• Thomas Cheetham

Dance Festivals: Why I've gone self-service

If you've seen us at a dance festival since October 2018 then you'll have seen we're trialling a new self-service system, which seems to be working very well for us and our customers. Over the course of this year I hope to adopt this system properly and begin to update our branding and information documents. While this happens I thought I should take a moment to explain how it works and why I have changed the service.

Why make the change?

Festival photography has remained the same for a very long time now. Usually a photographer and an assistant will attend an event, one to take the photos and the other to run a sales area. This works well; customers can take the prints home that day and chat to the sales assistant about the products, and for the photographer it took the pressure away allowing them to focus on the photography. However there is one very big issue... it's expensive, two people need to make more money to pay both their wages. This is an industry wide problem, with many photographers now struggling to maintain festivals.

I genuinely enjoy photographing festivals, I love seeing the performances from the little babies just starting out, to the oldest who have perfected their routines. I also grew up with a dancing sister, who attended some of the festivals I shoot now. Not photographing festivals is not an option.

So a way to provide a similar service but without the sales assistant needed to be created.

How does it work?

It was important to create a system that was not only easy to use but also provided a very similar service to the one that we already provided and people expected. We also couldn't completely adopt an online system, not everybody is comfortable using online order systems and payment methods, and some people just prefer cash.

There are now two ways you can order:

Text your Order (Card Payment): Simply text your Name, Email, Postal Address, and image numbers to 07939515192. I'll respond with a payment link so you can pay with any Debit or Credit Card.

Hand in the Form (Cash Payment): Almost like the old days, fill in the forms at the desk with your details and images, hand this form to the photographer (usually me; Tom), you can then pay for your photos in cash.

Instead of waiting while your photos are printed on the day you now receive your prints in the post (usually within 3-5 business days). Oh, and it's free, you don't pay anything for the postage unless you need faster delivery.

I'm continually trying to improve the way festivals are covered and hope to add a few new products as well as we carry on. This, however, should explain the changes you've been seeing and will now continue to see at festivals.

If you have any questions about festivals, or run a festival and need a photography contact me at info@cheethamphotography.co.uk