Tag Archive for choices

CHOICE: The Heart of Finao

Just one collection out of 100+ unique cover-materials available on Finao albums.

I’ve spent 25 years in the album business and during most of that time I’ve wished I could talk directly to the brides, but professional album companies get censored by photographers.  A bride gets to see what her photographer thinks she should see.  The photographer says, “I don’t want choice.  I offer my brides two sizes and three colors.  That’s really all they need and they are all happy with that.”  And the photographer is right.  If that’s all that’s offered then the only clients he/she will attract are clients willing to settle for what is offered.  Maybe that’s enough brides to keep said photographer in business and therefore there really is no need to offer more.  Same for photographers who offer only files because, “albums are to much trouble.”  These photographers will make less per job, but will also spend less time and be done with it.  If this photographer has a satisfactory income, again, not much I can say.  Personally, I’d always think to myself, “hmmmmmm, if I just put a little more into this, it might mean a nice vacation or a new car,” but that’s me.  Others will say, “choice is confusing, people have a more difficult time making-up their minds when offered too many choices and, besides, it’s really all about the images anyway.”  And again, you might attract just enough business to keep you afloat.

However, from what I see in the industry, it doesn’t seem that most photographers are happy where they are, and it does seem like they want more business or need more business.  This is where albums and choice come into play.

Key word: CHOICE.

Let’s look at how choice works in our society.  The cereal aisle is filled with options.  Add eggs, pancakes, waffles, and toast as possibilities.  Then you might have to pick between ham, bacon or sausage, unless you’re at Denny’s and then they all come on one platter.  Photography and albums are a much larger decision than breakfast, but we have to remember that everyone starts out their day with choices.  We are surrounded by choice everywhere we look and manage to make decisions on any number of things, big and small, in our everyday lives.  Malls do better than stand-alone businesses because they offer choice.  Stores do better with a variety of merchandise than if they favor only a very limited, defined market – choice.  We choose from hundreds of cars and thousands of wedding dresses, and no one seems to have a real problem with this.  In fact, they demand it.  They say, “I’m different.  My needs are not the same as the person next to me.  I want what suits me, my taste and my budget.”

Major marketing companies recognize the power of choice.  Coca-Cola is trying an experiment with the ultimate in beverage choice.  They have introduced soda dispensers that allow the consumer to mix any flavor with any other flavor in any amount they want.  The machine has every flavor of every beverage available company-wide.  So you can have an iced-tea-ginger-ale, or an orange-root-beer, or just a plain Diet Coke.  The machine sends real time data to a central location that then decides on the syrup usage and orders the machine to be replenished.  To the executives’ surprise, they found every single option had been selected more than one time.  Every mathematical possibility had “sold”.

People like choice.

That simply tells us that if we look at the world around us, we see that choice thrives.  In weddings, choice thrives more than ever before.  A bride is presented with a myriad of options in everything from dresses to table linens.  Everywhere she turns she gets to touch, taste and try.  Once upon a time, a hotel had two colors of table cloths, now there are 50 choices in chair covers.  The bride gets married anywhere and everywhere, the bridesmaids don’t all wear the same dresses, invitations don’t come from the big book in the corner and cakes have taken on a life of their own.

It’s time for photographers to jump on the bandwagon.  On the budget list, photography is moving down and virtually everything else, except tuxes, is moving up.  Brides spend for what they feel is important and what best meets their needs.  So if few album options are presented, or the presentation is minimal and does not engage her, the client may instead shop for “files only” coverage.  She really doesn’t want just files.  She wants a beautiful album that shows every facet of her dream wedding.  She wants to feel great leathers and fabrics, she wants to “design” an album that reflects her taste and the feeling of her wedding.  If she is getting married in an old farm house with a wild flower bouquet, a square black album probably wont reflect the mental image she is holding on to.  But the photographer may not have listened.  The photographer is not hearing the joy as she describes every facet of her day which will be like no other, ever.  We know that’s not the case, and a long white dress is a long white dress.  But to her, it’s anything but a long white dress – it’s Barbie’s Dream Wedding and she will make it totally unique.  And you, the photographer, had better convince her that not only can you create unique, one of a kind images, but that you will also deliver the best in a unique, one of a kind album that looks like it belongs right there in the midst of the actual wedding.  Together, images and album, fit like a glove to make sure her dream remains a reality forever.

When you believe this, your potential clients will believe it.  You will have more clients who will spend more money.  Your album company will continue to offer more and more choices because, just like the coke machine, every possible combination has been ordered.  Some very, very good and some, well, not so good.  Doesn’t matter.  It’s not your dream, it’s hers.

Christine Perry-Burke

Christine Perry-Burke

Managing Partner and "queen" of Finao. I'm responsible for all the cool materials and products at Finao. A vegetarian and animal lover to my core, we run a dog friendly office. I believe Finao should be a good corporate citizen and tread lightly on our planet.

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Got a wee bit sidetracked last week working on the super intensive project of updating cover designs. My apologies for missing last week’s Fashion blog but, all in all, it was time well spent and look for loads of new cover designs to be added to our Finao ONE cover design guide in the near future.

With that in mind, I heard many times from folks at several of the recent conventions that Finao has SO many options. “It’s confusing!” and “I can’t show all these options to my bride.” and even “I can’t send my bride to your website to view all the options.”      -.O

You are absolutely right! We don’t want your bride on our website and you should not be showing your bride EVERY possible thing you can do in an album.

Huh wut?

You heard (er…read) me correctly. “Well then what the heck am I supposed to do?”, you may be thinking. Here’s the deal. As I have heard Christine say many times, by the time a bride gets to a photographer, she has tried on, tasted and sampled hundreds of items. She doesn’t want to think…don’t make her think. It could get ugly. So how do you compete with things she can taste, touch and feel?

Chances are, she has a good idea of what she already wants for her wedding or event by the time she gets to you. It’s your job as the photographer to make her photography as special as everything else. She probably has colors already picked out, an idea of flowers, maybe even cakes. Find out how YOU the photographer can fit into that. It’s not just taking the pictures anymore. Have her bring in examples of things she has already picked out. Create a fashion board with her of things she likes. Check out The Dessy Group for some very inspirational fashion board ideas.

By finding out WHAT she has already chosen, YOU, the photographer, can work WITH her to give her something special. Something created JUST for her. Now, do you think she might be more likely to pay a little extra for that kind of treatment over the photographer that offers just a plain black album? If it were me, I’d buy into it. ;)

The other benefit about approaching client’s in this matter is that you are still able to give them choices…albeit EDITED choices. Let’s take a look at an example from The Dessy Group .

So, here is our client fashion board example and it’s pretty obvious what colors feature prominently into her theme. Based on that I pulled out materials from the leather swatch kit that I thought would compliment her existing materials.

I selected some basic materials as well as some materials I thought might make nice accents. I even threw in the dark Magical Mystery Glass sample as a possibility. Looking at what we have now…11 materials is much more manageable then an entire swatch kit of colors that will have no meaning to her AND could easily distract her away from the task at hand. Unless she changes her colors at a later date, don’t bother showing her the rest. You have still managed to give her several possible choices AND kept her to the task at hand. BRILLIANT!

You can always throw out there ideas of the possibility of adding in a nice metal, acrylic or canvas image cover. They are just another way of personalizing HER final album to HER wedding. Part of the key is to get her to LOVE her album concept as early in the game as possible. Make it part of your initial selling points and your consultations. Everyone else is treating and pampering her, why aren’t you?

The more you, the photographer, can educate yourself on products and options, the more you can do this. It shows you care and your client’s will FEEL like you care for them when you are able to present them with a photography package tailored just for them. THAT is the sort of treatment people pay extra for AND will return and refer people for.

Just something to keep in mind. :)

Happy Friday all.

L :l

Lisa Hoffman

Lisa Hoffman

Lisa Hoffman is Finao's official Image Enhancer for the Marketing Department. She makes stuff pretty...usually.

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