“The new PASS features totally don’t work for my portrait business. So now what?!”
Hi Monday. Deep breath. We got this.
This Spring I made the decision to include the digital files in all my portrait sessions, which was a great change. I wanted clients to be able to order tangible Heirloom quality products for their family, but also have that convenience of being able to share those same images with friends and family across the world. A photographer by the name of Jeremy Kester states it brilliantly when I heard him say, “Digital for now. Tangible forever.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
When I made this change, I decided to provide for clients the ability to automatically download the images right to their computer through a software called PASS. Their new version had just rolled out, and although a lot of features weren’t ready to go, it looked promising. It looked convenient, mostly for myself. And everyone else was starting to use it too. I jumped on board without waiting for the release of a key feature that would really determine how this could fit into my brand and business. Live and learn.
Last week, the company rolled out with some changes that worked great for some photographers, but didn’t work for my business structure at all. So I complained for about 3 days straight. After all, I had changed everything to fit them in. Then I opened Facebook and saw everyone else choosing their side of ranting or raving as well. It really got to the point where the mention of it at all made my blood boil. And I thought, THIS, is ridiculous. Complaining is not serving my clients. And this brand of mine was never meant to look like everyone else’s. My clients deserve an experience that is entirely unique from start to finish.
So I hit the drawing board. I stayed up late almost every night last week trying to brainstorm different ideas of what could I do to make my client experience better, my workflow simple, and still be consistent and true to my brand.
One of my favorite things to provide my clients following their session is the ability to have their images quickly, and in a way that they can share with friends and family right away. Above all, this was the reason I liked PASS so much. I love that my clients are on the edge of their seats waiting for their images, and if I was going to now choose a tangible way to deliver the included digital files, I needed to figure out a way to still share images with clients online in a way that was simple and exciting for them to share.
Because I use Showit for my website, I am able to create additional sites for my clients. I LOVE being able to give my client their very own website. I spent last week creating this site above that will allow instant sharing of images following a portrait session. Within their custom website, clients have all their images displayed in a stunning slideshow very similar to look and feel of my website. (Visual consistency is so important in a brand!) They are also provided with a link to their blog feature, they can leave Facebook Comments similar to the PASS guestbook, and have a direct link to where they can order prints.
My clients have the option of a complimentary in-home design consult following their session, as well as an online gallery for convenience. I love to offer the service of coming to my client’s home, drinking mugs of tea at the kitchen table, and walking them through the process of picking out the very best prints and products for their home. This is luxury service included in their investment with me. However, I also respect the busy lifestyle and understand that not everyone has the extra evening for this. So as a service to my clients, I provide them with an online gallery where they can order their prints and products at their convenience. I use a company called Shootproof that I have been beyond impressed with. Their print gallery opens right as an overlay so my clients never have to leave their site which was really important to me. The last thing I wanted to do was throw five different links at my clients.
Because of this site, within a week of their portrait session I am able to send this custom website to clients so they can immediately see all their images and begin sharing with friends and family. I then deliver their digital collection on a custom USB for their personal use and safe keeping. (But they aren’t having to wait until it arrives to see or share them!)
I share this post with you today because as a photographer I understand the pressure to do what everyone else seems to be doing. The cool kids club. Have the same business model as everyone else. I think PASS is a great software for that particular business model and highly respect those who created not only PASS, but any software that helps make photographer’s business’ a little bit better. I share because I want to inspire you to look at your brand and figure out what works best for YOU and YOUR clients.
Then turn off facebook, and get to work.