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

Living Portraits – The Future of Photo Marketing

Photography has always evolved along with advancements in technology. From plates to film, from black & white to color, from analog to digital and now from still to motion.

Living portraits evolve the art of photography by adding a seamless element of motion. The effect is simply mesmerizing.

Living portraits or cinemagraphs™ are a fun product that can be used to excite your younger clients and generate portrait sessions where you will have the opportunity to sell additional classic prints. Living portraits can be made with Photoshop or with specialized software (Flixel).

The design collaboration with your client will lead you to some amazing images. During this process you will have the opportunity to build a strong relationship that will lead to better sales, happier customers, less stress, fewer complaints. All in all, a good thing.


Stand Outs – A Modern Alternative To Canvas Wraps

Stand Outs –  What are they? A modern alternative to canvas wraps. Stand Outs feature crisp clear images, brilliant colors and sharp edges.

Sell Stand Outs in groups of 3 or 4 images as a cluster arrangement. People want to use multiple images vs just one large print. Later you can show your client how they can add other events in their family life to create a family photo wall tribute. Some examples could be a photo restoration of great grand ma you made for them. One of their children had a super year in little league and won an award. Graduation portraits of course. Fluffy the cat should have a spot on the wall.

You could create a loyalty club program for customers purchasing ‘Stand Outs”. They receive special promotions and discounts for repeat visits and purchases. Always include a coupon or reminder in every package you deliver.

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.

iPhones Save The Modern Portrait Studio

Smartphones have been disruptive in the professional photo industry. Two techniques to use your smartphone to fight the disruption.

Each time a client is kind and generous enough to pay you a compliment do thank them for the compliment. Explain you are pleased to be able to offer them your exclusive services and how the assignment was special. Make them feel special. Then ask them if they could help you. Use that exact word, help’. People like to help others. Now pull out your smartphone, hit the video record button and ask them to please repeat the kind compliment for a testimonial video. You can edit out their pauses, keep asking some questions and get the content you need. Put the video all over your website, blog, social media, your customers social media, any and everywhere.

Start making Pocket Albums for each of your finished orders. Send them as a small thank you gift to previous clients from a few months to a year or so ago. They will pass these around to their friends and since you included studio information and a referral or preferred customer coupon with the Pocket Album you should get a few new sessions.

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.

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.