Recently Fox News aired a special on how the economy is effecting the holiday season and usual traditions such as Christmas Cards are now longer being mailed in the numbers they used to. To many this is another mark of economy and another effect of “the digital age” where we seem to email more and rely on social networking to be stay in touch with those we care about. As noted in the broadcast, some things still are worth the effort or the expense.
The host of the segment noted that this was the first Christmas for her family with her newborn daughter, and this was something special. To capture these rare time in their lives as a family they did what many families used to do, professional holiday portraits. The studio she went to was Fred Marcus Studios in NYC, who has long been a friend of Dynalite and we asked some questions to follow up on what Fox News started to get some more thoughts on how photographers and studios are doing in this digital age today.
Dynalite: In these economic times many people are not sending as many holiday cards out in the mail and are relying heavily on social media and email, has this effected or changed your holiday portrait business?
Brian Marcus: Most of our customers are really loyal. I’d say that 30% of all our families come in for some sort of holiday card, gift or print order. Ties and Sweaters can only get you so far but a beautiful photograph last a lifetime. The value of our work really comes through during the holiday season, it’s really nice to see.
Dynalite: With digital cameras improving so much in recent years, do you find that portrait sittings in general have declined?
Brian Marcus: Luckily our portrait business has improved the last few years. Our customers like to come in and have enjoy their experience but most of all they like to be in and out knowing they got the lighting, composition, and quality that you can only really get in a professional studio.
Dynalite: NYC is one of, if not THE most competitive photo market in the world. How has Fred Marcus studios thrived in such a high pace high volume atmosphere?
Brian Marcus: Consistency and Quality. If there’s one thing we pride ourselves on it’s our consistency and story telling. People clearly notice the difference between something that lasts and something that’s of the moment.
Dynalite: Do you find yourself gaining new customers by specific advertising and do some of these customers keep coming back for other portrait sittings?
Brian Marcus: The best thing we ever did was offer a complimentary baby shoot to our wedding clients. It has built up our portrait business tremendously. Posting our photographs on our website and especially Facebook has also really brought in new business. We keep our prices reasonable and provide impeccable service and quality. It’s a combination that has always worked for us.
Dynalite: As a third generation portrait photographer you have been surrounded by many photographic styles and influences. What do you think is the most popular style of photography for your clientele, for you personally, and what styles do you hope to see in the future?
Brian Marcus: Giving a name to what we do is tough. I just think it’s a great mix of gorgeous portraits that look natural and elegant combined with a really creative and candid approach to everything else. Our images are instinctive and really speak to our clients. They are always meant to bring back every memory from one of the most important days of their lives.