A New Way to Pay: PayPal is now available for CCS customers!

Candid Color Systems® is making it easier than ever for customers to buy their images online by offering Express Checkout from PayPal (ECS). PayPal is the worldwide leader in online payment solutions and the Express Checkout option has been shown to be the most effective way to pay for products and services on the Internet. In fact, according to a recent comScore study, when ECS was added, conversion rates increased by as much as *20% and overall sales increased by 1.2%.

*When compared to a standard checkout process 

Secured Payments

PayPal provides customers with a secure payment option that does not involve constantly typing in sensitive banking or credit card information. Payment information is stored securely online and credit card numbers and accounts are never shared with merchants.

User Popularity 

PayPal studies have shown that users feel confident when they click the “Checkout with PayPal” button and trust the services provided, which is evident in the increasing number of worldwide users. Barron’s online reported that PayPal’s registered users recently rose 12% to 110 million.

Streamlined Checkout Process

PayPal’s streamlined checkout process is simple, convenient and very user friendly. Customers can avoid sometimes lengthy checkout steps and can quickly finalize their purchases.

User Behavior 

A survey conducted by Jupiter Research in 2007 also concluded that 60% of consumers make their payment choice before they reach the payment page. Having multiple payment options available to the consumer guarantees a positive user experience.

In addition to all of the benefits listed above, there are no additional fees for using PayPal nor is there any additional admin set up required. You will also still receive your payment in the same amount of time as before.  Overall, the Express Checkout method is going to be a win, win for everyone and we are excited to see the positive effects that it’s going to have on your business.

Benefits of Creating and Using a Sales Matrix

When I was asked to write this newsletter article, I decided to approach it from the perspective of someone who loves to take pictures! That is why we all do what we do…we love photography. We capture moments in time that make memories tangible. There is no denying that we can say that we all have pretty cool jobs! Let’s look at how you can go from where you are now to taking advantage of all photography opportunities in your area.

We like to keep things pretty simple in our sports division. So, what I am going to share with you guys is very simple. We use a spreadsheet called a matrix to analyze all photography opportunities in our area and we associate a dollar amount to each of these events. This allows us to see the potential money out there waiting to be realized and it allows us to forecast the amount of revenue we expect for events already booked. Great, right?

Here are the 5 steps to making and using a Matrix.

  1. Determine your dollars per person photographed
  2. Make a list of all booked events and potential events in your area
  3. Enter the list into a spreadsheet
  4. Estimate the number of attendees per event
  5. Multiply the number of attendees by the dollars per person

Let’s look at each step in a little more detail.

1.  DETERMINE YOUR DOLLARS PER PERSON PHOTOGRAPHED

In our division, we have broken this down on a sport by sport basis. We do this because we are able to more accurately forecast the revenue for each type event. However, if you don’t photograph sports you can still group the events you photograph into categories by grouping together similar events. Once this is done, total the sales for each of the categories and divide it by the number of people photographed.

(Total Category Sales / Total Participants = $ per person photographed)

2.  MAKE A LIST OF ALL BOOKED EVENTS AND POTENTIAL EVENTS IN YOUR AREA

Create this list representing each calendar month. This way you can estimate how much money you will be grossing from your events and you can staff according to what is economically viable. Begin by listing all events you already have scheduled and then list potential events that you would like to photograph. You can find these events online, in the newspaper or around your community.

3.  ENTER THE LIST INTO A SPREADSHEET

Open a blank worksheet in Excel and list all events or organizations you are working with or would like to be photographing. Then copy this list onto a new tab for each of the calendar months.

Here, I have listed the names of schools that we are currently photographing and schools we would like to be photographing.

Below, I added additional columns that allow you to more accurately forecast sales. I have one for dollars per athlete, number of athletes, projected sales, actual sales, status (where you are in the sales/booking process) and previous year’s sales.

4.  ESTIMATE THE NUMBER OF ATTENDEES PER EVENT

It is crucial to acquire the number of event attendees to accurately forecast how much the event will make. Most of the time you can contact someone at the event and find out the total number of expected attendees and if they aren’t sure it is ok to ask them for an estimate. Sports shoots are easy to predict because they know the number of players on each team. If you do not photograph sports and are unable to gather the attendee number, just gauge the number of attendees by comparing it to a similar event that you have photographed in the past. Now, enter this number of attendees into your spreadsheet.

5.  MULTIPLY THE NUMBER OF ATTENDEES BY THE DOLLARS PER PERSON

Enter the dollars per attendee in the appropriate column next to the number of attendees. Multiply these numbers together to determine the forecasted amount that the event will generate. In our division, we have a matrix for total events (booked and potential bookings) and one for booked events. We do this so we can see the potential business available in the total events matrix and then see what we are on track to actually gross by looking at our booked events.

Using a matrix will help you have a better understanding of the potential photography money in your area and help you gauge what months might be in need of additional bookings. It has been an amazing tool that helps our division staff events by being conscious of overhead in comparison to forecasted sales. It is a simple process with excellent rewards!

Reporting: Are You Studying All Aspects of Your Business

As Graduations, Sports, Parties and Events ramp up this Spring, the typical focus is on how to get enough good photographers; how to train those photographers,  how to field enough equipment, how to upload images to the lab quickly,  how to get proofs I.d.’d and posted quickly, and how to get manual orders input and to the lab.  All of these steps are certainly important and must be done early to insure good sales.

But the failure to keep score-the failure to know what are good sales at an early enough point that you can fix a mistake or not make the same mistake again-is equally important.
It is a well known business maxim that “what gets measured gets done.”  Conversely, “what isn’t measured often doesn’t get done.”

Monitoring reports and interpreting those reports is a key managerial function that all too often is not done.  I think the reason for this is that too many tasks are not done early enough in the season, resulting in a mad rush at the last minute which consumes all available time to the detriment of taking the time to view the reports.  The reports will not in and of themselves be a source of customer complaints or even bad performance.  However, the use of the reports can increase your profits and alert you to potential customer service or quality problems which can be corrected or avoided on upcoming events.

Candid Color Systems has, with customer input and direction, put together a host of reports to enable you to monitor your business.  We have provided you with all of the key indicators you need to know how you are doing from the time an event is posted or proofs are mailed.  This is more than half of the battle because if this service were not provided to you, you would have to 1) create the reports and 2) populate the reports with data.  These two tasks would insure that you would not have time to deal with reports.

We are going to focus on the two reports most applicable to graduations which we deem important although you could certainly benefit from looking at all of the reports.

The two we will focus on are:
            • The Event Comparison Report and
            • The Master Event Report
The Event Comparison Report
The Event Comparison Report allows you to compare two events sales at any point after the events.  So for example, you can compare the Oklahoma University College of Arts and Sciences for 2009 and 2010 five days after the event went live or two months after the event went live.  This is the most accurate way to evaluate how an event is doing compared to a previous event of the same kind.  If you do not have two events of the same kind, you could compare a similar event last year to a specific event this year.

Event Comparison Report allows you to compare sales and event attributes for one or more events.
        • The sales data includes:
            o Manual order sales
            o Online sales
            o Sales totals
            o Average order size
            o Sales per attendee
       • Key Event Attributes available for Comparison
            o Days since post
            o # of attendees
            o Number of images
            o Distinct images ordered

The Master Event Report
This report is useful in the case you have not photographed the event previously.
It allows you to:
        • Select an event date range and filter by market type
        • Easily determine the status of an event’s sales
        • View Event totals, such as sales, images shot and images ordered
            o Number of attendees
            o Number of images per attendee
            o Number of distinct images ordered
            o Percent of images ordered
            o Number of orders
            o Average order
            o Lab cost sales prekey
            o Subtotal Sales Online
            o Subtotal Sales
            o Subtotal Sales Per Image Shot
            o Subtotal Sales Per Attendee
            o Lab Cost        
            o Total Profit
            o Time to Post Images

It is important to place an order all the way through your online system and your proof system (if applicable) for every event to be sure everything is working properly.  This should be done as soon as images are posted.
When to view reports
Start monitoring reports within 24 hours of posting.  If sales are not up to last year or to a reasonable expectation, then dig deeper to check the following:
1. Quality of images (If images are sub par, can they be fixed in Photoshop and reposted?)
2. Number of attendees (Up or down from last year)
3. Percent of emails collected
4. Freshness of emails collected
5. Accuracy of email data input
6. Speed of posting images online
7. Number of addresses and freshness of addresses
8. Accuracy of spotting (Id’ing)
9. Offers (Same or different-More expensive/less expensive)
10. Were emails sent out? If so how long did it take?
11. Were paper proofs sent?  If so how long did it take?
12. Emails getting through and being opened?
13. Do all the links in the email work properly?
14. Website working properly?  Can customers get to the event?

If a serious mistake has been made in spotting, then respot, repost and resend proofs.
If images look bad, fix them as much as possible and repost.
If necessary, obtain help from the school administrators or graduates to help straighten out sequencing errors.  Do not accept defeat without a fight.

Successful ways to increase sales for Youth Sports Photography

There are probably more than 7 reasons to take multiple shots when shooting youth sports, but here are a few that come to mind. Let’s dive in….

Reasons to shoot several poses:
1)    Offering more poses and choices may help you book more teams as parents want choices
2)    Parents may prefer one type of pose to another
3)    Parents can better find a shot with an expression that they really like
4)    More poses usually results in higher sales – We have done comparisons where we have traditionally taken 3 poses, then when we added a 4th pose our sales and profits increased.
5)    Some parents will buy all of the poses offered
6)    In a digital world there is little cost to taking more poses and showing the parents more images – it has a positive effect on profit.
7)    By taking several poses you can offer multiple image products (like collages) as another product option.

It is a very simple concept – If you take several shots of each player you are more apt to get one that the parents will want to buy.

Plus, taking more poses is good insurance. The parents can usually find at least one they like so you are going to make people happy by giving them choices, disappoint fewer people and minimize the number of retakes that might need to be taken.

Taking several poses lends itself to a marketing approach which allows the parents to order from proofs – either paper proofs, email proofs or proofs online.

When you go from a “pre-order marketing method” to one where parents can “view first” and select from proofs (which is a strong booking advantage) – it is very important to your sales that the parents be able to find several images they like of their athlete.

Each sport calls for different kinds of poses, but they will all generally fall into one of these categories:

1)    Standing
2)    Kneeling / sitting
3)    Close-up portrait
4)    Action shot (or simulated action)
5)    Buddy shots with friend or coach

6)    Team –  a traditional shot & then a “crazy” or informal shot

Consider shooting more poses and see how it positively impacts your sales.

 

Marketing Proms: Making the Most of a Challenging Market!

Proms, which used to be the golden goose of the Spring photo season, have now become a financial challenge for photographers in the digital age.  Proms are still being held all over the country, and expensive tuxedoes and fancy dresses are still all the rage at these events; but pre-paid posed photographs have taken a serious hit.

The cultural shift that we have seen in the college market in the sale of Party Pics, has worked its way down to the high school market, and the printed photograph is not the prized commodity it once was among the 14 -18 age group.  Combine that with the proliferation of digital cameras, camera phones, and other recording devices and you have a very steep mountain to climb.

Ah, but all is not lost.  If you are serious about cracking into the prom market or trying to make some lemonade from these lemon-scented events, then you will have to change the way you think about proms.  Though it’s true that the students may not be interested in photographs, their parents are!

A few years ago a CCS customer decided that he was going to change his marketing direction for proms, and instead of directing his efforts towards the students, he would now target the parents of the students.  Working with the administration of the schools, he enlisted their help in providing a mailing list with all of the parents’ names and addresses. He then sent out a nostalgic letter reminding the parents how important, fun, and prized their prom photos were when they were in high school; and wouldn’t they like the same valuable experience for their sons and daughters?

His success rate was instant and his stable of prom events quickly doubled their gross sales over the previous year. Marketing in advance of the event proved successful and it can work for you also, but it will require some work on your part. In the communication sent to the parents you will need to let them know in advance what the packages contain and their cost. In addition, you’ll need to include an order form, or provide a link to one they can print out to bring with them—with payment—the night of the prom. You may want to include a pre-order discount code that they can bring with them the night of the prom to receive a percent off discount.

Remember to display the background to be offered at the prom prominently on any flyers or order forms distributed. Create posters with samples to display around the school for a few weeks prior to prom.  Provide each school with website/password cards to be used as invitation/ticket stuffers.  Each card should include information about your portraits and candid service.

In Oklahoma City at our retail division we are still shooting many proms but how we execute the event has changed dramatically.  In order to photograph as many couples as possible we shoot everyone with no money collected upfront.  When our pre-paid sales dived to next to nothing we decide that, in order to get couples in front of the camera, we would have to offer a free sitting with many poses which would encourage them to view those poses online to pick the best one for their prints.

Depending on the school and the number of couples attending we will also include the Jump Studio as an alternative photo location at the prom where they can do whatever they want to do—photographically—within reason!

Now, if you’re looking for something completely different to offer consider green screen for your proms. Green screen will enable you to offer more background options—online—without the added investment of props. If you choose to go the green screen route it is imperative that you test, test, and test again for the correct lighting setups.  Green screen is not very forgiving when improperly lit so if you go this route you will have to TRAIN your photographers to execute perfectly.

At the prom make sure your shooting location is highly visible.  Your portrait location should be easily accessible and within sight of the dance floor to increase participation. If possible provide a short script to the DJ for regular announcements over the sound system on your behalf encouraging the attendees to have their photos made.

After the prom is imperative that you utilize an email campaign for at least three months.  Just because they didn’t buy shortly after the event doesn’t mean they won’t do so several weeks or months afterward.

For more information about executing proms, marketing or pricing prom packages call Brian at 800-336-4550 ext. 251.

Increasing Sales with Green Screen

Increasing sales has several different meanings.  It can mean increasing the number of events booked, increasing the size of the average order, or increasing the percentage of customers purchasing.  Green Screen can have a positive affect on all of these ways of increasing sales.

Close up and waist up Green Screen shots

Our retail division has been photographing graduations with Green Screen now for about a year a half and the sales have consistently been higher with Green Screen than without.  Comparing a series of graduations that occurred in Spring and late Summer of 2009 which were not shot with Green Screen, with those same graduations shot with Green Screen in Spring and late Summer of 2010, the sales are up over 30%. .  The main factor that we believe caused the sales to go up so dramatically was the effective use of Green Screen.  We are currently utilizing Green Screen for a waist up Second Shot and the Close Up shot and sometimes using a ¾ length Green Screen shot for both the 2nd shot and a Close-up Shot.  Contact your Customer Development Representative for details on how to do this. 

Why is Green Screen so Important?  Green Screen allows us to provide multiple background choices that are customized for a given university, high school, iconic scene, etc., increasing the chances that our customers will be drawn to one or more of these background choices.  In the past, numerous backgrounds would have to be purchased or created in order to provide multiple choices and to do so would be quite expensive, usually about $200 per background.  Worse still, a unique photographer and unique photographic equipment had to be provided for every background, further increasing the expense.  Last, using several different backgrounds increased the floor space necessary to photograph, sometimes exceeding the available space and therefore, cutting down on the number of backgrounds that could be used.

Backgrounds utilized for Green Screen

Gluing the entire selling process together is CCS’ dedicated software which allows photographers to have CCS cut out the image quickly and cost effectively.  The photographer can then choose one of two methods or both methods to apply the backgrounds and show the customer the image on one of the selected backgrounds.  The first method is called pre-rendered.  In this method the photographer photographs a number of thematically suitable and attractive backgrounds and chooses six to eight of these to be pre-rendered by CCS.  This means CCS superimposes the subject onto each of the chosen backgrounds to be displayed online and, if desired, on paper proofs which are mailed to the end customer’s home.  The cost for pre-rendering images with Green Screen backgrounds is 20 cents per image for the first background and then 5 cents per additional background.

The second method is referred to as dynamic and this method is strictly used for online viewing and ordering.  In this method a small number of event specific backgrounds are selected by the photographer/customer as the default backgrounds for that event.  A large selection of seasonal and themed backgrounds is also available online from CCS.  The end customer selects a pose and then chooses a background.  Both are instantly merged together and displayed online for the customer to view and order.   The customer can try out any background offered.  When the customer finds one which he or she wishes to order, they simply place the order in the usual way online and CCS fulfills the order exactly as ordered, including zooming and cropping preferences indicated by the customer.  The cost for dynamic Green Screen is 1 cent per image to process the originals and then 1% of any online sales for prints and products from that dynamic image.  (Standard online commissions are in addition to this 1%)

Pre-rendering Green Screen can also be used for sports in situations where you do not have an attractive shooting location or if the weather prevents you from shooting in your preferred location.   Dynamic Green Screen can be utilized for sports, family and individual portraits as well as parties and events.  We believe parties and events provide a huge opportunity for increasing sales with Green Screen because of the unique product that can be offered.  Green Screen before and after displays are important to excite event guests with the Green Screen process of being photographed and then choosing their own backgrounds online.

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Offering Green Screen is a great booking tool.  The fact that is relatively new and not offered by many photographers gives you a competitive advantage that can enable you to book more events.  

We have multiple articles posted at http://candidnet.candid.com in the software section and the developments blog on shooting Green Screen and posting/marketing those images using CCS’ free CORE and Quicpost software.

Please contact CCS Customer Development at 1-800-336-4550 for more information on Green Screen.

Reports That Can Help You Run Your Business: Event Sales Aging Report

Candid Color Systems has developed a new online report called the Event Sales Aging Report.  This new, beneficial business tool displays a sales cycle for specific events or market type over a defined period of time.  This data can be compiled from any online event orders placed across multiple CCS software platforms and can be filtered in a variety of ways.  The Sales Aging Report presents information on:

- Total Sales
– Sales within the first 7 days
– Sales 8-14 days after an event
– Sales 15-30 days after an event
– Sales 46-60 days after an event
– Sales 61-90 days after an event
– Sales 90+ days after an event
                                                                                                                                                           

What is a sales lifecycle?

The sales lifecycle is commonly defined as the interval between initial contact with customers and the final purchasing decision. For our purposes, however, we will define the sales cycle as when your sales occur, relative to an event, and how often sales occur thereafter.
                                                                                                                                                              

Why It’s Important

Understanding the sales lifecycle is a critical part to a successful business. By getting a good grasp on this information, you can better manage your time and resources and gain insight on the following factors: 
   – Cash flow management
           o Budget planning
           o Forecasting revenue
   – Compare sales from year to year
           o Track successes and failures
   – Managing your staff
           o Hiring new employees
           o Salary adjustments
           o Downsizing
   – Adjust marketing campaigns
           o Re-orders
   – New product/service innovation
           o When to introduce new products/services
           o When to retire old or outdated product/services
                                                                                                                                              

Marketing Implications

In addition to the items listed above, understanding your sales cycle can also help you determine what your most effective marketing strategy is. If you create an email campaign, you can see which are effective in generating sales and which you should replace. If you are mailing paper proofs or postcards after your event, you can see what immediate affect this has on your sales. This data will allow you to adjust your marketing plan in order to find the most effective way to get your customers to order, and ultimately increase your business in the long run.
                                                                                                                                                         

How CCS can Help

To take advantage of our sales tracking report, please contact Customer Development at 800-336-4550.

A Good Sales Effort is the Key to Building a Youth Sports Photography Business

Letters of the President

There is much more to being successful in the youth sports photography business than taking good pictures.  Good photography is necessary but won’t get you the business alone.

It is my observation that the most successful youth sports photographers are the ones with the best sales efforts and the best marketing system. By “sales effort” I mean the task of booking the teams or leagues.  Booking must have a dedicated effort that does not stop each time there is preparation needed for a big shoot.

You must have teams scheduled to photograph before good photography even comes into play.  I know MANY good photographers who don’t do much business as they simply do not spend the necessary time booking teams.

There is an almost endless number of “sports teams” you can photograph.  People often think that the “major sports” for boys like football, baseball, and basketball are the only teams worth shooting. The reality is that “sports” is a MUCH broader category than that.

Any activity that has some sort of team, class or group concept may fall into the “sports” category.  That includes sports like gymnastics, dance schools, marching bands, martial arts and cheerleading.

We have seen that girls’ sports and activities offer as much or more sales potential as boys’ sports.  For example, some of the very best sales we have seen (both in size of an average order and in the percent buying) are shooting dance schools.

There are also youth leagues for soccer, indoor soccer, virtually year round basketball, t-ball, softball, baseball, hockey, football, flag football, and swimming. They are everywhere!

In high schools there are teams for both boys and girls.  The “major sports” are important, but I have seen sales from girls’ basketball exceed boys’ football in some cases.  Recently, I saw a group picture of a girls’ track team that had 147 girls in it!  A typical high school will have over 20 sports teams that you can shoot.

There are hundreds, or even thousands, of potential “teams” you can shoot in any city.  You could spend all of your time booking teams…..and some people do.

Creating lists of prospects in your area and then actually contacting the people is THE KEY to building a successful youth sports photography business. Consider creating a matrix of potential clients in your area. This matrix would include the school or league name, the number of teams (for each sport) within that school or league and the number of participants on each team. You can further expand your matrix by filling in the typical average order and typical percent ordering to determine the sales potential of each team, league or school.

You can make MANY sales contacts in a day.  Some will be new calls and other will be follow-up calls.

Contacts can be made in person, by phone, or online.   The method is not as important as JUST DOING IT.

Become your own customer to improve your business


FRESH BREW FOR YOUR BRAIN

by: Jeffrey Gitomer

Your best, and most costly lessons are right in front of you.

How good are you, really

Be your own customer, and find out, really.

Yesterday I got the shock of my life: I tried to buy something on my own website and couldn’t.
Funny, I buy all kinds of things on other people’s websites. I’m a one-click buyer on Amazon. I’m a Paypal customer. And I have my credit card registered and saved on every site that will allow it. In short, I trust the Internet.

In short, short – if I decide that I want to buy something online, I want to buy it fast. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not crazy about filling out an online order form (where all the boxes say it’s “mandatory” to enter my information.)

Many of you subscribe to my weekly email magazine and have taken advantage of the “deal of the week,” a special offer on a bundle of my books and CDs. Last week we decided to present something for the first time – a $20.00 discount off any of my upcoming public seminar tickets. Fair enough…

So I went to my own site to test the offer. I put in a request to buy five tickets. The website (my website) promised fast and easy purchase. And that promise was ANYTHING BUT the truth. It was a pain in the butt. I clicked off of my own site in frustration and disgust.


I immediately pulled the offer and we went through an e-commerce exercise that brought me back to reality. We revamped the purchasing process to where it IS fast and easy. And easy to understand. It’s now fixed for the short term, and we have a long-term plan in place (actually in motion) to make it even faster and easier.


MAJOR CLUE: Had I not tried to buy something from my own website, I would have never known. I would have danced along actually believing my own words, never realizing that customers were frustrated – and worse – not purchasing. Clicking off – abandoning the next step in the buying process because it was slow, cumbersome, and uninformative.


How’s yours? Think your e-commerce is great? Ever try to buy something from yourself, or are you just taking “IT’s” word for it. Or worse, believing your own instructions?


CHALLENGE: Be your own customer at least once a month.


In these “trying” times, many customers (yours and mine) are struggling to maintain volume, profit, and productivity. Somehow the stimulus package and bailout have not yet reached them – me either. You?


REALITY: Each of us is responsible to stimulate and bail out ourselves, in spite of what you may be hearing.


If and when your customer calls or goes online, they expect instant answers, instant service, and instant delivery of whatever they need – or they will seek a competitor.


And they expect multiple options to connect with you, any time of the day or night, to get the help they need, or purchase the product they need.


REALITY: Their need is your opportunity. Your challenge is to turn them into a happy, LOYAL customer who is willing to repeat purchase, tell others, and refer others to you.


Not “satisfy” them.


Here’s what to do to self-insure your own success:


1. Call your business five minutes before you open, and try to place an order, or get service.

2. Call your business five minutes after you close, and try to place an order, or get service.

(That should be enough to make you angry – but wait there’s more!)

3. Go online and try to buy something. How long does it take (how many clicks?) compared to Amazon’s one?

4. Call your business during the day and complain to someone. Then ask for the person’s boss – or even your CEO. Make certain you have plenty of Pepto-Bismol on hand – because I promise your stomach will be turning upside-down.

4.5 Now call yourself and listen to your pathetic voicemail that tells me everything I DO NOT want to hear, and DOES NOT tell me the one thing I want to hear – where the heck are you?



REALITY: Whatever your experience is when you call yourself or buy from yourself online, that’s the same thing your customers, your life-blood, and your money-line is experiencing. OUCH!



Fix it fast. Your customers need you.



If you want an idea to eliminate the silly computer that answers your phone before and after hours telling me “how important my call is,” go to <a href=”http://www.gitomer.com/”>www.gitomer.com</a> and enter the words ANSWER LIVE in the GitBit box.



—————————————

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The New York Times best sellers <em>The Sales Bible and The Little Red Book of Selling</em>. Chief Executive Salesman and President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives corporate and public seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer loyalty at <a href=”http://www.trainone.com/”>www.trainone.com</a>. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or <a href=”mailto:salesman@gitomer.com”>salesman@gitomer.com</a>

<a href=”http://www.gitomer.com”>www.gitomer.com</a>

© 2010 All Rights Reserved – Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written

permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer • 704/333-1112

Faux Groups are a new opportunity

Faux Groups are a unique way to create group photos from a collection of individual shots photographed in front of a green screen background.  These new style of groups can open doors to more portrait opportunities, provide additional sales, are great booking tools and give you options to overcome the physical challenges of actually shooting groups.

Why offer faux groups? Many groups can be difficult to photograph due to a lack of space, bleachers, time or even photographer skill.  Faux Groups offer you a solution to these challenges since you only need a limited amount of space to photograph the individuals and the lighting/background setup is fairly simple to learn and execute.  They can be shot indoors or outdoors, though shooting green screen outdoors does require additional control over your lighting conditions.

What markets are good for Faux Groups?  The most common to date are graduations, teams, bands and schools, but they also have great potential for reunions, companies, service organizations, Greeks, conventions and more.  The applications are unlimited.  If you are already photographing individuals to sell portraits, then the Faux Group is a great by-product created from those individual images and can be sold to generate additional sales.  If in the past you have photographed groups in the traditional fashion, shooting them as Faux Groups will now give you the opportunity to shoot and sell individual portraits to generate additional sales.  Faux Group sales can generate an additional $4-$5 or more per individual photographed. 

Faux Groups are great booking tools.  The opportunity to create a unique Faux Group can be all that is required to book the individual portraits for an organization.  It can also be used to sway an organization that you already photograph as individuals to switch to green screen.  Additional selling points are:

All individuals are in sharp focus
Lighting is consistent throughout the group
Everyone has the same head size and are equally visible. 
 

How do you order faux groups? CCS has provided customers with a detailed how-to on submitting orders for faux groups. This how-to was written with the expectation that images would be shot using green screen. Backgrounds for individual images can be pre-rendered for the retail customer or dynamically selected by the retail customer. Pre-rendered images have the final background image merged with the subject’s original green screen image and are displayed online for purchase. Dynamic images allow your retail customers to choose their own background online and purchase.

CCS asks customers to allow up to 5 business days for the creation of Faux Groups up to 300 subjects.  Groups larger than 300 subjects may take longer and should be pre-scheduled with Customer Support to receive an estimated completion date.  Images requiring cleanup can delay the completion of the group.

Please note that if your subjects would normally be holding a musical instrument or piece of sports equipment, take an additional photograph of them without these items for use in the faux group.  This reduces the risk of having one of these items block an adjacent face.

Please contact Customer Development at 800-336-4550 with questions about how to book and market Faux Groups.

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