The EYES Have It

In communication with a sports photographer last week he described to me the importance of seeing the eyes of his subject. He shoots close up big time sports action shots. His words, “the eyes are the window to the soul’. Now I have described this idea myself but I have always been a portrait photographer. Now my sports shooter colleague is telling me that he works for the same thing in his fast moving split second timing sports photography.

A mentor of mine several years ago, this was during the Black and White Senior Portrait days with hand colored portraits, would look high school girls very closely in their eyes to determine the proper color to send to the oil colorist. Her conversation went something like, “Oh how beautiful, hazel eyes and yes, with gold flecks”. Now if you could see this high school girl when she was told she had ‘gold flecks’ in her eyes the kid just about came up off the chair in delight.

I learned to explain to the portrait subject as I adjusted my lights and reflectors during a photo session how beautiful their eyes looked and with the addition of the last light or reflector that now their eyes really look amazing.

Summing up for all my portrait friends, focus, literally on their eyes. Focus, figuratively on the lighting and your conversation to emphasize the beauty and importance of their eyes. Their eyes are like my sports colleague felt, “the window to their souls”. Remind the loved ones of your subject these same ideas.

Oh, don’t forget to present the idea to the parents that a wall portrait, grouping or composite proudly displayed within their home will do a lot to enhance the self image of their children.

“The face is a picture of the mind with the eyes as its interpreter.”― Marcus Tullius Cicero


How To Increase Photography Sales

Portrait Photographers Rochester Michigan

Portrait Photographers Rochester Michigan

Vault Prints Provide Profits and Future Proof Memories

Legitimate reasons for your customer to need additional printed copies from their photo session will provide additional photography studio income. One rarely thought of reason, usually until it is to late, is ‘Vault Prints’.

The best way to explain the ‘Vault Print’ concept is to describe the sales presentation. 

You are meeting with Mrs. Johnson to show her the poses you made from her family portrait session. During the sales presentation Mrs. Johnson has indicated to you her favorite pose of each segment of the session. You have gone through these favorites making note of the size and finish of the desired prints to be made for each important family member and display location. Family room, dad’s office, mom’s office, living room, Grandma’s and Grandpa’s, add your own ideas here.

At this point you can pause a moment (sometimes an “oh, I almost forgot” works well) and then ask Mrs. Johnson which pose or what size print she would like to use for her Vault Prints. You likely will get a strange look or question, What is a Vault Print? Explain that some of your customers have learned that while having you make nice copy and restoration images of their older family photos it would have been more economical to have had a few extra prints made and preserved at the time of the session, IE Vault Prints. Your suggestion is to have an extra 5×7 or 8×10 made for each of the children that will be placed in a safe archival print box for safe keeping. (you can provide these to Mrs. Johnson at a discount or as a gift) Later as the children start their own families Mrs. Johnson can give them their box of preserved prints. Mom could even have the prints bound into a nice album that could be gifted at the child’s wedding. This is an especially emotional moment if you explain this to Mrs. Johnson during the sales presentation. WIth this much emotion and the common sense value it is rare when this does not result in a few extra 5×7 prints being sold. Print boxes can be purchased from  University Products.

Aunts, Uncles and family portrait prints –  Sales Idea Bonus.
I was frequently told during sales presentations that the family did not give their brothers and sisters family prints from their family portrait. I learned to respond by asking my customer if they would like to see either their brother or sisters family portraits throughout the years as the kids grew up and changed. The usual response after thinking a moment was yes it would be nice to get a copy, even a small one, of their brother or sisters family portrait. My response then was to ask that do you think if you gave them a copy of your family portrait that they might get the idea and take the hint to send you a copy of their family portrait the next time they had one taken.

Oh yeah, just after you sell Mrs. Johnson these extra few prints, 4×5, 5×7 or 8×10 you could give her some coupons she can mail to her brothers and sisters for a complimentary or discounted session and print sale discount. It might be better if she sent this to them later in the year or a few months after her session. Be sensitive but be sure she knows shortly after her decision to purchase she is getting this bonus. Let her decide when to send it. You might even give her the stamped envelope to send them.

Remember, be aware, selling photo prints from your work has always been the best way for creating profit for your studio and providing value to your customers. Social media movies and digital files are nice and likely necessary in todays market but they are not the profit centers you need nor do they future proof and protect your clients memories as safely as a hard copy printed product.

Feeling a little like Columbo here but just remembered ‘one more thing’. I said make some copies for the children to be stored in archival boxes for the future but I myself realized a little to late in life that my children liked and wanted photographs of the family and their brothers and sisters displayed in their room just as much as my wife and I wanted the family picture in the living room. These personal, they are mine, prints of their siblings are important to children. Sometimes a 4×5 is just fine for this, be reasonable when you sell these, sometimes this is where a Bundle works well. (see Bundle Post).  This display copy could be sold at reduced rate or given to Mrs. Johnson with her purchase of the Vault Print to be stored. This gift would be the extra value and could replace any discount on the Vault Print.

Please comment with your suggestions for this promotion or tell us about your favorite photography studio promotion. Everyone at Pechman Imaging is interested in your thoughts and experiences.

Bundle or Packages, The Best Photo Studio Marketing Idea of 2013

Photo Packages, an old term but still a highly recommended method for presenting professional photo studio services and products. Photo packages are more important today than at anytime in the past. The only thing you need to change is the term, try the newer term of Bundles. Bundling is all over the current wave of auction and antique picking shows. They like it for giving the idea of greater value. You can use the same idea for your photo services. Bundling several print sizes from various poses along with finishes and frames can easily get your customer to your sales goal and for them to be happy with your great photography and feel like they received a great deal saving a bunch of money.

So just remember, bundling is the new packages and the best way to lead clients into the studios sales goals. Failing or refusing to sell products in addition to any posing fees will not provide the income needed to have a full time photography career.

You should have at least 3 but no more than 5 picture bundles available. Have one or two ‘Bonus Gifts’ or ‘Options’ you can add to any of your ‘Photo Bundles’ for some reason. The reason can be anything you like to help sales and reward your customer. The Bonus can be a desirable product at a special reduced price. This setup will allow you to include something extra that is desirable to your client for little cost to you.