3 Simple Solutions to Selling Photography Collections - by Design Aglow

If you sell prints, you’ve probably given some thought to portrait collections. And by “given some thought,” we mean you’ve probably spent hours tearing your hair out, calculating COGs, structuring and restructuring packages, crunching numbers, and generally remembering why you became a photographer rather than an accountant or math teacher.

The irony is, you probably won’t see a huge payoff for all that mental energy. In fact, the typical portrait collection -- a big ol’ canvas, a few 8x10s, and a handful of gift prints -- could actually be hurting your business. Many photographers sell some variation of that collection simply because it’s what everyone else does. But haphazard portrait collections can hamper your sales and cause you unnecessary headaches. Here are a few potential problems you should be aware of -- and simple steps you can take to avoid those pitfalls and make your collections work for you.

 

25 Questions by Richard Donovan

When I first started doing planning session with my clients I was scared out of my pants. What do I say? When do I say it? And all the “what ifs” flooded my thoughts. Then I heard one of my mentors say that the person asking the questions is the one in charge. Years later one of my students and good friend, Craig McNiel reminded me of this in a letter which I have modified for this post. He gave me the credit but I thank him for teaching me what I had taught him.

 

Do You Ask Your Prospect if They Have Hired a Custom Photographer Before?

by Dorie Howell

Dorie Howell Photography

How many of you ask your clients if they have ever hired a custom portrait photographer when they inquire for a session? How many of us just assume that our clients should know how this works? It seems to me that most people assume that all clients are familiar with a shoot and burn style of business but in reality, many people could be coming to you and they have never hired anyone besides a wedding photographer. They don't know how our industry should operate, they may have never gone through the process before. Don't force your assumptions on them.

One of the best questions I ask prospective clients is if they have hired a custom portrait photographer before. That one question can lead into a completely open way to educate your client about your process. (And it isn't about jumping directly into IPS and products either) Believe it or not, I never mention IPS and that they have to come back for an appointment to order until we are at the booking stage. It really is NOT a big deal for most clients to come in for an IPS appointment. We make that a MUCH bigger deal than it has to be.

For example: Today I had a new dad call me for a newborn session. He didn't really know what to ask except, how much do you charge? That was the first question out of his mouth. I deferred that question and asked him about his wife, their pregnancy, when they were due, etc. . . and then when appropriate, I asked him if he had ever hired a custom portrait photographer before. He said, "No, why?" Well that was the PERFECT segue into how great and wonderful my sessions are, how things work, what they include and then at the very end I said, "As far as pricing goes, many people are somewhat surprised at how much custom newborn photography costs." By that time I had sold him on the value of my services so by presenting it in a way that he was expecting some big numbers, he didn't even flinch when I told him the average investment.

Don't assume your prospective client knows how this works. Keep it simple and remember to ask if they have ever been through the process before. If they haven't it is a perfect opportunity for you to educate them on your services and help them see the value in what you provide.