Thursday, 8 December 2016

How Many Images Should I Capture To Maximise Revenue?

How many images should I capture to maximise revenue?

A general rule of thumb, to maximise sales opportunities, is to create as many different images of each person (or car, or animal, etc. depending on the subject matter!) as possible.

Ha! if only if were that simple...

It would be unwise to rush out and place your camera on the highest motor drive setting and fill a memory card as fast as you can. The number of images you capture should be tempered with:

1. The amount of time spent/available to photograph each subject.
2. The time taken for you to transfer, edit and place images on sale.
3. The time taken for each customer to find their image and choose their favourites to buy.
4. Time management. By agreeing to photograph the event, are you contractually obliged to photograph a particular activity even if you feel you will sell few of the images ? Frustrating if this time, in terms of maximising profit, could be better spent elsewhere.
5. Available resources. How many photographers do you have at your disposal to cover the variety of activities which may be occurring at the same time? Would a greater number of photographers and sales team members, despite the extra overhead costs of hiring them, generate greater profit? More photographers create more images for your customers to search through.
6. Your sales desk location and set up.

Okay, this week let’s consider point 1. in depth…

The more time you spend photographing a subject the more time you have to capture a wide variety of images and to capture one they are sure to like. The positive of this is that you maximise your opportunity of selling an image (or images) to them.

There is a flip side to the coin though. At a social event for example, if you have a queue of people waiting to be photographed it is the author's opinion that you are better off taking fewer images of each person/group and photographing as many people as possible as quickly as possible. In this scenario, maximising profit is a numbers game.

The majority of your customers will like their photos enough, or be in the position to buy, one, two and maybe three photos. Limit the number of images you take of each subject to 3-5 frames. Make each frame unique in appearance. For example, one frame showing the subject in full (from below their toes to above their head), another couple of frames can be cropped in closer and taken in portrait and landscape orientations, and another cropped even closer to just head and shoulders. Ask your subject to smile in some shots and not in others.

Only a very small percentage of your customers will choose to purchase more than three photos. It is more profitable to quickly photograph 100 subjects who all purchase 1-3 prints, than 30 subjects who you hope will each purchase four or more prints.

However, should you find you don’t have a queue of people waiting to be photographed, then by all means capture more images of a single subject as you wish. One effective method to boost sales, once you've photographed a couple together, is to photograph any lady wearing a ball gown on their own. Any male accompanying them will often be glad to step away. If a male asks for a photo on their own then by all means take the photo, but it is rare for these to sell. It is still recommended you limit the number of images you take though, for the following reasons:

Some people see having their photograph taken at an event as a form of entertainment. They may have little, to no, intention of actually purchasing an image from you. They are using you as a way to spend five minutes until their friend returns from the bar.

Some people are insecure about how they look (or incredibly vain). Try as you might to capture an image they like, and you may capture many in which you feel they look amazing, the subject will simply glance at the photos and say they don’t like them.

Sports events require a different approach, you frequently only have moments in which to capture the athlete as they move about. Depending on the sport, you may be able to predict their course (e.g. motor racing and equestrian events following a pre-determined route) meaning you can pick your moment to press the shutter - remember, the aim is to capture enough photographs of a saleable nature, but not too many to the detriment of the other aspects of your workflow. Sports with more randomised movement, such as ball games, may require a more liberal approach when firing the shutter, especially until sufficient experience and skill has been acquired by the photographer to acquire consistent and accurate focus, framing and exposure of a moving subject.

Selling montage prints, whereby the customer chooses several favourite images and the sales person places the multiple images into a layout to form one print, can be particularly effective sellers (especially at sports events). The customer can be charged a greater amount than a regular single image print costs, but they receive multiple prints at a lower cost compared to buying the images individually. Ideally the customer ends up spending more than they would have otherwise considered to purchase a montage compared to a single print.

Summary, TL : DR
Give yourself a target average sale value and shoot enough images so your customers have enough choice so you can achieve your target. Different events will have varying demands to achieve your target. Shoot too few images and your customers won’t be provided with enough images to reach your target. Shoot too many images and you may not photograph enough different subjects to achieve your target.

The final points will be discussed in following weeks.

Cheerio for now :)