January 2010

Going into 2009, we weren't sure quite what to expect. The stock market was crashing, millions of people were losing their jobs, discretionary spending was way down, and morale in general was very low. When we put all of that together, it wasn't exactly sounding like a great mix for selling prints! But, despite the gloomy forecast, the year actually went pretty well for a lot of photographers. If your business was one of those that continued to do well throughout 2009, then congratulations! If the down economy has caused you to struggle a bit, we hope that 2010 will bring you growth and success in your business.

As is now customary for our January newsletters, most of this month's newsletter is going to be devoted to showing the stats and trends from last year. This year we have put in a few additional stats, and we hope that you enjoy looking through everything. But before we get to that, we have a big announcement to make...

Instaproofs 5th Year Anniversary!

In March 2005, the very first order was placed through Instaproofs, and the cumulative sales for the month (for all photographers combined) came out to a whopping $97.43! Since that time we have grown substantially, and we now have thousands of photographers actively using our services throughout all of the US, and into Canada (with a couple in Europe as well!). Almost all of our growth has come through word-of-mouth and referrals, and we appreciate your support!

To celebrate our fifth year anniversary, we are going to be turning the first five days in March (March 1st through 5th) into a bit of a party! Here's what we're doing:
More details will be provided next month, so stay tuned for that! We that hope everyone will get as excited for this event as we are!

On to the Stats!

We have quite a few stats that we would like to show you this year, and we're going to kick it off with some ordering trends.

Ordering Trends

Monthly Sales
Orders by the Month - As seen above, a lot of people are fairly shopped-out right after Christmas, and they need a couple of months to recuperate and pay back their credit cards. This slower period is a great time to try out new sales tactics, experiment with the way your storefront is setup, and work on getting your CNAME (storefront alias) setup. Because our anniversary celebration is being held in March, you may want to hold off on any really big sales until that time. Daily Sales
Orders by the Weekday - After a couple of days of being home for the weekend, Mondays just aren't very productive for a lot of people. They get to the office, catch up on their emails, and then they need a break. Lucky for you (and us), they have a computer right in front of them, and they love to show off their pictures to their friends (who all say “Oooh! Look at that one! You've got to get me a copy of that!”). If you're looking for a good time to put on a sale, when you know that people will be in a buying mood, Mondays are great days to do it! Hourly Sales
Orders by the Hour - Looking at this graph you can see that the busiest hours of the day are 10AM to Noon, and 8PM to 10PM. You may want to schedule your storefront changes and event uploading to off-peak times so that you can review your changes, and browse through the uploaded images before others get a chance to see them. Order Size
Average Order Size - This fairly straightforward graph shows average order sizes for a few of the most popular types of events that are hosted on our servers. How are your orders stacking up, when compared to these averages?

Print Pricing

Price Calculator
Print Price Calculator - Regardless of whether you are an experienced photographer, or are brand new to the scene, this graph might prove interesting to you. On this graph we are showing how to find the average price of a particular print size, when compared to the price of a 3.5"x5" print from the same event. For example, if you shoot Portrait events and generally charge $5.00 (example only) for your 3.5"x5" prints, you might charge somewhere around $62.50 for a 16x20 print of the same image ($5 x 12.5 = $62.50). However, if you shoot Seniors and charge $5.00 for your 3.5"x5" prints, the charge for a 16x20 print of the same image is probably right around $102.50 ($5 x 20.5 = $102.50). Since this chart shows average price multipliers for thousands of combined photographers, it will most likely not be 100% in-line with your specific studio prices. But, if you are just starting out, this chart may be helpful to you when coming up with a pricing structure of your own.

Event Types

Event Types
Event Type Percent - Even though this graph is showing the 11 most popular event types displayed on our storefronts, it actually only represents a small amount of the different types of events that we host. Besides these more common event types, we host images for body painting contests, food eating contests, national beauty pageants, pet shows, horse shows, rodeos, school photos, glamour models, antique car shows, baptisms, births, races, parties, movie premiers, photo booths, charity events, and many more. If someone photographs it, we probably host it! Images per Event
Average Images per Event - Have you ever wondered how many images other photographers take during a particular event? If so, this graph should help answer that question for you. Wedding photographers generally upload the highest number of images per event (620), and Children photographers generally upload the least (80). Although these numbers are pretty consistently followed by most photographers, we have seen some photographers go all out and upload *thousands* of shots for a single wedding! Some might argue that a bigger selection is better than a smaller one, but we have never seen an event that large make very much money through our storefronts. It's just too hard for people to find the images they are looking for, and people are overwhelmed by the volume of pictures that they need to wade through. If you shoot an event that has an exponentially larger number of images than these averages show, you may want to consider going through them and uploading only the images that you think are the best of the bunch.

Misc Info

Days to Ship
Number of Days to Ship Orders - In our Service Agreement we ask that all orders be fulfilled within three weeks, and according to our records, almost everyone is doing a terrific job at this! With that being said, it's fairly interesting to see how fast everyone *can* ship their orders when they really want to (see December). In our experience, the quicker you can get your orders shipped out, the more satisfied your customers are going to be. Event Dates
Event Date Spread - This graph shows the spread of events throughout the calendar year. This was actually a bit of a surprise to us here... we had suspected that the largest portion of events were being shot in the summer instead of the fall. To investigate this further, it might be interesting to break it down to specific event types and see which types of events are popular during specific times of the year. Let us know if you are interested in knowing about this trend for a particular event type. Social Bookmark Usage
Social Bookmark Clicks - Social bookmarks are here to stay, and if you haven't already enabled them on your events, you may want to consider doing that. A single social bookmark sent to a site like Facebook can expose your event to hundreds (or even thousands) of additional potential customers. It's a very fast and easy way to gain exposure for your studio, and it costs you nothing. New Photographers
Number of New Photographers - We have seen tremendous growth this year! Thank you for all of your referrals and for the kind words that you have spoken when talking to others about us.

The leftover stats...
In addition to the graphs and charts that we have displayed above, we also have some other statistics that you might find interesting:

Have a Happy and Successful 2010!

And that's a wrap! We hope that you found these statistics to be as interesting as we did. If you would like to know anything else about 2009, just shoot an email to support@instaproofs.com and we'll do our best to get you that information.

Good luck to everyone in 2010, and as always, please drop us a line and let us know if you have any comments or suggestions.

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