Perceptive Photographer #27: Marketing the iPhone and value in photography

Written by Daniel Gregory

I am a Whidbey Island, Wa based fine-art photographer and photographic educator. I am a core faculty member of the Photographic Center Northwest, as well as an instructor for CreateLive and KeblyOne . I also regularly presents at regional and national conferences. I also the host of the weekly podcast The Perceptive Photographer which focuses on the challenges and day-to-day aspects of living as a photographer.

September 14, 2015


This week Apple, Inc announced the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus to much fanfare and hype. By all accounts, the phone will be a runaway success toping the record-breaking sales of the iPhone 6/6 Plus.  From all the press and demos, the phone does appear to be an engineering marvel. As I read about the new phone decided if it was time to upgrade (it likely is), I got to really thinking about how Apple markets the iPhone.

From the opening phrase, the only thing that has changed is everything to the laundry list of new or improved features fans of the phone were sold. Apple talks about:

  • 3D multitouch
  • 12MP, 4K camera
  • A9 processors
  • TouchID improvements
  • Faster Wi-fi/LTE
  • the fact that it is an experience unlike any other on a phone unlike any other.

All that talk got me thinking about what would happen if we talked about our photographs that way. What would it look like if each year we took the same set of photos, reprocessed and printed them on new papers and printers and then sold them to the same people as something they couldn’t live without. In pondering such an idea, it occurred to me that Apple doesn’t really market the technology or the upgrade as it is still just an iPhone. What they market is the idea of the value that they phone can bring to our life. All the moments, memories, communication and relationships that can be held in the phone. It is that very idea of value that makes the marketing work.

As you think about your photography, how do you define value in your work. Is it by reach, money, impact or something else. If you were going to rent out a hall and report to the media about the value of your work, what would that message say.

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