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Creating Your Ideal Photography Business

Lesson 34 of 48

Portrait Sales Session Overview

Kathy Holcombe

Creating Your Ideal Photography Business

Kathy Holcombe

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Lesson Info

34. Portrait Sales Session Overview


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1 Class Introduction Duration:07:01
2 How To Price Your Products Duration:05:01
4 Methods For Pricing Duration:10:38
5 Mark Up Factors On Products Duration:05:46
6 What Is Your Per Hour Figure Duration:04:45
8 Target Sales Average Duration:08:04
11 Bundling Pricing Strategy Duration:25:47
12 Pre-Design Pricing Strategy Duration:10:33
13 Album Pricing Strategies Duration:10:33
14 Example Pricing List Duration:17:33
15 Business Basics Overview Duration:07:07
17 Track Your Session Counts Duration:07:19
18 Know Your Sales Average Duration:06:41
19 Importance Of Data Analysis Duration:10:14
20 Overview Of Costs Duration:13:46
23 What Do You Want To Accomplish Duration:13:31
24 Take A Leap Of Faith Duration:20:19
25 Refine Your Vision Duration:12:44
26 Products That Sell Duration:07:48
27 Identify Pricing Strategies Duration:03:03
29 Album Pricing Strategy Example Duration:09:21
33 Sales Strategies Overview Duration:05:45
38 Album Pre-Design Duration:18:51
39 Marketing: Define Yourself Duration:12:55
40 Who is Your Ideal Client? Duration:05:12
41 Who is Your Ideal Partner? Duration:03:27
43 Marketing Strategies that Work Duration:17:10

Lesson Info

Portrait Sales Session Overview

We're gonna start with portraits and we're gonna end with weddings. So when you have a portrait sale, there are several different steps along the way, that are just as critical as that last hour in the sales room. The first one is planning. This is really important. This is where you plant the seeds of the sale. And you talk to your clients and you get 'em excited. Earlier, I shared with you how I talk to a client on the phone. Whenever they inquire about doing a session with us, I pick up the phone and I say, "Oh my gosh, I'm so glad you called, "what is it that you have in mind for this session? "Are you thinking anything in particular, "or do you want us to offer some suggestions? "And did I mention that Peter has this new location "that is so extraordinary? "He can't wait to create something brand new "for the right client!" Wow, that's powerful, that's different than what they were expecting. The planning session gives people the opportunity to explore the possibilities. After tha...

t, there needs to be a pause between when you plan and when you actually do the session. And this pause is very intentional because all those ideas that you threw out when you were planning the session. The client goes to their home and looks at their walls and says, "Wow, that wall's empty." And every time they walk by that wall, that empty space is staring at them. And all of a sudden, those things that you talked about start to live on that wall, in their mind, in their imagination. The wait is important. Don't book the session and do it the next day, unless there's a really good reason to do that. Then, the session itself. The possibilities become a reality. So when you go to the session, they've been imagining all of these things and all of a sudden, they become real in the session. Once they get that experience, they're like oh yeah, I gotta have that. Then, the waiting. Again, between the session and the sale, there's a pause. Don't do it the same day, if you can help it. Don't do it the next day. Give them a week, give them two weeks to think about that experience and relive that experience at that session. Then, the sale. That's where you actually do the selling in person. They're ready, they're primed. They walk in, they're excited, they know what's coming. And all you have to do is pick the image to go with what they have in their head. Then it's really easy. And then you get the waiting again. They start dreaming of their next experience with you. They've had such a great time, they're waiting to get this piece on their wall or their album or whatever it is they're buying and they are thinking about you anxiously anticipating the arrival of that product. It's an entire strategy, that when it's executed, you can be their best friend in the sales room. So, here's how it works. At the planning stage, this is what you do. We talked about pre-design and how important that is whenever you are creating products. Photography is visual and people have to see it before they can dream about it. So we have done the planning consultation many different ways throughout the course of our business. When we had, when we worked in a coffee shop, we would meet our clients in a coffee shop. We would bring in some samples of products. Peter would actually wheel in a suitcase full of albums and prints and different finishes. When we had a sales room, we had our clients come to us and we could show them things on the wall and let them touch things and feel things. It gave us freedom because we were able to show them a lot more than we were ever able to do in a coffee shop. But really, they were both pretty much, similar effectiveness. And then, now I'm probably not in the same state as my clients. And so now, I've had to develop a tool that I can use online and do this planning consultation over the phone. So I've developed a portrait location guide. You guys can find it on our website at If you go to the planning section, you can check out our portrait location guide. And it has hundreds of different locations that we photographed in. And it shows people the possibilities and it starts right in Boulder, Colorado and it goes all the way to Mexico. And every place in between that we love to photograph. And so it's planting seeds that the session can be anywhere and it shows samples of what Peter does because the last thing we want them to do is go to Pinterest and say hey I saw this picture, I want you to make this. That's not what we want. We want them to look through our images and see what we do and appreciate that. So, it doesn't have to be in a physical location, you can do it over the phone, you just have to develop the online tools to support that.

Class Description

Join Kathy Holcombe as she shares techniques and strategies to develop the photography business you desire. Whether you’re making the leap from part-time to full-time or starting your very first business, the amount of work can be overwhelming. From what products to offer, how much to charge, how to pay yourself or the legal considerations - startups often sink before clients are even booked. Kathy will show you the ways to grow your business from the start. 

This class will cover: 

  • Defining what product you are selling and how much you should charge to make a living 
  • Photography business basics and how to track your income compared to other businesses 
  • How to write and create your business plan 
Kathy Holcombe and her husband Peter built one of the top wedding portrait studios in Colorado, then jumped in an RV with the entire family and began traveling the country full-time, and added a successful commercial division. Together they have built multiple successful businesses and have honed in on the important factors that every photographer should consider when building a business. 



I started my business a year ago with little formal technical photography education. It's hard to admit but I've been winging it, figuring out each small task that goes with photographing a session, editing one, and working with clients as I go. I may be doing things backwards, but now that I feel like I'm more comfortable in those small, specific parts of business, I need to figure out how to make this business sustainable and profitable. Kathy's class felt perfect for this time in my business to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of what I want to focus on and where I want to go (and how much I want to pay myself!). She uses realistic, specific numbers: something that's SO helpful and I feel like I rarely see in the photography community. And she breaks everything down in an organized and easy to understand way. The classes were easy to follow along with and Kathy's positivity and patient manner is inspiring and motivating. The fact that she used to be a school teacher is clear. Thank you so much Kathy (and the rest of the Holcombes)!

Jenny Farrell

I am so glad I was able to attend this course in person and receive all the wonderful and practical information Kathy shared with us. I also really enjoyed the connections with other audience members and side conversations with Creative Live peeps as well as the Holcombe family. What an inspiration this family is--lots of practical info, but also a great pep talk to not sell yourself short and get out there and do what you love, but use sound business practice while doing it. Thanks so much for these incredible two days.


Fantastic course! Very helpful instruction and how-to guide for anyone considering starting up a photography business. Kathy was an excellent instructor, with a wealth of knowledge and experience. I gained a good understanding of the practical everyday aspects of running this kind of business, and how to create my own vision.