Options to Sell Photos!
Question: How do I make the most money selling photos!
At the risk of giving away trade secrets, the basics of any photo system is a camera, a computer running software and a delivery method, digital or print. Thats all! Yes and no. Yes, you could probably use an old Polaroid camera and maybe give a few photos away to friends, No, you are not going to sell a lot!
There are 3 questions a locations needs to ask before jumping in to selling photo!
Question 1, Do you really want to sell Photos?
Question 2, Do you want to sell Digital or Printed Photos?
Question 3, Do you want to use an operator (photographer) to take (capture) your customers photos?
Answer 1, Do you really want to sell Photo?
Selling photos has several requirements! But probably at the top of the list, would be you, the owner of the location, the event manager, the person in charge. Look in the mirror and ask yourself, do you really want to make money selling photos! That’s 1st. If it is more important to you, to pull Johnny off taking photos, because Timmy called off sick, and you need Johnny to scare someone. Don’t waste your money! It’s not rocket science! In order to sell a photo you have to take (capture) a photo!
Answer 2, Do you want to sell Digital or Printed Photo?
This answer can be complicated, but a quick answer is, selling digital photos is easier than selling printed photos. The necessary equipment for a Printed Photo System can costs 2 to 3 times more than a Digital Delivery System. Not counting additional staffing and an area to sell printed photos! See below for a more detailed answer.
Answer 3, Do you want to use an operator (photographer) to take (capture) your customers photos?
This goes back to Answer 1, will you use an operator (photographer) to take (capture) your customer photos?
Quickly, if you answered,
Question 1, No, stop now.
Question 1, Yes, Great continue!
Questions 2, Sell Digital Photos
Selling Digital Photos has never been easier. You can use a DSLR camera system or Brio 4000K Webcam to sell Digital Photos automatically!
Questions 2, Sell Printed Photos
Selling Printed Photos requires a DSLR system with an operator. Printing Photos should not be done in a Queue Line. Takes too long and what does the guest do with the photo! A Photo Sales area required or use and All in One Photo System in the Midway.
See below for a more detailed answer
Question 3, Use an Operator
Sell Digital Photos. Use both a DSLR or Brio 4000K Webcam system with an operator.
Sell Printed Photos. Operator required to take (capture) and sell location printed customer photos.
Questions 3, No operator
Digital Photos only without an operator.
Like other photo companies, VueThru does not make computers, or cameras, or printers! Our Canon T7 Camera is no better or worse than the other photo companies Canon T7 Camera. It’s the same Camera!
Why VueThru if the camera’s and the computer’s are the same? It’s our understanding, that the equipment is the same, but the difference is how the equipment is setup and configured to work with the software and other equipment. Its our customer service, our ability to listen to our customers and to constantly look for ways to improve the process!
Just like you in your field, it’s our experiences, what we have done and been around that has made us. Our ability to package those experiences into an easy to use product! VueThru started making and teaching cool Flip and 3D products, to anyone who would listen. In the early 2000’s, exhibitions were calling looking for a new way to make money. Their guests did not want a regular photo, they needed something new. Keep in mind lenticular had been around for 150 years! I traveled wherever and set up the lenticular process, software, training staff, working openings, and after a while, worked with the other members of the exhibition start up crews who built the exhibits and set up the photo operations. For years, I’d go to Titanic’s, Bodies, Myth Busters, Star Treks, the Empire State Building, NASA, New York, Canada, Puerto Rico, wherever, with any brand, setting up projects using the software and equipment they used. (believe me, not as cool as it might sounds)
I didn’t want to tie our products to one brand or event so I worked with all exhibitions, all equipment, all software and all installers. Keep in mind, this was before stable WIFI. Running SD cards, using inkjets, then dye subs, several different software programs. Becoming friends with photo industry suppliers and software manufactures. We started developing the ability to process and create the 3D souvenirs within their proprietary event software. With every new photo installation, every time, every where, there was always one goal, how can we do this faster! If you have ever experienced anything like having 3 rows, 60 guest each row, all dressed up in Star Trek outfits, waiting patiently in line for their turn to score their own personalized Flip souvenir (them on the transporter, changing to them off the transporter), wanting all 10 with their different poses, then you can appreciate the need for speed! And a lot more of it!
Over the years, some of that increase in speed came from faster computers and better equipment, but most of the improvements were the result of a better process.
It’s you, the owner. You can not be everywhere! Depending on the size of your locations, you need to find a trusted employee or hire one, who will have your support in selling photos. Maybe to manage a few photo employees or they work photos themselves. Either way, that person needs to be available, now, when they are needed. Next, staffing. I’ll give you an example. I drop by a location that started to see a decline in sales. Sales fluctuate, but I didn’t expect what I found. I’m told, they have this great employee who is really good with Photoshop. Interesting! I watched as the employee bent the elbows on skeletons to match the customer photos for their Flip souvenir, people changing to skeletons. I watched as a baby skeleton was added to a pregnant customer photo. All this as other potential paying customers were walking by. I thought to myself, we've taken this fast as you can souvenir and turned it into a 30 minute designer session, for $20 dollars! I’ll just say, not everyone will see an issue, and that’s OK. A location needs good employees, you do not need professional photographers or Photoshop experts. You are selling photos as a photo product, good quality, but as fast as you can.
Selling photos starts in the Queue Line at entrance. Go to any major attraction or event and you will have your photo taken (Captured) quickly in front of a green screen or step and repeat backdrop while waiting in the Queue Line before going into the event. That's not by mistake. This is forced entry, and the goal is 100% Capture of all potential customer photos! Does your location have a controlled Entry, or like a Walmart on Black Friday! It is about capturing customer photos. Sure as fast a humanely possible, with good quality. Capturing a bunch of terrible pictures is not the goal! Your staff can not be yelling, Get In, Get Out, Get In, Get Out. Everyone has to have fun! Your location is all about the experience! Most have Queue Lines going back and forth, and at some point, dropping into a 12x12 area where you have your photo employee or a helper asking people to enter and stand a certain way, staging, they say 3,2,1 Smile, Click, 3,2,1, Smile, Click. Usually you take 2 photos in case someone blinked. Then this group continues on their way, back into the Queue Line. 30-45 seconds, nothing delayed, there is still a line of people in front of them! Your staff will get quicker at staging people, 3,2,1 Smile, Click, not Get In, Get out! By the way, 3,2,1, Smile, Click takes about 5 seconds!
Why the Queue Line! After the customer enters the event, they wonder around and maybe stop at a different photo op, but the chance of making money is drastically reduced. 100% Capture drops to maybe 25% Capture. If you want to make money selling photos, you have to start in the Queue Line at the entrance! Plus Capturing customer photos is Faster in a Queue Line. People are in a hurry to get anywhere, out of that line! They do not want anything delaying them from getting in, or anyone slowing them down. A Fast Queue Line Photo, 30 - 45 seconds per group is what you need for these large events. There is no time for selling here! Group in, staged, smile, click, smile, click, next group please! Selling Printed Photos is left for the Midway or Photo Sales Areas or the Gift Shop, not the Queue Line! Takes too long to sell and what do they do with the Photos!
(I’m a tech guy and not good at sales. I have done a terrible job of sharing this knowledge and experience, even though we have helped set up some of the largest exhibition locations, all with Queue Line photo systems at the entrance. I have not done a good job of demonstrating this knowledge either, even though we have had booths at several trade shows for years)
Every VueThru Photo System is built for production and speed first, then the cool stuff! But at trade shows, we have always demonstrated the cool 3D Photos. A crowd favorite every year. A couple years ago I was talking to a random passer by, an owner, during one of these trade shows. He said, ya! it's cool, but we do not have time or the room to do that stuff! Our location is too busy for that! I about fell over, how could he not know, how could he not see, that our system can Capture photos Fast. It hit me, I assumed everyone knew our Photo Systems were fast, but I was wrong. Then again just a few of days ago it happened again. A customer, my customer said, oh, I didn't realize you made those! Bloody Hell, as my British Photographer friend would say!
(VueThru builds FAST Queue Line Photo Systems that can Capture and Upload a guest photo in under 5 seconds, each photo, period!)
Equipment, let's be honest, equipment can be confusing, which camera, (have you seen the price of cameras!), I could give you a list of equipment to buy, but it would not work the same as if we set up the equipment. You do not need a $7000 dollar camera! You need a good quality $600 to $800 dollar DSLR with a better flash setup. Lighting is important. In a darker area, setup up some LED flood lights for continuous lighting, another $200 dollars. You will want a fast Intel i3 or i5 processor computer with 8 gig of ram, minimum. Not a knock off or cheap brand. You get what you pay for here! Software, connectivity, networking, all of these things are critical. You must be sure the photo will be there when the customer wants to buy it! That was a nightmare in the early days of running SD cards. Cards lost, missing, not downloaded and overwritten! Wired vs WiFi.I’m sorry, I am old school, and I have seen too many locations, during daytime setup everything works fine! But as soon as the exhibition lights go on, BOOM!, nothing works, back to running cards! Always have a plan B!
If it sounds like I am trying to talk you out of selling photos or scare you, I’d rather know I gave you some things to think about. But really, selling photos can LOOK really easy when done by those who have lots of experience selling photos. It's not rocket science, but no one who sells photos will tell you its easy! Not me. There is always something that can go wrong. Usually at the worst time of the event! Someone kick the power cord and fries your $1500 professional printer. You are done, no printing until a replacement is found. The local computer store does not sell professional dye sub printers, I’ve tried! You forgot to have your camera serviced every 45,000 photos, or at the end of the season. Now your camera stops, right in the middle of a busy event! You are done until you get a replacement. No, not your Polaroid, but we try to use Canon professional cameras that can be found at Sam’s Club for just this reason! Selling Photos is not different than any business. There is money to be made, but you are going to work for it. Start, saying your prayers and make offerings to the Photo God’s everyday!
I asked why VueThru at the beginning. I’d say if you have not figured it out, you probably do not need to read any farther!
We really have not started talking about Selling Photos. We’ve only talked about taking (capturing) customer photos and that is the easy part! Sure its fast, noisy, but here's the Math! On average, there are 3 guests per group, in roughly 30 seconds. (120 photos per hour) Here's a secret! It takes longer to Sell the photo than Capture the photo! Probably 6 to 10 times longer! It takes 15-30 seconds to stage and Capture the photo. It takes a 3-5 minutes to Sell the Photo. At a fast paced locations, you can not Capture & Sell Photos in the Queue Lines! That type of Photo System is better for a Midway!
So how do you Sell the Photos! Remember I am not a sales person, but I can give you the math and the process.
Selling Printed Photos!
Option 1. With a Photo Sales Area or in the Gift Shop. 1st, I'm fairly certain, the Gift Shop at your locations is probably already busy. Either way you are going to need room. How much room. Minimum for 1 to 2 people behind a 20 inch deep sales counter for the Photo Sales Station to sit on, with a Printer in the back, supplies and such, 8x8 feet maybe, realistically a 10x10.
Now what can you expect! Remember that Queue Line where you Captured all those guest photos, Fast! Imagine if "ALL" of them showed up to buy photos! What a great problem to have, but not realistic. The Math, on average, you have 3 guests per photo. For 1000 guests = 333 photos. 25% of those 333 photos, on average is the number of guests interested in seeing their pictures. Roughly 83 groups (3 guests average).
How long does it take you to Sell a Photo? Minimum, 3 minutes, realistic, 5 minutes. Do you see a line forming? If you are lucky! But most guest who see a long line when they are leaving, wont wait. So what do you do to keep up with the flow from Capture. 333 / 120 (thats 20 - 30 seconds each / hour) = 2.7 hours Capture for 1000 guest. For Sales, you have 83 groups / 3 minutes each (20 / hour) = 4.1 hours of Sales for 1000 guest.
To sell photos at your location you basically need to 2 Photo Sales Stations for 1 Capture Station. The better and quicker your photo staff are at selling the more money you will make, by keeping the lines down and not having so many guests, who were interested, walk by. Another obvious fact, you need good graphics, good presentation, friendly staff, fast, reliable equipment and professional quality printers. Yes, each Photo Sales Station needs a Professional Printer. The cost, with a printer, for each Photo Sales Station is roughly the same as a Capture unit. Plus for 2 Photo Sales Stations, you are going to need, 3 - 4 or more staff to keep up with the photo sales, and the space to setup. So two sales station and staff minimum 10x10 and room for a line to view the photos.
Selling Digital Photos!
Option 2. with VueThru's Attraction & Event Solution (A&E) Software. A combination of super fast Queue Line photo Capture software integrated with an online photo process that includes a Phone App for Photo Sales and an automatic customer notification when photos are ready to view! A&E turns every guests cell phone into your location Photo Sales force. Instead of 333 photos you send 1000 notifications that Photos are ready for viewing, automatically with customer notification that photos are ready to view, automatically!
Take (capture) the Photo, and the customer receives a notification within minutes with a link. The customer looks at their photo / photos on their cell phone, no App download required, what else are they going to do, remember, they are still waiting in your Queue Line! The customer, all customers, have the option to purchase their digital photos right then with the App's built in payment process. No Photo Sales Station, no staff, no one in a line to see their photos. If that wasn't enough. A&E also adds an after event Webstore for Photo Sales. Additional notifications can be setup for the next day, week, month, whenever, you decide to remind guests they did not purchase photos the day of the event, that their photos are still available for purchase. Use the built in data to send notifications of future events to all your customers. Yes, the Math, using the same 25% as before, customers interested in seeing their Photos, that's 250 per 1000 compared to 83. Plus, you should not loose anyone because the Photo Line is too long, just the opposite, they have time to look at their Phone App Photos because their waiting in your Queue Line before entering your event!
Have questions, good! Every location is different! Are there other options or combinations for your location. Absolutely! Just ask. We build custom processes and photo systems, and by the way every system is built to be Fast! Our solutions are 100% proprietary, developed in-house from real-world experience, in collaboration with our exhibition partners. We build revenue generating, photo systems that are easy to operate with your existing staff. Whether your location sees 100 or 10,000 guests a day, our systems are scalable and modular to meet your specific needs. We build super fast Queue Line photo systems to quickly capture your guest photos in 10 - 15 seconds or midway systems where you might want to try out our cool effects, like animated gifs.
Don't worry if you do not see it here. We can custom build a photo system to meet your specific needs. All our Photo Systems will capture (take) standard photos of a natural setting and add your branded overlay or use our green screen system to add different background options. Don’t forget, A&E also offers Free Graphics yearly.
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