Clients these days prefer to stare at your work on their phones rather than a framed work of art to pass on for generations. This is where the art of selling prints comes in to play. In just five simple steps learn how to take your print sales to the next level and see why once you start selling prints, you'll never look back.
After a photo shoot these days, most people will give their clients a full digital gallery of hundreds of images and call it a day. This emphasizes quantity over quality, and decreases the value of your work. If you're in a rut of clients knocking on your door, the best way to turn those margins around is by increasing your initial sale on the shoot. Learn how on my first in-person sales portrait session, I made the biggest sale of my life and picked up a handful of tips and tricks to share with you.
Step 1: The Pre-Consultation
What sets you apart from the thousands of other photographers people can chose? Is it your style? Is it your professionalism? Is it your personality? It’s actually all of the above. You never get a second chance at a first impression. Blow your clients away from the instant they walk in the door. This is your chance to shine. One of the first things that should be in your sales pitch “I sell art that will last for generations, not photos that will sit on a disk and never be seen again.” People will invest big money for art, so sell them on that.
When the client asks to see your work, make sure to purchase samples of your photos, and present all the products you have to offer. This way the client can see what it feels and look like in real time. If you want to sell big prints, show them big prints. Showing the client the samples that they could feel and touch will show show them that the 8x10-inch print they want to get at Walgreens will not compare to the art that you're offering. When the client walks out, they should have a feeling for your work and what you do.
Step 2: The Shoot
Fast forward two weeks. The contract is signed and the shoot is booked. When the client arrives on set, dress professionally, get a good night sleep, and be ready to impress. The most important thing to keep on mind when on set is to make the client as comfortable as possible and to have fun. Cater the shoot to them and capture their excitement. Shoot for what the client wants, but also keep in the back of your mind which shots would make epic prints. Think with the end in mind. On the shoot take time to go through the images with them and have them rate their favorite photos. This will come in handy for the sales session.
Step 3: Preparing the Images
In the two weeks from the shoot until the next time the client sees the finished pictures is one of the most crucial parts to the sale. During this time after you’re done editing the images from the session, be sure not to send previews or post anything online for the clients to see. This will make them lose their excitement when you reveal them.
When the album is all edited, refer back to the images from the shoot that they rated and go ahead and make an investment. When selling prints, there could be a loss, but also has potential to have massive gain. Invest your time and money into something a client values. Go out and buy the biggest prints you have on your price sheet. Invest in a fully ready piece that your client could walk away with and hang on their wall. For my highest selling shoot, I spent $800 on one 30x40-inch canvas and a fully matted and framed 30x40-inch portrait. This was my selling point to my highest package.
Lastly, put together a slideshow of the best images from the shoot. Put an emotional soundtrack behind them and a short message at the end and you’re good to go. Place the best photos (the ones you already printed) at the beginning and end so the client starts to connect with the work on an emotional level and therefore is willing to invest more.
Step 4: The Sales Session
When the client arrives two weeks later having not seen the final images yet, they have a feeling of excitement and are ready to purchase their products. This is the perfect time for you to blow their minds. Before they arrive, ask them their favorite food or drink so that when they show up you have their favorite snack sitting there. Make them feel like kings. As they're munching on their favorite snacks, roll the emotional slideshow. Get those tears rolling and those chants of excitement going. It does not matter how much your prices are; if you play the cards right, and make your clients fall in love with your photos, the price will be second nature. Structure your session in a way that puts your clients in front of their photos for as long as possible, and get them emotionally involved. Emotional attachment comes first, then prices.
When the slideshow is finished, bring out those prints you put all your time and money into and surprise them. It's an emotional high for them. Use those prints as a selling point to your biggest package. The next step is to run through your price sheet and album layouts (my price sheet can be seen below).
When designing your collections, it’s crucial to show the clients what their prints will look like on their walls and show them what sizes work and what sizes don’t. Work with them to create a custom collection. For this I used ProSelect. ProSelect allows you to design collection on the client's actual walls and really helps sell those bigger prints. After seeing what an 8x10-inch print looks like on their wall, clients will always jump to the bigger sizes.
One thing to keep in mind is to be confident. On a sale where you want someone to make an investment in your product, it could be nerve racking, but if you’re confident with your prices and your product, the client will feel it and trust you. If you're mumbling your words, or get nervous talking about money, the client will never invest in you. Be confident when showing them your work. Be confident when designing the layouts with them. Be confident when answering any and every question the client throws your way.
After the selections and layouts are made, and the hard part is out of the way, go off to the print shop and bring your client's photos to life.
Step 5: The Reveal Session
Another two weeks have passed and the clients are eagerly awaiting their stunning prints. When I print my shots, I use my local printer and framer, however there are dozens of websites out there that print your work like Millers, BayPhoto, or AdoramaPix to name a few. When preparing your images for the reveal session, be sure to make them look pristine, elegant, and worth the clients investment. This means printing the photos on the right paper that best presents your work and picking the right color frame. When the client arrives to see their final images, make them feel like a million bucks. Have the prints wrapped up and elegantly presented. You want the client walking away with memories that will last a lifetime. This is where you leave them with their last impression of excitement and use that to drive more customers to your door.
I hope this article opened up your eyes to a new realm of photography, and hopefully inspires you to go out and push your business to new heights.