Future Proof Your Family Photo Memories

Trusting your families photo history to electronic storage only is a bit risky. Take Facebook as an example, most high school age students no longer hang out there. So all those pictures stored there  mean nothing to them.  One simple, inexpensive, highly reliable and very safe method for archiving a families photo memories is to select the most important milestone images and have a hard copy Kodak Photo Print made. Store these prints on a shelf or in a safe in an archival quality print box. Years from now any print can be rescanned and additional hard copy prints can be made for any family member. No need to search through folders of files, old cell phones that no longer work or some cloud that went out of business. A source for archival print boxes is the University Products Company. Your studio can create a product or service to clients by bundling a print box and say 25 5x7s to get them started with their Memory Collection. Place a retail price on the box, maybe have a discounted price with a package or print bundle purchase. You could also gift a box or small bundle of prints with a large order. There are a lot of ways to engage your clients in this idea of preserving their memories with the safety and reliability of hard copy prints.

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.

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.

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.

Do Your Eyes ‘Have It’? Take This Test And See!

Here is a nice color test that will give you an idea how well you can differentiate subtle color tones. Additionally you can use the test to get an idea of how well your monitors are presenting subtle color tones to you. The test I am writing about is found at the X-rite Photo webesite.  Their Color IQ Test is free and you can take it multiple times to try and improve your score or compare two monitors you might have to see which monitor allows you to achieve the best score. That would then be the monitor that is the best to use for your work. A well calibrated monitor will help you achieve a better score. I have found squinting a little so the display gets a little out of focus or soft helps in making those tough comparisons. As you take the test you will realize what I am talking about. An easy test that can become addictive as you try to get a perfect score.

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.