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Product Q&A

Lesson 33 from: Build a High Volume Senior Photography Business

Matthew The Body Kemmetmueller

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Lesson Info

33. Product Q&A


Lesson Info

Product Q&A

Let's go ahead and start back on pricing and let's start with delana import fortune who says and this is a very common thing even if you get good in photography how do you find people willing to pay your price is when there's so much competition in the area who charged so much less you wanna talk about your competition there is no competition it's just me no that's a drake quote I'm just kidding I'm not really feeling that way pricing is it it's a tricky thing because you can't just compete on price if your goal is to be the cheapest person in town if that's if you're like they're charging one hundred bucks I need to charge seventy five you're going to fail it's not a sustainable model and so it is a tricky answer because the clients that your client that you're getting why're, they come to you what are you providing that that's attracting the people that are coming right now like is it? Are they just coming to you because you're the cheapest person in town or is there something that y...

ou're doing that's unique that you can build off of a market too? And I understand that it's um I'm far from the most extensive photographer in our community, but I'm also not the cheapest and there's a lot of people you could go to and get stuff cheaper the me but this is where I need to be to run my business and so uh that jerry bombing quote your price assigns value there's value in my pricing my pricing is a good deal it's something that the client that people can pay and feel good about what they get for it and so although I understand the concern and it's like scary to go out there and be like I'm not gonna take that job I'm not going to take that job because it's just the juice isn't worth the squeeze it's it's scary but it's the right thing to do and just make sure that you're working on your photography and that you're getting amazing at it that you've streamlined your systems and that you've price it out so that you're you're making money great all right lisa d had a question she wants to know if you already aren't established business but you need to revamp your entire pricing model how do you do that while you're already in business? Do you have any thoughts about that way? Did it on a tuesday night answer eyes it's your business and I think that there's a lot to be said for being consistent and offering your clients a level of consistency like you shouldn't be flip flopping from packages all a cart you shouldn't be changing from this to that every other week I mean you need to pick up you need to pick a system and work for and haven't worked for you and we have multiple systems like a our boudoir photography is completely different than our senior stuff there's session fees and there's packages because that's how we drive up our sales in that with that type of work if you're dealing with like the pricing concepts though in staying competitive with it it's just uh you just need to keep working on it, making sure that you're pricing yourself appropriately. I just want to say I love that you answered it with we did on a tuesday because you just simplify it people they overthink things and they get they get they get themselves riled up and you know you just basically just laid it on the line needed it on tuesday and and specifically to seniors specifically to senior photography it's as if there's ah cycle so you're going to have this year's graduates go through, I wouldn't change it in june I wouldn't change it in july. I wouldn't change it in the middle of the year that I'm photographing, but we evaluate things for us. We slow down in december january the for the senior stuff's gone are booed wass rock and rolling our senior subs dead so we change it then and we say next year this is what we're doing and we did like radically change our business because when my dad was running the studio and we were shooting mohr images and they weren't all retouched and the entire proof book was more like our order catalog, it was more like thumbnails and was even mohr images than this on an eight by ten. That was what that's what our proof books were, we didn't have a tv screen, we had zero projection, we changed all that stuff, we just said, this is what we're going to dio this is how we're moving forward, and we were confident as a business to execute that. So I got a couple questions from karen actually about proof books, but you were just talking about karen, emily straw, glam berry and a couple people want clarification around something's with proof book, karen says, do you ever have a problem getting proof books and back? So I have a client now that paid me over a thousand dollars in november, but I can't get them to finalize their decision. So how do you deal with procrastinators, even my phone calls and emails or not return and I just want it done with, and then emily straw, do you charged the client for the proof book sure, they lose it. And glam berrien, when do you give the order book? Are there two appointments, one for picking it up. And one for ordering said, you make people come in three times to pick stuff up four times because they have picked up the order, too. There you go. And actually, that was another question about or tell you, but I love to see you. There you go. Come hang out. Yeah, you gotta come on in. Come on in. Yeah, where it's like general proof book. So? So you ever have a problem getting them back? So let's talk about that one specifically there was there was an opportunity where she really could have made it easier for herself if it's from last november. Is that what it was? Ok, if it was me in that situation, I would have sent out an email december twentieth that said, hey, I need to close out all of my accounts from last year if I don't get your order by the end of the year, I'm gonna have to charge with next year's prices, which are going to go up substantially and I really, really hate to do that to you. Can we get you and the order when works for you now, it's been you've lost the one the end of the year mark but I don't think it would be inappropriate to send an email that's like, hey, you know, six months, eight months, I need to get this off my books, because right now I have a liability on my bookkeeping that's showing me that I have this thing that I need to fulfill, and I'm not able to to do it because you weren't helping me do my job and so that's how I would pursue it, but to be honest with you, if I had a thousand bucks of their money and they had this, I'm happy that's alright, pay a thousand bucks for this paid a thousand bucks for this. You can't do anything with it, he said, home and look at this, but you are going to get wall portrait's off of it. No, one's, you can't print anything of scale off of it. So the smart thing that that person did that I applaud them for was they had money in the bank before that went out, and that actually makes it it's a pain in the buck, but it's not going to crush your business? It sucks, but it's not going to hurt her because I guarantee she does have a thousand dollars in a perfect if you have a thousand dollars in your proof book you're doing. Wrong is though so that's how I would do and how do you get them in the oh like we said it's that we discounted to bring him in we discounted to bring it in and I do not have the desire of to baby sit my clients we were talking about this earlier about client management how do you make keep track of who's ordered what when who's coming in how are you going to view? I don't want to do that stuff so when they come in to pick up their proof book we just communicate hey you're gonna spend a lot more money if you don't get back here in thirty days and I'm gonna charge you that money this is really like don't say pretty please thirty days its real price and so I want you to save the money and then it's on them it puts that that expectation on them to get back one of the things that we didn't talk about emily straws you charged the client for the proof book if they lose it uh it's never happened it never happened. I would yeah, I probably would I don't know uh and that was five dollars a page or it's like a body he's probably one of those things where depends on if your jerk how you approach me about losing it I had a client but they had a house fire and I reported that for free I mean, yeah, I mean that's but if you come in and you put a post it notes all over it and you wreck it yeah, I charge you to reprint it and if you lose it and let's just say that they came in and they placed and it was a u pick session so it's a a hundred and ninety nine dollars minimum order and they came in and they placed one hundred ninety nine dollars order and said I lost my proof look yes, I would charge them if they're like if I feel like I'm it and that's a gut thing like if I feel like I'm getting scammed then yeah, I'm gonna charge you but if I legitimately believe and I don't know if this is good advice or not that's just me being honest with you guys if I think that you're trying to rip me off I'm gonna charge you for it but if you're like now we really lost it in your order falls in line with what I would think was what you were really going to order then yeah, I would let it go I don't know at that point it's kind of ah it's a loss leader I already have my money's done I've already paid my money out whether they keep it or they lost it financially I'm in the same place all right, I think we have a couple questions in our studio audience so for a photographer like myself who isn't in the senior market yet but it's looking to get there maybe someone like regina is in the same boat as myself how did you pick your products? What was your starting point? Where did you jump off from and say like yes, gallery blocks are going to do great or dog tags are a good idea or how did how did that whole thing where you start? Well well, we talked about the sunday one we constantly evaluate our products in our performances so be involved with associations be involved with conventions go to your local state convention there's one going on in south dakota right now for the three state area for minnesota uh north dakota, south dakota those those places w p p ay pepe imaging those places all these companies come and show you stuff they're all there to show you what what's new and exciting and if you work with a lab like if you have a local lab rep he's going to bring out the stuff that he wants to show you and so not only is it like what do you think it's cool because if you're excited about I'm excited about these like I love these so I think they're I legit I think they're super cool like I think this is awesome I do I think this is supercool I would buy that and I would pay money for that and I would pay money to have the custom thing with my kid's name on it I would I would write a cheque and so if you're excited about a product that excitements going to come through to your client and that's going to make it that's going to create that desire but don't be afraid to throw it into if it's not working don't sell it, but your starting point should just be go to your lab, go to whoever you're working with an order samples, get it all and maybe maybe some of it you're gonna get it you're going to like I think this's junk once you get the sample off whatever from any company anywhere maybe you don't like one product that they say said he was a sample if you can't endorse it if you don't think it's good product, don't sell it if you put it on your priceline list if you get all the samples if you spend a couple hundred bucks getting sick rambles and it never sells, take it off simplify it so your jump off point would be talk to your lab, see what they offer, get the samples, see if you believe in anything and then evaluate what's working for you this may seem a little abstract, but this is a hypothetical so we'll take the first shoot in the morning yesterday so you crushed the shoot was fantastic they paid for your minimal one ninety nine order and they got that many images taken they love they come in they see the proof book and they love your work they were so ecstatic they could never imagine they could look so awesome and they want to do mohr now would you start them over like say they want to do more they wanted more shoots are you would you start them over with okay you're going to get a complete new for ninety nine package or is there a they can now do the rest of the shoot for the price difference no I would do it and that's not that abstract that happens a couple of times a year s so it does happen a lot of times like somebody will come in and then they'll see the pictures and we're like oh man this is going to cost me uh why did we only get the medium session I should have listened to him at that point it's a customer service moment I hate got your buy in I don't want anyone to feel like we we got him and so I would say ok like if you if that girl came out and she had the one I need my minimum order so the next step is to ninety nine and we would go outside the studio three ninety nine we would go on location for ninety nine we go downtown, I would adjust it just that and I would meet her downtown where I would meet her on location. We would not do anything in the studio that's covered that's already done. So I'm just gonna meet you on the location and all to a whole nother outdoor part and yeah, it's less profitable for me because there's more time involved because it's two different days and it's two different card downloading zits it's less profitable for me, but at that point the rarity that it happens it's important to be customer service oriented in that and you don't want to make it harder I mean, effectively if you're like, you need to a whole nother session we like I'm really going to stick it to you for wanting to spend more money to be with me. I'm gonna get you because you like my work oh no man spend what you want on I would like I will always take your money. I will always let you spend your money and the other thing that's great that I didn't touch on like really in detail with how our system goes over this is this is actually really important guys what's great about money and how people spend it is the moment they spend it they forget about it and so by having the minimum order system what work so great for me I hear this all the time and I really really I like have to bite my tongue so hard it's like almost bleeding because they covet and they sit down in there like okay we're here to order matthew we love the pictures here's the order catalog and I'm like okay we're looking at this and then I said okay so you want this and you want this you want this and they go yeah and the first four hundred dollars it's free right no honey that's not free money you really paid me four hundred dollars like you have really paid me this money they know it's not free it's just prepaid but in their mind that's free money so what ends up happening is we take fifty box we schedule the shoot week two three four weeks later they come in I take their remaining minimum workers that's another three hundred forty nine dollars case and I have I have four hundred three hundred ninety nine dollars in my bank account but it's been four weeks that's two paychecks okay they come in they pick up their proof book that's two weeks later it's another paycheck they got thirty days to order their products that's two more pages ex so there's so much money that's been able to go through their bank accounts I'm breaking up big amounts of money at one time your thousand dollar order you can rationalize as a six hundred dollar order because that other four hundreds already pre paid that's free money it's so it's a way that people can spend more without because you're breaking up the money it doesn't feel like they're writing this big monster check and that they're just going like oh my gosh I've got to write you a fifteen hundred dollar check no because we already took a lot of your money and if people want to break up their payments I'm sure that that gets asked a lot if you want to break up your payments absolutely I will do it there's no uh interest there's no penalty there's no fees you will place your order. I will not work on your order until it's paid. I don't release well and that's not that's what we tell him that's not true generally we have enough done to cover all the products that we just order it and then but you nothing gets released until it's paid in full. So if you order a sixteen by twenty campus in two hundred wallets and a bunch of five by sevens and a pretends and you only have enough money down to pay for two hundred dollars of that and you call me and say, hey matthew, I just want the wallets nope I need it all because I'm going to get stuck with your stuff hanging out on my on my shelf all the stuff that I have already paid as a business I have money hanging out for you so you need to pay me and and if I'm allowing you to part it out, I don't know what I'm gonna get my money so all right? Well, quite a few people have been asking about out of towners so glam, barin said. How would you set appointments with clients that you cannot physically see after the shoot for example during travels? If an online gallery is not the best, what would you suggest for that kind of work flow and shoot clients clients go away back to his country two days after the shoot that's an example so thank you for the great course they also say, and there was somebody else I think you jumped in as well and it was like what about setting up an online gallery for grand parents who live in another state toe order that was koharu? Yeah, I will do all right this situation where kids moving away, I still want to make sure he has an opportunity, get his images shipping and getting stuff like to another country that kind of seems like a like a pain, but I would do it just because you want to provide surfaces, right? And I'm not in the position to turn down work like that. If they want to come in and do a session, I will get it to it. In that situation, I would do an online gallery. I would do it. You would still have your minimum order, and I would make the client cover shipping. I wouldn't mark up shipping and when charged mohr. But if I got to send your stuff to switzerland, it's going to cost me a hundred bucks toe fedex, it insured your album and all that other stuff you're going to pay the hundred bucks. My pricing does not have shipping incorporated into it, so I would just make sure that that would be clear and in that situation, like if you had a minimum order and if, like it's just it's gonna be more work and that's going to be one of the unique situations where your systems might not line up correctly and that's just because, uh, it's so unique it's so different as faras grand parents and other online ordering. I do online ordering for that for free, but I won't do it until after you've placed your main order, and so you still have to come in with your order catalog, I still have to go through your order. With you to make sure that's clear and then I'll make it online gallery and at that point, it's just I know I'm not going to make anything off and it's got five by sevens and we like to or like an eight by ten, but if you do the primary order as five by sevens and eight by tens, you're in trouble because if you do the primary order online, you're not going to sell us much. You aren't gonna be able to show them these, you aren't going to be ableto you aren't going to be able to be there while they're going through and say, hey, did you get the girlfriend ified by seven? You aren't good, you're gonna miss that interaction, which is going to negatively impact your sales and it's going to make it more work for you because you're gonna have to get the sheet and then go and translate everything and then make the envoys it's just more work, so okay, how do you deal with taxes? Do you are they built into your prices, or do you charge them on top of the list price? We charge above and beyond? And actually I just went through a sales tax audit that was awesome out of him for five years, you know, it's fun about getting audited for five years back. I haven't owned the business for five years so this is one of the times where I was so grateful for my wife because she does the books for my business and all of our stuff was so tight and it actually turned out we've got um we've been over pain on some things so we were fine it was a disaster as faras like time commitments and how much work we had to go through and it was a big big pain in the butt but I want to make sure you know that you can get audited like it can happen it's happened to me and I hope that the guy that they send that does your audit that you aren't his first person ever like I wass because it's supposed to take two weeks and ours took like three months so I hope that doesn't happen to you but you have to charge your sales tax and a lot of people I see like online they comment like well if I email the files then I don't have to charge them tax because it's delivering digital goods and vice in him a cd and I have the charge tax if I do this then I have to do that and if I do this then I have to do that and get out attacks by this way and that way the other way you don't pay tax you charged the client tak max, stop trying to make your books so doing complicated by avoiding something that you don't pay the client pays it it's not coming out of your profit it's not coming out of your pocket charge sales tax run a legitimate business it don't be like I try yeah we tax me tax and it's on top of everything just like every other story go too if I buy stuff I pay sales tax except for food and clothing but that's just minnesota because minnesota's awesome okay, we want to thank you for everything in the segment this going over pricing has been killer and products has been really, really nice. So what are we doing in our next segment? Our next segment? I'm going to bring out my friend jan helen gay minnesota's very owned and she's gonna walk us through designing these custom products and showing you guys how to make grad cards fast and efficiently so that you can make stuff they aren't getting on the block making unique products but not getting lost doing it she's gonna walk you through designing these walt collages as well and we're going to give you tips and tricks on how you can make your own and use your own as well as if you do purchase or have purchased any templates how you can use them more effectively kind of like the tips and tricks that we went through with light room

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Lightroom Start to Finish Guide
Order Catalog
Step by Step LR5 and PS Workflow
Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Jen's Design
Lightroom Templates for Ordering
Keynote 3
Syllabus and Keystroke Shortcuts
Order Catalog PSDs

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

I decided to listen in on the free course of Build a High Volume Senior Photography Business w/ Matthew Kemmentmueller...I thought it would be good to have the skill sets even if I chose to do another photography forum other than seniors. And I was laughing thru the whole thing...he is one funny guy!! So, I decided to buy it...not only is this course full of great tips/advice/ and "did you know facts" but it's really informative and again, he is down right funny. I'm learning lots. Thanks for having him on Creative Live...this one is a keeper.

Diane Yvon

I absolutely loved this course. I am primarily a maternity and newborn shooter and to my surprise what I learned here applies to my current work as well as developing my senior work. I thoroughly enjoyed Matthews delivery of each topic as it was clear, precise, fun and non intimidating. I will watch this over and over and the course downloads were amazing! 100% satisfied with this course


Matthew's class is excellent! I watched it live, but decided to buy it since it's so foundational. I think his information and materials are excellent, whether someone wants to be "high volume" or not. I love how he continually drove the point home about how so many photographers overwork themselves and gave excellent ways to resolve this issue. CL does such a great job of covering the gamut in education of all types. Thanks!

Student Work