Sellable Products and Packages
I have three packages that I sell. The first package is the basic collection. Okay? Well, first of all, I sell my digital files. Three packages that I sell besides my a la carte things. Like prints, you know, a la carte. You always price your a la carte things higher because you want people to buy a package. Okay, very strategic. You don't want people to buy six 5x7, you know, you want people to buy a package. So, basic collection is, you have 10, this is what I do 10 edited digital files, and they get to pick. They get to look at everything that I edited and pick 10. A lot of times, I give a couple more. And then they have a print credit, a small print credit. So say, $250 which should buy them a handful of pretty prints. For a lot of my clients set wanting or dying to come get a photo shoot done but I'm understanding their budget, will get that package. Right? And I'm totally fine with that. That's great. I'm so glad that they were able to come to me. And I'm not gonna push them beca...
use I know that this is a big splurge for them. And I don't wanna discourage this in any way, 'cause this is a very important thing for them to have done. So very. You know, if you're a photographer, you never had your pictures done, you need to. Because it's stressful, you're worried, you're worried about how you look, you're worried about how your kids are gonna act, it is a very stressful thing to get done. And it is a very important thing to get done. So, it makes me happy to be able to do that for people. So I don't want it to be a stressful thing. The middle package. So what you do when you do packages, is you start adding something to each package, right? So the middle package, now we have 10 digital images here. Now we're gonna jump from 10 to all of them, okay? So 10 digital images to all of the digital images. I promised 60 - 70 because you never know, right? Never that low, new born shoots, pose sessions are down at that level obviously. But my live sessions are higher. Just different, different. So we have all of our digital images and then you get a larger print credit. So a thousand dollar print credit for this one. And, then the price jumps, right? This is the package that I sell, probably, 75% of the time. And that's what I want, okay? And I'm gonna go back to this in a minute, okay? So the reason that I've done this is, I used to have, you can get, a book, and you can get some prints, you can get this, and it's just a match. If I give the client a choice on what to use their money on, on my a la carte page? It goes over so much better. 'Cause then I'm not picking sizes for people. Remember I have these a la carte page over here. So there's a thousand dollars can pay for anything on this a la carte page, if it's a print or a canvass. Then, the final one is, which I have a few clients that do this, probably 10% of my clients, this is typical, all of your digital images, that same print credit that's here, we're only adding one thing, and then a lux album, okay? And those albums are expensive. So that jumps it. That jumps it up. I make all of my albums and albums stamped, okay? Album stamp is a time saver. It will save you. You can make an album quickly, okay? Album stamps. You can export it directly to the lux, That's great. Love album stamps, okay? So, here's my thing. My digital files for all of their images. That price is only $200 more than my basic collection. So many people who are thinking of just getting 10 digital files with the $250 credit, will now actually decide to just go ahead get all of their digital files. Okay? Which makes it's not that much for them, and it makes me so happy that they get 150 pictures versus 10. Because why wouldn't you do that, right? And that's when you send them to Empex, okay? Which is a great, great lab. Okay? Does that make sense? Easy. Right? Three choices. Bam. Done. Okay? And you aim for that second collection. This is what works for me. I've changed my pricing 40 times. Phew. Not 40. But enough to know that this is by far worked the best for me.
Just to further understand, how do you make money by giving a print credit, what about your cost of ordering the prints?
Because my a la carte prints are priced so high so a thousand dollar print credit will get not as much as you think. [Host] Right.
Right. You have to price your a la carte high enough in order to make that print credit worth it. Okay?
And that was what we covered in the...
We covered this, yeah, we covered this way early, way earlier, we did a lot of pricing stuff earlier.
Cool. I'm surprised you have a pricing question. Okay. Cool. We're going through. Alright, my favorite things. Here's my favorite things. My 35, I cannot live without my 35. When I'm walking around with my family at Disney World, wherever I'm at, a 35 is on my hip, okay? That is my walk around lens. My dear friend Sara Beth from Sara Beth Photography, you all know her probably really well. She has a 35mm quincy, you can shoot anything with that lens. And she kinda got me hoooked. So I do not take that off my camera. Unless I'm shooting a lifestyle session. Then I move over to my 24, pretty typically now. That's my new lens, my new baby. I'm addicted. Noiseware, that is something you guys will love to have for grain. If you guys have a lot of noise in your images. Let me say something really quickly about noise. There's two types of noise you can get in your images. You can get what's called color noise, you know when you're under exposing an image essentially. So you under expose an image, so it's in the exposure, the color of the image, you're gonna get grain. That means, it was an exposure issue, it wasn't a camera issue, okay? That means you exposed it incorrectly. Guarantee you, if you go back and look at your image, your ISO is at 600 and it could have gone up higher. Right, you didn't have your ISO high enough which cost you to get some noise. There's different types of noise. And then there's the noise that you get from your higher ISO. Okay? So always look at that when you guys see grainy images. Think, can I push that a little bit more to avoid that? Blogstomp. Love blogstomp. Every single thing you see in my Facebook page - blogstomp. All those little thingy, little collages. Blogstomp. And then obviously Iris cause it saved my...
There's a lot of things that's going on here. So what does an average week look like for you? When do you sell, when do you, when you're with clients, are you batching them on certain days? When are you shooting?
Great question. I shoot a lot of newborns. I shoot about, we tend to book about two newborns a week. So that's eight newborns a month. We take a limited amount of newborns. Because they take three hours in the studio. They take longer to edit because those images I do individually edit, and you know acting, the posing, you know, typical posing takes longer. So we take two of those a week. We take three sunset shoots a week because I need rain makeup, I'm sure you know in Seattle, you need rain makeup days, right? So I usually typically shoot Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday night for sunsets. And I leave Thursday through Sunday open for makeups. I try to reschedule Thursday and Friday. I found that if I shot on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I was running out of rain day, you know for those earlier times. Now if a family needs a different day of the week, then we'll accommodate 'cause we're very good at accommodating our clients' needs. And it's really helped sustain my business. I find that I have a lot of clients now that had a hard time with their photographers in general because they weren't being accommodating and I think that's really important. So we do about three sunset shoots a week, two newborn shots a week, that's five. And then we have sessions throughout the studio whenever we can fit them in. And then I edit during the day, during the week. So we average about 20 shoots a week. Not a week, 20 shoots a month, 20 - 25. Plus about 10 mini sessions. So our mini sessions are kind of our fillers. You know, helps with the studio overhead. Essentially.
This was from Wilde who said, I'd love to hear if you have insurance for where these situations and that was one of those we're seeing you jump all over the bed, and all those things.
You know those are things, worst case scenarios that's never happened ever but yes, we have a massive umbrella policy. You have to have business. I mean, you have to. We have a big, massive studio. So we have a lot of camera equipment. We have a huge coverage. Yes. But we're never doing anything dangerous. You know, that was I mean, there was this huge, big ball thing down there like pillows and stuff from the pillow fights so she had kept doing that. You know, it wasn't like an accidental jump, you know. Her mom, they do it all the time. But yes, we always have spatters, stuff like that. So something like a newborn, stuff and those things. But, yes, big insurance policy.
So I love your images, where you shoot in the studio on your bed, that is kind of my goal. So I have a question about how you get the clients in the studio, is it because they don't wanna do that in their home? Or is it because you suggest it?
Like you they like that look. They like the way the studio look. A lot of people, you know, when they're debating, when clients are going back and forth and like, should we do the studio or home or they say, "Hey, come check out the studio." "We'll show you what it looks like." Make that a virtual tour on google and, most you know, I have a lot of Facebook followers in there, a lot of people find me on Facebook, and a lot of pictures of the studio are on there. But yeah we always invite them to come see the studio before we make the decision. But some people call 'cause we had some people call from California just for a studio shoot. I thought that was so funny. It's a big white room. I love it to pieces. It was a great shoot but like people know what they want. So that was a great, I mean it was a big white room. A white bed. White shears. Pretty simple. Yeah.
Alright, great. A couple more questions we have. So, this is going back to a location shooting. So the question from Wiles, when you go to a public place with your clients, like an ice cream shop for example, how do you choose the location? Is it the best light maybe during a really busy time of day for a particular place? How do you work around that? When you go into public places.
Yeah. That's a good question actually. So when we pick locations, the first thing we do is we talk about a location that's special to them. Do they have a location that's special to them? If they do, great. I'll go check the light out throughout the day. When Cain used to work in the city, I used to send him on location scouting, and it's like take pictures at 10:00, at noon and at 3. 'Cause he lived down there, right? They've already worked down there so it's fine. But now he's not there so we have to drive. But you need to kind of check that out after you find out that they have a specific spot and find out what time they're the least busy. You need to also talk to the management of the place and let them know, "Hey, we'd be coming to take some pictures." "Don't worry, we're totally gonna buy ice cream, and we're not just gonna come take pictures" And you want the ice creams in the pictures, and stuffs anyway. That's what we do.
Just a further on that, so you're saying that you will ask them what type of location they want and then you may or may not be able to go out and scout them and that was, like, for example, if it's a sunset shoot, do you allow them to pick the location? Or do you wanna make sure that you've actually photographed there? And you know that it works.
It's kind of funny. So, there's two sunset locations that I'm obsessed with and that I shoot at and they're hidden. So I don't put it out there 'cause I don't want other people around me, right, 'cause I'm a very secluded type of shooter when we do our sunset shoots. And people always suggest, Oh, why don't we go here, here and here? But they always suggest places that are full of a ton of people and a ton of trees. And what happens with trees, you get depth of light, you get all sorts of crid mill, that's a whole another class But you get so much going on with that, right? So, I always suggest, you know what, What about this location? It's so great. You know those last 800 pictures you saw on Facebook, they're all there. Are they not amazing? And they're all totally different. And then they, you know, I try to suggest things myself.
On your sunset shoots, do you use studio light? How do you deal with that outside?
I shoot only sunsets.
Are they backlit of the sunset? [Emily} Yeah. But you get enough light on the front?
Yeah. It's a whole another.
That's another class. [Emily] Yeah.
[Participant} Do you do your sunset Sessions all year round? [Emily] Yeah. I mean, unless it's 20 below. We have some people. It's been weird though. So many people are about me like a wait. So what we do, people want to know shoots and in St Louis it used to snow all the time, right? And it would never get too cold like 20. And some people can't handle that with heavy coats and we dress up cute in fun colors and we take our connections stuff, right and move it on to the snow. And, it hasn't snowed in St Louis for like two years, It will snow and it will would melt in five minutes. So I don't book snow shoots anymore. We have a wait list. And then we start the wait list if we have a snow day. You wanna shoot today? You wanna shoot today? It's kinda funny. For snow.
So let's see, another question, and this is perhaps opening up another can of worms as well, how much time do you spend on marketing and how do you find your ideal client?
So I don't market really anymore. When I did market, it was majority on social media. I have a newsletter and every single time somebody emails me, for an inquiry. they ask, hey can I add you to the newsletter? When you do open up, people are still emailing right now for fall, but we booked fall back in last January so we don't have a new one for fall. So I caved and you know what, we're opening my spring shoot, like we're opening up, we're kind of changed how we're doing this. So we're opening up spring through like March through June 1st I think, with the first batch because I don't like booking this far in advance anymore 'cause you opt to cancellation, right? So we send it to the newsletter first. What I tell people when they inquire, they can't get in, we email our newsletter first before we open it up to the general public. So I blast out the newsletter and if we don't sell it that day, then we open it up to the general public. So it's an incentive to get everybody in the newsletter. So then sent them to get everybody to book to shoot later for the future, right? So past clients come back, they remember to book shoots. So we're up to a few thousands people now in our newsletter, it's just increased over the past year and a half. It's doing crazy. Crazy. And it's just done wonders having a newsletter. Because I had everybody's emails now. So they don't forget.
Do you do in person sales and if so do you go back to the client's home or do they come to your studio?
Yes, we talked about this lot earlier, but we definitely do it on the studio now. Before, we used to do it at home so I didn't have the studio.
Awesome. Well, I have one final question for you. And, that is, everything you've just shared is so much information, so many techniques, you built all these skills, you built a business where you are fine being flown around the country, the photographing mentor, booking your clients out a year in advance, what would you do if you were you, seven years ago, 10 years ago, whatever? You're just starting out, in order to take all the information that you've just taught and like not get overwhelmed, but to just start going, where would you, how do you suggest people use this class now as they move forward?
Okay, so. Loaded question. Big question. So, I think the biggest things that I have learned is, you have got to be organized from day 1. And, that's where Iris, if Iris would have been around back then, having organization, having your clients in a portal, you will lose clients if you forget about them. If you wrote on a post it note, you forget to email them back, right? How many people, how many times have you oh my gosh, I forgot to email them back. Or like, hey, I've been trying to grab hold of you. If you have everybody in one central location, get organized from the beginning that would have helped me a ton. Client referrals. I used to do a client referral program, where, if you, when we we first moved to St Louis, a couple of years ago, I said, hey, if you find four people to book me a to a full session, if they are four people book a full session, if you book a full session if they all four people book a full session then they get a free shoot. So you're already with a client, right? So you have a client, hey, find for a friend. If they all book up a session with me, you get a free shoot. That's a big incentive and that worked a ton. And I grew my business in St Louis from Chicago within, I don't know, three months? Four months? From that. And then per my newsletter so anybody who inquired from my newsletter and that's a really big deal. So with this class, what you can do, is you can take all of this information. Back in the day, I was not communicating enough with my clients, the expectations were wrong I think. Clients thought we were gonna be shooting differently. Thought we were gonna be shooting, like an in-home session, as we all know, isn't really a portrait session. But I wasn't communicating that to my clients. So that's why I created the family guide, the full editable one in the shelf. I was never prepared, right? Do you guys feel like that sometimes? And when we're not prepared, all we're doing is setting yourself up for failure. So I think over-preparation is key. And I have all these things here and I use them loosely now. You know, because I'm a at a place now we have a lot of repeat clients, and you know we're kind of doing the same things and I know the kids. But if it's a new client, absolutely. We do all of these, until I really get to know them. If you guys don't wanna work weekends, don't work weekends. Start it now. Don't. You know you have to see your family. You will get burnt out. If you're portfolio building and have the time to work weekends, go for it. If you don't have kids, you know what I mean, you're fine leaving the husband, whatever, do it. Go, take those weekends. But I missed years of my kids' baseball and all that stuff. And it kills me. Luckily, they're so little. So I realized this early on, but also be flexible with that. Because there are a handful of my clients, like some surgeons, people who are traveling all the time. You know, people who are like, have really big important jobs. That need weekend. So I have one weekend a month that we set aside to shoot all of those clients, right? And if I'm on a weekend and nothing is going on in the middle of winter, sure, I'll put a lifestyle client in there. Right? 'Cause what's going on in February, January? Nothing. Right? It's freezing. That's the time I tend to travel to shoot. But I'll squeeze people in on weekends there. So be flexible with your clients. And if a client needs something, listen to them. You know, a lot of people feel like they just stick by the rules. Like, the newborn thing, it drives me nuts. So the newborns have to be under 12 days old. But mama's in the hospital and the baby's in the NICU. You know. Be flexible. Be human. I have a lot of clients that come to me from inflexible photographers. It's mind-boggling to me. But you know you gotta be flexible. They're clients. As long as you're kind of nice to them, flexible with them and you're generous, you know. I send love gifts. The 10 digital files, they're not really 10. I give a couple of extra sometimes. You know, I do it like, you can pick these two. Just take them. Just don't tell anybody. Now, everybody tells. [Crowd Laughs] Right, you know. It's just a gift. Always give of yourself. And then your business will grow. You know, I'm just not crabby. Not as crabby as clients. I think I've lost one client in seven years. It was really, really dark that day. And I gave her the option of rescheduling. I knew she wanted a sunset shoot. Very dark that day. But we didn't reschedule and she wasn't happy 'cause the pictures weren't sunny bright. Hey, you know, there's nothing you can do. And that happens. You know. But I offered so that's my whole point. You need to offer. Be flexible. Give up of your time and you'll get it back.