Is Your Photography Business A Mac or a PC?

Are there differences between Mac’s and PC’s? You bet. And I’m sure if I asked each and every one of you, you probably have a strong opinion one way or the other. Everyone knows the two are distinctly different. And while there are some generalizations everyone would probably agree upon, I’m also willing to bet you have your reasons for staying with one or the other.

A few weeks ago I wrote several posts on our recent adventure – downsizing. As a part of our process, we converted from being a PC based home and  business, to a Mac driven home and business. And now after several weeks of running almost exclusively Mac, I have my opinions on the differences between the two. And also have made quite a few correlations towards running a business.

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Price Matters

One of the top reasons people end up with PCs over Macs is cost. If you need to buy several computers and laptops for your small business, plus a variety of software packages, the cost difference can be tremendous. You purchase PCs to save money. And you purchase Macs to own a true work of art. PCs control about 90 percent of the US market share, while Mac’s control about 10 percent. There is a difference.

The same could be said for photographers. Many people want a quick photograph to mark a period of time. They don’t care about the art form; they are looking for representation. They want the smiling faces towards the camera, and artistic expression isn’t in their budget. They shop around for “value” and are happy with more photos for less money.

A smaller portion of people want to create a piece of artwork for their wall.  They want something they could never achieve on their own with a point and shoot. And they want something they won’t see in any of the homes of family and friends. They are willing to pay what its worth in order for the experience.

Sales and Coupons?

If you pull out any ad or head to your favorite electronics store, I’m willing to bet you can find a few PCs that are currently listed on sale, or offer rebates or coupons to lower the price. Its hard to shop for a PC without taking on the bargain mentality. Now walk into an Apple store. You’ll never find a sale on Mac’s. The value of a Mac is always the same, and you understand if you are in the market for a new computer, you can go to any store and get the same product at the same price. No need to bargain hunt – they are already marked at the perfect price, and you’ll have to pay it to get it.

The more generic your photography, the more a person can’t tell the difference between you and the next photographer, the more at risk you are of price shopping. When they can’t tell the difference, it ultimately comes down to price.

But when your product stands on its own, and they can see the difference, they develop a new opinion of it. They want it because its special. They understand that new formats may come out, but the price will never be less than what they can pay for it today. They can’t find what you do anywhere else in the area, so they have to save and plan for the day they can have your work of art. And they do it.

Go After The Masses

One of the reasons we moved from PC to Mac is the virus attack on PCs. In the last year, we replaced a fairly new PC with a new one because a virus attacked it and even with the help of a computer specialist, we couldn’t get it fixed. And over the last few months, that same PC would have to be shut down and rebooted multiple times a day because of the “blue screen of death”. Macs don’t have the virus issue because they are a minor player in the computer world. Why build something to go after such a minor player? Why not spend your time going after something where you can affect a much larger audience?

Many photographers feel the same way. They produce average work, and go after the average client. They send out the same postcards, and in many cases use mass produced postcards produced by marketing companies with generic images. They go after the quick buck, and try and bring in as much business as possible in any way they  can. It’s a race to the finish line, and many photographers will do whatever it takes to get a little bit of business through the door.

But when a photographer sits down and defines their business clearly, they know exactly who their customers are. They don’t want the masses, and will try and push the wrong clientele out as fast as possible. The wrong clientele takes time away from working with the best clientele possible – why would you want to work with someone that doesn’t value what you do? They realize they must clearly define their audience, market to them exclusively, and ignore what the big guys are doing. Make your loyal customers into raving fans, and you’ll have a strong business model for life.

Simple To Work With, Simple To Do Business With

Have you ever looked around at what PC to buy? The choices are overwhelming. Processor speed, memory size, software options, hard drive size. You can go back and forth for a long time comparing options with prices. Then you bring your PC home and start loading things. Load and reboot. Have an error, reboot. Have an update, reboot. The compatibility of things is always difficult at best.

But when you head into an Apple store, the options are few. Select the computer table you want – iPhone, iPad, laptop, desktop. Then choose from limited options, usually 3 or less. Bring it home, load it up, and it works. Update (very little) and it works. In this case, you spend more with less choices, but you know exactly what you’re getting into when you walk into the store, and you buy.

Photography can work the same way. When we first started out in weddings, we had four packages. Each added a few more details, we had ala carte pricing, and offered many different options. Yep, it was confusing. And we had questions all the time. Then we simplified. One pricing structure for everyone. No choices. No options. One price, and it was easy to understand. Our clientele went up in stature. And our average sale increased by thousands of dollars per wedding.

People may like a few choices, but give them more than three and they will be lost and confused. If you have one option, you know it’s the best, and you can sell it in an amazing way. When things are simple, you focus in on what’s truly important – the relationship you have with your customers.

6 thoughts on “Is Your Photography Business A Mac or a PC?”

  1. Someone once said ‘Macs are like point&shoot of computer world and, to be honest, I’m a bit of a control freak’.

    ‘No choices. No options.’

    Thanks, I’ll stick to the PC’s.

  2. There’s some great thoughts in this post about how Apple really created a hugely lucrative niche in their market and how that can translate into ways to run your own business. I’d like to think that my business is very much along the Mac lines of thought. It doesn’t appeal to everyone and I wouldn’t want it to – but it’s strong, clearly identifiable, stylishly presented, well idealised and executed and supported by great customer service.

    Having said that, I do work on a PC, but that’s mainly because this is because my husband knows about them and builds them. Otherwise, we’re all Appled up in terms of the rest of our tech 🙂

  3. AWESOME! I’ve thought this way for awhile (comparing my business to mac vs pc) but it was good to see it so well thought out and expressed so eloquently. I’ve always wished a lot of things were more maclike!

    I’m inspired to be even more simple and creative. People appreciate that!

  4. I’m an Apple girl all the way: iPhone, iPad, MacBook Pro and 2 iMacs.
    That said, I think your analogy to business models is spot on! I am currently working on refining my definition of the “ideal client” along with more limited but attractive (and profitable) options.

    Great post!

  5. I’ve never heard such rubbish:

    “Then you bring your PC home and start loading things. Load and reboot. Have an error, reboot. Have an update, reboot. The compatibility of things is always difficult at best.” – Have an error? No, completely made up. Not with reputable software, you didn’t get this installing any Adobe products.

    “In the last year, we replaced a fairly new PC with a new one because a virus attacked it and even with the help of a computer specialist, we couldn’t get it fixed.” – Simple, reformat hard disk, reload operating system, load reputable anti-virus. Once the disk is formatted, the virus is gone completely. A virus is just a program.

    “If you have one option, you know it’s the best” – No, if you have one option, you are telling the customer what they are getting whether they want it or not.

    I’ve been looking at comparisons and this does little to show anything other than you have been seduced by the marketing gurus. I’m looking for a real comparison.

    • Thanks for your opinion Phil. This was my take on the whole PC situation, which were PC for years, and finally had it with all the problems and complications they gave us. Yes, Adobe was never the trouble, it was always Microsoft with all of their updates. Options are always open – its always about knowing your customer. If you offer too many options, it can sometimes kill your business. Finding what they want and giving them exactly that is sometimes the best option.
      Just my opinion!


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