successful in any climate. I am not a business coach, or a marketing expert. I only know what I know about business from running my own. So I am not going to tell you how to invest, how to market to more brides, find new markets or anything like that. My posts here are all about your workflow. That is where I am an expert.
How can post production save your business in tough financial times?
First, everything we do in our business and every product we provide has a very real cost associated with it. When someone else provides it for us, we call it a product cost and it is very easy to calculate. Photographers who do not know their exact album costs, will invariably set their prices too low which over several years will cause financial problems for their business.
The cost that is a bit more tricky to calculate, but is just as real, is the cost of our time, or our employees’ time. For instance my time shooting is worth $500 per hour, because that is the rate I bill. But what is the cost of my time editing those images I shoot? Is it zero? Of course not, but I am not billing my client after the wedding. The cost of our time, or our employees’ time during post production should be built into the cost of shooting the wedding. So each hour I spend after the wedding has been shot is eating into the profit of shooting the wedding, which only emphasizes the need for more efficent post production workflow.
Streamlining your studio workflow from shoot to delivery will allow your studio to operate more efficiently, decreasing the cost of each hour of your time, and increasing your net profit. The faster the work is done, the more time you and your staff can devote to marketing efforts, new revenue streams and even enjoying more free time.
On a typical wedding, you might shoot 2000 images. Those 2000 images must be reviewed, selected, adjusted, posted, printed and delivered to your client. This process may take a studio two days, three days, four days, a week? A studio that is on the ball might get the process completed in one long grueling day. But what if one person could complete this process in one half of a day? What could you do with that extra time, and profit? If you can cut your post production workflow in half, you have instantly increased your profits on the wedding by about 25% (figuring that shooting is half the work). Plus, with such quick delivery you will have made your clients very happy.
How to cut down on your post production workflow…
1. There is one fairly simple and non-labor-intensive way to trim your workflow, and that is to use a post production service. This frees you up do the more important things in your business while they do the long laborious tasks. The downside is that it will be more expensive than doing it in-house. And think about it, if it were such a difficult long intensive task, could they offer to do it for you at an affordable price? No. They have simply perfected a workflow which makes the task easy and affordable for them to accomplish.
2. The second way to trim down the post production workflow, is the one I have chosen for my own business. Perfect your own workflow so that you can speed through your post production. Cut it in half, or more and regain your time and profits. Weather you run the post production yourself, or assign it to a staff member, if your studio is trained and skilled in post production workflow, you will have the advantage of keeping more of your profits in studio and maintaining complete creative control over your images.
Understanding the pipeline, the organization, the tools and programs, the mindset and methods for an efficient workflow is not that difficult and once the concepts are explained and demonstrated, you will instantly see areas where you can increase your efficiencies in your own post production workflow.
Look to your workflow and ask yourself where is time being wasted and what can you do to fix it then check back next week on the Pictage Blog for my first how-to installment. Email your questions to me and I will be happy to try and address them in one of my blog posts here on the Pictage Blog.
Check out Jared on the Pictage Blog every Tuesday as he dives deeper into the how to’s of post production workflow. Jared is also touring the country, teaching workshops on workflow starting in Vegas on Monday, August 10th. Check out the “Worthy Workshops” page on the Pictage Blog for more information, or visit www.jaredplattworkshops.com.
You can also find more of Jared’s post production workflow tips at www.jaredplatt.com on his blog or by subscribing to his podcast.
by Pictage Member Jared Platt (Pictage Blog Team)