Home stretch folks! With this article on the photo proofing and sales session, we focus on the second-to-last article in the Your First Customer Series.
If you’re an ethical and honest businessperson, trust me when I say that showing and selling your photos is far less stressful than most beginning professional photographers believe it to be.
You don’t have to dress things up or make your art out to be something it’s not; you don’t have to hard sell or upsell or practice salesman chicanery; you don’t have to do anything that makes you squirm in your seat or leaves you reaching for the Pepto-Bismol.
Your goal when proofing photos for clients and “selling” them files, prints, and products, is simple and noble: do everything within your power to help your client get the most long-term enjoyment possible while staying within their budget.
You don’t have to try and convince your client to buy something they don’t want, but you do want to expose them to options they may not have considered.
For example, I always tell my clients…
“I’m a crappy salesman, I’ll tell you that from the start. I have no interest in selling you something you don’t want. I want to make sure you end up with something you and your family can enjoy for years and years. Let me give you a few ideas to think about as you’re picking out which images you want to buy…”
I then give them information on the products I really, truly feel they will get the most enjoyment from. Wall art for families, wallets for high school seniors, digital files for digital-native families, 8×10’s for elderly relatives, whatever suits that client’s situation.
So take a deep breath, feed the cat, stock food and drink nearby, and let’s dive into the ways you can best present your photos to a buying client and turn them into lifelong customers and referral-makers.
Presentation: Online vs. Live
The vast majority of photogs present proofs to clients in one of two ways: via online galleries or in-person live viewings on a monitor, big screen TV, or projection screen.
I’ll tell you right now from bitter experience: live outsells online every time.
Especially when you’re starting out, you’re likely to be selling to a lower-level buyer – they hired you because you were inexpensive, and they’re interested in getting the most value for their dollar. These are folks who are more interested in value than convenience; they’re more likely to “borrow” your online proofs, print them out regardless of quality, or just post them to their Facebook profile and never buy anything.
It’s no insult to your client to simply recognize trends like these. Even when your client does something that doesn’t strike you as fair (or sometimes even legal), you still want to respect them as clients and people and understand that they are coming from a different perspective than you.
There are ways to meet clients like these in the middle so they don’t become timesinks with no commensurate payoff in the end, but that’s a topic for another article. Today I’ll relate these clients to your photo sales session.
Putting images in an online gallery and letting that gallery of photos sell to your client on their own time and turf is a perfectly valid method to move product; but let’s be honest, it’s not the best way to present your art, educate and help your client get the most long-term enjoyment from their purchase, or build rapport.
A live sit-down with a client gives you face time, lets you build on their overall experience with your business, and lets you play expert adviser. Clients are bound to have questions, and if you’re not there to answer them or even help them know what questions they should ask, you’re doing a disservice to your art and to their ultimate enjoyment of your art.
That sounds more harsh than I mean it to; I know that most likely your inclination is to use the ease and convenience of online selling to do the heavy social lifting for you. A live proofing and sales session requires that you have a location to meet at (your home, their home, Starbucks) and a method to present your art (Apple iPad, laptop, projection screen) – these technical details come on top of the pressure to impress the client and not come off as a used car salesman. Add in the struggle and inconvenience of trying to match schedules with your client so you can get together and proof images for an hour or so, and online selling takes on a shiny veneer.
You’ll gain some time and take a bit of pressure off yourself, but there is a trade-off that I’m not sure balances out: no face time / experience-improving time with the client, no opportunity to educate and assist the client, and because of this, I can guarantee you will get a smaller sale from your shoot.
Clients, especially at the starter level, lean toward buying several small prints of their favorite images – a handful of 4×6’s. They’re cheap and because of one-hour photo labs, they’re familiar to the client. Clients often don’t think in terms of wall art, or groupings, or albums, or Facebook audio slideshows.
If you do find a client who buys these kinds of higher-end products from an online gallery, it’s most likely because a previous photographer already educated them. If you can avoid it, don’t play lackluster second fiddle to a more proactive photographer who came before you. Be that photographer who teaches their clients the value of higher-yield products – show them once, and they’ll be better buyers forever.
For years I did online viewings only, simply because it was easy and convenient. But I was consistently disappointed when my clients would buy strings of 4×6 prints, destined to languish in confinement within a dusty album or wooden box, deeply-tucked on someone’s bookshelf. My outlook fell to the point where I was just thankful when a client bought anything at all instead of stealing the dang proofs for their MySpace pages – forget about wall art or lay-flat coffee table books.
When I upgraded to live viewings projected on a 10-foot screen, the difference was monumental. I started moving some 16×20’s and 20×30’s for the first time, started feeling like I was using my expertise to help clients get real value from their buy, and most importantly for my business, revenues and profits both went way, way up.
There’s something about a scheduled proofing session where a client shows up, checkbook in hand, that creates the expectation of a notable purchase. It’s not as convenient as online, but that’s a good thing; it puts the client in the mindset that you are putting serious time and effort into helping them make a smart buy, and they’re going to reward you for that with a better purchase.
Online proofing and selling is cheap and easy; what mindset does that put your client in?
It won’t bankrupt your business, but online proofing is not going to do you any favors, either. When weighing your options, just be aware of the trade-offs – if they’re worth it for your situation or client base, don’t hesitate for a moment to go with online. Only you know what works best for you as a person and you as a business.
There are more than plenty of successful photogs who do proofing solely online – it’s by no means impossible. But I personally feel there’s more to be gained from the personal touch of live proofing, especially for a newly-minted pro photog in desperate need of repeat clients and all the word-of-mouth referrals they can get.
Whatever venue you choose, let’s explore how to maximize client adoration and personal profits at the same time – easily and ethically.
Proofing online? Get a retainer
I gladly offer online proofing to clients who prefer it to a live viewing. Sometimes folks just don’t have the time or inclination to drive out to the studio a second time. Sometimes they’re only in town for a short time and coming back to do a viewing isn’t possible.
We have a lot of dude ranches around my town and I pick up many family reunion shoots from their visitors. It’s not feasible to ask 12 groups from one big family to come in and view proofs when they’re only in town for a weekend – online is by far the better option for all involved.
I’ve found a simple and fair way to make sure I get paid for my time, run off potential right-clickin’ proof bandits, and give my clients an option to view their photos online at their convenience.
First, get a retainer. It’s this simple:
“We prefer to bring our clients into the studio to view their proofs on our big, color-calibrated monitors, but in your situation it may make more sense to put the proofs into a private online album so you and your family can look at the images on your time and make your purchase from home.
“We do ask for a $100 retainer to put your proofs into an online album, but you get 100% of that back as print and file credits, so there’s no extra charge.”
Then shut up! Let the wheels turn in their heads, and they will either agree that the online album is their best choice, or they won’t. If they prefer to drive back out for a live viewing, that’s their prerogative. If they balk at the retainer, stand your ground – let them know that because of problems you’ve had in the past, if you didn’t collect the retainer, you couldn’t offer online proofing at all. If they still balk, and it’s a deal breaker for them, let them go – odds are real good they’re just looking for a free ride.
I’m a big proponent of very customer-friendly policies, but again – you are a professional and you deserve to be paid for your time. Wild and woolly online proofing combined with my suggested pricing scheme of no session fee and no minimum order just draws too many digital proof bandits.
For the retainer amount, I like 10 times the price of your smallest regular print. If you charge $10 for a 4×6, ask for a $100 retainer. If you charge $40 for anything 8×10 or smaller, ask for a $400 retainer. Scale your retainer to match your print prices and your market – a part-time photographer averaging over $1,000 per client shouldn’t have the same online retainer as the startup averaging $50 or $100 per client.
A word about watermarks and copyrights
If you’re going to do online proofing, you’re going to get right-click proof bandits. The “it’s digital therefore it’s free to copy” mentality of netizens hasn’t waned much, despite the fine efforts by iTunes and company to create attractive alternatives.
I for one love it when my clients “steal” their proofs. Hell, retainer in hand, I encourage it. I tell them…
“You’re welcome to ‘steal’ any of the proofs from your album for your Facebook, MySpace, or to e-mail to friends and family. If you have any favorites that could use some touch-ups, just let me know, and I’ll do some custom Photoshop work on them at no charge.”
(at least a half dozen grognards just clutched their chests and reached for the Bayer aspirin…)
“The only thing I ask is that you keep my framing on the image with my logo and web address on it.”
Never – I repeat, never – have I gotten into a copyright fight with a client over ‘stealing’ proofs with this practice. If you just take a few minutes to educate them as to what they can and can’t do, then find ways to help them do what they want legally and fairly, they’ll do the right thing. As always, anyone who doesn’t is in the vast minority – don’t stress about them.
As with my philosophy on session fees and minimum orders, don’t treat your clients like criminals. They’re paying clients who love your art and experience and are willing to trade their hard-earned money for it. They’ve trusted you to do good work – trust them to do right by you. The few who don’t aren’t worth worrying about to the point that you degrade the experience for all your other clients.
As for how to watermark your images, you can see at the top of any post on this site an example of how I do mine. A semi-transparent thin bar across the bottom of the image with my logo on one side and web address on the other.
I don’t write PROOF in massive half-opaque lettering across the center of every image, nor do I put a massive © dead center on every proof, nor do I write DO NOT COPY all over my site and images. Do you think your clients feel respected and valued when you take every blatant precaution to guard against their stealing your photos?
If your default impression of your market is that of a bunch of thieves and criminals hell-bent on pillaging your business into bankruptcy, I’ll tell you now, you’re in the wrong business. Go into IT security – you’ll do great, kid.
Letting my clients post their watermarked proofs on their MySpace and Facebook pages has multiplied the volume of my business. There’s little better endorsement marketing you can get than a senior or family using one of your images as their default profile photo for all their hundreds of friends to see.
Educate your clients in a respectful way, then give them credit that they’ll do the right thing. They’ll respect the fact that you’re one of the rare few photographers that doesn’t treat them like bank robbers. It’s an easy way to differentiate yourself from your competition.
In a future article I’ll cover the wide, wide variety of venues you can use to do online proofing. You’ve got self-hosted, third party-hosted, full-service options and more. I use a self-hosted gallery with a shopping cart plugin. You may prefer to start off with a service like SmugMug to handle your online proofing and sales. You might use a combination of Flickr and e-mail to take orders.
Whatever you use, try to make the experience for your client as pleasant and simple as possible. Don’t let the service, technology, or process get between your paying clients and the art they want to buy.
The hardware – Live Viewing and Sales Session
Want to improve your per-client average on sales? Find ways to improve their overall buying experience.
The quality of your art is the first factor in how much you’ll earn per client, and what you can charge clients for your work. Second, though, is the experience your clients enjoy while working with you such as, during a proofing and sales session, how you present your art for their perusal and purchase.
Assuming you’re starting at the bottom and working your way up, you may do your first in-person proofing session on a slow little laptop in the middle of Starbucks. With time, clients, revenue, and investments back into improving your clients’ purchasing experience, you will eventually do live viewings in your own home or studio; on a big screen monitor, projection screen, or perhaps even in a dedicated viewing room with comfy couch, your art on the walls, and a waterfall in the corner.
Or perhaps not – you may prefer the privacy and free-spirited nature of doing location proofing sessions at the local coffee shop or in clients’ own homes. I’ve met photogs who do well with laptops and portable projectors to show full-size proofs right on a client’s wall. As they say in car sales, behind the wheel seals the deal.
From my experience, the larger you show your images, the easier it is to sell large prints. Most folks think an 8×10 is a big print, easily large enough to mount on their walls – at least until you show them how glorious their photos look as 16×20’s and 20×30’s.
Don’t discount using prints to sell prints. Many photogs for years have printed 4×6 proofs from photo shoots to use as sales tools. An investment of $10 or $20 on a set of printed proofs, including a few of your best shots as 8×10’s or larger, is a smart one.
Consider the benefits of printed proofs: equally effective for proofing on location or in your home/studio, no need for a laptop or computer monitor for display, no investment in new tech or equipment needed, tactile for clients to touch and handle, as mobile as a good laptop with no worries about dead batteries or technical issues, and probably best of all, they’re immediately available to sell: consumers pay better for convenience and immediate satisfaction. You can even offer the set of proofs as a single product for a discounted price. What you don’t sell you can use as examples for future clients.
However you show proofs to your clients, do so with confidence. Whether it’s on a 10-inch netbook or a 10-foot projection screen, feel good about the art you’ve made together and share it with enthusiasm. Your attitude, as much as your proofing tools, will help you sell your art.
The software – Live Proofing and Sales Session
Any computer you use for proofing is going to come with the software you need to show your art. Windows, Mac and Linux computers all have built-in image viewers that work great for displaying your art full-screen and zoomable.
Upgraded photo viewers, like the Bridge viewer that comes with Photoshop (which is what I use), add some helpful features like being able to tag or otherwise mark images as you view them. This is vastly convenient when you’re flipping through photos clients and your client says, “That’s a keeper… That’s a maybe… Oh, definitely no.” Two stars, one star, no stars – then you can sort and segregate accordingly. Easy peasy.
Most photo viewers include a slideshow option, which combined with some nice music, is a great way to initially present a photo shoot to your client. You can do this with your basic viewer and a separate music player like Windows Media Player or iTunes. Some advanced, sometimes expensive, photo viewers can do pretty fancy things to show off your photos. They often include royalty-free stock music that eliminates the legal complexities of what you can and can’t play during your presentation.
One of the most popular new photographer services is web-based Animoto, a slideshow program that makes very impressive slideshows easily – and importantly, for you to sell to your clients. A slideshow your clients can easily purchase and share with friends by e-mail or on Facebook is an attractive product that digital-friendly folks will pay well for. Animoto and similar purpose-specific software makes this an easy addition to your product offering.
For your hi-res digital file sales, you’ll also want some CD burning software, and if you have a decent printer, good label-making software. I use the freeware CDBurnerXP with the SureThing CD/DVD Labeler software along with the dead easy unitasker Avery CD/DVD Label Applicator to provide impressive CDs to my clients.
I also include a little “Copyright and License.txt” file on each CD which includes my contact info and in layman’s terms outlines what I ask clients to do or not do with their images. When I’m sitting with a client and burning their CD, I tell them about the file and what it’s for. Again, educate your clients and they’ll do right by you.
Location, location, location
There’s a great deal of talk and sometimes money put into where photographers hold court for their proofing and sales sessions. Some photogs do so in their clients’ homes, some do it in Starbucks on a laptop, some have beautiful and elaborate sales rooms.
While I believe in creating the most positive and memorable (as Seth Godin would say, ‘remark-able‘) experience possible for your clients, I’m also mighty frugal. I don’t think having a professionally-decorated sales room is overly beneficial if you’re selling to a low-end market. Does Wal-Mart have leather couches and fountains in its bathrooms? No, but The Madonna Inn of California sure does.
Scale your presentation to your market. Most of us want to end up in the fancy sales room with the projection screen and canvas prints on the walls, but that in no way means you have to or should start there.
Wherever and however you do your proofing and sales, be confident and comfortable. Don’t be ashamed if the best you can do is a set of 4×6 proofs laid out on your client’s dining table. Don’t be ashamed if you’re showing images in Windows Photo Gallery on a 10-inch netbook. Focus your energy on helping your client get the most enjoyment from their purchase and you’ll quickly bypass any imperfections in your presentation.
As an aside, I’ve always loved coffeehouses for client meetings. It’s modern, it’s artsy, it smells fantastic, the atmosphere is light and friendly, and four bucks is a great deal to ‘rent’ a table for a couple of hours.
Preparing To Proof
Okay – you’ve got a location and method for showing proofs to your client. Let’s get ready to make some money!
Regardless of where and how you present your proofs, be prepared:
- Dress nice and smell fresh. Don’t go overboard on the cologne or perfume. Remember, you’re still making an impression – present yourself as professionally as you present your art.
- If presenting on location, make sure batteries are charged and carrying case or bag is clean and organized. If you’re nervous, do a run-through of the entire process before your presentation. Software should be working great, your slideshow should look and sound good, photos all where you expect them to be and looking their best.
If you’re meeting a client at their house:
- Smile a lot, accept any hospitalities your host extend (drinks, snacks, tour of the house or property). Don’t take anything you don’t like, but allow your clients to be gracious hosts.
- Take control – find a great spot to present your art. A kitchen table is usually a good neutral ground where everyone can snuggle up and get a close look at the images together. Everyone should be comfortable and able to easily see the proofs.
If you’re meeting a client at a middle ground like a coffeehouse:
- Needless to say, get there first and get set up. As with an in-home sales session, find a great place to set up where clients can be comfortable and see your art. Try to find a quiet corner so everyone can be heard easily.
- Make sure your waiter or barista knows your name and that you’re meeting a business client. Let them know your client’s tab is to go on your bill, no question. Show forethought and preparation – your client will be both gratified and impressed. Consider a couple cups of coffee, glass of wine, or cappuccino a very worthwhile business investment.
If you’re meeting a client at your home:
- Be set up and ready to roll when your client arrives. Make sure the room is comfortable in temperature and light, that everything is clean. tidy, and dust-free, and that you have drinks and snacks available. For adult clients, it’s not inappropriate to offer a glass of wine. Having coffee brewed or brewing can also create a nice aroma and show your consideration of your client’s potential needs. Spray a light air freshener if you like – as with cologne and perfume, don’t overdo it.
- Make sure distractions are limited. Turn off the phone, TV, and radio unless it’s providing the soundtrack for your sales session. Have your spouse take the kids outside to play, out of earshot, and let them know not to disturb you during your session. Same with pets – a barking, jumping, scratching, whimpering dog will only annoy your client. You have control over your home, your domain – design as pleasant and delightful an experience as possible.
- Don’t forget to clean the yard and entry to your home. A great sales room only does you so much good when your client steps in dog poop or trips over your son’s bicycle on their way into your home.
Presenting & Selling
This is the moment that many new photogs worry about so much – showing art to a client and taking their money for it.
But if you’ve done your job – listened to your client, conducted an attentive photo shoot, and prepared your images and environment for presentation – this is one of the easiest and best parts of being a professional photographer.
Be confident. Feel good about getting to share the custom art you made for your client. There’s nothing to fear, so don’t let fear bog you down with nervous thoughts like, “What if my art’s not good enough? What if they’re disappointed in my photos? What if they think my prices are too high?”
Listen – your clients already want your art. If you ethically marketed yourself, your clients knew what they were buying before they booked with you. If you took your shoot seriously, did your homework, practiced, and then performed to your best ability, you’ll likely deliver art and an experience far beyond their expectations.
I like to start my proofing session with a slideshow. Often just a fade transition with some select tracks (legally licensed) playing in iTunes. It may take a few minutes, but a good slideshow with music can set the mood for your entire session.
As soon as the slideshow ends, let your clients share any comments of admiration, then be sure to compliment them on the shoot – tell them how much you enjoyed shooting with them and feel free to share an anecdote about one or two select images from the shoot. If you exude positivity and enthusiasm, so will your clients.
Here’s my general process (and as always, philosophy) to help you help your client get the most out of their art purchase:
I start, as noted above, by telling my clients I’m a horrible salesman and that my intention is only to help them buy what will give them the most long-term enjoyment and personal value.
“With that said…” I tell them what kinds of products I think they would get the most enjoyment from. Depending on the buyer (senior, senior parent, newborn parent, family of four, family reunion, 50th wedding anniversary, etc.), I’ll suggest different products that I feel they will enjoy. I always encourage clients toward more visible and sharable products like wall art for the home, wallet prints for friends, 8×10’s for close family, digital files for Facebook profiles, etc.
I tell clients that although most folks lean toward lots of small prints like 4×6’s, those tend to end up in boxes and albums that just collect dust and aren’t enjoyed daily. Wall art, for example, will become a centerpiece for daily enjoyment by family and a conversation piece with friends and guests.
Clients may ask for a reminder of your prices and a pad to write notes on; have these ready.
Flip through images first to last with your client giving a Yes, No, or Maybe on each one. Let them know this process is to cull down the overall selection and show only the best images they want to consider for purchase.
Once you’ve primed your client with some ideas and concepts they might not have thought of, tell them to start with the bigger pieces and go down from there, whatever they want to buy. “Start with what you really want to have and enjoy for a long time, and we’ll add in the rest as we go.”
After your first pass, clients will usually have cut down the selection by 50-percent or more. Keep in mind what I’ve said in previous articles – as your art improves, so too improves your ratio of must-have’s to good shots to leftovers. As you grow as an artist, clients will have a harder time not buying more and more of your art. You’ll see your per-client sales averages grow with every measure of style and experience you gain.
Separate out your No shots from your Yes and Maybe’s. Move the Yes and Maybe images into a separate “Best” folder, or if you use a program like Bridge with built-in rating and sorting features, filter that way. Separate the wheat from the chaff so your client can more easily peruse and purchase.
After the initial slideshow and the culling pass, your clients should now have a pretty good idea of their favorite images and what they want to buy. Bring up their Yes and Maybe images in a thumbnail view and make those thumbnails big enough to easily tell one from another (I tend to go for 8-10 on the screen at a time). Slowly scroll through the set, and ask your client what they would like to start with.
At this point, unless your client asks for advice, get out of the way. As they peruse images, slowly scroll through their options, and let them know they can ask you to scroll up or down, or to see an image full-screen. You’ve primed them to make an educated purchase, so give them control here and hush – let them consider and buy what they love.
If your client does ask your advice, give your honest opinion. If you have comparisons to offer from other clients, give them. If you have a personal opinion, give it. Just be honest, don’t try to upsell or be a salesman. You’re not trying to make money – you’re trying to help. Give advice as you would to a close friend. Treat a client as such, and they will respect you for it – and buy more because of it.
Let clients go down their mental list of what they want and need to buy. As they wind down or seem to get to the end of their list, ask if there’s anything or anyone they’re forgetting – desktop prints for the workplace, hi-res files for home or office computer wallpaper, prints for grandparents or extended family, prints for close friends or godparents (that’s one that is often forgotten), etc. Again, you’re not trying to make more money – you’re trying to help. You should never have to convince a client to buy something – your role is to present, advise, and facilitate maximum enjoyment.
When your client does finish their purchase, glance at your notes (you were taking notes during your presentation and proofing, no?) to see if there’s anything they mentioned wanting that they forgot to buy, then tally the purchase.
The grognards say you should never tally in front of a client. They tell you to go into a separate room to do the adding because, as the numbers climb, so will your client’s blood pressure. Walk back in, hit them with the total and without pause say, “How would you like to take care of that?” Don’t give them the chance to back out or have second thoughts, they say!
Here in Texas, that’s called horses***. Straight-up, hard-selling chicanery. If you have to trick and trample your client into buying beyond their wants or means, your business model is flawed, to say the least.
That said, when you do give your client a total cost, shut up! Photogs new to selling and not yet confident in the worth of their art are all too ready to start offering discounts and concessions, even before the client says a word.
“Well, umh, uhh, geez, ehh, the total is $254.42, but that’s a lot of money…how about $200 even? Is that okay? I can throw in some free 20×30’s, would that be alright? Or I could just give it to you for half off, err, uhh, how about just $125? Is that too much? I’ll throw in FedEx overnight shipping for free…”
To quote The Interwebs, “STFU!”
“Your total today is $254.42,” said with an adoring smile.
“Alright, will you take a check?”
Is that what you were so scared of?
If a client does balk at your prices or the total of their order, don’t devalue your work by providing discounts and concessions; offer to help them reduce the size of their order. Never negotiate or start discounting just because a client doesn’t want to pay your prices. Your art is worth what you ask, probably even more, but there’s no reason you can’t help a client identify where they can trim their order and still get great products to enjoy.
No matter what a client buys or how much they spend, treat them all with the same respect and enthusiasm. If a client buys one $10 digital file on CD, don’t scoff or insult their purchase. If a client buys $2,000 in massive prints, don’t fall out of your chair or become star-struck and gushy. Whatever the purchase may be, show humility, gratitude, and professionalism.
And don’t ever feel guilty for taking someone’s money. I’ve spoken with plenty of new pro photogs who expressed guilt for taking a hundred or so dollars from a client. Again, your art is probably worth more than what you’re asking, and it’s every bit the client’s right to buy what they want and can afford. If you sell to them ethically and honestly, you never have to feel bad for taking clients’ money. Most clients will hand you a check while thanking you for doing the work you do – it’s a good profession we are in.
Remember: just because you wouldn’t pay your own prices or couldn’t afford them, doesn’t mean your clients won’t or can’t.
Take your client’s payment and thank them for their business and the opportunity to work with them.
If you didn’t at the photo shoot, have them sign your model release right after they sign their check. Ask if you can send them your e-mail newsletter and/or add them as a friend on Facebook.
Explain what happens next; that their print order should arrive from the lab within 3-5 business days, or their CD will be available for pick-up in 15 minutes, or whatever is appropriate for their order and your delivery policies.
As soon as your client is out of sight, perform a well-articulated fist pump.
Soak it up – you’re a money-making professional photographer! Truly, from me to you, congratulations!
There’s one more article to go in this series: The Follow-up. I’ll share with you some hints and tips to make a great impression with your clients after the sale, and how to maintain a positive presence in their lives so you get the most and best word-of-mouth marketing possible.
As a side note, thanks for sticking with this article beginning to end. Six-thousand-plus words is a beast of an article to read online (roughly equivalent in size to 17 pages in a novel), but I hope what I presented here will greatly benefit your photography business. With a pinch of confidence and a lot of respect and love for your clients, you’ll soon have to hire people to count your money.
- Educate yourself on what royalty-free music is and where you can get it. Photogs don’t want people violating their copyrights, so don’t violate the copyrights of your fellow artists.
- Brainstorm session: Unless you’ve been hanging out in Tibet all your life, you’ve probably been a pretty regular consumer of commercial goods. You buy food, cars, electronics, toys, clothes, etc. What are some of the best sales / buying experiences you remember? What made them special? What about those experiences can you emulate in your own sales sessions? File this in your Brainstorms folder.
- From tasty tidbits to long-form journalism, I do my best with PartTimePhoto.com to share my experiences as a part time professional photographer so you can confidently make your transition from an amateur photographer to a paid professional. If you like what you’re reading here, feel free to click on the “Subscribe” link at the top of any page of this web site.
- What was your best-ever proofing and sales session like? How about your worst? What tips have you picked up that have helped you better thrill your clients and sell your art? Leave a comment below, e-mail me, or call or text me at 830-688-1564.
- Culling and post-processing your first photo shoot – Your First Customer Series, Part 8
- How to watermark your photography proofs for the web
- What should I charge for my part time photography? – Your First Customer Series, Part 3
- You’re going to get screwed doing part time photography
- How can I find time to be a part time photographer? – Your First Customer Series, Part 1