Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa are all cities in Orange County where the mainstreaming of gallery wraps has begun. Clients can now buy high quality wraps at Costco. Orange County photographers need to adapt to this change.
Gallery wraps and other large, high quality prints have always been a part of the bread and butter of a photography business. A photographer who did not make enough money on a job in which only small prints were sold, was able to make enough on a large gallery wrap canvas to make up the difference.
In the past, print labs would only sell these high end products to professional photographers. However, recently there has been a trend to sell these high quality prints directly to the public. In many Costco locations the public can bring in their images and have printed large, high quality, gallery wrap prints.
The price of these prints is far below the marked up price of most professional photographers. Does this mean necessarily mean a decrease in a professional photographer’s revenue? Not necessarily. Technology has in many other instances offered higher quality products to the general public. Photographers have adjusted and found other ways of adding value. When digital cameras became mainstream, photographers fired up Photoshop and created a whole new way of adding artistic value.
This does however mean that professional photographers will need to adjust to this new market condition. The below is a suggestion on how a photographer might adjust to meet the new market condition of professional quality prints being offered in consumer locations directly to the public.
Don’t sell prints. Sell images. Really, the value that a photographer adds is his creativity. That creativity is encapsulated in the image – not necessarily the physical material on which it is printed. By focusing on being paid on the actual value that a photographer adds, a he can better maintain his revenue.
Under this model, he may charge $150-$200 for one image. If the client purchase five images the photographer clears up to $1000. This can be a win-win for the photographer and the client. The photographer is well paid for his value added and the client is free to make as many prints of the images as he likes. In addition the photographer will not need to be involved in cropping and framing. Delivery will also be much easier as the photographer can simply email the finished product. The costs to the photographer greatly drop.
This of course means a OC photographer will need to increase his volume. If he is not adding the value of a print or taking care of the framing, he will need to spend more time on his value added activity. -creating beautiful images.
There have been a number of changes throughout the photography industry over the past few decades. After each, photographers have adjusted and eventually found a way to maintain their profits. The consumer offering of high quality prints should prove to be no different.
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