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.

Jeweler Teaches Photo Marketing

SB Atkins Photo ©2011

Family Photo

I just heard a radio commercial for local jeweler. They were explaining that the cut of the diamond makes a big deal in the look of the diamond. They went on to invite people into their store to see a side by side demo of this they have available.

Professional photographers can use the same technique to demonstrate to clients the differences between professional and consumer photography and print quality.

Your basic display should have three prints.

1. Show a camera phone picture taken in the style as a consumer would take, no lighting, flat dull posing and poor clothing selections.

2. Take the same group, better clothing choices, adjust pose for better lighting, arrange group in pleasing composition. Large people in back or center, covered slightly with smaller people, you know the techniques. Have great color, tones, focus and definitely a top notch professional photo print on display next to the drug store made camera phone print.

3. Good idea to have your pro print also printed at drug store. Be sure the drug store does not do a great job.

When showing this display do not have a smug or condescending attitude as you point out the differences. Explain the clothing consultation was a discussion you had with your client and some suggestions that the family went back to their closet and made some additional choices. Do not suggest they had to go to a store and buy new clothes. Your amazing photos are the result of professional training, experience and taking the time to discuss some important details that contribute to make the very best memorable photograph that everyone is proud to own.

Get social media exposure telling everyone you have this available, be sure to mention the display during phone calls and always show and get comments to anyone visiting your studio.

Decorating With Portraits

Browse more than 600,000 photos from top wall décor designers. This site should more than convince those photographers out there “consumers don’t want bare walls” in their new homes, and they want photos on their walls too. Minimalism (bare walls) is not the in thing. People who want bare walls have no imagination. Most people do decorate with photos and art. Please, check out this website and see how USA home owners decorate their walls; yes, with portraiture too.

We have included other links to give you ideas on using portraiture for wall décor. Pottery Barn illustrates how to decorated with their frames. As you view their sample walls one can easily visualize how to decorate a wall with smaller prints and frames. Once you customers see what can be accomplished with your portraits they will purchase professional photo prints, but you most likely will have to show them how. Even a mom with a senior can easily decorate a wall without going over budget. Again, you must plant the idea in mom’s mind.

Family portraiture can take on a whole new venue once mom sees how you can transfer a simple wall into a family wall “icon” that is decorative yet still  tastefully showcases her family. Family portraiture no longer has to be about a large single print hanging on the wall. Cluster framing just might be another solution for those moms who cannot image a large print on their wall. Years later the framed cluster can be separated into subsets or distributed individually throughout the house. Possibilities are endless. But you must first sell the idea and then let mom’s imagination take over. If you don’t want to sell frames, simply direct them to Pottery Barn, Michael’s, etc.

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.

The Real Magic Bullet In Marketing Your Professional Photography Business

The Real Magic Bullet in Marketing your professional portrait photography business today is YOU. Your Personality, Skills, Energy, Consistency, Persistence, Enthusiasm, Friends and Faith are the keys. Show how you are different not just claiming to be better.

Budget some time in your calendar for making contacts with potential and previous customers. Ask about new opportunities and suggest to them some ideas you have been thinking about that will help them in their business or life.

Put your marketing activities in a calendar so you don’t miss opportunities or rush to hit deadlines, causing less-than-wonderful results.

This takes a little thought and effort. Define your “ideal” clients. Consider how best to reach them — where they are, what they see and what will cause them to respond.

Your customers and prospects are constantly changing. Just because someone might have declined an offer previously does not mean they will be  unresponsive today. Some of the best jobs have been landed by just asking one more time after the sales person had almost given up any hope of making the sale work.

A very good example of an open question to ask during your next sales presentation was blogged by Jonathon Fields at FreelanceSwitch

He was contacted to write some hard-hitting marketing copy for a product on extremely short notice. After a short phone discussion he asked this magical question that helped him choose how to differentiate himself with this potential client. “What’s important about the person you choose to do this job?”

Knowing what was important to the client he was able to taylor his response to tie in his unique skills with the requirements of this job.

It is also advisable to find out “What have you budgeted for this project?”

To summarize, an enthusiastic person with amazing professional photography skill in lighting, posing, composition and very importantly personal communication and rapport with the client is the key today. Sell yourself and the emotional benefits to your customers of the services you provide.

Top 5 all Time Senior Picture Marketing Steps Techniques Strategies

  1. Reps or Ambassador Program
  2. Displays
  3. Direct Mail
  4. Word of Mouth – Referral Program
  5. 3rd Party Promotion

Any one of these techniques has generated sessions for senior portrait studios. Combining two or three or better yet all five will produce much better results.

Your Rep program is a key to get things started or the ball rolling. Your reps are the first to pass out info, get on their Facebook or Twitter and talk up the fun of senior pictures and very importantly ‘doing it right’  by having a real pro do the work. I doubt they would trust a friend to mess with their car or give them a hair cut. Since when do they let their friends sew up a new shirt or blouse for them? Your reps help you get a list of names you can send a letter and brochure of your services. This lets the senior know you are serious about their business and that you respect them enough to formally invite them to your studio. Reps are some of the first images of the year you can place on your website, blog and Facebook.

Displays help in a couple of ways. Being accepted to be part of a portrait print display is a big honor and ego boost for the student. They will want to be a part of this. We have written other articles outlining some ideas for portrait print displays and how to get locations to let you show your prints. A key point today with a print display is that is shows to potential customers the value and benefits of having real prints and having them in larger sizes that are enjoyed on a wall for many people to see.

Direct Mail is where you formally invite seniors and their families to visit your studio and discuss senior portraits. Their value and the many styles your can offer them. Show a few examples in your brochure of photography and pricing. Examples, not the entire story. Use the direct mail to drive them to your blog, website for further information. Here you can tell a little more but not everything. Enough to get them to book an appointment or call you to book. Be ready to properly handle this phone call.

Word of Mouth – Referral Program — After you have photographed a student you have a couple of steps you need to do. During and just after the session shoot a few video snippets capturing the student having a great time posing for their pictures. After the session during a sort of debrief you can engage them in a conversation that will get them in their own words to describe their thoughts on how much fun they had and how important they see this is for their family. The very people who have stood by them and loved them their entire life. After all, this photo gift can only be given by the student, they are in control. Use these videos on your blog and Facebook. Have links to these in your emails you send out to future inquiries. When you have students and parents carrying folios or proof brag books and showing them to their friends you should also have a Referral Program. As friends see these proofs they will be impressed and will ask where these portraits were taken. You customer can give this friend one of your referral certificates that offers them some kind of special discount. For every certificate redeemed your original customer gets some kind of thank you bonus. Everyone wins with this approach. You could create an electronic version of this as well. If you provide a couple of Facebook images for your customer to display do it with a request they send links or tweets to all their friends and have the friends also mention your name and special offer. When people call you, you can inquire if they saw you on Facebook or twitter and then give your first customer the bonus credit.

3rd Party Promotions – Here you work with another business to promote to the senior. This other merchant could provide a discount coupon you would include in one of your direct mail packages. Pizza shop, athletic shoe store, fast food restaurant, tux shop are a few places to check out. They could provide space for a portrait print display. You could offer them photo discount coupons they could use in marketing to their customers who purchase some special offer they are promoting.

For any of these techniques, you must have a plan in place in your studio to answer the phone and convert the call into an appointment. (See a previous blog post for a suggested technique) You also need to work on an email response that will convince email inquiries to call your studio or go to your website and book their appointment. Consider some of the styles of emails you receive after visiting a website and requesting some information. Have a series of short emails ready to send to the parents of students or short text messages you can send the student that will convince them they need to act now for senior pictures.

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.


Boost Portrait Studio Sales With A Portrait Fundraiser

Need to boost your portrait studio sales this year? Looking for a way to help your church or civic group raise some extra money?

Church groups, sports leagues and school bands all need more money.

This is the perfect time for a professional portrait fundraiser. There’s very little cost to start one. Community groups will make attractive profits with your professional photography fundraiser. The program and certificates are easy to sell.

Consider that Family Portraits are Earth Friendly and they are Made in the USA. Your portrait fundraiser program can offer a selection of sizes and styles that are competitively priced and attractively packaged.

Getting a group of people to work for your studio to get portrait appointments is a way of multiplying your sales efforts. You make a couple of calls to get a group (5-50) of people to go out and talk about your studio. If each person made 2 calls each, you have just gotten a lot of publicity from your only two calls.

In addition the group will make all the money they need for their program and those getting portraits will have a wonderful memory and a great savings. Everyone wins big time.

Your plan is as follows. Print a certificate that is redeemable for a portrait session and print (probably an 8×10 or it could be a small multi print package from one pose). This can sell for $9.95, 14.95, 19.95, 24.95 or 29.95, anything that you feel will be acceptable. Give the band group $5, $10, $25 or what ever it takes and you agree to for selling the coupon. You get the balance (keep enough to cover your basic costs). Explain to the group that they collect their fee when they sell and deliver the coupon. The coupons are printed stating that the balance (use actual amount) is payable to the studio at the time of the session. Be sure to also print the group name and all your contact info on the certificate. Emphasize to the group that they have no upfront investment, no bookkeeping, no responsibility to keep your money, only a sure fire way to make money for their group.  Organizations like the idea that they have no investment and even if a coupon is lost or stolen they are not responsible to you for any money. If a stolen coupon comes into your studio the customer still has to pay you your money so you are always covered and need never have to go back to collect anything from the selling group.

You can put a fairly short time limit on the coupon that would get sittings into your studio sooner. A longer time limit, say 1 year, would let the group sell more coupons. People could see using these for seniors or Christmas portraits. You could offer an ‘Early Bird’ bonus for those who choose to use the certificate earlier in the year. This gets some action early in the program and gives you the benefit of both long and short expirations.

Your Portrait Photography Fundraiser offers the following benefits: NO money upfront – you provide all the sales materials the group needs to hold their portrait fundraiser. No selling required. Many people within their group will have a family event during the year that would be perfect to commemorate with a professional portrait. The fundraiser merely allows them to obtain this portrait at a discount and contribute to their groups program at the same time. Everybody wins. Purchasers can call the studio at their convenience for an appointment.

People know and trust your portrait studio because you deliver quality professional photo prints at a great price. This program offers your customers spectacular value and is extremely easy to sell.

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

Adobe Lightroom 4 beta Reviews and News

Adobe Lightroom 4 beta is now available for download and evaluation from the Adobe website. This is a full featured piece of software you can use for free until March 31, 2012. At that time you may choose to upgrade or stop using the software. For the professional photographers who want a fast high quality tool to process their raw camera files this upgrade has some excellent improvements. Some of the process module adjustment sliders have been rearranged and renamed to make their use more intuitive. A much requested soft proofing option is now available.

Some great online resources with some up to date information on the new features in Lightroom 4 are:

Michael Reichmann at www.Luminous-Landscape.com  is offering a free 22 minute streaming video showing the primary new features in Lightroom 4. While you are at The Luminous Landscape you should check out their highly recommended photography training videos.

Ian Lyons on his website www.computer-darkroom.com has in addition to his great photography posted a very informative article describing the new features available in Lightroom 4. Read his article:  Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 – Public Beta Preview

Andrew Rodney aka the Digital Dog has posted a video on his website www.digitaldog.net showing the use of the soft proof feature that has been added to Lightroom 4.

If you have never been to any of these sights, be warned, these three photographers have so much amazing information and knowledge available that you will be spending a lot of time on their websites.

Great files deserve quality professional photo printing and some of the very best professional photo prints are available at Pechman Imaging.

How to Increase Professional Portrait Photography Sales Today

To Increase Professional Portrait Photography Sales today you might consider adding event photography to your photo studio services.

To begin make a list of anyone you know who has children in a sport program, dance school or day care school. Contact them and ask for names of anyone they might know who would be in charge of the group. If they do not know the leader ask if they might know of another member who might know. If you do not know of people directly involved with any of these groups you would then just ask everyone you know if they might put you in touch with one of their friends who might belong to such a group. You will be surprised how few people you actually have to ask before you begin compiling a nice list of potential customers

During your conversations with friends who have children in these programs you want to learn as much as possible about their likes and dislikes of their current photography program. Are there services or products they wished they had available? Retake days or how many retakes were needed for their last photo day. How long did photo day take? Was photo day smooth or hectic? How long did it take to get picture packages and were they accurately completed?

Armed with this market research make a list of your business strengths. Focus on describing these features as a benefit to the customer. Be aware that the real customer you must impress is the group leader. Explain your services as benefits to not only the members but also how you always focus your efforts to make the leaders job ‘hassle free’ and smooth.

Now you should be ready to make your appointments. You may need to call a couple of times to get a meeting. Be friendly but persistent and offer helpful ideas during each call. Make them an offer they can’t refuse.  You might partially describe an important service or product that is so interesting or intriguing that they have to see it in person at a meeting.

Remember that you likely will not get meetings with every contact but by making enough calls you will get appointments and book some jobs. Since each job has many customers you win even without booking every jobs. Missed jobs this year will be your leads for next season. Keep lists of contact names, dates of calls and a brief summary of your conversations listing the key details unique to their group you discovered. Since you are in this for the long haul you just need to remain patient and persistent.

Your unique photography and impeccable service combined with professional photo printing is your winning combination.