FUN IN FOCUS
in this article:
Duo Photography franchisees develop real businesses capturing family portraits forever
Simon Palmer is fizzing with enthusiasm for his new business. ‘I could still be an IT program manager in government service,’ he says. ‘Instead, I spent the morning rolling around with chickens and a baby in a back yard. How could you not enjoy that?’
If that sounds a bit weird, it’s because Simon is a Duo Photography franchisee, specialising in mobile portrait photography. ‘My job is to motivate people – families and kids – to relax and have fun in front of the camera – hence the chickens,’ he says. ‘As a result, you get portraits that people really love.
‘Of course, as a business it also has to make money, and it does. The great thing about this franchise is that it’s run by a businessman who’s also an amazing photographer. From the financial point of view, I’ve found everything has gone the way the franchisor said it would when I started in September last year.’
Duo Photography was founded by Adrian de la Fuente. Having run everything from nightclubs to newspapers, the keen photographer originally set up the business 20 years ago to pay for new equipment just as the digital revolution was taking root. It soon took on its own momentum as he started employing photographers and built up a fleet of mobile units in Wellington. He began franchising four years ago.
In a time when almost everyone has a hi-resolution camera on their phone, how can a photography franchise be so successful? ‘Having a camera doesn’t make you a photographer capable of taking memories to share forever,’ says Adrian. ‘People have lots of photos, but few are ones you’d want to hang on the wall. And lots of families have photos without mum or dad in them, because they were behind the camera. Duo Photography portraits are animated and engaging. We don’t do “look at the camera and smile” – we capture the way people move and behave, the emotions they want to remember.’
So how do you teach a franchisee something as artistic as photography? ‘You do have to have a creative eye, but we don’t teach art – we teach how to engage and understand clients,’ says Adrian. ‘The art comes out of that. We teach the techniques, but we also teach value and business building. That’s why a Duo Photography franchisee can earn a six-figure income far above that of many professional photographers.’
Simon Palmer came across Duo when his wife Cassandra – ‘God bless her!’ – put details of the franchise on his desk. ‘I hadn’t heard of Duo Photography but I had heard of Adrian and his lead trainer, Andrew Beecham,’ he recalls. ‘I thought, if I’m going to do this, I want to do it with people who are that good.’ I went and met Adrian and was very impressed with just how professional the franchise was. I have a business and banking background as well as IT, so I could see it was a business model that worked – and so it has proved.
‘After two weeks of training in Upper Hutt, you are paired up as an intern with one of Duo’s experienced photographers for six weeks and learn to do shoots the Duo way in your own territory. Everything is documented until you are up to standard, and even after qualification there’s ongoing coaching and a critique and review process with various experts to help you improve.
‘Apart from the technical side, you learn how to organise people in a relaxed way. You have to keep it moving while managing the technical side and the old hands are really good at that. It was hard at first but you learn through sheer repetition – I even use some of the same jokes!
‘As for business building … For me, that’s one of the reasons to buy a franchise and it works. I haven’t run out of work since I started, and it doesn’t look like I’m going to. My attitude at the beginning was, “These guys really know what they’re doing so I’m going to shut up and learn everything I can.” That’s really paid off.’
Duo Photography is now operating in Wellington and Christchurch, and is seeking franchisees in all the main centres including Auckland and more in Christchurch. ‘There is no shortage of work and we encourage franchisees to collaborate on larger projects,’ says Adrian.
‘The total investment required is from $30,000 to $50,000 +gst, depending on the level of equipment you already have. As the business is mobile, you don’t need a studio – just a people mover or other suitable vehicle.’ He says the franchise particularly suits people who are more mature, have life skills and are looking for something more creative and fun than a 9-5 desk job.
For anyone interested in the Duo Photography business, Simon offers some advice. ‘Get hold of Adrian and listen to what he says – he tells it like it is. This is not witchcraft, it’s a solid business formula. It just happens to be fun and you walk away from every shoot with a real buzz.’
See this advertorial on page 11 of Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 27 Issue 01
Contact details for Duo Photography
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advertiser info: franchise business opportunity
|industry leisure & education||investment $25,000||number in NZ 7 and globally 7||FANZ member no|
|contact Adrian De La Fuente
p 0-4-972 2364 m 022 734 5802
|telephone||find out more listing|
|industry||leisure & education|
|number in NZ||7|
|contact||Adrian De La Fuente|
This material is copyright © Franchise NZ Marketing Limited, Franchise New Zealand ™ magazine and Franchise New Zealand On Line . While it may be downloaded for personal use, no part may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the specific written permission of the publisher.