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The photographer next door, almost.

j Paul

PFG, Picture Framing God
I'd like to hear more about what you mean by photography being resistant to the internet in the future? Are you refering to sales or marketing? In both, the photographers I know are actually way ahead of most framers on how they use the internet for both.
I would assume, that what is meant by that, is a photographer is still required to be physically present and know how to use the equipment. Maybe someday they'll figure out how you can just pose for them in front of a web cam.:icon21:
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
I have no assumptions. Every thing I stated in this thread is fact. None of my beef is mentioned in your two scenarios.

Quality in photography is an interesting thing. This has nothing to do with the actual person but this is about the work they produce. This is also I believe true about framers. Less than 5% are doing anything different than the 95% who are virtually identical. You could show me about 20 local photographers and there is about 2 that I know I would be able to pick out of the bunch. The rest is all the same stuff. Yet, like framers, they are all quick to tell you how creative they each are.

Photography is resistant to internet for the same reason it is resistant to BB's. It relies heavily on customer service. Framing leans that way but not to the degree that photography does. Much like mechanics are immune to the internet, photographers are almost as shielded.
 

AnneL

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
That part is true, but you don't actually even need a physical studio anymore. You can take all your portraits on location, post them on a secure site for ordering and deliver directly to the clients house. Currently the most effective marketing for photography is the internet, especially when you are targeting things like high school seniors, brides, and young families. Most studios are scrambling to keep up with the next hot place to be and have not only a website but a blog, Facebook, Twitter, and possibly also a Youtube video. It's a sophisticated, fast paced business these days and alot of old established studios are being left in the dust.

In Jay's case, they type of photography he is doing is a bit less internet driven. The best way to book teams, etc. is still personal contact with and getting to know the people who are in charge. The internet is good for additional sales for event photography. It's easier for the customer to visit your site and order than it is for them to make the time to stop at your business to do that.
 

AnneL

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Photography is resistant to internet for the same reason it is resistant to BB's. It relies heavily on customer service. Framing leans that way but not to the degree that photography does. Much like mechanics are immune to the internet, photographers are almost as shielded.
Yes and no. In the wedding market, there are an increasing number of couples who are booking their photographer based only on what they see on a website. They look at the prices and the pictures, pick one that fits their budget and email them. They're only contact with their photographer before the wedding day is by email. It's becoming really hard to convince a bride to be to actually come into the studio and look at your work and meet with you.

There are quite a few big boxes in photography and they make up a huge chunk of the photography business. Ever hear of Sears portrait studio, not to mention Glamour Shots, Picture People, etc. Some are national, some are regional. Then there is Lifetouch, which is one of the biggest photography chains in the country specializing in sports teams, schools, and church directories. Just because some of them don't have storefronts doesn't mean they aren't big and that they don't have an impact on the industry. There are schools here that have Lifetouch do their sports teams and we just can't compete with what they offer. We can't afford to buy the school new computers!
 

SportShots

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Photography and framing complement each other. Getting a basic setup and learning a few stock lighting arrangements can give nice results. Plenty of books on how to do it.

Don't confuse all photographers though. I do a lot of sports. No team and individual stuff, just shooting during the games using the same gear for TBall and High School as I did for NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA. I shot pro sports over the years and do the kids the same way. A lot more fun for me and I feed images to a number of newspapers as well. Also a number of schools, State Associations and whatnot.

As far as portraits, it is wide open. How good you want to be will determine your market..., coupled with how good you actually are. I shoot portraits with an 8x10 view camera, do hand coated platinum prints as well as silver B&W prints. What you get is the size of the negative, all hand done. Quite different from the portrait studios in our area. All work is on location with processing at my place, my darkroom, later.

Just as there are varying levels of framers, so too with 'Photographers". Anyone can buy frames and call themselves a framer. Same deal with buying a camera. Thirty years doing hack stuff doesn't make one good. Thirty years exploring, finessing and learning can lead to good work, but not always. Some just 'have the touch' and others spend all their time copying someone else or following 'whats hot', never developing their own style.

A good custom framer is different from the guy who slaps stuff into a frame and sells it. So to a good photographer from the 'photo studio guy'.

I got into framing because I was looking for more than the framers where I was at the time could offer. They didn't know how to frame an albumen hand coated print. They didn't know how to frame/mat an ambrotype or tintype. Some of them pushed specific frames because of the markup. Others didn't really want photography. So, I learned to do it myself. I do custom framing, specializing in photography. I send oils to a friend to do as I don't really like doing them and she does.

If you can make good portraits, try it. No matter the hacks in any business there is always room for quality. Just don't be surprised if some of the hacks make way more than you ever will if they know how to market. Photography or framing or whatever, if you can't market yourself you won't make much.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
I've been asked privately what my plans for the future is. I'm not protecting my “turf” but I usually respond with find your passion and incorporate that into your framing business.
This is one of the most intelligent things said on this long thread. We are not all photographers or expert printers or scrap bookers or whatever else. We are expert framers, or we should be. Adding anything else takes dedication, interest, expertise even if it is learned, capital, and marketing talent. I don't see a lot of portraits come in to the shop these day, nor posters from the big online outfits. I think those items are being framed at the source. Not with the beauty and specialization and preservation that we would treat them with, but "good enough."

What I do see are larger format giclees printed by the artists and some by local printers who could almost always beat a framer on price. These are brought in for framing. I see more and more printed by the artists themselves. Many have large printers.

Like anything else, I beleive that you have to go into a new venture with a critical mass of product, marketing, expertise, and a fair amount of capital. You can't do it half way and expect to pay for your equipment. I look at the Wizard as an example. That thing is going all day and paying for itself over and over and over. The POS paid for itself in forms alone in 6 months.

For now we are framers only, and I don't see any changes in this economy, but I am taking all this in.

Carry on...not sure what the topic is.
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
Anne, you have moved into a different aspect of the internet than has been discussed so far.

The internet as a marketing tool has become an essential part of a photographers business. Still Studio A located in Mesa, AZ cannot sell their product to somebody Wautoma, WI. Even the best photographer in AZ can't photograph somebody 1200 miles away via internet. I sell photos to my customers via internet. I have a really great photo viewing/purchasing program on my site. Still it plays very little roll in the overall process of selling photos.

“There are quite a few big boxes in photography and they make up a huge chunk of the photography business.”

Surely you can see a very very very clear distinction between the typical BB photo studio and the typical independent shop. What you're saying is equivalent to Walmart's oil changes threating a mechanic. The services WalMart offers is so limiting that it can't possibly threaten a mechanic. That is unless that mechanic wanted to focus on oil changes. We see that to some degree in framing. The BB's are somewhat limited in what they can or will do. We see it even more so in photography. I'm not sure if this is true or not but I've heard some places can't even adjust their camera setting or adjust the studio lighting. I've never said that the sit-smile-snap studios don't have great volume. I'm sure they do, but their services are so limited that they can't possibly compete with an independent studio. Unless that studio wanted to focus on sit-smile-snap.

These lines in the sand and clear distinctions doesn't exist in framing. Still where they and the internet fails breaks down as customer services being the weakest link. The internet and BB's are working on this link. In photography this weak link will never ever be overcome.
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
Ok this is another opportunity to mix photography and framing.

I was chatting with a designer about an office for an earth moving company. She was having a difficult time getting modern relevant art for that type of office. Flowers and abstracts weren't going to cut it for these salt of the earth type people. She also didn't want a bar room wall. So I told her that we could do artistic shots of their gear in b/w and frame them up gallery style. Relevant and modern! I shot em my price and done! Now rather than sending $500 for cheap impersonal posters that will be faded away in weeks they are getting their own custom artwork.

They want one very large one for a board room so I may get to finally use my gigapan head.
 

AnneL

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Great idea Jay. Somewhere in a box in our storage is about 3 dozen framed old b&w photographs of large earthmoving equipment taken during probably the 30s, 40s and 50s. I framed them for the head of a school we have near here that trains heavy equipment operators. Unfortunately he quit before I finished the job and it was never picked up even though I contacted the school directly. Neat pictures though.
 

AnneL

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Anne, you have moved into a different aspect of the internet than has been discussed so far.

The internet as a marketing tool has become an essential part of a photographers business. Still Studio A located in Mesa, AZ cannot sell their product to somebody Wautoma, WI. Even the best photographer in AZ can't photograph somebody 1200 miles away via internet. I sell photos to my customers via internet. I have a really great photo viewing/purchasing program on my site. Still it plays very little roll in the overall process of selling photos.
Actually, yes they can. Yes they still have to come here to photograph them but there are photographers who can and do sell their services to people all over the world via the internet, especially in the upscale wedding a portrait markets.


Surely you can see a very very very clear distinction between the typical BB photo studio and the typical independent shop. The BB's are somewhat limited in what they can or will do. We see it even more so in photography. I'm not sure if this is true or not but I've heard some places can't even adjust their camera setting or adjust the studio lighting. I've never said that the sit-smile-snap studios don't have great volume. I'm sure they do, but their services are so limited that they can't possibly compete with an independent studio. Unless that studio wanted to focus on sit-smile-snap.
The distinction isn't as clear as you think. True, the quality of the pictures is nothing like what an independent studio can do but we are constantly trying to stay one step ahead with the sales techniques and products we offer. I know photographers that regularly go and check them out and with in a short time of the independents getting a new product, the BB studios have it and are offering it to their clients and they are often getting it from the same suppliers we are but at a discount. It isn't as different as you think.

These lines in the sand and clear distinctions doesn't exist in framing. Still where they and the internet fails breaks down as customer services being the weakest link. The internet and BB's are working on this link. In photography this weak link will never ever be overcome.
Where's the customer service in online ordering of photos? It's one of the main complaints about the online photo ordering systems. Some photographers have quite using them because they found their sales weren't that good from them. I don't see much difference between this and framing other than product. If the framing BB's are working on it you can bet the photo ones are too. They aren't going to pass up an oportunity to make more money.
 

AnneL

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
A photographer that I use to frame for, sent his girl in with a broken frame for me to repair. I question where she got it and she replied, "LJ". I asked if it came in broke and she said yes, and that LJ had sent a new one and never sent a call tag for pick up. Now they need another one and want the broken one repaired. I explained that I would need to trim it a bit and it would be about 1/2 smaller if that was OK, Fine she replied. I then said it would be 35.00 to fix it. She said that almost as much as a new one. It's more work to fix than to start from scratch, I said. She left taking the frame.

I'm going to put in a photo studio and take pictures for 99 cents and charge for framing. If he can sell framing I'm going to sell photos.

:soapbox::soapbox::soapbox:.

framer
The more I think about this original post the more questions I have.

When you lost this photographer's business did you talk to them about why they left? What efforts did you make to get that business back? Were you even interested in getting their business back?

Also, did you find out what they wanted to use the damaged frame for? Maybe they were just going to frame their kid's art work in it or use it as a studio sample. We do that with our slightly damaged ones all the time.

I guess the whole attitude bugs me. I would see this as an opportunity to help out another business in town. I would even go so far as to deliver it to that business so I could talk to the owner and see if maybe we could work with them again. Bring some custom stuff that they can't get from LJ or anyone but you and wow their socks off. At the very least, by helping them out they might send some business your way. I can't help but feel that bridges were burned here.
 

Jerry Ervin

PFG, Picture Framing God
When you lost this photographer's business did you talk to them about why they left? What efforts did you make to get that business back? Were you even interested in getting their business back?

The photographer started buying from his source at near or below Bill's cost.

Do you think Bill should do the work and charge the man less than he has in it?
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
there are photographers who can and do sell their services to people all over the world via the internet, especially in the upscale wedding a portrait markets.
They did this long before internet. The use of the internet is purely coincidental or an extention. Like you said, somebody still has to come and take the picture. If you can explain how the internet can remove this vital element and you will be very wealthy.

The distinction isn't as clear as you think.
You asked me if I have heard of Sears...have you seen what they are putting out? If you're struggling to compete with that quality, the game is over.

Where's the customer service in online ordering of photos?
The types of photos you're selling will determine the amount of success this type of selling. I have done it a few ways and can discuss this further but suspect it would just another point of contention.

I don't see much difference between this and framing other than product. If the framing BB's are working on it you can bet the photo ones are too.
The human interaction and labor will never be overcome by the internet when it comes to photography. It has to a small degree in framing. We are on the leading edge of mastering custom framing via internet. There is currently no similar movement in photography and there never will be.

100 years from now we will have photographers, mechanics, tree trimmers, restaurants, day care centers, doctors, and the like. I do not believe there will be banks, shoe/clothing stores, camera stores, movie rental places, and I wouldn't be shocked if grocery stores become a thing of the past. Many places are already doing away with checkout people (I've never used self checkout and will only if I'm forced).

How will frame shops fair? All in all I think poorly. Yet there is a certain amount of our craft that does require the same kind of hands on attention that a mechanic requires. Still we are new into this internet sells thing and its hard to tell but again, I think we will not age gracefully.
 

AnneL

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
They did this long before internet. The use of the internet is purely coincidental or an extention. Like you said, somebody still has to come and take the picture. If you can explain how the internet can remove this vital element and you will be very wealthy.
The use of the internet to sell framing is just an extension also of selling framing by catalog. We used to get catalogs that sold frames and mats to just about anyone willing to buy them. Someone still has to fit the picture in the frame.



You asked me if I have heard of Sears...have you seen what they are putting out? If you're struggling to compete with that quality, the game is over.
It's not their quality we're competing with, it's the sales and marketing of the big box studios we are competing with. The quality at Michels is #### too but alot of framers still see their business go down when one moves into their area even if their quality is better.



The types of photos you're selling will determine the amount of success this type of selling. I have done it a few ways and can discuss this further but suspect it would just another point of contention.
True, which is why it works well for resales for sports and events, even for weddings but for portraiture it's still best to do it in person, preferable projected.


The human interaction and labor will never be overcome by the internet when it comes to photography. It has to a small degree in framing. We are on the leading edge of mastering custom framing via internet. There is currently no similar movement in photography and there never will be.
There is still human interaction when you order framing on line. A computer doesn't do all the steps yet. Photo companies like Lifetouch don't have a human face on their online ordering. There is definitely a similar movement in photography among some of the bigger companies. They would love not to have to send an employee to the school to photograph the kids. Employees cost money. There is actually one company that does school photos by sending the equipment to the school with instructions and having volunteer moms to the photos. A percentage of the sales goes to the school as a fund raiser.

100 years from now we will have photographers, mechanics, tree trimmers, restaurants, day care centers, doctors, and the like. I do not believe there will be banks, shoe/clothing stores, camera stores, movie rental places, and I wouldn't be shocked if grocery stores become a thing of the past. Many places are already doing away with checkout people (I've never used self checkout and will only if I'm forced).
I'm not too sure about the longevity of photographers. As consumer digital cameras get better, more people are deciding to do their own family portraits, senior portraits, wedding photos, and just about every other kind of photographs you can think of. The photography market is shrinking because of this trend. Fewer people are hiring photographers. They can just use their own camera, upload it to the web, and share it with their friends or order just about anything they want that a photographer would have supplied to them.
 

AnneL

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
The photographer started buying from his source at near or below Bill's cost.

Do you think Bill should do the work and charge the man less than he has in it?
No, I wouldn't expect him to work at a loss but I'm sure any of the big business names on here (Bob Carter, Jim, Kirstie, etc.) would tell him that if he wanted to keep that account or win it back, he would find a way to sell his services to them at the price he wants to make. He could do it by emphasising the unique nature and superior customer service of what he does for a start.
 

AnneL

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Not to get you guys further upset about photographers, but the current trend is photography is away from framing altogether. Gallery wraps are hot and most studios have their labs do them. Books and albums are also big sellers. And then there was this product we saw last weekend http://www.fifthavestudio.com/crystals.htm . The website doesn't do these justice. The images are actually translucent and when you shine a light through them or put them on a white surface they seem to glow.

I've always maintained that the best way to make alot of money from photographers is come up with the next hot, must have thing, get a bunch of the big name speakers to rave about it by sponsoring them and every photographer is going to want to have it. They are nuts and will buy whatever is the latest greatest thing. The buying frenzy at even our state trade show is a sight to behold.
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
I never thought this would happen. Your right Anne. It looks like photographers should fear the internet and no matter what LJ sells frames for is no problem at all. I never thought this day would end like this!
 

AnneL

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I just thought of another reason why photographers have to worry about the internet. There is a huge amount of information out there on how to take photos and how to use photoshop and it's all free to anyone with a computer and the internet. There are tutorials on just about every aspect of photography you can imagine and our customers have just as much access to them as we do. It's how they are learning how to do this stuff on their own. That alone is scary when you run a photo studio. We are now competing against our own customers.

A girl we did senior portraits for a few years ago recently saw Gary at a wedding he was photographing. She is now a market researcher for one of the big box studios (Glamour Shots). She said she spends her days looking at independent photographers websites to see what they are doing style wise and what products they are selling and then reports that to the company so they can figure out how to incorporate it into their operation.
 

AnneL

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Jerry, I actually consider framing to be the more stable part of our business. True people can order some kinds of framing on line, but there are alot of things it takes a framer or someone with the proper tools and skills to do. With the ready access to digital cameras, computers and photoshop; photography is easy for consumers to do at home. Not too many people have some of the equipment we do at home or are willing to send their piece off by UPS to get framed when they are looking for a shadowbox, or need a stitchery done.
 

HangingAroundHoover

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I'm not too sure about the longevity of photographers. As consumer digital cameras get better, more people are deciding to do their own family portraits, senior portraits, wedding photos, and just about every other kind of photographs you can think of. The photography market is shrinking because of this trend. Fewer people are hiring photographers. They can just use their own camera, upload it to the web, and share it with their friends or order just about anything they want that a photographer would have supplied to them.
I still say a great photographer is a rare commodity. The quality of the photographer in my shopping center is second to none. And let me tell you I've see thousands of photographs and hundreds of pro and wouldbe photographers over my 20 years in framing. I don't care what kind of equipment you have you still have to have an eye for it, the right lighting and a technical understand that goes way beyond point and shoot.
 

moglet

PFG, Picture Framing God
I don't care what kind of equipment you have you still have to have an eye for it, the right lighting and a technical understand that goes way beyond point and shoot.
I think that similar applies to framing in some respects. Framers can distinguish themselves from their competion based on design flair, and on the quality of finish they put on their frames.

One thing that the internet currently has a problem with is accurate colour rendition: not so much of an issue for "general photography" (as many people don't even notice colour variation that much) or indeed for "general" framing (e.g. posters, or happy-snap type photo portraits). However, when one is trying to create a design that truly complements that which is being framed, one just has to get "up close and personal" to get the best results, IMO.
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
Hoover, that isn't my quote. I tend to agree with you and have been trying to share that. I disagree with that quote and that is why I said that if you don't have a love for photography, doing photography doesn't make sense. If you do love it then you will quickly excell above what others are doing. I even openly share every thing I do in photography. It doesn't bother me becuase you could show me everything about painting and I still can't paint. Santana could show me how to play guitar and I'm certian he wouldn't need to fear me! Know how to do something is only a small part of doing it well.
 

HangingAroundHoover

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
One thing that the internet currently has a problem with is accurate colour rendition: not so much of an issue for "general photography" .

Yep, monitors don't render colors anywhere near true unless they are calibrated. I do some internet framing with customers in other states and just ran into this very problem. They send me the item to be framed and I send them several choices by website or email using frame vue. The mat in question was a green silk and she said it was showing up blue on her monitor. I just sent her a swatch of the matting in the mail and she then ok'd the order. Until everyones monitor's are calibrated I'm going to be mailing lots of mat swatches.
It takes a little more effort to do framing via the web but last month it brought in the bulk of my money. In this economy I'll take it where I can get it.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
It takes a little more effort to do framing via the web but last month it brought in the bulk of my money. In this economy I'll take it where I can get it.
How are you bringing in this work?
 

moglet

PFG, Picture Framing God
They send me the item to be framed and I send them several choices by website or email using frame vue... I just sent her a swatch of the matting in the mail and she then ok'd the order. Until everyones monitor's are calibrated I'm going to be mailing lots of mat swatches.

It takes a little more effort to do framing via the web but last month it brought in the bulk of my money. In this economy I'll take it where I can get it.
Swatches - a simple, but effective, workaround! :)

Out of curiosity, what glazing options do you offer to your web customers? Also, do you provide the "web consultation" FOC (question prompted by potential cost implications if customer decides not to go ahead with an order)?
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
Another question: How can people afford the freight? Whenever we quote on shipping a piece of framed art larger than about 16 x 20 the freight is prohibitive. What carrier are you using and how are you packaging?
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
I've been working on shipping for a side project. I have tweaked the size of my framing to keep it from going over sized. I don't have the exact measurements but the box is like 40x25x8. A few inches either way and it gets bumped to oversize. Shipping to Seattle is the most extensive place to ship from here so I price everything to Seattle. As long as I can stay standard size I'm in the $30 - $40 range. Once I break that oversize line, it jumps like another $100.

The size you talking about should be no problem whatsoever. How much are you being quoted?
 

DVieau2

PFG, Picture Framing God
Some have talked about the poor quality of todays photographers. I have just the opposite viewpoint. I am in awe of the creative minds of many photographers today. This includes chain store studios, storefront independent studios, home-based studios and part time “Digital Debbies”. The bar is set very high.

Don't underestimate the competition.

I would say to anyone thinking about the photography business:
Throw out any ideas or experience you have that is more than 5 years old.

The photography business has changed dramatically. Not just the equipment but also the business model.

Doug
 

cvm

PFG, Picture Framing God
Jay:

A friend of mine is into sports photography also. He now has a 32-foot mobile photo lab that he takes to picture days and sports tournaments. The cool thing is that he has 16 flat-screens for customers to view the photos on. The customer views, selects, and receives the finished photos basically 'on the spot'. Instant gratification.
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
CVM, I have been trying to fine tune and hone selling at events. The one thing I haven't tried yet, and I'm about ready to is photographing entire team, dropping all the photos onto a disk and selling the entire disk for say $25 with a photographer release form.

I haven't tried to print on location yet because my printer doesn't like to be moved! That sounds like a heck of a rig your friend has. I'd love to see it in action.

I have sold on site and mailed orders, I have tried only uploading... I just haven't worked out a great method yet. I've heard dozens. One guy even prints 4x6s of everything and sells them for like $5 ea or you can buy enlargements from that. His overhead is outta this world. Another guy prints each frame small, like 2x3, and builds this maze of photos taped to foamcore. His time over head is outta this world. It's a rather inexact science but I think I'm going to try selling the disks on location this year.
 

AnneL

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Some of the best photographers we know are starving artists because they aren't good at sales and marketing. Some mediocre photographers we know are making money hand over fist because they are really good at sales and marketing.

Doug, I agree the bar is very high among professionals. Our professional magazine just came out and there was a section for the top scorers for this year. One of them worked for Lifetouch which is a chain. The images we see in our print competitions are really awesome but even the most amazing image isn't going to make you money if you can't sell it.

Your right about the industry changing dramatically in the last 5 years. We have seen dozens of new places opening virtually over night. We've seen long established studios with good photographers go out of business because they can't keep up with the changes. We've seen sales drop because more people are chosing to take their own portraits and wedding photos. We heard of studios going from booking 20-30 weddings a year to only 2-3 in one year's time. The changes in the framing industry are happening at a snail's pace compared to what is going on in photography.
 

AnneL

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Jay, on the sports teams photos, do you send them order envelopes and price sheets ahead of time? We try to make sure they have them at least a week before hand so their parents get a chance to look them over. If it's a bigger group, I go along and collect the orders and do the sales. Same deal with proms, preschools, first communions, etc. We have a price list that offers them a number of options that we based on one we got from a highly successful team and school photographer we know.

For action pictures taken at games we haven't figured out a good system yet since that a new area we have been working on. We tried printing up a book for them to pass around but it disappeared and half the team didn't see it. We did get some orders though but not as many as we would have liked.
 

UzZx32QU

Administrator
Staff member
I talked to a LJ person I know that will remain nameless. Nameless said, that LJ markets about 20 - 25 mouldings from their regular line, makes them up as readymades and sell them to studios at readymade prices. That would explain the almost length price of a join frame. That would cut their cost a lot.

framer
 

moglet

PFG, Picture Framing God
Your right about the industry changing dramatically in the last 5 years. We have seen dozens of new places opening virtually over night.... The changes in the framing industry are happening at a snail's pace compared to what is going on in photography.
It seems like there's a similar trend over in the UK. One of the members of the UK Framers' Forum reported that Spring Fair at the NEC this year was very quiet, whereas the Focus photo and imaging trade fair a couple of weeks later was absolutely heaving with visitors.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
I talked to a LJ person I know that will remain nameless. Nameless said, that LJ markets about 20 - 25 mouldings from their regular line, makes them up as readymades and sell them to studios at readymade prices. That would explain the almost length price of a join frame. That would cut their cost a lot.

framer
Did you ask if they would sell those to you as well? My guess is that they will. Our rep and area manager have offered to join frames for our ready made program.
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
If I tore my shop up, I could find the pricelist and marketing material. I do remember their price for joined frames and a tiny tiny tiny tiny fraction from our join prices. It was competitive with our length price.

One thing that strikes me as a bit odd is that we have to call under rumor of this program. The professionally designed literature is clearly toward photographers. I don't know of any framer that has tried to use this program. I haven't heard of any being refused. Yet it's obviously not designed with their biggest customers in mind. If this is as simple as a readymade program, wouldn't they want to sell as many as they could? I think I know why this program isn't widely known.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
I've been working on shipping for a side project. I have tweaked the size of my framing to keep it from going over sized. I don't have the exact measurements but the box is like 40x25x8. A few inches either way and it gets bumped to oversize. Shipping to Seattle is the most extensive place to ship from here so I price everything to Seattle. As long as I can stay standard size I'm in the $30 - $40 range. Once I break that oversize line, it jumps like another $100.

The size you talking about should be no problem whatsoever. How much are you being quoted?
I will find out. I know we have been using a mailing store that is in our mall complex and that they recommend the lowest priced carrier for the item. We are told that all the carriers price by size rather than weight, and a framed poster is large! I'll get more detail because it seems like we are overpaying. I know that a framed print about 11 x 16 is costing about $30-$35 to ship across country. A large one is prohibitive. art.com must have huge shipping discounts.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
If I tore my shop up, I could find the pricelist and marketing material. I do remember their price for joined frames and a tiny tiny tiny tiny fraction from our join prices. It was competitive with our length price.

One thing that strikes me as a bit odd is that we have to call under rumor of this program. Then the literature is clearly toward photographers. I don't know of any framer that has tried to use this program. I haven't heard of any being refused. Yet it's obviously not designed with their biggest customers in mind. If this is as simple as a readymade program, wouldn't they want to sell as many as they could? I think I know why this program isn't widely known.
I have been quoted joined framed for length price but this is on large volume orders. I can't see photographers buying that many at once, but maybe they do.
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
Millers and Whitehouse printing labs send huge items out every day and shipping is included into the price. I got a 40x60 in the other day and the price wasn't radical.
 

AnneL

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Hard to say but LJ has always had a love-hate relationship with readymades. They offered them 17 years ago when we first bought our frame shop. The previous owner was buying them as well as chops and length. They never seemed thrilled about having them then so I wasn't suprised when they discontinued them. I was suprised when they started offering them again after not having them all those years but they were very low key about the roll out of them even to photographers. It's almost as if they gave in to requests from former photography customers to offere them again but didn't really want to. You kind of get that attitude from them.
 

AnneL

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I have been quoted joined framed for length price but this is on large volume orders. I can't see photographers buying that many at once, but maybe they do.

Some do. One of our competitors has included the same LJ frame on all their larger portraits for years. They buy it by the truckload in all the sizes they need and several other photographers who aren't LJ customers add what they want to the order through them. They have been doing this for over 20 years.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
Millers and Whitehouse printing labs send huge items out every day and shipping is included into the price. I got a 40x60 in the other day and the price wasn't radical.
So who is everyone using to send out, say, a boxed 24 x 36 framed print? I really need to find something cheaper. Thanks.
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
Again, I've been chatting with my shipping guy. My product is all going to be the exact same size. So I only need one solution. What we decided was to get a "bike box" and cut it in half and overlap it in the center. That reinforces the box and gets it the right size. Do you know what size you're wanting to ship? Will that size vary?
 

moglet

PFG, Picture Framing God
The human interaction and labor will never be overcome by the internet when it comes to photography. It has to a small degree in framing. We are on the leading edge of mastering custom framing via internet. ...
100 years from now we will have photographers, mechanics, tree trimmers, restaurants, day care centers, doctors, and the like. I do not believe there will be banks, shoe/clothing stores, camera stores, movie rental places, and I wouldn't be shocked if grocery stores become a thing of the past. Many places are already doing away with checkout people (I've never used self checkout and will only if I'm forced).

How will frame shops fair? All in all I think poorly. Yet there is a certain amount of our craft that does require the same kind of hands on attention that a mechanic requires. Still we are new into this internet sells thing and its hard to tell but again, I think we will not age gracefully.
Just been looking at framing websites in the UK, and came across this site: definitely the best attempt at selling "bespoke" online that I've seen so far. Their shipping charges aren't high either.

Their design studio is fairly comprehensive for framing of photos/prints/posters. IMO one would need to have some bit of framing knowledge in order to understand the different options fully. That said, the site is littered with visualisations of suggested design styles that would make shopping fairly easy, even for "custom framing virgins".

The site's offer doesn't cover more specialised work such as object framing, or needlework mounting, but for bread 'n' butter work, it seems to have all bases covered.

Is this the future for general framing?
 

Jeff Rodier

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
So who is everyone using to send out, say, a boxed 24 x 36 framed print? I really need to find something cheaper. Thanks.
Kirstie, I have a recent shipment from SC to VT that was packed in a Foam Core box (25 sheet, 32x40, 3/16") to a residential address. The total charge was $31 because it was both oversized (dimensional weight) and residential delivery. The same package to a commercial address would have been $16. Set up a UPS account and you will receive a discount and not pay another business a profit on top of the discount.
 
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