What the heck is shoot and burn?
(Disclaimer: I originally wrote this for my clients via my webpage. I changed it up a little to pertain to photographers, you’ll get the gist!)
Hey! Marggie here! I hope you’ll stick with me through this blog. I promise in the very least, you’ll walk away enlightened and maybe a little surprised. Read on, soldier!
Okay, onward with all the things I need to say. Okay, not all, but some important things. Okay, here we go with this weeks word vomit! Brace yourselves. Just kidding, nothing to brace for, though, I do hope to blow your mind with what I am about to share!
Shoot and burn? It’s a thing of the past, people! It gets it’s name from years ago when we used to burn all of our images onto CD’s and then deliver them to our clients. The days before online galleries. It still pertains to those of us who shoot and deliver those digital images. But, why am I saying it’s a thing of the past? There are still super easy, convenient online galleries! Or are they? Sure, they are! In a sense. It’s super convenient for me to upload them all to you online and then push a button and they arrive in your inbox in minutes. Easy for you to open, look at, and download. But then what? (Cue Beethoven’s “Dun Dun Dun” Symphony here)
I’ve come to the realization that I am doing my clients a complete disservice by being a “shoot and burn” style photographer! You have invested hundreds of dollars in me for my time and talent. Hundred of dollars, people! So what, those beautiful images can just sit on a cloud or even worse, a hard drive? Your kids memories stay as pixels and nothing more? Your gorgeous images to get lost in miles of scrolling down on your social media feeds? Medicore prints put in mediocre frames hung somewhat straight on your wall unevenly spaced with that next mediocre frame? Oh and by the way, your image is bubbling up in that frame, ewww. And also, that image would look way better in a hallway and this one should be in a family room. Why? Why, oh why is this happening with gorgeous images that you have invested in? And also cringeworthy, do you “brag” that you got those poorly printed, crooked images on your wall done by BennyAni Photography?! Gahhh! I’m doing myself a disservice too, because friend, that is only part of my work, but I have to take credit for all of it. Yes, I said, “have to”. I don’t want anything to do with poor printing and crooked hanging and bubbled prints. Oh gosh, that was even hard to type. Show of hands now, how many of you are guilty of ANY of the above? If you raised your hand (or should have), then I have done you a disservice, and for that, I truly apologize.
From here on out, no more. I will never leave you hanging again. That money you invest in me for my time and talent, does not stop once your pictures are edited. Nope, you get more, way more! Keep reading, Seriously, it’s interesting, really!
I have taken a lot of time in deep thought, sleepless nights, anxious conversations, education-both in photography and business, uncomfortable conversations with myself, my loved ones, my “business gang”, a business coach-he’s a super cool, pain in my ass, that I owe my business to, (or at least a lot of long islands), podcasts, seminars, audiobooks, blogs, studies, statistics, you name it! After all of that, what it really comes down to is the scary fact, that I have to face my fear and completely change my business model!! GASP!! Say what?!?! “But, Marggie!! You HATE change! Are you crazy? You’ve been so successful up until this point! Why on earth would you change anything?”
Let me tell you why. First of all, I am not complacent. If I were, I would not be where I am today. Turns out my business model has been changing constantly since I started this journey just over 7 years ago. This change just happens to be the biggest, and most exciting/challenging/scariest one so far! The world is constantly changing and so are the needs of my clients. Change is inevitable, and scary, yet so so necessary. Every time I face the fact that I have to change something, I get clammy hands, increased heart rate, even my face starts to tingle (don’t worry, the Google just says that’s from my anxiety, phew) and that really annoying voice in my head that tells me I’m going to fail and therefore, my business will close, and therefore my life will end, and therefore, the world will end. I’m not dramatic at all!
Secondly, yes, I admit, I have built an extremely successful business. From the outside it might look like a dream job, all fun and games, easy peasy. A little luck and some talent and boom, the business was born. NOPE! There was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (quite literally on the latter two, even the first) put into this business and quite frankly for the first three years, I didn’t see my husband or my kids very much. Even when I was with them, I wasn’t present. I was on my phone, checking emails, responding to clients, updating social media, etc…business building. Worth it? Yes. Would I do it that same way again? No! So, without change, I would still be slaying for $65 per mini session. “Here’s your CD, come again!” Woof! I just said, “CD”. I just really aged myself. Eeek.
I’m going off on a tangent here. I need to get back on track or this blog will be a book before I’m done. Business building is a whole other blog post…or book. Ooh, maybe I should write a book. I had a thought about a children’s book the other day…Okay, back to this blog…staying focused…squirrel!!!!! Just kidding, I’m still here, stay with me.
My main point of this blog is to share with you my biggest and scariest and most challenging change that has happened yet in my photography career. I am doing what I said I would never NEVER ever do. I am turning my back on being a “shoot and burn” photographer! Gasp!! Say what?!??!?! What does this mean for my clients?!!?
Oh, this is good news for them, my friend. As I mentioned before, I was doing you a complete disservice by just sending off galleries and saying, “see ya next time…hopefully!” See the reasons listed above if you forgot why this was a bad thing. I bolded them for your easy reference convenience. You’re welcome. Anyway, sending you a gallery full of gorgeous images for you to download and maybe print is like giving you a whole grocery bag full of delicious produce and scrumptious juicy meats, but then making you cook the meal without so much as a recipe to follow. Not anymore, pal. Now, I’m the chef too! Keep reading, I’m an entrepreneur at heart, but I’m not really going to be a chef.
Ever heard the term “Boutique Photography” or “Boutique Photography Studio”? Well, you have now and now you know one! That’s right, I am not just your shoot and burn any more. “But everybody wants digital images!!! This is a digital world!!!” This is what I heard in my head for years, still do. I am not going to take the precious digital images away. I want my clients to have the security blanket of having them on a cloud too, “just in case”. More to come on digital images in future blogs. However, BennyAni is now a FULL SERVICE BOUTIQUE PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO! Well, that sounds fancy, but what the hell does that mean? I like analogies. Do you? Great, here’s another one. Fast food vs. sit down restaurant (geez, what’s with all the food analogies? I’m hungry, okay? Moving on). Let’s get even more specific. McDonalds (salivating over the thought of some fries right about now) vs Wakame (It’s an upscale sushi place in St.Louis Park, it’s my fave, insert your fave sit down restaurant here). Now, let’s be real, I love me a good value meal from the ol’ “Mickie D’s” every now and again. Happy Meals truly are happy. But it is what it is. Fast food. You order, you get, you go. Done. That’s “shoot and burn”. They don’t care to ask you if you liked your meal. They don’t care to ask you if you’d like dessert or even a refill on your beverage. Deliver the goods and done. Hopefully see ya again next time for our “value” meal is their business model and if you complain, then they MIGHT do something more.
For being a photographer who built her business on excellent customer service, I sure was missing a huge piece. How did I miss this for so long? Fear. Fear is how I missed this. I’ll get there in a minute. Okay, so you have your “shoot and burn” analogy. Let’s talk about our boutique photography analogy. Wakame (again, if you haven’t been, do yourself a favor and go. St. Louis Park. There’s more than sushi. GO!). You come in, they greet you. They take your drink order, take the time to make suggestions on drinks that maybe pair well with a dish you are thinking about. Give you time to look at the menu, make more suggestions on dishes if you request, present you with a beautiful plate, check on you after the first few bites, make sure all is perfect, come back again, maybe make some small talk, make you laugh, ask if you’re there for a special occasion, ask if they can get you more drinks, ask if they can interest you in dessert, give you time to enjoy your company, and maybe another drink, bring your bill, make sure one more time if there is anything else they can do for you and bid you a heart felt fare-thee-well all while asking you to please come back again, so they can SERVE YOU. Much different than the happy meal, eh? Both can be great! Trust me, beginner photogs reading this, shoot and burn is a great place to start and learn! Go for it! BUT, after a lot, A LOT, of soul searching, researching, and education in the recent months, maybe a little over a year even (I told you I hate change, I’ve been very stubborn to this one), I have learned that my style, my personality, my business, my purpose, is the boutique style photography and that is what I am here to do. So what’s changing?
Well, first of all, don’t freak out. I’ve done that enough for the both of us. Secondly, this is a big, but gradual change you will see happening within BennyAni. So many of you have been with me for years, some of you from day 1, (I love you), and like I said, change is scary. So I don’t want to pull a rug from under any of you. I don’t want to ask more of any of you. This isn’t just about money for me. This is about who I am and what my work/talent can and will provide you. I don’t want to just give you the “ingredients” anymore. I want to give you the fully cooked, gourmet meal. Those of you who have been with me for a long time, don’t painic. I’m here with you. You gave me a chance as a brand new business owner/photographer. Keep your faith in me and I promise I won’t let you down.
I know I will lose some clients along the way. That’s nothing new. I understand it. Sometimes styles change. Sometimes budgets change. Whatever the reason, I’m always a little sad when I lose long time clients, but I always understand and send my well wishes. My clients really do mean a lot to me and I cherish my time with all of them and really do value the opportunity to capture these “gone too soon” moments.
With that being said, you’ll notice some new changes on my website when you read the “Timeline” of the events that occur for our sessions now. You’ll notice that now after your session, you’ll come back to the studio again, where I’ll fully enjoy being with you when you see your beautiful images for the first time via a custom music video. From there, I’ll show you some custom products that I think are perfect for you in accordance with the walls in your home (you’ll already have sent me those) and the images we got at your session. Remember when you paid me hundreds of dollars for my time and talent? This is where that extends to! More bang for your buck. Turns out I have an eye for design and products as well! We’ll also go through some heirloom pieces you might be interested in, such as our gorgeous albums, as well as some of our unique products, i.e. metals/acrylics, that are sure to be conversation pieces in your home. Your investment is YOUR choice. There is no minimum. There is no pressure. We are doing this for you. The part that is for me is being able to be FULL SERVICE and knowing that when you “brag” about who did the stunning art on your wall, I would be proud to claim every piece of that. Oh, did I mention after you pick your products, we come to your home and professionally install them? Oh yes, I wasn’t kidding, when I was appalled earlier as I described crooked and unevenly spaced frames. Please don’t do that. Don’t invest in beautiful images and then poorly print them and place them in crap frames…one more analogy? Okay, that would be like building a million dollar home and then furnishing it with Ikea furniture. No offense Ikea, I do love you, but you’re no Pottery Barn. Oh, and hey, that wasn’t a food analogy. Yay me!
Here are a few recent home installations we have done: So many more scheuduled that I can’t wait to share with you. Stay tuned. I still can’t believe how many people want this done. I mean, duh, who wouldn’t? It’s amazing, but why was I so afraid to offer it to you? I’m sorry.