Professional Photography Isn’t Just A Bowl Full Of Cherries

Ironically one of the tough parts of being self employed is one of the alluring features of being self employed, no boss telling you what to do. The downside, you have to be focused on goals, plan your time and follow through. You have to be responsible to yourself and make yourself do it.  Time Management is what I am getting at here.

Make a list of what you need to do and what you want to accomplish. Prioritize the list, review it frequently and use your appointment schedule to keep on track and do the steps that will provide you with the greatest return for your effort

Time management, goal setting, prioritizing your to-do list, there are multi-day classes on each of these topics. A lot has been written about them. The most important issue is that you first recognize you need to work on these skills. Then follow through by being honest with yourself and committing to keeping your schedules.

A key part of goal setting in addition to reviewing your goals daily is sharing these goals with a few key people in your life. This gives you a little more sense of feeling obligated to complete the task, sort of having to report to a boss. They aren’t your boss true, you still don’t want to look bad or lazy in their eyes so you push a little harder to complete the task you assigned yourself.


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.

Innovative Products Will Save The Portrait Industry

Found: One Possible Solution to Save the Portrait Industry.

Look out! There is a fork in the road ahead. Turn right or turn left? Soon a decision must be made.

~Professional photography is waiting for the next innovation in portraiture to launch a new era of consumer demand.


~By innovation we mean products beyond where the industry is today. For one major reason, we would certainly place our bet on technology leading the way. That’s because consumers under 30 years of age are totally engrossed in everything technology.

~Current product life extension of portraiture isn’t cutting it: even with prints on metal, print wraps and floats, images on ceramics, wedding albums with exotic leather covers or as press books (a.k.a. children’s Dr. Seuss books).

An all important question.

Are Seniors and Brides really waiting in lines to book appointments to get their hands on a metal print or a press book? Millennials are balking at such products as we speak, more so everyday. Ask any professional photographer, even the “home run hitters”, their answer is a resounding, no. If Millennials do call and book, they want that disk before they are willing to purchase anything additional.

Traditional marketing methods, Internet and Cloud Marketing are not producing hoped for results.  Apathy is just too intense, even with some Moms, which puts a dent in not only your income, but also greatly impacts photography vendors, suppliers, labs, Kodak and Fuji as well.

OK. What is the answer? Imaging technology seems promising.

Like the digital camera, imaging technologies are fantastic tools in the hands of professional photographers. New products must be developed by professional photographers who are willing to explore cutting edge “technology and software.” Such products must attract millions of apathetic consumers back to professional studios.

” Steve has an idea for you that uses current technology borrowed from advertising agencies to create immediate impact.

IMPACT is what professional photographers need right now. Steve recognizes his idea is just the tip of the iceberg. Brainiac pros need to explore my idea’s potential, he says, and run with it.”   Read on.

How so? First and foremost, photographers are on the front line. They should be conducting research for new product development ideas given they are in constant, face to face, contact with the buying public. This is where market research must take place given the numerous paradigm shifts caused by the digital age.

When we ask the big suppliers if they are in direct contact with the buying public, their answer is “minimally” at best. Why so? The major reason is nearly zero revenue in pro and amateur film sales and reduced usage of photographic paper no longer warrants extensive marketing research. What does that mean? Mostly that photographers, album suppliers and labs basically are on their own. There is no calvary coming to save the day. It’s up to us. We must team up.

Second, no matter what technology is going to be used, the professional must sell an “image.”  Any forth coming innovative process is still all about “image creation” that the consumer is willing and eager to purchase.

There are two parts to the long term solution: 1. image creation and 2. the medium by which the image is shown. Right now the millennium consumer is overly interested in the Cloud medium: Facebook, etc., while shunning anything hard copy.

A world wide problem has ensued. Far too many consumers have arrived at the conclusion that they or someone they know can provide all those important image creations, more or less for free. Uploading to Facebook is a simple task for them to accomplish on their own with wireless technology: cell phones, Ipads, etc. Also, an avalanche of free APPS is not making life for the pro any easier.

In summary:

What needs to happen is a major paradigm shift in the image creation process far beyond what the consumer can do for themselves, even right now, with or without major changes in technology. Results must easily create consumer demand. That is key.

Solutions are all around us right now, but they have not been assimilated into portraiture, just yet. Call to action: We all can help each other find the right direction with the right technology if we work as a team.

Here is Steve’s solution that must be explored more in depth: Live Pictures a.k.a. Cinemagraphs. You be the judge if cinemagraphs will renew consumer interest in professional portraiture.

All we ask is that you take a good look and consider all the possibilities of Cinemagraphs & Tutorials  before your competitors do.

Consider your website and Facebook page drawing renewed attention using the Live Pictures concept.

Your comments are welcome and will be appreciated by everyone. Sharing knowledge is a gift.

To your continued success, Pechman Marketing Team


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.

Should You Include A Frame In The Price When Selling A Wall Portrait?

Reasons to include a frame in the price of the wall portrait:
1. It gives more control of how the photography leaves your studio.
2. From a customer service perspective, the client is able to make all of their decisions when they place their order and they end up having a finished product in a few weeks that is READY to be displayed.

Many photographers who do not include a frame in the price still present the print to their clients at delivery in a suggested frame that is then available for purchase at a discounted rate.

1. Makes the print look much nicer.
2. Easy for client to just pick it and not have to make another stop at a frame shop.

You need not stock nor should you many different styles. A couple of basics will do nicely. Place the print in the frame, make the presentation. Your client gets the idea of how nice the print will display when placed inside what ever frame the finally choose. At the moment they can take an easy step and accept your frame or you can remove it and they can make another stop at a frame shop. Either way they are happy, you offered a convenient service that is appreciated.

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.

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.