Pricing & Business Q&A
Do you sell more books? I mean, I can see like grandma, mother-in-law, everybody might want one.
They have the option to buy another one and it would be the same design though. They can't make any revisions from their shoot proof gallery it's an option in there. And at Christmas time is when I get a little more of that. I get a little of influx in that. So yeah.
So can you tell us again, this is from Andrea, what size those are? They're printed at Miller's I think you said, and how many pages and spreads are usually in there?
So they're a 10 x 8, is the one that we use. And Miller's has multiple sizes. They have, I mean, so many different options. This is just a good middle range for us, we felt like this was kind of a good point for us. And we try to keep it at the standard size which I think is 20 spreads, is what it comes out to be. You can do many more pages than that and you just get charged for that. So we try to keep it at the 40 to 50 dollar range. Which is super affordab...
le, you guys. That is super affordable. There are albums that cost you, the photographer, 400-500 dollars so this is... And this is, they call it a book, so I don't think it's not like an heirloom quality like an album but it works perfectly especially for families that come to me once or twice a year.
And again, you're picking those images and they're not all of the images of the digital files that you're giving to people.
Yeah, nope it's not all of them.
And do you mix black and white and color?
Yeah, we do. We do.
Alright, we have some more questions coming in. In terms of your work flow, this is from moon child, how long do you archive those images? And is that, do you keep all of them, those 800 plus, are you just keeping ones from the shoot that you give people?
That's a great questions. So I never store anything on her, on my trusty partner here, my computer because the files are huge. I am a hard drive hoarder. I have like five-bazillion hard drives. They're really pretty affordable. And so I do keep all of the images, I could probably go in and delete the ones that I don't edit but I do keep them all. I don't know why, that's my, like I said, I'm hoarding. But what I do is I always have everything backed-up in at least two places. And so, as far as photo storage goes, I upload to one hard drive and then I immediately back up to another one and then same with the edited ones. I keep the edited ones on that one and then make sure I back it up right away. It's part of my process. And then also one of the amazing things about ShootProof is they have an archive capability and I archive every single session that I've ever delivered with them and it's very cheap. And I do that because I wanna provide, like, I know that this is another thing, a lot of photographers feel like they don't wanna reopen galleries for clients without a fee and I know what it's like to forget anything in life and so I just keep archived and I just reopen it for them if they need me to. They already paid for them, I'm not that worried about it. But that's because ShootProof makes that super easy. So there's a place in the internet where they live, I don't know how that works but... And it's another back-up part thing too which is cool.
Alright great. How do you actually deliver those image files to the client? Is that all electronic?
It's on ShootProof, yeah.
It's on ShootProof, so explain that to us.
Okay yeah, ShootProof is so lovely. I feel like I should go back and show you a little bit more about them but they have an option to download all the files right from their ShootProof gallery. I used to, I thought it was very cute and it was cost of good I didn't need anymore. I used to have these really cute custom USB's I think they were like $20 a piece and then I had to bring them home and then I had, that was more time, I had to get the USB, upload to the USB, package it up, packing is fine, I'm not really an artsy-craftsy person though so it's not that fun for me. Not really worth it. So now they love it because they instantly get their photos when they get their gallery, they can download them right there. And so they love that. And ShootProof also has social sharing and so they share it with their families and it's actually really good for your business. So, yeah.
Can I ask you from Ann S how much you do charge if people are purchasing those additional albums?
For a full album?
Like the duplicate of the books.
Yeah we charge $350 for a duplicate book.
Which is a pretty good profit because they're only like 40 bucks.
Perfect, let's see. How to deliver the files. What's your turn around time, Denise had asked, what's the deadline to give the images to the client?
So this is another one of those things where you'll want to under-promise, over-deliver. So your clients are going to complain if you don't get to your deadline. So what your deadline is it just depends on what you think is appropriate for you. I say one month from their session. I give myself that amount of time because there was a time when I was editing nine sessions at a time. Not happening anymore thank goodness. But I say one month, I usually have them back to them within two weeks. And the quicker the better. That's about client satisfaction. And it's about not having them email you again. You don't want them to email you. I love my clients, I don't want them to email me all the time though.
Great, more questions.
Cool, yeah. I know this is some different stuff, so.
Question for clarification, somebody was checking out your website, which I highly encourage everyone to do, and you show that you have a $200 session fee as well as then the $850 digital package that we've been talking about. Is that $200 deducted from the $850?
It's a deposit. It's a session deposit. So it's to secure their session date. Is what the $200 is. And that's, definitely make sure you have a deposit that is high enough that's gonna make it worth their while not to cancel, so yeah, in order to book a session with me you have to pay a deposit. And then the remainder is due on the session date. And we do all that online too. We invoice online and I don't ever accept payment in person which is great because those of us that are worried about taking money, you don't even have to talk about it. It's all online.
Yeah, online, it's the way to go.
And so, are the clients, again, just ordering the prints through ShootProof as well?
So they order through ShootProof and another magical thing that ShootProof does is they link up to your preferred lab and so when a client orders I literally just go click, and I never see it, have to worry about it again. So if a client wants to order extra prints from me, they order right from ShootProof and then I select the boutique packaging and it shows up at their doorstep, packaged pretty and I never had to see it.
And I've never had anyone say they didn't get what they needed.
Sounds like you got this down, Elena.
I've been at this a while. I'm getting to be, we were talking earlier, I'm getting to be one of those that's been in the industry a long time, 'cause 10 years is a long time around here.
How many sessions are you doing right now per year?
So I do about, last year I did about 180 family sessions. That was a lot. I always do more than I say I'm going to do. I'm trying not to do that this year. But I also do family and I do newborn as well. So it's not all family. I actually ended up doing, if we include the maternity, I did about 200 sessions last year, it was a lot. But I try to only do about two to three a week. And I actually take full months off sometimes and then I just make up for that by doing a bunch more on different months, so. That's the glory of being your own business owner. You can do whatever you want. Yeah?
Do you ever offer mini sessions or do you just say if you want a mini session go somewhere else 'cause I only offer full session?
Yeah, I don't offer mini sessions. I'm not capable of them. It's humanly impossible for me. I have, in my time, in the very beginning days did a couple of mini sessions and then I gave them five thousand images anyway. Because it's like, I just can't do it. I can't be like, okay I'm just gonna click click click and I wanna be able to capture all of those moments so I don't do them, so if anyone ask me I say, I'm very honest, I say I don't do mini session because I'm simply not good at them. I want to give you a gallery of images. I have a very good friend, I keep talking about her, because we're business partners, but Sandra Coan does mini sessions and she kills it with them. So it can be done really well, it's just not for me.
Are you putting any sort of branding on your books?
Okay, and then are you sending them directly to the client through ShootProof or through Millers?
No, we have them, and I keep saying we because my assistant does a lot of this for me and she's incredible, but until last year I was a one-woman shop but we have them delivered to the house and we package them up and we do send them, so, we do package those. But our packaging is pretty minimal. Yeah, we found that it was cost effective to do it that way, I don't remember why we decided to do it but I did want to be able to, I wanna see the album. I don't know why, I love it. It's like a little gift when it shows up on my doorstep.
Do you ever offer incentives to past clients to book a future session with you? Or do you ever have sales or discounts?
I don't ever have sales or discounts. My, so the one thing that I do, I'll give you my strategy for booking out a year in advance. Booking out in advance like that is really great because for job security, right? For those of us that are, I very much am supporting my family on this business. And what I started doing about, I think it's been about three years. This is my incentive for getting them to book is I have a mailing list, we're not talking about email marketing but it is gold. You need to have a mailing list so get those clients on your mailing list. And what I say, is I create a sense of urgency. And I say, in the November prior to the next year, I say I'm going to open up my schedule for next year and these are gonna be the open dates and this is it. When they're gone, they're gone. I'm weak and I often take more sessions then I was supposed to. Like I said, I took like 200 sessions last year. But that's what I do. And I open that up, and within 48 hours, fall's done. And that's been about three years that that's happened. And I'll never, the first year that I did it, I was like oh my gosh, this works. You're creating that sense of urgency. Especially because there's those prime times that everyone wants family photos done. And so that's how I get my passed clients to get on the calendar. And most of them now, they've just come to expect it. And they wait for that email and they book their session. And it's super satisfying for me because that's a really busy time of year and I love that I get to hang out with my peeps again and typically my newer clients, if I take on new people, are in the spring and summer. It's very interesting. That's kind of how it goes. But yeah, so that's how I do that. I don't offer discounts, I don't offer referral incentives. I feel like if somebody, I treat my clients really well when we're together it's a very pleasurable experience so if they are referring I feel good about it because I know that I don't have to pay them to do that.