Are you a product collector?

 By Hannah Freeland

I’m going to paint you a picture, and I want you to admit if this is you.


You’ve been to SWPP, you picked up all of the brochures on anything that took your fancy, you watched demonstrations of software, cameras, lenses and gizmos. You spoke to lots of trade stands about their frames or albums, while they tell you how amazing their product is and that you can get 75% off if you purchase in the next 3 minutes (ok, that’s an exaggeration, but you get it). You were inspired, energised and you had a plan.


Then you got home, with all of these brochures and thought “Ah! I just want it all!”


You ponder on it for a while, you don’t narrow it down to those perfect products for your clients, but instead you add 8 more products onto your price list and 12 new print sizes.


Starting to sound familiar?


3 months past and low and behold it’s time for the Photography Show at the NEC. You make an agreement with yourself that you will go, be strategic and make final decisions on the products that will make your price list, but wait, that frame company has a new type of floating box with illumination backing, none of my competition have that, well that ought to be added.


And it goes on.



We have ALL been there. We get swept away because we can see how good these products allow our images to look. We also want to spend money on products that will help our clients spend money with us in return.


Here is a harsh truth that you may not want to hear…



The product doesn’t actually matter, its ALL about the image.



Let me explain…


Of course, you need to pick a supplier who produces a great and worthy product. You need a product to showcase your images and you need to rely on the supplier to help you if something goes wrong.


But here’s the thing, your client isn’t buying the frame, the box or the presentation case. They are buying the IMAGE. Do you see the difference? I’m going to admit to each and every one of you now, I fell into this whirlpool of product dysfunction.


I ordered 12 different frames for my studio, each with a different sized image and each with a different frame style. I also ordered a 3 in 1 and a 9 in 1 frame sample. I then ordered 2 canvases. I ordered an acrylic. I had a coffee table book and a big album with different album cover material options.


Hi my name is Hannah and I was a Product Collector!!!



Here’s what I was thinking…


  • There will be something here that they want. If they don’t like black frames then they will like the wooden ones- don’t worry, I’ve got one of those.
  • If they don’t want a super posh album, then I can sell them the coffee table book.
  • If they have a modern house, then they’ll probably want acrylics not frames


On and on and on…


Now, what I actually did to my client was this:


  • Here is the car of your dreams… now, what colour would you like? What interior style? What wheel size? Alloys? Smart technology inside? Fuel type? (you get the point)


Or, do you think your perfect client would rather:


  • Here is the car of your dreams, these are the 2 colours available and you can have the sports package or the travellers package.


I know which one looks better.


The point is, they are buying the image. The product is irrelevant. They trust that you have thought about the inks, paper, mount, glass, backing, frame, wood, album covers, gluing and delivery. They just want to choose from a few high-quality add-ons to show off their memory.