Image of a baby taken by professional portrait photographer Alex Saville Photography - artistic imagery that companies like Pixifoto are unlikely to produce.

Local professional portrait photographer loves PixiFoto?!?

(and you won’t find any of the photos they take here – just those by this local professional portrait photographer!)

Note: since writing this article, it appears that PixiFoto have gone into receivership.

Who are PixiFoto? Why have I heard of them?

So, this week I’d picked up my eldest stepdaughter from school, and we needed to pop into Boots the chemist. Navigating the challenge that the local shopping centre has become, we parked and approached the door. It seems it’s baby day. As in, bring your baby in, pay a couple of pounds and have your child photographed on a covered table, in a few outfits. Actually it looked fairly professional as far as setups go. Basic light setup, but hey, that’s all you need really. Competent enough looking studio shots, that the average local professional portrait photographer would be proud of. Looking at the PixiFoto website, they provide images on USB or CD, and they can provide prints, large ones. They mention frames too.

So PixiFoto take sell low cost portraits – how does that help a professional portrait photographer?

You be thinking at this point that I’ve lost my mind. Why the hell am I talking up a competitor? Bear with me.

Reasons why this professional Photographer thinks Pixifoto help us.

First and foremost, they force us to up our game.

Think about it. They take studio photos only. They offer a limited range of products and services. They take baby photos only. They don’t build relationships. It’s quick in, quick out.

And that’s a good thing for us. Let’s look at these in detail.

Getting out of the studio

And that means moving out of the mobile studio setup too. It doesn’t mean we can’t use it, but it’s a limitation, unless you start investing in backdrops, or dabbling in photoshop, doing composites. Either way, you’re offering something that PixiFoto aren’t.

Offer more and better products and services

Cd, Usb, prints… Frames even. Sounds like they’ve got it sewn up, right? Er…wrong.
Canvas. Not just any old canvas. quality.

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Then there’s prints. Photographic paper, sure. But different qualities, different textures, like art paper. Metallic finishes. Prints on metal. Prints mounted on dibond. There are a host of possibilies.
Then there’s smart phone albums, Facebook posting – the list goes on. And even the usb stick can be made into something special.

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And let’s not forget the way you conduct taking the photos and viewing the photos. Is it a quick transactional experience, wham-bam-thank you-ma’am, just take the photos, choose the photos, pay and go? Or is it more relaxed, more personally involved? Take time to be a partner in the process, not just a salesman with a camera. Remember, these are heirlooms you’re selling, not just commodities.

To diversify or not to diversify

This is a tricky one. In the case of the competition against Pixifoto, it really depends on whether baby photography is your main service. If it is, diversifying could provide an alternative market, but bottom line is that unless you address the underlying issued, you’re just going to find another competitor.

However, where this can help is if you’re trying to position yourself as the family photographer. Because then you aren’t just taking baby photos – you’re building relationships.

Build relationships with your clients

Not a small challenge, but one that will be good for everyone all round. Take a bit of time to get to know them. Which is difficult with a newborn baby, admittedly 😉 Seriously though, it’s something that takes time – and I don’t think taking photos in the space of a couple of minutes is enough.
And if they don’t want to build relationships? Then the chances are, they’re probably better off with the companies like Pixifoto.

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