30 Days of Wedding Photography

 

30 Days of Wedding Photography

 

Lesson Info

Pricing for Add-Ons

We talk a lot in workflow and just in general in the day to day running of your studio about the things that are huge time sucks for you and one of the things that used to just crush my productivity when I was working my way through the workflow was the album process and I'm not just talking about the album design itself, which did take me forever, but I was talking about how do I get the images from my clients and how do I do this in in a smart way? Do I do it online? Do I do it in person? Do I do like a sail session where I make them make their decisions when they're here in studio with me or do I just completely leave them on their own? I don't know and then when they do that, what do I do about the design? And then how do I prove it? And then beyond proofing it, what do I do if they don't get back to me right away or what do I do if it's a year after their wedding and they haven't made their submissions yet? Like what in the world do I do about all of these things? So I felt like t...

alking about just the album process in general really warranted an entire hour all on its own, so without further ado we do have a seat sitting next to me, we do have a mysterious guest are coming on soon, but we're not there yet, so don't get it too excited but to start off talking about the album design process, I don't do album designs and up selling sessions in person and you know, there are a lot of reasons for that before even really talk about how this goes down the way I do it. You do want to talk about why I don't do these things in person now do I know that if I sat down and had an album sales session with a client in person, I could probably make more money from them? Yes, yes, I could, but then I have to start thinking, when I meet clients, I meet them out of my home, but my home isn't really set up to be a sales place, so if I were to have clients into my home and I were to sell to them there, I would have to modify my living room in order to be ableto have sale sessions there. Do I want to do that? I don't that's that's just not something that I want to do. I live at home with my kids, you know, my husband, my family, I don't want them to feel like the living room of our house. Is a gallery that they can't touch because it's the place that I use when my clients come over right, so then there's that and then the time involved at the number of weddings that I shoot every single year, I'd say maybe two thirds of them end up with an album at some point in time. Well, then I'm gonna have to find time to do these two thirds of my clients and have a sale session with them. The sales sessions would not just be a forty five minute meeting with a client in my home it's a sale session, so I would need somebody to watch my kids from having to pay a baby sitter at new york prices because I can't my, you know, my husband runs his own business. I can't always rely on him to watch the kids every single time I have a sale session, we are lives there, just not you know, I'm not it's just not like that then. So okay, so maybe I really wantto have these sales sessions, so I'm going to open a studio. Well, then I have to pay for a studio. Then I have to sit down and say all of these things that would have to happen in order for me to even have these sales sessions. The money that I would be making from the sale sessions would have to pay for all of these things first before I even start turning a profit so the way it's in it it is simply the way I choose to structure my business I know that there are a lot of people melissa g onus gets up at conventions and talks about their album sales process and they are geniuses at it and there are tons of photographers who are very successful with ease up selling sessions in person I'm not one of those people we've talked already about how I don't run a portrait studio and there's a reason for that I don't like doing it I don't like the sales process not that I can't do it it's that itjust doesn't resonate true to me so I don't so this is how things go for me after a wedding when I'm done shooting a wedding and I put their gallery of images online this happens within six weeks of the wedding date now clients can take their time choosing when the gallery goes online they get an email from me that says hey guys I just want to let you know your pictures are online here's a link to your gallery here's your pass code this is how you go in this is how you access your files then I talk to them about the gallery functionality now when it is time for you to give your images to me when you've major selections for your albums using zen folio, I want you to pick those images and put them in your favorites folder, because when you look at in images in folio, it says mark ass favorite when you're done making all of your selections just going that favorites folder there's a link that says email and email them to me and they now have all of your selections so that's how that goes down and they have the ability to take their time choosing their images. However, after a year there is a surcharge they know this beforehand, and this is written into their contract. You can take up to ten years to choose the pictures that air in your album, and I'm not gonna push you, but every single year after that, the rate on your album is subject to a surcharge based on the percentage that my album company has raised me year by year. So somebody who bought their wedding album in two thousand six if they come back in two thousand fourteen, the book is going to cost me more to produce now I'm not charging them fifteen hundred dollars more, but a few hundred dollars just to cover that difference, I see absolutely nothing wrong with that aa lot of times that he is something that I'm willing to waive for them it's been eighteen months, we had a baby. I'm so sorry. We want to put fifty more images in our album and make it bigger. Can we do that? Is there a surcharge? Listen, usually there is I'm glad the wave that for you let's, just get this book made for you. You know, if people are difficult about it, they're not going to get around the surcharge, but it is something that I can assess if I want to and kindly remove if I don't. So from there on, they submit their selections throughs and folio as I mentioned, they choose them, put them in their favorites gallery. I write these steps down bit by bit by bit. Everybody always forget, so I always have to send it back out to them. But what this does for me is multi fold. I get all of their images in that gallery. I can download them all at one time, so I don't have to go pick them out of the folders. I download them they're all right there, but also for clients. This gives them a chance to see all of their selections all in one place before they submit them to me, and that way, it's really actually cut down a lot on oh, my gosh, I didn't realize we didn't have any family formals are oh my gosh, I didn't realize we didn't pick any pictures from the ceremony. They see every single picture that they've chosen before they click email and send that gallery to me. So from there I edit and fund the album builder, that is how I build my albums, it's how I built my albums for a while, you're gonna learn an awful lot about that. In a few brief moments, I proof with album exposure, fundy does have an album proof for I'm just still in the year that I have paid for album exposure and I'm going to see that on out before I switch over to something else. You know, the album proof for is fantastic through fundy, it is what I want to use. I have a hard time walking away from something that I've paid for, so we're going to see album exposure on out before I move onwards and then clients take their time with revisions. I sent him a link, I tell them that it's online, I tell them how to access it. I tell them how to get there changes to me and then I tell them to take their time now in album exposure, there is something. In there you can use one of your settings that says if you haven't approved this album after a certain number of days, do you want to send them a reminder? I do so every fourteen days after I've sent the proof to them, they continue to get proof for minors and I don't care if you look at those proof reminders for an entire year, you can't then come back to me and be like I made my album selections in october and now it's june of the next year why don't I have my album yet? I can say guys, I sent you an email every two weeks to tell you that you needed to approve it and you never approved it you never made any changes it's back on you and they get to free rounds of revisions they can come back to me two times and say these are the changes that I want and I'm very clear with them the round of revisions needs to come in one email or in one submission through the album software you it needs to happen once it's not can you move the picture on page to page three and then today later you email me oh and page four to page five and then a day later don't wait and can you swap this one and swap this one guy's that's three rounds of revenge since if you think you want to make changes take your time think about it seriously submitted to me at one time it keeps me more efficient it means that I can get through the album's ahead of you in the queue faster which means that I can get to you faster which means we could put the album in your hands faster so we looked at this before when we were talking about pricing on the whole day that I talked about pricing that again it sort of bears repeating especially if you're joining me for the first time today I do have a very serious pricing calculator as to how I come to these prices on we've talked about how on the wedding day collection three it's eight hours of photography only it's nothing else eight hours of photography and your files this is what it costs me to produce it because I am talent I am not retail I do my cost times five to come up with a base price and then we go over to collection to which adds an album and collection one which adds more time in a bigger album and when you come down to the bottom you can see that I have specifically priced out what each book cost me to make and then I take my base times five and I have the cost of my book times three and that's my retail cost of the book put those two together, so if you're still struggling if you're joining me for the first time today, if you're still struggling with how to price your albums and how to come to the actual sticker price on them, come on back to the day that we talk about pricing because I talk about it for an entire hour straight figuring out how exactly you put these packages together so as faras upgrades go, I have a very simple upgrade I don't have a massive catalogue as to how this goes down. The clients can upgrade to twenty five more images for five hundred dollars for any size book eight by eight nine by twelve eight by ten ten by fifteen whatever the price between them is so minimal I'd rather have one set upgrade, charge and run with that they also have the option to upgrade their book itself. It's a five hundred dollar charge to go from one size book to the next size book up so if you've got an eight by ten and you want to go to attend by fifteen and you want to add in twenty five more images, well an eight by ten to one nine by twelve is five hundred dollars a nine by twelve to attend by fifteen is five hundred dollars so it's a thousand dollars upgrade plus twenty five more images in the book that's five hundred dollars so it's, fifteen hundred dollars to go from your eight by ten to your ten by fifteen with twenty five more images it's a very simple formula very, very, very nice and easy, so I show the ala carte album list, but then I also offer custom upgrades so that five hundred, five hundred five hundred five hundred dollars to go to the next album size five hundred dollars to add twenty five more images. I also do custom upgrades for clients if they're like. Listen, I know I've got an eight by ten album and it's got forty images in it, but I think we want to do in eleven by fourteen, but we want to put like, like like sixty one images, innit? Can we do something custom for that? I'm not going to come back to them and say, but you have to have twenty five more images that is how it goes, I'll take that and I'll come up with a custom price for them, but I'm always working off of the cost times three model. What does it cost for everything when I'm talking about what does it cost for everything? How expensive can the book get an eight by ten album with forty images? What if they want one image per page for forty pages? That's is expensive is the album khun b they want a picture on the cover they want imprinting on the cover. What is it going to cost to put together the most expensive version of an eight by ten book with forty images? Those air the prices that I'm working off? So if they will let me put two pictures on the page, if they don't want imprinting on the front, well, then you know, I make a few extra dollars, but I want to know that no matter what request they have, I'm not going to lose money on it. So when a client does get their submissions to me, I get an email from sin folio that says, dear susan stripling photography, a set of favorites has been shared with you created by client's name. Sometimes they give you comments, she said, I've no, these are our favorite sixty five joining to put them in order. Please let me know sometimes they just send it to me with no note. Sometimes they say, you know, we might be missing some ceremony pictures. Can you pick a few more to fill in and stuff like that? And then it says view should set an open shirt favorites page I opened the shared favorites paige, I'm sorry view the should you, the shared set, download it and I'm ready to go so when I go into view the shared set I see exactly what the client is seeing when they've put their favorites in their gallery so I'm dead set and ready to go so what if they're selections are awful and they don't tell a story and that's not my problem and I'm not trying to be harsh if there's elections are awful and they don't tell a story I'm going to go back to them and say, hey guys, we don't have anything from your ceremony and you didn't picture pick anything from your first dance do you want me to add some of those things in there? Do you want to go back in and pick a couple if they're like no, you know what? We're fine we really like what we did okay if they're eight by ten album with forty images is forty family formals and that's what they want that's what I'm gonna make them so I'll try to educate them if I can since they're trying to tell a story and the pictures that they've chosen aren't going to get them there yet I might offer up a few suggestions, but if they say no, no, this is what we want that no no that's what we're going to go with what if they just want a whole album of family formals? Then I'm going to make you a very beautiful album a family formals if that's what you want that's what you're gonna get I'm fine with that what if they just want one image per page that's fine too, because when I've done my pricing model of what this album is gonna cost me, I've priced it for the most expensive version which allows me to do forty pages in a forty image book so if they want one image per page awesome, I know that my prices have been set for profitability even if I do the book that way so I designed by the image not by the page or spread yes I do and this one is a very personal decision. It's mac versus pc it's nikon versus kanan I don't see by the spread when I've tried to design by the spread my clients have come back and inevitably shoved those spreads full of so much crap that the album is just hector and I would inevitably get the question while we have twenty four spreads how many pictures should we choose? And then once you really limit how many pictures they're doing for spread aren't you really going by image anyhow so I would rather go by the image that's how I see a book when I design it that is literally the reason why is because when I do a book I go by the image so that's how I feel very comfortable pricing and packaging what if they want no negative space or some ugly design? Okay, you want me to put your flowers on the back of the page and reduced the opacity and lay other images on it and put your names on top of it and curly text? Of course I'll do that. I have no problems with that. If that's what you want the book to look like, I'm just not going to put my studio name in the book when I deliver it to you. I'll give the client what they want and if what they want to something that really goes against the aesthetic of every single design that they've seen from me that's okay, that they still want what they want. What if they take two years to get me their selections? And I feel really guilty asking for more money? Someone asked me that on facebook the other day, my response man up, they took two years to get this elections to you. Ask them for more money if you have an up charge in your contract, it's there for a reason, don't be afraid to enforce your own policies, and then what if they want more than two rounds of revision? Another round of revision after those two is additional fifty dollars. Payable when we're done with the design and the book is ready to go to print the end again that's one of those fees that if I feel like wanting to waive it, I can wave it if the clients driving me crazy, I can enforce it nice and easy what if they want to do the process in person if they want to come in and do the process in person, we can do the process in person it happens maybe once a year it never results in any more sales because I'm not set up in a way to do sales for something like this it generally ends up being a waste of time because they just want to come in and dither, but if they want to do it in person, we can I just tell them that the way I'm set up to do it it's much easier to do it online and almost finally, why don't you pre design with more pages or images and up cell to the client that way? Now we've all heard photographers say that they have sixty five images in their books who do a spread with one hundred to do an album with one hundred twenty images and then tell them, listen, we just loved your wedding so much that we had to make you a bigger book don't worry you're not in any way obligated to pay for this just let me know what pages you want to take out really? Then they're going to sit there, then they're gonna have to take out pages that you know they're gonna like and then you sort of strangled them into spending more money than their comfortable spending. I don't know about you I don't feel good about myself when I saw that way and I know a lot of people who sell that way and it's not a bait and switch and it's not a terrible tactic if you believe in that you can sell it, sell it all day long you're gonna make more money off of your album than I am, but I would feel really crappy if a photographer did that to me I would feel like I was being told to pick between my children like I don't want to sophie's choice moment when I'm trying to design my album like I just I don't like being sold to like that, so if I don't like being sold to like that, I can't sell to my clients like that it makes me very, very, very uncomfortable and then when we come right down to the nitty gritty, ninety percent of the books that I sell are flush mount from madeira, and if a client does want a matted album, it is a five hundred dollars upgrade the reason being I know flush mount I designed for flush mount. I worked for madeira all the time. If I need to order a matted album from renaissance, I'm going to be deviating from my normal work flow. It's gonna take me a little extra time, so I do know, haven't up charge for a matted album.

Class Description

Success as a wedding photographer requires more than just raw talent and the desire to be a professional photographer. To survive in this highly competitive industry, you need strong business skills and a deep understanding of your craft. In this documentary wedding photography experience, Susan Stripling will teach you how to launch and sustain a successful wedding photography business.

During 30 days of step-by-step instruction, Susan will show you how to:

  • Develop your business — everything from honing your creative vision to marketing tactics to studio management
  • Fundamental shooting techniques for every possible wedding scenario by inviting you along to an engagement session and wedding day and with real-life clients — not models! 
  • Post production workflow
  • Marketing and sales
  • Album design
During the start-to-finish documentary coverage of the wedding day, Susan will teach you how she handles each part of the experience, from photographic technique to client care, all with zero re-takes or re-shoots. Susan will wrap up the 30 days with detailed instruction on post-production workflow, post-wedding marketing, album design, post-wedding sales, and much, much more.

By the end of this course, you will have accompanied Susan through every step of a wedding and will have the skills, mindset, and tools needed to make a living — and a name for yourself — as a wedding photographer.

Lessons

1Introduction
2Evolution of Susan's Style
3Branding and Identity
4Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned
1Introduction to Gear & Equipment
2Lenses Part 1
3Lenses Part 2
4Lighting
1Seeing the Scene
2Seeing the Scene Q&A
3Rhythm and Repetition
4Leading Lines and Rule of Thirds
5Rule of Odds and Double Exposures
1Intro to Business
1Financing Your Business
1Q&A Days 1-4
1Pricing Calculator
1Package Pricing
1Marketing
1Vendor Relationships & Referrals
1Marketing w Social Media
1Booking the Client
1The Pricing Conversation
1Turn A Call Into a Meeting
1In Person Meeting
1Wedding Planning
1Actual Client Pre Wedding Sit Down
1Engagement Session Details
1Engagement Session On Location
1Wedding Details & Tips
1Detail Photos Reviewed
1Bridal Preparation
1Bridal Preparation Photo Review
1Bridal Prep - What If Scenarios
1Q&A Days 5-11
1First Look Demo
1First Look Examples
1Portraits of the Bride
1Portraits of the Bride and Groom
2Family Portraits Demo
3Family Formal Examples
4Wedding Ceremony Demo
1Wedding Ceremony Examples
2Different Traditions and Faiths
3Wedding Cocktail Hour and Reception Room Demo
4Wedding Cocktail Hour and Reception Room Examples
5Wedding Introductions
6First Dance
7Wedding Toasts
8Parent Dances
9Wedding Party
10Reception Events
11Nighttime Portraits
12Nighttime Portraits with Found Light
13Post Wedding Session Demo
14Post Wedding Session Critique
15Wedding Day Difficulties
16Post Workflow - Backing Up Folder Structure
17Post Workflow - Culling Shots
18Post Workflow - Outsourcing
19Q&A Days 12-23
20Post Workflow - Gear
21Post Workflow - Lightroom Editing
22Managing Your Studio
23Post Wedding Marketing
24Client Care
25Pricing for Add-Ons
26The Album Process
27Balancing Your Business with Life
28Post Wedding Problems
29Parent Complaints
30Unhappy Customers
31Working with an Assistant
32Assistant Q&A
33Lighting with an Assistant
34Q&A Days 24-30