What Is IPS?

If you’ve been a photographer any length of time, you’ve probably heard the acronym “IPS”. You may have heard people bragging about how IPS has changed their life, or how learning IPS tripled their income.

And while all this sounds great, it raises a big question in your mind:

What exactly is IPS, and how can it help you in your own business?

Let me break it down for you, as well as explain why it’s such a great option for photographers.

In Person Vs. Online

IPS simply stands for “in-person sales.” Although the acronym was coined about a decade ago, the concept of in-person sales has been around for hundreds of years. In fact, you experience the IPS model in one form or another many times each week, when you buy everything from groceries to clothing to luxury goods.

Even walking into a deli and placing an order for a sandwich is an “IPS” transaction. The owner of that shop is selling you a product in person. Not particularly complicated, right?

So how does this relate to photography? With the invention of the internet, many photographers began turning to online galleries for a quick way to deliver digital images to clients, rather than taking the time to sit down with them in person after the session. This is often called the “shoot-and-burn” model. Shoot the photos, burn them to a CD or USB, and give them to the client.

The Value Of IPS Compared To Shoot and Burn

There’s tremendous value in selling photography services in person to your clients. When faced with a digital gallery of images, your clients often won’t have any idea of what to do with them. They may love the images and may want to share a few on Facebook or Instagram, but after that they don’t know what to do next and the gallery ends up being forgotten after a while. They can’t envision all the possibilities for the gorgeous photos you took.  

By contrast, if you can sit with them in person and help them decide which images they’d like to print for their home, which ones would be beautiful in an album, and which they’d like to give as gifts, you’ve have taken a huge burden off them and ensured those images get enjoyed for years to come.

Additionally, you’re providing a truly valuable service for your clients. You’re enriching their lives with beautiful, physical copies of their photos.

And to be honest, you will almost certainly make significantly more income. The shoot-and-burn model often relies on having a large volume of clients and making a small amount on each client. You spend hours taking photos, editing them, sending them to the client, often for just a few hundred dollars. I can say personally that this is a one-way ticket to total burnout. IPS allows you to create a premium experience for your clients, which in turn allows you to charge a premium price.

It also allows you to work with fewer clients and yet make much more money per client. When I switched from shoot and burn to in person sales, my average session went from $300 to between $1,200 almost overnight, and continued to grow to a $3,500 average sale. I could give much more care and attention to each client because I didn’t have to crank out the photos and then get to the next client.

But Isn’t This Hard To Make Work?

This process doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to be scary. If you’re worried about being a “pushy salesman,” remember that you don’t have to be pushy at all - you’re simply helping your clients and guiding them to buy what they really want. No sleazy sales tactics needed.

Also, to dispel another myth, you don’t need to be the BEST photographer in town or charge the highest prices in order to do IPS. IPS simply means “in-person sales,” it’s not something that’s reserved for the most elite, most experienced photographers only.

If you’re already in business and can create solid images that clients will pay for, you’re ready for in-person sales. It really can be much simpler than you think.

We recommend watching the IPS 101 class HERE, and then jumping right in with IPS for your next client. It really is that easy and the results can be incredible. There’s nothing better for differentiating yourself in a crowded market than offering top-notch services and building strong bonds with your clients that will pay off for years to come.