Jump Start Your Spring Portrait Sales

Live animals in studio for small children.

Pet promotion working with a local grooming salon.

Portrait fund raiser with church or civic group.

Business Portrait refresher trade in program. Offer past customer trade in, upgrade, renewal of their portrait at a discount. Special days only.

Police, Fire, EMT, Judges, Politician, Civil Servant promos. Roster boards / composites or portraits of retirees.

Sales calls on all nursery schools in your market. Spring promo portraits.

Reach out to all dance schools showing custom premium action dance photos. Also offer basic posed dancer and group photos. Two different programs for them to choose.

Contact me with your thoughts or questions. I would appreciate hearing any promo ideas you have. Usually these discussions bring out many new and improved ideas. Give me a call to jump start your Spring Sales.  Your blog comments are also welcome and appreciated.


Boost Revenue With Mini-Sessions

Why Mini Portrait Sessions?

Mini sessions are a great way to boost business anytime of the year. One caution, do not over do it, because consumers soon may expect it instead of a regular session.

When doing mini sessions, a photographer should have a defined set of goals while keeping in mind that these sessions are only 15 to 20 minutes long. KIS–keeping it simple applies given your time is valuable. Themes should closely align with the needs of your clientele. Think of these sessions as “Lite” or “Petite.” Market as such. Mini Session link examples: LINK 1  LINK 2

1. For portraiture keeping up with stages of a child’s growth or a cute phase.

2. For special gifts for grandparents.

3. Up dating a family portrait with new child.

4. Need current image for Greeting Cards.

5. Engagement sessions for brides on low end budget.

6. Not for seniors, except for last minute year book photo.

7. Mom’s or Dad’s recent promotion or wedding anniversary.

8. Fast and easy pet sessions.

9. Great for “theme style” portraits for children: fairies, Halloween, Thanks Giving, etc.

10. Some photographers have a special day theme each month just for mini-sessions. Great for infant photography programs–3,6,9 &12th month portrait.

11. Impromptu family reunions–group shots only.

Suggestions to help:

1. Keep images down to a conservative number: 1 per minute or max. 30.

2. Use outdoors when ever possible, same location. Have rain make up date set.

3. Reduce the customary session fee up to 50%, but not the individual print price. Instead establish unique mini session packages to establish a sale price.

4. Relying only on “Image Posting for proofing” will result in lower sales or aces.

5. Face to Face selling will result in higher sales averages.

5. Don’t like to sell or don’t have the time, sell packages so that lowest priced package + session fee is $200 minimum.

6. Mini session revenue average should not be lower than 50% of your regular sitting average. Example: $400 x 50% = $200. Yours may be higher or lower.

7. Use coupons for Greeting Cards to remind clients to place their orders early.

8. Token of your gratitude: Place several images on FB, etc. for them only after they make their purchase.

9. If some consumers don’t want prints: Disk is default at $200. They should know this up front. Editing for other than bloopers at additional cost.

10. Establish a referral program.  Keep all email address for future mailings.

Some of our clients are doing mini-sessions right now. It’s is a tradition for them.

Looking forward to discussing the pros & cons of Mini Sessions with you via comments or your phone call.

To your success,

Steve and Frank

PS: Mini Sessions–a great way to build up a client base.

PPS: Try our video-slide show program–Free for 30 days.

Where Has All The Senior Portrait Business Gone?

Where Has All The Senior Portraits Gone?

Studios have misunderstood the shift in the market.

Less money to spend, more new exciting things to spend what money they have on and an increase in newbie wanna-be shooters are some of the causes that have gotten people out of the habit of having professional portraits made.

Studios have not yet I believe accepted the fact that in all their years of marketing their senior photography it is doubtful that they ever convinced a student or parent to have senior pictures made.

What they did was get a person who had already planned on having pictures taken (a habit, tradition began with the use of ego’s) to choose their studio for the work. That is not the same as getting someone to decide to have a portrait made.

The fix in 2014 to the senior photography market is learn how to persuade a person to have a professional portrait made of themselves and purchase photo prints. To convince someone to have a portrait made you have to discuss benefits not features. You need to appeal to their emotions and ego. They want to be remembered, not forgotten. Their graduation is a major accomplishment in their lives deserving respect from others as well as themselves. DIY efforts and part time disk only wannabees show no respect to the achievement. Cell phone shots and selfies are fun but they are also everyday routine parts of their lives. Everyday and routine are not in the same class as special achievement. These types of images are disrespectful of the students hard work.

In the beginning professional senior portraits were assembled into a beautiful piece of artwork, the class composite. If you get a chance to see some of these from 80-100 years ago they were truly beautiful pieces of art. These were displayed in schools for years showing later students those that came before them and had made the cut, got the grade and graduated. They accomplished something to be proud of and were remembered. We need to get this feeling back. Maybe we can’t do the class composite. We can however have the family preserve and enshrine this accomplishment in their own home showcase of honor. A picture wall with all the generations and achievements of the family.

As always, if this stirs up any thoughts or you have an idea to add or debate, please let me know. Comments and critique are welcome and appreciated. Everyone will benefit from your insight and contribution.  Steve

Sell Benefits Not Features

Insurance Sales, The Memory Insurance Kind, with a portrait policy. Yes, professional photographers are really in the memory insurance business. This is “the benefit” you provide your portrait customers. The beautiful portraits are just a physical means to the emotional benefit.

Enjoy, the most powerful and effective word you can use in your portrait discussions. Ask every client where they will enjoy their portraits.  They very likely will be a bit puzzled, explain that during their busy day when they have a brief moment to catch their breath and look up and see their family portrait, where would that be? During this simple exercise your potential customer has imagined themselves in the future with the portrait you have not as yet been hired to make.

Sell Emotions, work on peoples pride and satisfy their ego.

Some thoughts to remember and discuss with your customers.

People have been using pictures to preserve memories, today’s important events for tomorrows generations, for thousands of years. (think cave drawings, they lasted)

Photo prints can be held, you can touch them and feel them. In a way it’s like touching the memory. Prints are the method of preserving these moments and allowing you and your children to enjoy your memories for many years.

It seems today’s high school senior is heavily into themselves. Present your services to them in a manner that shows them how photography and prints (just like cave drawings) will take their lives and existence permanently into the future. They are and will be relevant.

Remember, emotions, ego and benefits sell things, Logic and features (maybe a special sale) keep the deal done and allow the customer to save face when explaining their purchase to friends.

What is the best marketing tool for staying in touch with your clients?

Email and Phone is considered by many to be the best methods. The handwritten note is rare today but for the few portrait photographers using them they are seeing very good results. One of the keys in sales is to get your portrait customers attention. The personal handwritten note sent via the US Postoffice, due to it’s rarity, does an excellent job of getting your clients attention.. The more personal your communications become, the more results you derive. A combo of all methods is required to be successful.

Sell Wall Portrait Groupings – Boost Photo Studio Profits

Show groups of 3 photo prints as a portrait bundle. Offer 2 or 3 print finish options. Classic Color, Techno Color, Silver Tone. (Note: make up your own product names. Research other industries for trends in naming.) Present a choice of one large and two smaller images and a grouping with 3 identical size portraits. Show two frame style choices with your bundle, Classic / Contemporary; Mini / Bold, just use names that are current, catchy and  that draw a customers interest.

Selling tips:
Have actual display samples of your photo bundles with a couple of the options.

Make a Black and White set (Silver Tone) that has clean bright highlights and detailed black shadows. If your Silver Tone images don’t pop search for some help in getting this look. Lighting is also important for these images.

After your client has selected the poses they prefer you can ask which of these samples you have showing they like the best. They can just point to a display and you can then make their order ‘just like the sample’. Next step is to write up the order and collect the money.

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.

Drop Shipping Helps Grow Photo Sales and Profits

Selling photo products to relatives across the country creates numerous sales opportunities for your studio.  As you begin photographing for the holiday season, keep in mind that Pechman Imaging offers drop shipping via the ‘alternate ship address’ option in ROES. This makes ordering and delivering professional photo prints and greeting cards more convenient and more profitable.

Some ideas on how drop shipping can help grow your portrait studio sales:
Take advantage of upcoming family gatherings to offer large family sittings. Offer picture greeting card specials – photograph large family groups, break the group down into smaller groups, send them proof sheets with the best pose and a simple order form.

Drop shipping allows you to get products into the hands of clients quicker.  As the holiday approaches and you photograph people from out of town, drop shipping allows you to eliminate work and add convenience to your service. Offering this service and passing it through to your client is common practice in retail and the market has come to expect it.  Thus, while offering drop shipping as an inexpensive service, the opportunity to pass along the cost is an acceptable business practice – thus you increase your sales and not your costs.

Profitable Family Portrait Photography Today and Beyond

Portrait Photographers Rochester Michigan

Portrait Photographers Rochester Michigan

Learn how to convert every phone inquiry for a family portrait into an appointment. What if as a bonus you got the customer involved for two more appointments at the same time? (Note: This program will also get Mom’s talking on Facebook about the good deal they received from your studio. This will then generate additional phone calls to your studio.)

How to begin – Print up a little certificate booklet containing 3 certificates each offering an 8×10 portrait (or some basic one pose package) and basic sitting. Price this booklet so that you get the regular price for the first session and 8×10 and then add in your production costs (shipping, prints etc) for the other two sessions. Round this total of the three sessions to anything that you find you have success with ($49, $69, $89). Realize that people first calling and asking prices are usually shocked by $100+ quotes for one picture. Everyone will be telling them numbers like this. You will be different because you have not only taken care of this picture opportunity but their next two needs during the next year or two. This is a big savings in the customers mind. Now when someone calls shopping for a deal, have you got it!  Explain you have a special 3 sitting package that can be used by their family during the next 1-2 years. This could be of the kids, the entire family, mom & dad, grandma & grandpa, the puppy, their senior or a wedding portrait etc. The neat part is that by making the advance purchase they get a super deal. They get three for less than the cost of two. You should also have special additional print prices that go along with this plan.

Of course you need to talk about more than price. Remember this, People buy on emotions, so you still have to get them involved thinking of all the wonderful memories this portrait will preserve for them and excited about you doing the picture. Logic (a sale, good value, service etc.) though keeps this sold and them happy.

Part of your price presentation should be to mention the total regular price of all three sessions and prints. Example: This is a $350 value normally priced at $249 and with the Family Plan today all three sessions and three prints are only $89.  If you have never watched TV infomercials, spend some time there. Follow their methods of presenting their products and prices. You might even have a ‘but there’s more’ offer to add to your family plan for those who take the offer right now with out ‘thinking it over’ or calling back.  You might include a fourth session for only the shipping and handling. Any kind of small bonus will work.

Phone Sales Suggestions – The Studio Phone rings.

Customer – I’m calling about a family picture, how much are your 8×10’s?

Studio – It’s great you called today!  (This gets the customers attention and helps diffuse the need to start talking about money right away.) We’re right in the middle of; just starting; in the final two weeks of; our annual super something special.  Could I ask how you heard of our studio?  When was the last time you had your family picture made?  When do you suppose you will be having the next picture made? I see that this is something pretty special to you since it is something you don’t have done just everyday and I’m sure you’ll want everything done just right, won’t you? Ask questions about the number of people in their family, who normally gets copies of the photograph and when they were planning on presenting the photographs. These questions will help qualify this customer, IE do you want to offer them a Family Plan. If they only have one 8×10 from a sitting you don’t want them for a customer. On the other hand if they have lots of relatives and friends who always get a picture they would be great prospects for a family plan. The additional photo print sale is what makes this profitable for the portrait studio. The customer gets the additional sittings and special duplicate print prices as their reward for being a loyal repeat customer. Everyone wins.

Refunds – If someone moves and asks for a refund of the unused coupons they get the costs that the remaining coupons are worth. Spell this out in writing on the coupon certificate you provide.

Extra Hints – During the first sitting/sales cycle find out who and when they would like the other pictures made. You could go through your card file and remind these people of their need for a sitting, helping you to fill in slow times. Offer your family portrait plan to a current customer you want to give something extra. Sell the plan to current customers to be used by them as a photo gift to one of their friends or relatives. Donate a few plans to charity auctions.

The goal of your Family Portrait Plan is two fold. One – get today’s sitting by being different and offering the great value and service of a Family Plan. Secondly – you want future sessions committed to your photography studio and the Family Plan accomplishes this goal.

Today’s successful portrait studio photographers combine their photo and business skills with quality professional photo printing from their professional photo lab.

Please add your comments and suggestions for this article and others you might like to see in the future.