Selling Photo Products You're Passionate About

Selling Photo Products You're Passionate About

Would you agree that no one likes the idea of the slimy used car salesman? Have you ever stopped to think about and analyze why no one likes that person? It's because that person has no vested interest in the product they're are selling or the people they are selling to. He or she has no interest in the customer or in the car. As a photographer, how do make money selling a service and product to your customers while never treating them like the car salesman would? The answer is pretty simple: take time to find the products that you're actually passionate about and then share that passion with your clients.

When it comes to selling which products to your clients, there are as many different options available as you can dream of. We live in a time where if you can think of it, there is a company that makes it. We have access to prints of every kind and size; canvas, paper (of every stock and variety), metal, wood, and acrylic. There are custom folio books, coffee table books, albums of every size and material you can think of. You can sell custom USB drives, mugs, coasters, and any other kind of accessory item. Identifying which products you care about is the sure-fire way to make a quality connection with your customers.

The real kicker though, despite the near limitless available options, is that you get to choose which products you offer. Let that one sink in because it's really important. You are not required to offer every kind of product on the market. You aren't required to offer every kind of print or every kind of album. It's your job to identify which products you want to have a vested interest in. The simplest way to go about this is to find the products that you would buy for yourself. The items that you would purchase and display in your own home are the products and the passion that you want to share with your clients. 

There are a couple things to consider when you're looking to identify the options you want to offer. First, trade shows or expos are a really fantastic opportunity to see a variety of products in person. You have the chance to talk directly with vendors as well as see and handle the products firsthand. Second, know that it's always appropriate to adapt to your customers requests. If you find that your clients are always asking about something specific, you may want to find a product you enjoy to fill that request. 

Remember that you're not the car salesman. The car salesman doesn't see the customer, only the paycheck. You're fostering a positive relationship with your clients. While the end result is earning money through your work, the process is creating an experience and capturing a memory for the client. Your job is to create work for the customer to cherish, a tangible memory that you can present via the medium of your choosing. I've found that I prefer to keep my product offerings very simple. With too many options I tend to (as well as my clients) get lost with too much variety.

Leave a comment below with some of your favorite products. How did you find them and what is it you love about them?

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4 Comments

Mr Hogwallop's picture

Most everything you say here is said at car sales seminars.

Like any good sales professional a car seller (not all are salesmen, I just shot a profile of a 34 year old GSM of one of the top 10 Nissan dealers, a woman) wants to make the customer happy by finding the right vehicle with the right options. A good car salesperson will listen to what the customer wants (just like a photographer salesperson) and lead them in that direction with the intent on making a profit and the customer happy.

A good photography product seller (different from good photographer) also wants to make the customer happy but also wants to sell the "options". You mention coasters, mugs and sub drives. In the car biz these things are known as "trinkets and trash". Seriously, is any photographer passionate about selling mugs? Nope it the $25 mug that has a cost of $10.

Whether you wrap in up in high performance, luxury and comfort or with beauty, memories and family... at the end of the day, sales is sales. Coffee's for closers.

Just like there are sleazy car sellers there are sleazy photographer sellers. OTOH in my opinion there are only sleazy gym membership sellers...100% are borderline criminal, all due respect.

Great post!! I do agree most people don't like the idea of a slimy used car salesman. (Salesperson...) They have that stereotype for a reason right? Haha. Not to say there aren't good car sales people. Obviously.

I really like what you're saying about picking products that are in demand and also ones that you personally like and are passionate about.

I personally love canvas prints. I saw a really beautiful one and now I want one for myself.

Love your work! Thanks for sharing.

Gabrielle Colton's picture

Trade shows are an awesome way to find what you like. I Was really hesitant to buy prints and other products from anywhere until I saw them all at once at a trade show. Looking online really doesn't do any justice to printed photo products

I was at a photographer convention in vegas recently, I agree. There was actually a sicker convention right next door called Exhibitor. That was wild. Though most of the things there were well out of the price range of a starting business there were some things you mentioned like USB (https://www.usbmemorydirect.com/) but Hogwallop has a point. Any trinkets are just trinkets. Another USB company actually was handing out non-working stuff... literally trash lol

If you want to sell art, make art. There was a company there named ACME Designs that made custom props by hand: http://acmedesigninc.com/

Your either doing that, or your a salesperson.