This may seem like an easy question to answer right? Of course you are part of the solution. You want our industry to grow and become stronger; you want to educate newer photographers on pricing, marketing and starting out right and that is the first step to being part of the solution.
So hopefully the answer is YES to this question. We all want to see our peers grow and accomplish their goals. We are there to lend a hand or offer assistance as needed. We understand how frustrating it is to create and run a successful business. We are their biggest cheerleaders on their Facebook and Instagram posts. We are on the same team…right??
When I created Senior Style Guide, I idealistically thought the answer to those questions would always be a resounding YES. But unfortunately, some people are not on the same page as the rest of us.
There has been some complaining regarding the HOT 100 magazine. Those of you who know me, know I do not address people who are trying to stir the pot, so to speak. Many of you have asked me in the past why I don’t call people out for saying things in private Facebook groups or on their business page. The answer is simple…pick your battles. Let them spread negativity. That is not one of our founding principles at Senior Style Guide. We are a safe community. A place where everyone is welcome (yes, even those of you who have publicly spoken ill words toward our growth, ideas and community are always welcome). We have an open door policy and everyone deserves a second chance. I think we all may have said a thing or two in the past that we regret.
I want this industry to get stronger; not be torn down and destroyed by words people type behind keyboards. And I can freely say that, because I have always said contact me directly if there is a problem. I am happy to address everything, both positive and negative with any SSG fan at any time. This is why my personal cell number is listed on our website. Ask around and you will find people who have utilized it and had positive experiences as a result. The whole point of community is to work together.
So, let’s address the top three issues that have been brought to my attention:
Issue # 1… $45 for a print magazine? That is too expensive!
Yes, this issue is expensive. To be completely honest, I had concerns about this initially.There have been many discussions about this before the launch of this issue. But, I ultimately had a choice to make. Either make the images smaller and put more than one image on a page; or go with my initial plan to highlight the images as big as large as possible highlighting one per page. After all, these are the HOT 100 images of 2013!!!! Portrait oriented images are full page with a white border. Landscape images are either full spread with a white border (if key parts are not in the fold), a three quarter spread if key parts can be moved left or right out of the fold, or in the center of the page if either option above would not work.
As a result, the magazine ended up being 194 pages. Our publisher, Magcloud, prices by the page; so more pages = a higher price. Please see a screenshot below of our actual cost per issue of this magazine.
Yes, you are seeing that number correctly…$39.80 an issue! Earth shattering right? People are always shocked when I tell them exactly what we make per issue, because they think the profit margin is a lot higher. Clearly that is not the case, especially when you factor the man hours that go into a single issue.
Yes you can march down to your local store and purchase your favorite magazine off the shelf or in the checkout lane for as little as $4.95. Great, but stand back a second and ask yourself one question…how many ads are in that magazine? We limit our ads in every issue. Magazines make money off of ads if you sell a lot of them. We want our magazines to be about education and inspiration. For SSG, the magazines are considered a labor of love. And especially with the HOT 100, a showcase of inspiration. This magazine will inspire you to work on your off-camera-flash skills, put together a group session, or simply inspire you with posing of your client and so much more.
Issue # 2… There should be an option for digital
People have asked me in the past… “Why is Senior Style Guide only a print magazine?” The answer is simple; because I want the readers to have an actual magazine that they can touch and dog ear the pages. How many times have you gone back and re-read a digital magazine versus a print magazine laying on your coffee table? For those who want a digital copy we offer a digital option of every issue on the one year anniversary date. I have been told that one or two of you might be dissatisfied because the HOT 100 was only available in print. Well, I ask before you cast judgement to please consider the following two scenarios…
Scenario #1 Speaking to a client “I am a featured photographer in Senior Style Guide’s HOT 100 issue for 2013; I photographed one of the HOT 100 images of the year! Here is the digital link to the magazine.”
Scenario #2 Speaking to a client “I am a featured photographer in Senior Style Guide’s HOT 100 issue for 2013; I photographed one of the HOT 100 images of the year! Look at this amazing magazine. Have a seat, you can flip through the pages to see my work.”
Which scenario is the most powerful and has the most impact for your potential client? Personally, if I was a teen I would love to see my face in a print magazine! Teens are used to seeing themselves digitally on Facebook and Instagram, so it minimizes the experience to show them a digital magazine. Am I anti-digital? NO. I own digital magazines; and I applaud some very amazing online only magazines out there. But, this is not currently our business model.
As professional photographers we should see the value in print. After all, don’t we constantly try to sell prints and print related products?
Issue #3… Winners should get a print copy or at least a digital copy
I would love to be able to provide every winner with a free print copy of this issue. However, we showed you our cost and profit margin in the screenshot above. As for the digital option, it will be available on the anniversary date of the issue. Unfortunately, this is not something we can provide before that date because we see the value of a print magazine.
I encourage each of you to harness the value of being selected as a HOT 100 photographer by an esteemed panel of judges. Anyone could enter…but not everyone could be a winner. The winners of the 100 images were awarded buttons distinguishing themselves from their competition and peers. It is an honor. Use it as a selling point to your potential clients. Put it on your print collateral, website, blog, Facebook or Instagram. Shout it from the rooftops because your image was chosen. I am sure there are any number of people who did not win that would gladly switch places with you if you do not see the value in it.
To those of you who have stood by us as we grow, contributed to our community, offered both praise and constructive criticism to us, rallied around us in groups when our name has been mentioned…THANK YOU! It is because of you that we are able to provide the blog posts, classes and print magazines that we do. Seriously, thank you.
I debated addressing these issues in a blog post as I wish the few select people would have addressed me personally before taking to their keyboards to spread their negativity. As always, I am happy to speak with each and every one of you personally (call me 765.653.7729 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org). My door is always open and you are always welcome. And to those few people…know I welcome you to SSG with open arms. Let’s learn from this and move on to make this industry stronger and the best it can be.
So, are you part of the solution in this industry, or the problem?