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concerning trends


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I have been noticing a trend of late that is causing me some Angst.

As the economy slows (plunges) there are more and more people with digital cameras and desktop inkjets that think they can make a quick fortune at event/portrait/wedding photography.

These people are invariably ridiculously cheap, offering very poor qualiy prints of very poor quality images. Although we know these people will run out of victims as their reputation catches up with them, I have noticed that people are more and more distrustfull of ANY photographer, and for important events are no longer trusting the proffessionals but rather friends and family. As a lab, this is concerning, as a proffessional Photographer it must be a nightmare.

Is it beyond our position in the photographic industry to promote some form of quality standard?

Not neccessarily based on qualifications, but rather on consistancy and quality, as we all know some cracking photographers whom have never been to college, let alone university. We do promote several Photographers in-store, but I am only a very small lab.

My latest annoyance is a handy man whom maintains his landlords properties in return for a flat. The latest wedding he crucified I was unlucky to see some images from. He spent all day at the event, supplying the Bride and Groom with 50 A4 prints for

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Nothing new here. Uncle Henry and his cousin Bodgit for Nowt will always be around. As will the canny and eager customer  that can see a bargain while remaining value and quality blind. These two markets will always find each other. Good luck to them, they deserve what they get.

Labs SHOULD, however, promote whomever they believe provides a good local service. But the public are cynical and will always wonder if there is a slush-fund at work, so a simple promotion of pictorial and professional excellence of more than one photographer should be enough. IE: One large framed photograph with an A4 promo sheet alongside would do the trick.

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Years ago we used to do lots of professional work but for labs digital must be the best thing that could have happened for us. 20% of our turnover was 80% of our hassles. Now we focus entirely on retail our customers are happy, almost always satisfied and grateful for our quality.I'd much rather have a store full of 'yummy mummies' than Anorak Snappers.

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Sorry Guys, sometimes it just gets right up my nose. Especialy when they give it the 'I'm a proffessional, you're just a dumb printer' attitude. I eventualy told this character we don't discount for proffessional, but rather add on 15% for the extra work.

  And Noritsuvet, I couldn't agree more, yummy mummies with their spot purchases and half a mind on the kids and half on 'something else' are far more enjoyable and rewarding. Rescue a treasured image for them, and you have a customer for life (well, maybe the end of the month!!).

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Sorry Guys, sometimes it just gets right up my nose. Especialy when they give it the 'I'm a proffessional, you're just a dumb printer' attitude. I eventualy told this character we don't discount for proffessional, but rather add on 15% for the extra work.

  And Noritsuvet, I couldn't agree more, yummy mummies with their spot purchases and half a mind on the kids and half on 'something else' are far more enjoyable and rewarding. Rescue a treasured image for them, and you have a customer for life (well, maybe the end of the month!!).

I have gone the other way.

These are my observation's, so far.

I was so "over" explaining our expertise, quality, sorting out peoples (yummy or not) usb issues, crook cd"s, viruses etc, and then getting "you want how much ?? 29 cent per print!!! I can get them cheaper.....blah blah blah"

After 20+ years of providing quality printing, I'd had enough of hiring people, blowing smoke up the landlord, and being expected to work nearly all week, all be it recently, for jack.

In my town, and across most of AU, the big box stores with the help from Kodak, Fuji, Whitech, and now HP are butchering everything from 64's right through to canvas'. As low as 10 cents a print! Madness!! Then they have the front to ask me "why will you not buy our paper?" which I respond, I do, but not from you! lol!!!

So at the end of Feb we closed our retail outlet which was positioned on the best corner in my provincial city. I have set up a non whitech, no download (flash) online site to keep the faithful happy.

I am now working from home, which I moved the lab into a purposed renovated shed that is separate from my house, with it's own accessible street front. No parking issues. Hoorah!

Over the years I have found that anyone that introduces themselves as a "professional photographer" usually is not. The majority of them are what I call a WOFT! (a waste of farking time)

One thing recently that has been commented from a few is that I now appear a lot less stressed. Which is true. It's nice to have my weekends off again.

Spending more time one on one with these "professionals" they have embraced my more personal service, and are giving me more work.

I had found jobs for nearly all of my staff from fellow trader friends. I have been lucky to keep one ripper part time worker, so when I get snowed under, I give her some correction home-work. I set up a correcting server at her house. She corrects when it suits her family commitments. A Win Win for both.

Fortunately, we have in the past looked after these photographers, by keeping the school, preschool,  and wedding type of seasonal photographers should keep me going.

A happy financial new year to you all.  :)

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