Julian Bertsch joined Photolink as Studio Manager eight years ago. We caught up with him earlier in the week to discuss clients, his role and what keeps him ticking on a daily basis. Here’s what he had to say…
Julian, how has your role changed over the years?
First and foremost my focus has always been on the client.
Because of the various “permanent” studio assignments we are constantly on the move and planning ahead. It’s very satisfying when particular clients return though and our most recent work with Tesco and Matalan highlights this.
Overall, we try to adopt a realistic approach to what we do and understand that some people will head elsewhere, even though our studio facilities are up there with the best around.
I guess my role is constantly changing because we are always looking to improve
The studios are very popular. Why do you think so many people return?
There are numerous reasons; First of all, we are close to the city centre and Piccadilly Station. Then, once the client has arrived, the real fun starts.
We pride ourselves on having a five-minute response time to requests as well as regular check-ins to ensure everything is going to plan.
Our attention to detail has won us many admirers and the availability of extra equipment during a shoot certainly speeds up the whole process.
A big factor for many of our clients is privacy and this is something we are very strict on. We also have a permanent set builder and workshop on site so that we can adapt to any requests.
Finally, the free onsite parking is seen as a bonus and the food courtesy of a few trusted caterers always goes down nicely.
Clients can often be challenging, how do you deal with some of their demands?
We face them with no hesitation and approach them in a positive manner. We often make alternative suggestions in order to help them achieve their vision.
At the end of the day we always do our absolute best to make sure that they are satisfied. I think that in general people recognise this and that is why they come back.
How has your team developed?
Currently, I have one Studio Assistant and it works very well indeed. Dana Sorley has been with us for just over a year now and moved from a management position in retail to a specialist in the photography and studio field.
We encourage the growth and development of people from within the organisation and Dana’s progress is a fine example of what can be achieved.
In terms of performance growth, we continue to learn from each shoot and have an enhanced “library” of troubleshooting techniques.
What are the challenges you face as Studio Manager?
Things can change very quickly. Clients often need to shoot during unsociable hours but we are prepared to help out as much as we possibly can.
We regularly move equipment between studios which can be time consuming and sometimes not possible until a particular shoot has finished at the end of the day.
It is also important that the studios look amazing because the competition is so fierce. Paint tub after paint tub is used to keep the spaces spotless and ready for the next shoot or tour.
Finally, how do you try and stay ahead of the competition?
I look at other studio websites and social media coverage and listen to the experiences of clients at other places. I try to “get into” the thought process of the potential client and help them with suggestions so that they quickly realise that we are the best place for their concept to become reality.
Ultimately I do this because I want as many people as possible to know what a special place Photolink is.
If you would like more information about our studios then click here.