Matching Your Products To Your Brand - by Michael Howard from Musea Labs

 One of the most daunting things about setting up your photography business is deciding what to offer. This is especially true if you are doing In-Person Sales and a large portion of your income will come from tangible products you sell.  As a photographer it can be extremely confusing on where to start. All the major labs have an overwhelming number of flashy products and smaller labs have interesting specialized things as well. On top of all that you have album companies, and you soon realize you are inundated with choices.  When you are new to photography or new to running an In-Person Sales business model, it is very tempting to hop on Facebook, see what other photographers are selling and do same thing. It works for them, so it should work for you. Right?  More than likely not.  Before you even get to this point of product offerings, you should figure out out what your brand is and who your ideal clients are. Are you a high-end newborn photographer who loves fabric and specializes in custom albums, specifically focused on the first year of a child? If so, the products you offer to your clients should reflect that. You probably aren’t going to present metal prints because your brand is soft, organic, and cozy. Metal prints give off a shiny, rigid, saturated and contrasty vibe. However, if you love photographing active kids underwater, specializing in metal prints is perfect because it gives your images a shiny, water-like feel.  Too many photographers get ahead of themselves in business before having a solid understanding of their strengths as photographers and their overall brand. Obviously, when starting out, it’s good to shoot a lot of genres to find your passion and hone your skills, but ideally you will eventually discover what really makes you special as a professional. You will want to become known for a specific and consistent product instead of offering every trend and style that crosses your social media feed. Photographers aren’t the only ones with too many options; clients rely on their photographers to know what works best, what is the best value, and what will create timeless memories. Don’t make your clients make decisions for you -– by offering fewer products that you know you excel at, your clients have a much more relaxing and enjoyable experience.  We went through this specialization process when we started the MUSEA Lab in 2014. After a lot of thought about our brand, we decided to focus on high quality materials that have museum-grade presentation and preservation. Our ethos is centered around a pretty simple question, “Are these materials the highest quality and most consistent products on the market for printing, matting, and framing?” If they aren’t then we don’t offer them. If they are then we are interested.  We quickly discovered that we are an amazing match for family and child photographers who desire a luxury print with a tangible experience. Our photographers want to put products in their clients’ hands that feel as amazing as they look. They want physical touch to be a factor in their brand.

One of the most daunting things about setting up your photography business is deciding what to offer. This is especially true if you are doing In-Person Sales and a large portion of your income will come from tangible products you sell.

As a photographer it can be extremely confusing on where to start. All the major labs have an overwhelming number of flashy products and smaller labs have interesting specialized things as well. On top of all that you have album companies, and you soon realize you are inundated with choices.

When you are new to photography or new to running an In-Person Sales business model, it is very tempting to hop on Facebook, see what other photographers are selling and do same thing. It works for them, so it should work for you. Right?

More than likely not.

Before you even get to this point of product offerings, you should figure out out what your brand is and who your ideal clients are. Are you a high-end newborn photographer who loves fabric and specializes in custom albums, specifically focused on the first year of a child? If so, the products you offer to your clients should reflect that. You probably aren’t going to present metal prints because your brand is soft, organic, and cozy. Metal prints give off a shiny, rigid, saturated and contrasty vibe. However, if you love photographing active kids underwater, specializing in metal prints is perfect because it gives your images a shiny, water-like feel.

Too many photographers get ahead of themselves in business before having a solid understanding of their strengths as photographers and their overall brand. Obviously, when starting out, it’s good to shoot a lot of genres to find your passion and hone your skills, but ideally you will eventually discover what really makes you special as a professional. You will want to become known for a specific and consistent product instead of offering every trend and style that crosses your social media feed. Photographers aren’t the only ones with too many options; clients rely on their photographers to know what works best, what is the best value, and what will create timeless memories. Don’t make your clients make decisions for you -– by offering fewer products that you know you excel at, your clients have a much more relaxing and enjoyable experience.

We went through this specialization process when we started the MUSEA Lab in 2014. After a lot of thought about our brand, we decided to focus on high quality materials that have museum-grade presentation and preservation. Our ethos is centered around a pretty simple question, “Are these materials the highest quality and most consistent products on the market for printing, matting, and framing?” If they aren’t then we don’t offer them. If they are then we are interested.

We quickly discovered that we are an amazing match for family and child photographers who desire a luxury print with a tangible experience. Our photographers want to put products in their clients’ hands that feel as amazing as they look. They want physical touch to be a factor in their brand.

 We obviously live in a very digital world, but as humans we still crave tactile experiences. It’s not a coincidence that people desire high-quality physical products. At MUSEA Lab we are craftsmen, creating a tactile connection between photography and prints.  Our process requires us to carefully handle and inspect each individual print for perfection. We don’t use big machines that spit out standard prints that are quickly tossed in a box and overnight shipped. Instead, we patiently let our inks dry, cut each print by hand, and inspect every sheet of matting board. Not all labs have the patience or the eye for such intense craftsmanship, but when photographers show their clients our prints, we know they are displaying a beautiful and tangible work of art.  At MUSEA, we want to see more photographers gain confidence in their style and strength and then match that strength with products that highlight their values and style. We believe in the power of photography and the value of professional photographers. MUSEA exists to help photographers sell prints that will last over 100 years.  So if you feel lost in a sea of products, step back and write down who you serve and how you serve them. If your physical products communicate your company values, then your clients will have a much easier time saying yes to what you have to offer.  +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++  Images by  Jenny Cruger Photography   Visit  Musea Labs  and see what they can offer you and your clients.

We obviously live in a very digital world, but as humans we still crave tactile experiences. It’s not a coincidence that people desire high-quality physical products. At MUSEA Lab we are craftsmen, creating a tactile connection between photography and prints.  Our process requires us to carefully handle and inspect each individual print for perfection. We don’t use big machines that spit out standard prints that are quickly tossed in a box and overnight shipped. Instead, we patiently let our inks dry, cut each print by hand, and inspect every sheet of matting board. Not all labs have the patience or the eye for such intense craftsmanship, but when photographers show their clients our prints, we know they are displaying a beautiful and tangible work of art.

At MUSEA, we want to see more photographers gain confidence in their style and strength and then match that strength with products that highlight their values and style. We believe in the power of photography and the value of professional photographers. MUSEA exists to help photographers sell prints that will last over 100 years.

So if you feel lost in a sea of products, step back and write down who you serve and how you serve them. If your physical products communicate your company values, then your clients will have a much easier time saying yes to what you have to offer.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Images by Jenny Cruger Photography

Visit Musea Labs and see what they can offer you and your clients.