A Look into Why and How I Sell Printed Products to Clients
So I started my photography career at one of those Olan Mills type of photography studios in the mall. But we weren’t Olan Mills, we were Studio One to One. I learned so much during my one year stint at that little portrait studio. I had to deal with a high-volume environment, while managing an in-person sales (IPS) system. After I left that job, I NEVER wanted to sell prints EVER again. It was way too stressful and I felt like a sleazeball, car salesman.
But, oh, have I changed my mind! Beginning in 2017 I switched my business from a “shoot and burn” business model to a boutique, portrait studio experience with in-person sales and printed products. Here are three reasons why I will never look back, and why YOU should introduce prints into your studio.
Number 1: Drastic Increase in Income
I introduced printed products into my business as I switched from a shoot and burn wedding photographer, to a niche, portrait only studio. I had to introduce products to subsidize the income I was going to lose from higher priced weddings. Yes, the income replaced itself as I introduced products, but what I was also able to do was astounding. I now work LESS hours, make MORE money, and provide the HIGHEST amount of service possible to my clients.
I don’t believe in hiding anything from you all, so I have included what my average sale used to be with a shoot and burn model, compared to a boutique, product model.
As you can see the average sale is very close in price. I am able to take 2-4 portrait clients a month, where as I would only take 1 wedding client, and 2 portrait clients per month on my shoot and burn model. Prints have allowed me the freedom to attract my ideal client, and work with the people I want to.
Number 2: Provide Clients with Timeless Heirlooms
I always tell my clients… “It is difficult to frame a USB and mount it above your fireplace mantle!” It is how I feel about digital prints now-a-days. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE sharing photos all over social media for my friends and family to see. But there is something about printed photographs that make my heart skip a beat.
I am not one to usually go the old school route, but we need to get back to the days where you have a family album, or a huge 30 x 40 framed picture of your loved ones, hanging in the living room. There is something marvelous about archival quality prints that you can pass down to your children, your children's children, and for many more generations.
I remember coming across old portraits of my grandparents when they first started dating, and it was the most precious thing I had ever seen. Being able to share those moments with your family is priceless. Give your clients the gift of printed photographs.
Number 3: Not a One Time Sale
This is by far the best reason I switched to printing products, rather than delivering images in a gallery or on a USB. You can turn your current clients into repeat customers, and tap into their network of family and friends to sell more!
Ok let’s start with turning your current clients into repeat customers. My print packages come with 6, 12, or 20 photographs delivered in a portfolio box, plus I have a few a la carte options. If a client doesn’t select the largest package, I will hold onto whatever prints they do not buy. Later on in the year I entice them to buy the remaining images. I could create a “fill your box” promotion, and tell clients to buy their remaining prints, and they would receive a gift of some sort. Or I could offer print credit for their next photo session when they buy their remaining images.
That may sound a little confusing at first, but it is the easiest way to get clients into your studio again and again. This will give you consistent income throughout the year, rather than a seasonal push. P.S. I do not offer a discount that will subtract from the value (i.e. half off, buy one get one free, etc.). I only offer incentives that add to the value of the purchase (i.e. Gift with Purchase, Print Credit, Gift Cards, etc.). This all boils down to a psychology thing… and that is an entirely different blog post!
You can also sell to your current client’s family and friends. Your portrait clients have friends and family that would love to own photographs of them. So why would you not sell to them as well? You can create a reveal session, and online ordering system, that would allow your client’s family members to buy products from you! Plus, once they get to know your work, they may come in for a session of their own. Offer your clients a secure site or online invoice, and send them a link to forward along. If their family members would like to see the photographs before buying, set up a premier ordering session via Skype. The possibilities are endless my friends!
So I have to ask you, what is the main thing holding you back from selling prints and products in your own studio? I would love to hear from you, so feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email. I would love to help work through whatever blocks you are facing. I promise you this, IPS and products are the future to sustainable income for your photography business.