Skip to main content

Inside the Home Studio

Lesson 10 of 31

Making the Sale

Tony Corbell

Inside the Home Studio

Tony Corbell

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

10. Making the Sale

Lesson Info

Making the Sale

what's wrong with this let's say in your mind you have an average sale price that you want all of your sales toe average out to whatever the number is in your brain right now that you're thinking I don't care you don't have to tell me the number but let's just say let's say on a family session and you're doing family portrait so maybe you want your average to be two thousand dollars I'm just I'm just pulled a number out of the air so the next time somebody calls and says hi pam I'm so in some way heard nice things about your photography we saw some of your samples you had a display at the mall and I would love to see what kind of rates you charge what your what your what your prices for photography why couldn't you say well our average client spends around two thousand two thousand five hundred some kinds of course will spend more than that some clients will spend a little bit less than that but that's about what our average client spins you've just set them up for what you hoping that...

your average will be is there anything wrong I've seen about that statement our average client spends about this that's a pretty honest statement to my way of thinking and you know right away with the next thing that comes out of their mouth if there are potential candidate as a client for you or way were thinking one hundred fifty bucks they're not the client for you if you're trying to get an average of two thousand why would you try to talk them up don't even bother you'll never get him up they're not driving a mercedes in your community well they might be but they don't value photographs that's that's the point there too they have to value the work and it has to mean something to them to do this does this make any sense the number I don't care what the number is the number is really kind of on the side I want to make sure that everybody that I know and everybody that I have any have anything to do with is making a living at this but I also want to make sure that everybody's getting fees that are appropriate to the quality of the work commiserate with the work you know if you're doing a great great job you should be paid well for it if you don't average job well then you should be an average money that's fair I just want to be fair you know so think about that think about think about how you might want to handle that phone call pam how do you what do you charge for your rates well we have a session fee that's a hundred fifty dollars then well you'll do is you'll come in and we'll come back in for the viewing session and then our portrait prices we have a point a collection that begins at three hundred fifty dollars then they pretend started this price and it stop all that let's just get down on the bottom line here alright just client spends about two thousand bucks maybe twenty five hundred does that sound like it's in your price range or what you were thinking about budgeting for portrait of your family but two kids that are about to move out of the house and you'll never do this again because they're going to get married and you'll never do this again I'm just saying I'm not saying use those tactics but just saying right it's a funny thing to me how most photographers are terrified of this discussion right here most are terrified by this discussion and most are heaven's such a struggle because they won't ask for the money you gotta ask for the money are you need to hire someone that will but the money has to be there I am know what it costs you guys in equipment I know what it cost you and continuing education I know what you spend every month and cc photo adobe I know what it cost you to do all of the things that you guys were all doing cost me two we're all spending that money you got to get back somehow don't talk about upgrading insurance want to talk about maybe buying a new lens for god's sakes this next year budgeting to goto won the national conventions imaging yusa or w p p I r where were you wanna go to study from somebody else that might be able to help you move up one more click and get another zero somewhere oh that takes the money you can't keep giving it away can't find out in your communities where you are I just know where you are in the in the food chain of price find out where you are and if you're happy with where you are great if you're not if you two high maybe you wantto tony back of it maybe for too lo you maybe want to pop it up a bit but think about that in terms of of money I think that one of the things is you got to develop a personality for your sales and what I mean by that is are you going to be a hard line sales person are you going to be a little bit softer about it and you know the difference you've talked to people that do both when you're in the department store you wantto learn sales techniques chest go to nordstrom's go to the one here and go to the shoe department are you kidding me have they ever given anybody a bad shopping experience never that's not that's not in their dna their dna is to make sure that you have a perfect experience that's their dna I asked you earlier what could creative lab do better for your experience being here is an audience member you went oh my god this is perfect they couldn't do anything it better right they want you to come back and they know that everybody you touch you're going to talk about how great creative life so I'm lying they gave me a great customer experience because I'm their customer today it's great experience those great experiences or what you have to create for your clientele as well and it starts by coming up with what is your personality how are you going to do this more more than just a number it's about it's about greg daniels done in titusville florida who hand delivers every portrait that he does which now he calls his paintings because he also adds artistic strokes over every portrait he sells nothing but wall prince and he hands signs and dates everyone that he does and then he wraps it beautifully takes it to your home takes a ladder and takes all the tools and he hangs it in your house he does everything you talk about a brilliant brilliant businessman I'm not gonna tell you what his averages because it'll make you cry but it's way up there and he only wants to do two a week at a lot of money and his clients loving and the word is I'm not sure if it's true or not I haven't asked him I should asking this question the word is that his photographs of himself anytime he has seen in a photograph he will never be seen in the photograph without a brush in his hand on artist brush so I was like if his staff photographs him in the workroom we're doing something there he'll be holding a brush because he wants to be known as an artist what a brand manager he is holy toledo holy toledo so we have some options here we have feet plus prints we have all inclusive we have some options of how we decide the price our work let's tell part let's talk portrait first then let's talk wedding then let's talk commercials because I want to hit all three just a little bit in terms of this personality if that's okay with you guys so I'll try to be briefed on some of it that doesn't matter to you but I want to make sure that we hit this entire audience first let's talk about the portrait studio the basic model for a portrait studio in the united states has always been a session fee also known as a sitting fee also known as a creative fee that is for your time and your talents well back in the film days that was designed to cover the cost of the film and the processing in the proofing that was what it was all about then the portrait's are then sold either in collections or siri's or soul ala carte based on this size cost this much this has caused this much of this one and if you buy more than this maybe you'll get this is a discount and then the finishing services might be extra like the canvas or the retouching or however you choose to do all of that but but for the most part it's been a session for your creativity plus print prices now there are some portrait for towers out there that now charge one fee for everything and it's all inclusive and it is a think of think of that photographer as a commissioned artist it's a commissioned portraiture session think about being an artist in the fifteen hundreds and urine and you're in um florence you're in fiorenza and in that sound at that time you've got divinci you got michelangelo you've got raphael and they're all fighting for the same clients how would you like to be in that competition circle yeah right those died those guys never showed proof did they no no it was a commission portrait right so you got an x amount of money you've got this dollar value to complete the portrait of my wife that's what you were paid to do is to produce this portrait of the pope or the medici or whoever you are whoever they were painting next that had the money and these paintings would take a long time but it was the artist vision that you bought not the square inches of the canvas okay so keep that in mind as you start thinking through how you're selling your work and what you want to do with your work I think there might be a case to be made for being a portrait you're commissioned portraiture artist commissioned portrait artist I think there could be kate made for that and get away from the creation thing in the city fee and charge one fee that's bigger and maybe it includes a print up to x size and that diminishes and minimizes the whole world of trying to sell some one up to a bigger print our ad on oh I just wanted to add on some more sales well what if we just made it one big number and maybe they included a lot of stuff I'm just saying let's not let's not nick pick the number of square inches you know in san diego one of my friends down there at coast highway photography has a business model where he sells any print up to sixty inches is x amount doesn't he doesn't matter the shape because he might change the shape it's gonna custom shape it might be twenty by sixty but up to sixty inches is x amount of dollars up to fifty inches is x amount up to eighty inches is x amount and up to right so he's just got a maximum per long edge on his sales and they said it just changed his whole outlook it changed the model of his business and it changed his business averages because people get it they understand it just a thought I don't mean to sound preachy on this what I'm trying to get across us there are several ways to do this in whichever way to do it I don't care what you choose but do it with enthusiasm that with vigor and find a way to do it that works for you because the money is there I see it every day and I know there's a lot of new people and I know that they're dragging some people say they're dragging the business down in there they're shooting weddings for two hundred dollars and given him a cd that's not your client if you thought that was your client you made a mistake that's not your client your client is in another category there's always been that photographer this is not a new scenario I have dealt with that in nineteen seventy nine in nineteen eighty I dealt with these brand new low info torpor that we're charging nothing it was so frustrating guess what everybody's talking about today thes new low and photographers that's so frustrating right guess what it's you that's messed up not them it's your thinking rearranged I'm sure the chat rooms going this guy on drugs or what I just I have a great great passion to see photographers do well because it is a great business it is a great craft it is a great art and let's not discount the fact that the value of these photographs are such that when there's a fire in those people's home the first thing they grabbed all the photographs nothing else in that hell matters nothing matters except those photographs I lived in the area of earthquakes and fire zone in san diego we had boxes in the garage right by the front garage door opening and if the box was taped up with red tape those were the hot boxes of the most valuable photographs that when we ran and got uh evacuated we took the boxes with the red tape with this first it's where all the photos were taken that's rather photos were being kept it's the most important thing in that home for the boxes with the photos and if you guys aren't getting a good value for this photos you're making a mistake did you have a question it's just it's it's a very important conversation and there's so many different factors there isn't it that and I get a little soul boxy about it but it's important to me that people do well that's all yeah e I think one of the biggest things that we see people talking about in this question have come in from sarah go nya but how do you know what the quality of your work is worth I'm just getting started I don't know what to char perfect then you have to value your work based on the community look at your community look at what other people are doing in their quality of their work look at the the pricing that they're paying that there that you're charging uh one of the things that helped me more than anything was I am my brother in law who gave me my first job in photography uh was the president of the local area uh photo association in our in our little town and so I immediately within two weeks of going to work for me I went to my first photo association meeting stepping out of that meeting I knew everything about all the other photographers that were at that meeting I knew what they charged I knew the quality their work because they showed some of the work and they have a little print competition I knew all kinds of stuff more than I ever would have known if I hadn't gone to that meeting in every community I've ever been in there are little photo associations there's the professional groups and there's also the amateur photo clubs you'll know where you fit when you start looking at the other people's work and that will also be a good indicator for you and it's a good barometer for you to figure out where to start putting your pricing ask some of the other photographers or have someone call around for you on your behalf call the photographers and asked you go to their websites look at all the competitions websites some of them have a pricing structure and a drop down menu where they talk about their pricing on their websites that's a big point of discussion do you put pricing on the web saturday put must call for prices you know there's a lot there's a lot to talk about here not the least of which is the actual number we're going to charge for this how much do you want to make next year in photography so think about that think about whether you want to do the fees plus prints as another card thing or do you want to an all inclusive thing I think that is a good place to start a discussion and I think it's a place to um I think it's a place to figure out your sales personality honestly if you were going to do the all inclusive then I think you have some options there where after you get the selection of what you wish to present to your client I think you should go into the client's home and sit down with them with your laptop with your portable screen however you wish to do it and show them what you have in mind and then show them an example of before and after and how you want to finish their portrait whether it's retouching whether it's been yet ing whether it's painting whether it's removing whether if you have to swap ahead because the child couldn't keep his eyes open no matter what whatever it was that you had to do to it let's make sure that they know that you're going to do the best that you can to deliver to them the finest portrait they've ever had

Class Description

Working from home is a great way to minimize costs, but it can be challenging to deal with the inevitable space and light limitations and it can feel awkward to explain to clients.

In Inside the Home Studio, Tony Corbell will help you address the logistical and practical challenges of working from home. 

You’ll learn how to:

  • Work with low ceilings, dark spaces, and small skinny rooms
  • Market and sell in-home shoots
  • Store and organize your equipment.
  • Work with family and client schedules

Tony will help you come up with new ways to shoot in ordinary spaces by sharing real-life examples of home studio scenarios. He’ll shoot formal and candid portraits throughout the entire house, teaching you how to leverage each room for its specific uniqueness.

Inside the Home Studio will show you how to approach different photographic genres and help you make the space you have to work for your business.



Another great course by Tony Corbell. I loved this course. Tony is a great teacher, great photographer and great business man. He's enjoyable to listen to and a great teacher. He holds nothing back and shows how to shoot great pictures even in small shooting environments or on a low budget. I would buy again Tony's courses.

Penny Foster

Wow! Tony is fantastic! So many hints and tips, crammed into this great course. I shoot portraits out of a small converted garage, about 9 ft high, 9 feet wide, and about 19 feet long. Tony has shown me so many ways to make this small space work for me, for which I am eternally grateful. What this course highlights is that whatever small space you have, there are ways of making it work. You need to buy this course and watch it over and over because, every time I watch it, I gain more and more info that I missed the first time around. Brilliant!

Kat Ciemiega

Absolutely wonderful, I cannot praise the content enough. I value Tony's stories as much as the information he is giving away, because it puts the data in the perspective and practical context of the actions we take. Thank you for this class!