Is your album company/lab looking-out for your interests?

Do you think your album company or lab would put your interests ahead of their own?  Finao does.  Do you think your vendors would post this message on Facebook and turn down the business to protect the photographers who use their products?  Finao did.

Question posted

Sheri wrote:

My photographer used you to make a wedding album for my daughter’s wedding 3 years ago. My son got married last week in Phoenix and their photographer doesn’t do this. Can I go directly through you to create an album? If so, how do I go about it?

Thanks!

Sheri

Finao Online, LLC wrote:

Hi Sheri,

First, congratulations on your son’s marriage. As the owner of Finao I love to hear when an album owner is happy and wants another one. Finao is strictly a business to business company and works only with professional photographers and professional design services. I would first suggest you give our company’s info to the photographer. I know you are the Mother of the Groom, but it’s so sad to have someone say a photographer “doesn’t do that” when it comes to albums. The wedding album is the first heirloom of a newly created family and a pretty important part of the history of all the families involved. If you are not comfortable with that I can contact the photographer directly. Let me know who it is and I will be happy :O) to give him/her a call.

Christine Perry-burke, Partner, Finao

 

Every day we take steps to make sure that the people we serve are professional photographers.  I know the line is getting blurred, but we look for markers we consider important:

1.  A website (and we do check them out)
2.  A tax ID
3.  An email address with a business name that could relate to photography
4.  A reference from within the photographic community
5.  Membership in a professional organization

Some people don’t pass all 5 and that’s OK.  We also know that just because someone calls themselves a professional photographer is no guarantee that they either charge or make money from their endeavors.  So be it.

We do not sell directly to the consumer, no matter how many releases they say they have.  Why?  Because our clients are professionals and we expect them to mark-up the products and make money.  That’s what being in business is all about.  If I sell a print, a canvas, an iPhone case or an album to your customer for the same price I sell it to you, someone is getting screwed.  That someone is you.

We don’t even put our name in our albums and we know that has hurt our business and perhaps yours.  Our name is pretty simple, Finao, and it means Failure Is Not An Option.  Personally, I think that’s a pretty good ending for a wedding album.  We know that our albums are unique and when your client shows them off maybe the name will stick and another family, in another town, will search for a photographer (perhaps you) who offers that specific brand.  But you said you didn’t want us to do that, so we don’t.

Our prices are not public online.  We do not enclose invoices with any packages because we don’t ever want the possibility that we would slip-up and send an invoice with a direct-ship order.  We did help promote some pretty good businesses within the industry that we felt might offer some things photographers would find useful by including seasonal info sheets in the box.  No money exchanged hands, it was what we thought was helping people out with actions, designs, software and templates.  You told us you didn’t like that so we quit.

So if your album company and/or lab have their prices on their website and sell directly to the public then they have become your competition.  That’s right.  You are competing with them.  It’s not enough to be competing with other photographers and Craig’s Listers; you’re now competing with your vendors.

At Finao we don’t think that’s right or fair.  We want you to make a living.  We do not believe profit is a bad word.  We believe that what you do has value far beyond the cost of the paper and materials.   We believe in providing you with unique products your client can NOT purchase on their own:

Xhibits
Xceteras
The Marilyn
And all of our albums

These products are created for you.  They are different, better, classy, unique, and look obviously expensive (even though they are not).  They are created to be sold by the professional photographer.

We have your back.

Surely you don’t want clients who expect to get the cheapest photography, so why would you think they want the cheapest products.  Support those who support you.  That’s how we will all succeed.

Have you got our back?