At Blue Frog Photography, "Capturing the Moment" is what we love to do. This slogan has been a staple in our marketing since starting our studio in Seattle in 2001. Our business was growing and referrals were starting to pour in because our brides felt that we did (capture the moment). After relocation to Sacramento in 2006, Blue Frog had to start from scratch and rebuild our client base.
The local market was saturated with photographers of various skill levels and a wide range of bridal budgets. One of the main things that we wanted to establish was our reputation as being able to always "Capture the Moment" and our commitment to customer service. So, as the newcomers into the market, we struggled to retain gross profit. "Selling the Moment" has become incredibly important, as we're faced with a higher cost of goods, a greater number of competing semi-professional photographers, and an increasingly more discerning bride. This year required new strategies and a new business plan.
One of the major trends I noticed when meeting with potential clients was the desire to change certain items in my given packages. While that did leave room for an up-sell, it also left me scrambling to make sure that I was charging enough for substitutions, and that the set packages didn't necessarily allow for the creation of a unique experience with each bride.
So we set our goals for 2008 to include a different kind of wedding package, one that could be configured to meet the needs of each bride and also ensure that the cost of goods were covered with margins at 60 percent. We also wanted to create a wonderful, elegant presentation to go along with our new plan.
I began comprising my new business plan with research. Over the years, I've collected marketing items and concepts from many retail merchants and studied websites, gleaning methods, concepts, and ideas. Inspiration is everywhere in the retail marketplace. I tried to look at all the information from a bride's point of view and as a woman who is incredibly thrifty and always looking for a great deal while keeping quality as the strongest factor. We chose to break down our plan into two major sections: studio branding and package offerings.
We designed a beautiful Presentation Folder that would hold 6x9 cards with information regarding prices and options. These can be easily changed out and updated without changing the entire marketing piece. The images we chose for the folder have high impact, and the color stands out among those brochures collected at wedding fairs. It had to ooze professionalism and romance.
Next we created our new package program. We offer one package price that includes an engagement session, an image guest-book, and unlimited time. The main selling point of the package, however, is that the bride gets a large "Album Credit" that can be used for a wide variety of items, including different sizes of albums, page counts, parent albums, prints and gallery wraps, and fun image items like purses, wine boxes, and desk accessories (ensuring that the groom keeps a wedding photo on his desk! Brides and their parents reacted positively to this concept at the first wedding fair that I presented it at and have been thrilled ever since. This flexibility ensures satisfied Blue Frog clients and continued word-of-mouth advertising.
Since that January preview, I have changed the pricing a bit on albums and some other prints. I also gave a "Gift Certificate" at the wedding fairs that could be used toward the purchase price or toward products. As an advertising incentive, I also offered the certificate on email advertising that I sent to local bridal lists.
The last major goal for 2008 was to package our unique and timeless images in elegant style. We started with the presentation folder and made sure that the website and all other associations with Blue Frog would have the same impact. Every print, proof book, and album that leaves the studio is packaged beautifully and comes with a luggage tag featuring two different photos as a small token of appreciation. Every effort is made to ensure that even the smallest details reflect the emotional connection of photography.
In this world of fast changes and instant gratification, my studio offers a calm, emotional connection, and a truly personal experience for all of my clients. Our goal remains capturing all of the romantic moments of our clients big day and to be ever aware of selling the moment!
Jill Lance established Blue Frog Photography (www.bluefrogphotography.com) in 2001 in Seattle, Washington. Her love of capturing images began in her own high-school experience, enhanced by her time at UC Davis. She has also enjoyed teaching high-school students in Northern California the amazing medium of darkroom photography, and she's done freelance weddings, senior portraits, and commercial work.