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Shoot and Share vs Shoot and Sell

Lesson 8 from: Master the Business of Photography

Sal Cincotta

Shoot and Share vs Shoot and Sell

Lesson 8 from: Master the Business of Photography

Sal Cincotta

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Lesson Info

8. Shoot and Share vs Shoot and Sell


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction


The Agenda


Why You Will Fail


The Changing World We Live In


Biggest Competitors For Weddings and Portraits


Day 2


Defining, Understanding, and Connecting to Your Clients


Day 3


Legal Issues


Day 4


Shoot and Share vs Shoot and Sell


Day 5


Pricing Your Work Part 1


Day 6


Pricing Your Work Part 2


Day 7


The New World of SEO


Day 8


Social Media - Facebook


Day 9


Social Media - Instagram & Pinterest


Day 10


Building a Better Portfolio & Attracting the Right Clients


Day 11


Proactively Developing Vendor Relationships


Day 12


Get More Publicity


Day 13


Booking More Portrait Sessions


Day 14


Booking More Weddings


Day 15


Understanding the Initial Sales Consultation (In-person vs Skype)


Day 16


The Engagement Shoot - Shoot To Make Money.


Day 17


Engagement Pricing and Sales


Day 18


Destination Shoots


Day 19


Working With & Training Second Shooters


Day 20


Growing An Alternate Brand


Day 21


The Wedding Day Timeline


Day 22


Managing The Wedding Day


Day 23


Post Wedding Sales and Pricing


Day 24


Post Production - A Real World Workflow


Day 25


Wedding Albums - Their Importance, New trends & Selling Them


Day 26


Ways Not To Suck At Customer Service


Day 27


Video - The Future of Story Telling for the Photographer


Day 28


Packaging & Final Delivery To Your Clients


Day 29


Lessons Learned - Where I Have Failed Over The Last 8 Years


Day 30


The Journey Of You


The Journey Of You: 30 Day Plan


The Journey Of You: 60 Day Plan


The Journey Of You: 90 Day Plan


Student Examples


Interview with Warren McCormack


Interview with Lenny and Melissa Volturo


General Q&A


Lesson Info

Shoot and Share vs Shoot and Sell

Usually when we start talking about selling it strikes fear right into photographers around the world I don't want to sell its two sales e it's too hard whatever the the host of excuses that you managed to come up with to convince yourself that you don't need to do it but every business in the world south something you have to sell, hit some point in your career or hire someone who's going to sell it so we can just we can just not sell and ignore that and the reason is simple right at the end of the day there's tons of answers but or reasons why you're not going to do it but bottom line we have to push our product we have to encourage people to buy our product to spend more with our business so you know here's the big debate we hear it all the time this always makes me smile shooting burn is destroying the industry, right? So if you're that old stodgy photographer you're sitting back and you've been doing it for twenty years and you start talking about the days of kota color kodachrome...

whatever in dark room and nobody cares anymore man just no one cares okay it's gonna be like talking to, you know caveman talking to me like, you know, when I was a kid we had to start fire with two sticks no one cares wei don't start fire that way anymore photography doesn't work that way anymore so we have to adapt on that's the reality as business owners we have to adapt to a changing market doesn't matter for soundly cupcakes doesn't matter if we're selling pictures doesn't matter for selling steal whatever you're selling you have to adapt innovator die okay and so that's something you hear me say all the time over and over again well guess what? Yes shooting burners are on the low end of the market there's absolutely no doubt about it there's for tigers out there for forty nine dollars they'll do your entire family session but we just start we started earlier talking about who our client is that's not my client it's not even who I'm going after so in my market and I'm talking about this because it comes down to the big debate it comes down to all the reasons you come up with with why this won't work for you in my market less than a mile away from my studio I can literally walk to her studio she is doing things that are a third of the price of what we are there's photography in my market in my town family sessions forty nine dollars with a cd weddings for ninety nine for a wedding for ninety nine four hundred ninety nine dollars I'm not even showing up for four hundred ninety nine dollars how my competing we are not going after the same client the client who wants that louis vuitton is not the same client who wants to be a d I y bride right that's not my client notice we were talking about that earlier on we were talking about who our clients are my client is a young working professional why is that so important if you haven't connected dots yet because my bride is working professional guess what she doesn't have time for d I y the bride was time for die why they want to do everything themselves they want to take their engagement pictures they want to cut them out all arts and crafts style put him on the wall make a little collage you know what my bride doesn't want that that's not my bride that's not my client she wants a finished art piece she wants a finished album so we got to start understanding this she wants to buy something that's part of the sales process this one is awesome people don't want product anymore they only want digital files says who who said this because I don't buy it I've got a million dollar studio that says opposite it flies in the face of this and so here's the challenge when I stand up here and we have this conversation and for you at home on you're having this conversation and you're saying it'll never work I call bullshit because of the end of the day, I'm doing it so I stand on this platform that is a educator. I stand on this platform is one of you somebody who's doing it? We still shoot forty to fifty weddings per year. We still shoot one hundred plus portrait sessions a year. So when I'm standing here telling you that this works, it works that's it and so this is reality. You can keep talking yourself out of it. You can keep telling yourself how it won't work. That's fine that's your call but I'm here to tell you it does work if you just embraced the formula, they do want products, man. Remember digital frames. Remember those? Is anybody still actively using them now? Come on man. This thing's a horrible you know I'm talking about where would slide the pictures, they'd be all skewed and pixelated and stuff like that I just came back from germany. I was that photo kina one of the law. If you ever get an opportunity in your life teo, head to that trade show, please take it, take it. It was a hundred and like eighty thousand people at this trade show. One of the largest photography conferences in the world is like a hundred years old s o super old conference and just developed and I'll never forget we walked in and there was this booth there that boots from all over the world there's a booth from taiwan and there what they were selling where the digital frames that's what they were selling and I'm like there's a company that's going out of business because I do not have a single client that wants that digital frame and wants to just scroll pictures through on their wall you know, in this little format you might get to the point where you've got a client who wants to showcase digital files on a sixty inch tv screen I'm like that's gonna happen but that that digital frame is not people want something a little more tactile whether it's an album a print an art print a box with pictures that they can open up on their nightstand on dso yeah iphone and digital media is very important but that's not at the end I don't think the end of the printed piece is over it's just not here another another reason we're all here I'm not a sales person I'm just not a sales person that's cool you don't have to be a sales person I'm not telling you to get out there and be like forty nine, ninety five act now if you don't do it now I'm gonna delete all the files off my fingers onto the lead but it's gonna happen that's not what I'm telling you ok uh what I'm telling you do is just put a process in place that makes it easy for people who spend money make it easy for them to spend money and they will I promise you rob you're you're a perfect case study for me, right? So tell me a little bit about where you were how long how long have we known each other now? Uh about a year and a half a year and a half you came to my canada and I remember canada workshop new york boy came up to canada way did the canada workshop and tell a little bit about her appearance because we've been working together in that year and a half and I've watched her business explode what was the tipping point for well, but I mean before that obviously came from from ah partnership, which was just obviously really bad and I was just shooting and burning you know, everything was was low cost trying to do high volume but just burning myself out, you know, then I started working with you and realize that it's all, you know, it's very product based on dh then you know, talking with taylor and going through like taylor sales process, you know, my biggest fear right now is that I'm not one hundred percent I'm batting a thousand when it comes to my sales process I haven't had a sales process yet that you know people aren't buying my top package or least like minimum pack a middle passage thiss definitely spending money and it's like and it doesn't feel like I'm selling it doesn't feel sleazy it really feels like that I'm kind of walking them through that like I'm just kind of like partnering with them that's why I picked on you for a second right because you you came from when I first met you you were doing the shooting burn hand over that cd what was that and you made that change right I broke it down you made the change you tried it what was the turning point for you and the reason I'm picking on you is because I think your peers out there right and peers here who maybe having embraced that process yet there's all this doubt concern it can't be done and what was the tipping point for you when you're like this is with the way it has to be I really feel like that that I value my product I know that what I'm worth and when I just put my prices where I thought they should be even though we know that there's still climbing but when I took that jump and and I jump my prices considerably like more than double but that's what made the difference it was just that you know I have a lot of confidence in my product and I stand behind it that's awesome dude so thank you for sharing that thank you and it's understanding that when you're not alone in this right wherever you are in your career, whether you're doing a sales process or not doing your sales process you're not alone the industries in this kind of weird state where we don't know what to do whether it's hand over cd or do a sales process how should that sales process work? Everybody's got their own thoughts on how the sales process you work so your peers though we're all going through this and rob's a great story of someone who came from just shooting and burning because he knew no other way learned a new way implemented and something you said robs you watched taylor, right? So taylor, if you don't know my wife, she'll be here later in the week, but if you don't know her she's, not a sales person she's, very soft spoken, doesn't like putting pressure on people she's not my personality a lot of people look at our business and they're like I could never be high energy like you also trust me taylor keeps me out of the sails room I'm usually a distraction for sales tellers very calm, even kill and just guides people that's the right word is we guide them through the sales process and that's the part you have to understand you're just taking them on a journey your tour guide would you like an acrylic? Would you like a campus that's all you're doing, I'm not looking for you to put hard, no sales tactics together. I believe anybody can do it. I don't have time. That's something else I've heard over and over again. We I don't have time for sail south. What? You don't have time to make money and you don't understand how much money you're leaving on the table. The average portrait session in our studio doesn't matter if it's a senior engagement of family is fifteen hundred dollars. What do you mean? You don't have time? Hire someone if you don't have time, hires someone to run your sales process, but what? You don't have time for us to keep shooting in handing over that cd of images that's what? You don't have time for it that's not a real business, by the way, and so we're going to keep talking about that. The best one I always here is you don't understand my markets out, it's different my competitors aire doing it listen, business is business, it doesn't matter what part of the world we're in, what country you're in, what state you're in business is business, human behavior is human behavior, every market. Is it their sales everywhere you go you're a consumer no matter where you live out there no matter where you live, sales of sales right? You go to best buy you buy something, right? You go to the grocery store, you buy something, you go toby nhu by something you're being sold to twenty four hours a day whether you realize it or not. And so as consumers we embrace the sales process the question becomes can you put a sales process together? That's just seen was that's what I'm encouraging you to do there's no place else I know where you can go to a high end restaurant so the example I always uses can you imagine going to a high end steakhouse? Ok, and then they give you the steak to go cook yourself that would never happen, right? It's it's preposterous to even think about yet you want to be a high end photographer, hand your clients the the images on a cd you know, go figure it out for yourself will you already saw my client did okay when we talked about the legal part of things you saw what they did and they didn't even have legal rights to it and so imagine if they did have the images, what would be going on? They don't know what to do with it that's why they're coming us where the professionals I don't go to a high end restaurant so I can tell the chef what to do let the chef do his thing you're the chef you're the cook you're putting us all together with your recipe and so you've gotta own it from beginning to end if you're just handing that client those digital files you're giving an incomplete service and so that's the part you've gotta wrap your head around it's incomplete you had this vision I mean let's let's think like photographers now we walk onto the scene we see this beautiful shot okay, but the shots not complete until it's fully edited it's been printed on fine art paper maybe put in a nice white matte and delivered to the client in a frame that's when it's complete it's definitely not completed when it's sitting on a cd half edited okay let's be honest you can't edit every single picture you delivered to your client that's why you have to deliver print so you're controlling what you're doing so what's the solution the first thing is you got to stop over complicating things it's not complicated selling is not complicated if you believe it's complicated you're over complicating it right it's super simple clients are coming to you why? Because they want something guess what? You sell something so stop fighting it stop resisting it you sell it it sell it right and so stop resisting it all the time just let them do what they want to do if you make it easy for them to spend they will spend I promise people do want product they're just buying it from someone else that's what you don't understand right now they are buying product I tell you to real world examples and you can you can accept it or not first of all shutterfly did seven hundred million dollars last year seven hundred million dollars on prince man they didn't sell cds at shutterfly right you don't hey I'm gonna put my image is gonna buy cd from you know they take the images from this cd that you're giving them and then they're printing them it shutter fly because you don't know how to sell and so they're spending the money you just you're saying I'm done go do whatever you want to do with it I refused to do that I'm gonna be there shutterfly except I'm not gonna offer inferior product I'm gonna offer superior product of them that's the differentiator so of course the clients not gonna want to pay two hundred dollars for a campus from you if it's the same quality they can get from shutterfly is that making sense you got offer something higher and find our papal paper medal acrylics frames products things that they can't get it shutterfly and not every client's going appreciate the higher in product but not everyone's your client either that's the part we have to understand again it's not hard make it easy for them to buy and they will if you just post pictures online into ah you know shoot proof or something like that and just say hey order whatever you want you're making it hard for them to buy but if you bring him into your studio when you show them great products on the wall and you show them options and you show on polish products and polished images you're making it easy for them to buy then there is no sale it's more just tell me what you want it's all about averages and so you're going to realize real quick that I have clients that come in and spend three thousand dollars on a portrait session I have clients come in and spend zero zero I don't even understand it I still can't rationalize it today you pay two three hundred dollars session fee to shoot in my studio and then you walked out in spain zero or one hundred dollars you bought two eight by ten something like that makes no sense but I don't get worked up about it because it's all about averages what is the average coming out of my studio so don't get hung up on the zero sales don't over celebrate for the big sales just look at what your averages are as far as I'm concerned, shooting and burning is short for I give up I can't compete I don't know what to do I'm lazy it's really what it is to me and so you've got to find it is to me ultimately it's not a real business when you're just shooting and burning it's not a business model it's a hobby and if you want to be a hobby is for the rest your life that's fine man, I'm not hating on believe me the shooting burners have literally no impact on my business there's no way I'm charging ten thousand dollars for a wedding and I'm competing against someone doing a wedding for four hundred ninety nine dollars it's just not happening so I'm not hating on you I'm actually an advocate for you if you're out there and you're shooting and bernie, I want you to make more money I'm an advocate for you I just want to show you the path to do it what you're doing now is not hurting me it's hurting you, you've got to be able to grow your business and I do want to clarify some things we post images online, right? So I don't want to have this conversation on dh lead you to believe I'm not posting images online absolutely post images online we absolutely offer digital files to our client but you cannot come into our studio and just buy a cd of images and pay a session fee that's what doesn't exist? So every package in our studio comes with some sort of finished final printed product that's what that's where you've got to get okay, so we're never going to get away from handing over digital files that I do agree with that's what clients want today? Hell, I wanted as a consumer, I want it! I want to be able to pull out my phone and show images off that that I've that I've taken from my day maybe it's my top ten pictures, something like that so we all want those digital files? What I'm what I'm advocating is you can't just deliver those digital files you have to deliver the rest of the experience for your clients. Now, in the beginning, when I started my business back in two thousand seven, two thousand eight we usedto to shoot and posted an online gallery average was about one hundred twenty five dollars you imagine all that work all that time, the editing, the shooting, the calling, the postproduction making one hundred twenty five dollars you're not making money, so I don't know where your sales averages are, but if they're in that range that's part of the problem it's a one hundred twenty five dollars is not money that is not making money that's, that's just kind of a monthly bill it's starbucks right and so you've got to understand that there's a lot of costs that goes in to producing that and you've got it you've got to get there so let's kind of break down the uh shooting burn mentality just curious after I've beaten up shooting burning nobody's I'm asking a really really difficult question no one wants to answer in the audience just showing hands how many of you are are running a true sales process in your studio all of you are all of you are afraid to say you're not one of the other um so everybody's going into sales process in the studio really good what are some sales averages fifteen hundred fifteen hundred dollars sales hours wendy where you hundred sixty eight e nine hundred sixty eight dollars and fifty cents out it's like you knew I was gonna ask you that question that's really awesome that's a good number uh where you at eight hundred where you have a thousand this is awesome right and the reason I'm picking on you and back home figure this out is you're watching your peers sit right in front of you there telling you where they're making where they're making money I don't know anybody in here who would go I don't need an extra thousand dollars I don't have time to make an extra thousand dollars I got time for that I'll make time for that and so that's the way that's the way we got to start thinking so I'm proud of all you that's awesome so here's the pro and con how about this for a question how many of you converted to a sales in studio sales process okay good and that's from what from conversations for me from what what what michael what what's gotten you there your previous creative lives on just realizing like I'm putting all this effort in tow nothing you know I want to make more money because I spent all this time editing you spent all this time creating artwork and it just hand it over I was like why am I doing this and found what you do and I'm like that's what you're supposed to dio declared that that's what so let me pick on you for a second so you watch the creative lively was our boot camp or something like that and the reason I'm picking on you at home pay attention because you're hearing from a pierre your pierre why you made the switch why you you you switched over so you watched it what clicked for you though right? I hear what you're saying like he wanted to make money you just wanted but how is the transition was it hard was it easy no there is definitely a learning curve especially you know watching through creative life taking ah whole notebook full of notes and then transitioning not only my products getting the prince getting acrylics albums actually creating a viable brand it was also when I started implementing it, going through the process of ok here I was at the shooting burner here's five hundred bucks mike to ok mike now here's three grand let's kind of start over from the from the start is basically what happened that's perfect and that's what I wanted to hear from you the the transition from the way you're doing something today to the way I'm trying to convince you to go eyes not an overnight switch you can start doing in studio sales but there's things that have to happen right, you have to have those sample products you have to even know what the sales processes yourself you've got to fumble your way through I'll never forget the first sales process taylor and I did after posting online we had one client were like hey, can you come in? We had no idea what we should be doing because there was no book written on this yet, right? No photographer really would talk about business you rewind to two thousand seven there was not a single photographer I know of that would be willing to really talk about business and how to do stuff they would drop little nuggets of information, but no one really wanted to be open kimono about the whole thing and so that was my biggest frustration it's actually what led me and education is I promised if we ever made it I said I'm going I'm going to teach I want to teach I want to show people how to do it so I'll never forget the first one we do our sales average had been about one hundred twenty five dollars we had a client come in from out of town they were here it was like next day kind of deal were like entities and you come in tomorrow we'll have some line and stuff at the house so they were coming to our house you rewind two thousand seven I didn't have a studio this is being done in my living room so I brought down my big mac monitor put it in front of them I sat down on my laptop on the other side just showing them in light room, the images and they spent fourteen hundred dollars I didn't even know what I was doing they were asking questions we had no idea what the answers were right now are our sales process is very fine tune we've gotten to a point where there's usually only going to be one or two objections that come up we figured this all out, but back then it was nerve racking every time we went into a sales process we would come out of that sales process and me and taylor, we talk to each other what we do, right? What we did wrong. What do we need to change for the next one? The worst thing you can do is keep doing the same thing wrong. Change it every time I ask yourself, what could be better and that's what we did so good that's awesome. And so let's pro con this whole conversation about shoot and burning. And so the pro, of course, is it's easy. You just shoot you hand over your cd, you're done. And if you're a weekend warrior hey, man, more power to you, that's that's the best way to do it. You got a normal nine to five job. Uh, you're shooting a wedding on a saturday. You just want to hand over that cd and be done more power to you leaving money on the table. Ah, but that's totally up to you. Pass of least resistance clients apparently say they want this. Martha stewart tells them they should want it, but I think you guys are misinterpreting data. Yes, martha stewart tells them the knot dot com tells them you should have your digital file. No one's disputing that, but I don't think martha stewart is saying you don't need any prints on your wall. It's not what she's saying, okay, and so that's the part you have to understand if you go to martha stewart's office, I would imagine you see pictures of martha on the wall s o I don't, I don't think she's hanging cds on the wall, right? So clients want this stuff were just interpreting that data and saying, oh, this is all they want, so I'm gonna give it to him it's easy because we don't have to carry product the minute you moved to a sales process, you obviously have tohave sample products to show the client. Sure that's going to cost you a little bit of money upfront. One sale. It'll all pay for itself. It's not easy. Um, you can do it without a sales room. So of course, if you're just starting up your weekend worry you don't have any kind of studio space or anything like that. All you got do is hand over that cd. You don't need a sales room to bring them in. That is a ah, a problem you're gonna have when you start doing it. So where did michael where'd you start bringing them in to sell when you started? Yeah, my living room. Into your living room yeah absolutely I try actually tried it at a starbucks I was like this isn't working get you started you could do the initial meeting with them in the starbucks is pretty casual but trying to steal them pictures and stuff in the starbucks and collect money I don't think it's good literally lugging things and people are looking at me like I have this happening that's what you figure it out right you work through it rob where do you start when you started when you made the switch where'd you go uh it's like your advice and um previous advice and went to a business incubator s so I found a really really cool one up in westchester rye, new york on they had a conference room and it's a multi media conference room and I walked in and they were like give it a try like well only charge a thirty five dollars an hour I'm like well it should take me roughly about two hours to do so for seventy bucks I went in and they had you know to sixty inch screen tvs I was able to show him the slide show and and they book they went black label they went top of the line so you could justify the cost building without your package and when you were about you where do you guys start doing the sails right from illinois from you moved way move from from wisconsin to illinois back to wisconsin so when we didn't have a sales room we were going to the client's home and doing it in their living room that's awesome too how did your client receive that they actually had a hard time saying was too big because they projected on the wall that's on and it was over the fireplace and it's like well I don't want any by ten yes I think you just projected eight by ten over the wallet looks ridiculous so how's that for an example everyone we just picked on three completely different people and I'm sure if I picked all of you you all catch your own spin on it but they're they're not you're doing your own thing right you're finding a way to make that sales process work from your home to the client's home to an incubator so there's a way for it to work so we got to stop convincing ourselves that it doesn't work less involvement with the client of course that's another pro to this whole thing what are some of the cons off shooting birds and burning first of all it's incomplete services I'm telling you man it's lazy it's just frickin lazy you're just giving up and you're saying I don't want to be bothered with this other part of it and again if you are ah if you're working a full time job there's nothing wrong with that how about it work that full time job and just hand over that cd. You're not my competition, but you are leaving money on the table. There's, no doubt about it. You can only charge so much for that cd, right? That's a little shiny thing. There is a ceiling for it, there's only so much somebody is willing to pay. So I look at my studio today where the average wedding is spending damn near ten thousand dollars. There is no scenario I could just sell a cd and my time for ten thousand dollars there's no way it could happen. And so that market starts really getting low fast and I feel like it's a race to the bottom. When you're selling just your time in a cd, it is truly a race to the bottom. You're not adding any additional value. There's no seat there's, no albums, there's, no canvas there's, no medals you're just selling your time and that is I just don't believe that's the future. Obviously you're leaving money on the table, but ultimately it's, not a real business and many of you who have converted many of you out there of converted you've come to the conclusion it is not a riel business model, you will never survive long term you will constantly be chasing month to month hand hand to mouth sort of mentality and so you've got it if you really want to be in business as a full time photographer you got to get away from this model let's talk about the shooting self for a second I do want to jump to this so my big pet peeve we all have pet peeves if you're gonna be part of this industry as an educator, I really think you owe it to the industry to actually be off this industry to be in active shooter so that you understand the plight of today's photographer here's what he wrote to somebody who was leaving the past system so somebody came to the realization if you don't know what passes basically you're shooting and sharing right? You're putting those images online what clients download him? Whatever the case may be, you're done right? You just shooting it's a delivery mechanism shoot basically shooting and burning uh somebody decided to leave rightfully so because they're moving to actually sell product because that shooting share model was not working for them uh here's what he wrote sorry to hear you're abandoning past let us know if you change your mind and get back into the group yeah let's normal shooting share for tigers are making it here's here's what really got me shooting share for tigers are making it really difficult for sales driven photographers to continue marking a prince s o I suggest making a switch to a service based business quickly even if you don't use past the days of massively marked a prince or over really says who? A guy who's, not a photographer he's absolutely incredible to me that he would say something like this is absolutely ridiculous I'll tell you what I don't run into any competition with thes photographers who are shooting and burning the minute you start raising your prize and start offering album's steer clients family heirloom albums here clients things that will stand the test of time you have immediately separated yourself from the pack it's that simple this to me is just ignorant it is pure ignorance and not an understanding of our industry and so if you're on the fence, it's time to move it's time to get I know you guys are not butt out there it's time to get away from that model just doesn't work you will never be a successful full time photographer it's that simple so I challenge any of you you want you want to come to my studio and show me you're making a living we can have a whole different conversation but there's not many of those people out there who are making a solid living doing it this way and it's sad it is sad for our industry all right, so shooting cell selling product offering a product for our for our clients the pro we're offering a complete and and service or climb we are the experts we are the trusted advisors we are get providing leadership for our clients we're maximizing profits we've already established this people are buying prints they're just not buying it from you shutterfly didn't make seven hundred million dollars on people who don't want prince now granted they're buying all sorts of different things right? They're not buying fine art pieces that's not what I'm saying but they're they're buying prints they're buying mugs they're buying prints they're buying holiday cards maybe mugs aren't well I'm not suggesting right we go in we sell like coffee mugs now with art with our pictures on it right? Hey south moncada but what I am suggesting is there are people out there are clients who want that the more you're building lifetime relationships with your clients you're providing value remember klein is not just one time I see ah wedding client has has babies you're gonna photograph those babies if you're if you're establishing the relationship you're going to photograph those babies ah high school senior becomes a bride and then that bride has babies they have families and so it's this life cycle that you want that relationship with right my clients who've been with me for years spent a hell of a lot more money with me than brand new clients because they know how the system works. They know how the process works. They have an appreciation for what we do. Those are my favorite clients. I have a baby climb. She has been with me she's on her third child. She has been with me. How long would you say robin has been with us for five years? You just made something up. Uh, four, five years she's been with us, right? So she's got three kids now I photograph the first one pregnant all the way through now she just gave birth to her third child. She comes in twice a year. Every time she comes in, she spends two to three thousand dollars that's, my client I don't even advertise babies on my site that's my client and I love when she comes in. I'm like okay, so next time you come in when she comes in, I'm not talking about this shoot anymore he shoots done, she buys their pictures, I'm already having a conversation with her about our next year. I said, oh are ok for your next you'd why don't we put all the all the kids in, you know, paper boi hats and, you know, old nineteen twenties kind of alfred she's like I love it comes in, we're having a style I shoot right I go next one it's going to be fall why don't we go out to the park just have all the boy's only laying in the park hold each other and she's kind of this brother shot she's like I love it she lets me do whatever I want to do and she buys big prints every time she's in that's the most valuable client right? I'm developing a relationship you think if I was just handing a cd over I'd have that same relationship with her of course not retirement training growth these are these are pros to it right? I want to retire some day I want to invest in training I want to go to conferences I want to buy new gear I want update my equipment and then ultimately there's no limit on what you can charge you establish the value you know what you're worth if you want to charge two thousand you could charge two thousand if you want to charge tang you can try and charge ten you khun do ultimately whatever you're looking to do this cannot be done with that cd that cd there's only so much value too what were some of the cons obviously takes more time there's no doubt about it average sales presentation takes about an hour and a half to two hours for taylor that's a given now as you're growing your business if you're the one doing it hit that becomes problematic, that becomes a challenge, because how are you shooting if you're sitting in the sales room so you can't, you can't sit there, maybe hire somebody, maybe have your spouse to it s so you've got to figure out that that issue, but it's not as big of a challenge, is a cz you would think really easy to either hire somebody or hand it off to a significant other you need a place for sales thons of options there, you can do business incubators, just type your city business incubator just go to google, type it and you'll come back with results if you're in a small town, of course you're gonna face some challenges, but where there's a will there's a way for sure and one sale session, we'll eat quickly, be able to pay for that space easily. And then, of course, it's harder to do than a dvd in the mail that's clearly the con there's more time there's more things involved tio have that sales process, but ultimately I think the end results are much, much better. And so what's the bottom line here ultimately, you're never going to be successful as a full time for tyre, for if you're just handing over that cd, you're never going to become the trusted advisor that is something for the last five, six years as an educator I continue to talk about you must become the trusted advisor with your client there's no if ands or buts about it. If you don't get to that point with your client, you're never gonna have a enjoyable sales process. There's not a moment in time when we're selling to our clients where we ever feel like we're selling were guiding them through the process very, very important. Um, you're giving up clients, you're giving your client in complete service. Bottom line, it's incomplete. If you believe if you buy anything I'm telling you and you believe that it's all about the experience, it's all about what you're offering your clients it's all about that end and service, you've gotta understand that by not offering them full product, you are giving it in complete service. And when I say product, a lot of you've got to change your mind set. It's not just prints campus, it can't be that that's that's, something they can get anywhere. What kinds of products are you offering? You've got to start looking at medals. Medals were really, really popular. You got to start looking at acrylics, acrylics very, very poppy, you look really blocks even, and so later on, I'll show you some products that were offering that our clients look at and they go I've never I've never seen anything like this. I've got to keep doing that because what I showed you guys I was offering a year and a half ago two years ago, it was completely different than what I'm offering my clients today, I've got to continue to innovate for my clients. I can't just keep offering the same thing there's so many studios I go too, and I look and there's still there's still offering the same product same sizes they were five years ago. You've got to adapt to the changing market. That teenager today does not want the same thing that our parent got fifteen years ago. Just not just not possible, not from outfit editing. How many years of you has been one to two years? How many of you been full time photographer to show me making your money at full time star be okay. Uh, two to five in, uh, five or more. Okay, so you guys are a perfect example, are you order? Are you? If you're offering the same are you doing things the same way today that you were doing ten years ago? No. What about heading perspective? I can't imagine how anything has changed over the course of your career. Yeah, yeah, with the digital long on, I'm overshooting with film I was never over shooting, right? You come back from the days of film, you guys are great case, right? Because we work together one on one you guys came out to st louis, we re evaluate everything you had a studio, right got caught in the change of times going from film to digital, right? And now you're reinvesting back into your studio and catching up to today's market that's an awesome story many of you who are starting out we're less than two years you don't understand what it's like toe be so entrenched in a certain way of doing things and have to change that bright, but as you grow in your business, you will you have to continue, teo, thanks often you have to continue to innovate and change the way we're doing things. I am not doing things the same way today that I was five years ago. I'm not going to see throughout this course what we're already changing the framework. It is the same bite the business plan, the model is kind of the same, but what we're doing is slowly changing like we're using instagram a lot more than we've ever used before feud saw me two years ago, three years ago, I was probably like, yeah, I heard about instagram and that was it now we're using instagram and almost everything we're doing that becomes really, really important right? It's changing the markets and changing the trends or changing I would make the argument faster now than ever before so the technology change that was happening you know, when you think about like we went from, like a tract a to cassette tape toe cds to dvds, right that that technology change was getting faster and faster the adoption rate of technology, right? I don't know you probably hopefully you've seen it on tv, they've always shown these things like the adoption rate of like the tv was a certain slant and then it was like the adoption rate of the microwave and then the adoption rate of computers right? And the adoption rate of technology today is just like straight up technology comes out boom it's it's just it goes straight up, there is no ramp to it anymore. It just happens. And so if you think about who is your client today verse who your client is going to be in ten years and those were two completely different people my my business partner lauren, his daughter if you if you follow us online, you'll see me pictures with her little redhead and she's ah she's three years old, I guess now she lives her entire life on her iphone so her entire life can be seen on her mom and dad's iphone so she could go think about it when I'm forty four, right? They didn't have that when I was a kid, I maybe from when I was a kid there's maybe twenty pictures that I confined in a box somewhere of moments in my life, right with the easter bunny and things like that but she can now go through. She knows the code to her dad's phone she goes through and she'll go look me she shows us those pictures she'll find video of her. So we were just on a recent trip and we were singing a song on this trip some made up songs I make up jingles I don't know it's my thing way made this song mean her would sing this song together he actually gets pissed if anybody else sings the song okay, nobody else lots of singing she'll go no south, right? So I'm the only one who's allowed to sing with her this is the next generation coming through they are born with technology in their hand. So what are we gonna do? How are we going to adapt? I would be foolish if as a business owner I thought that I could continue to run my business in ten years the way I'm running it today that adoption curve is like this however rewind fifteen years ago those people in the industry are industry let's just say we're able to establish a formula for their business and stick with it for ten, fifteen years ok? And then the digital age came and it was a wake up call for all of them well, that doesn't exist anymore now if we're not changing our business every six months, we're going to get taken over by competitors so you guys look in this room because this side of the room was like about two years these guys were chasing you right? And so you're were fighting with you you guys are chasing me I see it in my own local market I see all these newcomers popping up every time I go to a new bridal show I'm like who the how is this person? I've never even seen them but guess what? They saw some creative live so they're booth looks exactly like mine at the bridal shows, right? And then they're coming to my booth at my bridal show and taking selfies in my booth of themselves right? So it's just this is the new world that's coming coming through I'm like what the hell is going on? This is my book so it's reality so I have to continue to innovate so do you all right, so where do we begin if you know, if at home your your mind isn't melting right now, and you're buying into this whole concept of like, all right, I get it, sal, you thumped me over the head one hundred times. I got to stop handing over cds. I have I'm leaving too much money on the table if you believe that. But you don't know where to start. Here's, how you start and you've heard it from your peers as well. Start looking for business incubators in your local market. Just google your city business incubator. There are options out there from the hourly rate, right, sir? You're you're in a north. Where do you do? In north jersey? In westchester, new york? Very expensive. Westchester, new york thirty. You're paying thirty five dollars an hour, their cities out there where you're literally paying ten, fifteen dollars an hour for renting that space. Tow where you can pay for hundred dollars a month and have a shared space very, very economical. So no matter where you are, even if you're in your home right now doing sales, how do you get out of your home? Start looking to gravitate towards that big business incubator. Look for life's, expensive states space. So that you can find one sale per month if you can find one sale per month, right, it will pay for the space. Those songs that one sale you'll figure out what your averages is at eight hundred there's, no wrong number five hundred and eight hundred thousand. Whatever that number is, if one sale per month I could pay for your space, your electric and all that stuff. You're gold that's the way you should be running the business that's gonna dictate where you move. That was my mindset. So we went from our home, our basement to my first studio space. It was like this twelve hundred square foot space on it was roughly thirteen hundred dollars a month somewhere in that range. And I knew that one sale would cover my rent for that location. I was fine. That made me know I could afford to move that cause that's the next big question, isn't it? How do we know when to move into our own retail space? That's probably one of the most asked questions I get there, like south by businesses starting should I move into a space? Should I stay in my home? Should I go with a business incubator? Once you get to a point where you have a consistent sales average and you know what that number is financially that's the number you should be looking to do the next thing you should be looking to do is get between five and ten photo shoots per week that should be your goal that should be your metric so you should be writing this down five to ten shoots per week that puts you at anywhere from twenty five ish tto forty shoots per month families, babies, seniors, weddings engagements right? You want to get into that range because when you start getting towards that range you're no longer worried about just paying for that and that's how we started so at first my goal mentally was can I get two five shoots? Can I get five shoots per week on the books right that requires you to do marketing requires you to know your, uh, who your client is that requires you to understand what your marketing options are you seeing how this is all time together it's all related and so if you start ignoring one piece of the formula other pieces they're going to start breaking down um literally have nothing to lose. Try it right? So if you're on the fence about doing something like this, just try it just give it a try have your first sales presentation and unless they spend zero they're more than likely going to spend more than you've ever made before you have to give him a reason to buy and so you'll see your very first sailor too you'll be awkward in it you won't know all the you know how to run it what to say when to say it how to close that's all normal but once you get past that hump you'll be you'll be where you need to be um put pricing we're gonna talk about pricing later on not we're not we're not going to go so in depth on pricing because I've done pricing before but the reason I added pricing to this course is because even though I've done pricing before for those of you who've come back and work with me one on one and you tell me I'm doing everything you told me to do you put your price she in front of me and then I find five things you're not doing right on their little things they're a little subtlety so this pricing we're gonna go through pricing again on if I could get you to find one mistake you're making is going to be a good good thing again we talked about this I started in my basement today we're in a space that's twelve thousand square feet it's been an incredible run for us we've enjoyed every minute of it and you know I was talking with the creative live audience on the brake and part of something I pride myself is being active photographer and that's something I think that all educators should really hold themselves. Who it's a bar we should hold all of them too, and not to say, because I'm running a studio that I know more than you. I'm still learning every day I try and learn something new, I try and grow my business, I try and experiment, and I'm going to share those experiments and failures with you over the course of this course in and of itself is over this thirty days, but here's where we are, we're to twelve thousand square foot space, and I share that with you, not as bragging rights. I share that with you so that you understand this is what's possible. So anybody who tells you it's not possible to make money as a professional photographers, a liar, anyone who tries to tell you that the only reason we have that space is because, well, he has other businesses. Yeah, ever their businesses, I'm an entrepreneur that's what I do about I stopped orson kinda photography as it is itself is a million dollar brand, okay, we're doing anywhere from seven hundred fifty toe one point one million in sales a year on photography do the math average wedding spends ten ten k plus we do forty to fifty weddings a year just on weddings you're looking at a half million dollar business and so this is what's possible I am in st louis blue collar america there is not big money there you know maybe it is but they're very conservative with it it's not a flashy l a or you where you guys can go always in beverly hills that's I'm not doing twenty thirty thousand dollar weddings where people are paying you that much I'm out there hustling just like you all right so we'll talk a little bit more about this and when it comes to selling okay I want you to understand maybe some of you guys are doing this today maybe you're not here's how we get to the sales process right? So I'm not going to cover here's how you sell here's what you say here is when you say it but I want you to take steps no matter where you are in the process today even if you're working in your business incubator rob these air things you can do create an environment where you can sell it's got to be easy to sell no noise no phone no kids yelling no dog barking right? So if you're working out of your house and all these things were going on their distractions they bring people back to reality we don't want that that's why michael you couldn't do aah starbucks anymore right there's just too much reality all around them we've got to get him away from that quiet light music make sure the room smells good. Okay, if you're in your house, no fish, no bacon, no burgers. Common sense must prevail. One thing I'm realizing it's common sense not so common these days. Encourage them to bring everyone. That is the big thing we do. We want them to bring mom, dad cousins and I don't care who they bring, bring everyone because and adds to the experience and it's peer pressure. Oh, I love when they have everybody there we've had. We've had twelve, fifteen people sitting in ourselves sales when they're sitting in high back chairs on the floor being bags everybody's gathered around the drinking wine there, drinking champagne and all you keep here and is every picture comes up oh, my god! That's beautiful! Oh, I love that one. Oh, susie that's my favorite. Oh, right! And the more that keeps that I was bad didn't sound bad, but the more that keeps happening, the better it is for sales and that's. What it's all about. You want that to keep happening? Because it reinforces what they've spent with you that's important way have to all understand sample products have to be around. You got to show it to sell it, man it's. Everywhere you go, anybody who's talking about sales, they talk about. Same thing. You got to show it. You got to show what you got to show it. And that's true. You do have to show it to you got to make that investment. No one's gonna buy a thirty by forty print on a wall or thirty by forty campus if you're not showing it to them so that they can have perspective, right? Jonathan was saying he goes in the client's holmes he's projecting large prints over their fireplace. Easy to sell because they can see realty time. How big that is. If you've ever had a conversation with a client where you go a thirty by forty, you will see almost panic set in. Thirty. Forty. Oh, no, no that's too big that's. Too big. Well taken. Eleven. Sixteen, right? But there's, not a fireplace in the world that an eleven by sixteen would fit over and look right that's where they would need to. Thirty by forty. So that's the part you got to show it to them in that environment. So our sales room looks like a living very much so, because now they can relate to things while our table's about that big. Be surprised how often we hear that like, yeah, we got a table it's about that big our couch is about that big, great. Now they're seeing what size is that over your couch? Well, that's a thirty forty. Okay, all right, now, now things are connected, so I'm getting out of the way. I'm making it easy for them to spend money. You want them to walk into their main image on the screen. So it's probably maybe a sixty inch tv behind me somewhere in that range. This is about the size of the tv we have in our sales room, so when they walk in on that tv is what I call a signature at it. That is that one picture that we we went crazy on. Maybe we dropped the new sky in maybe we did some hdr on it, maybe remove buildings and people and just want to create that surreal look for them that's a piece of art. Okay, they walk in, they see that on the screen and they're like, oh, my god, that's us that's our wedding day and they can't stop staring at it. So I'm already setting the tone right for what's about to happen that's huge, then we open up with an animal slideshow. Okay, so if you're not if you're not using animal today or some slide show today you're missing out huge opportunity now you're adding music to it now you're creating that mood if you wanna have a sale session, don't just have pictures sliding on screen music creates that memory, it makes it it makes it more meaningful for the client, so keep that in mind and so it doesn't have to be sales e that's the part we have to understand, right? We don't need to be sales e at all guide them through the process. We do not hard sell a single client, not at all. If a client wants to come in and buy zero, we're not happy about it, but we're not going to put pressure on him just suck it up it's all about averages that's the part we have to understand. So for those of you who were part of shutter fast and the shutter fast group, if you're not, you need to be its shutter fast this year. But if you are, if you've been part of that group war, mccormick eyes a shutter faster and he came out and did one on one consulting with us, so we flew out to st louis and part of what he wanted to see it was how we ran our sales process. That was the part he felt like was the missing link in his business he's a great photographer, he understands composition and lighting hey understands the marketing side of it, but the part the missing link was the sales process, so we set it up so that he would come in and watch four sales presentations. So we sat in the room with taylor, right? We had no idea what any client was going to spend. This could've been a complete bust for us. We could have been like, yeah, do it our way and then everybody comes in spends no money, so we just had four sales presentations come in based on what shoots were done, you know, a week and a half, two weeks prior, and he got to watch firsthand in eighteen hundred dollars sale a fourteen hundred dollars, sale, a twenty, seven hundred dollar plus sale, they weren't done spending when they left, they needed to check wall space and then a zero sales last sail of the day spend zero, they were completely indifferent on their engagement pictures. They're like whatever that's fine. So we saw a real world happened right before his very eyes, and he was blown away by how much money he was currently leaving on the table because as of that meeting he was not doing in studio sales he was still selling online and he's miserable at his sales, uh, numbers, but look at what my average was for the day notice I don't focus on the zero I don't focus on the twenty seven hundred dollars sale wasn't nice it's about what my averages, and on average, I think the actual averages like fourteen hundred eighty nine dollars or something like that. I'm running about a fifteen hundred dollar average that's a good average that lets me know that if I can get five shoots per week through the studio ten shoots per week on average, I know what I'm looking at making per week to understand, so I'd be fifteen grand a week, right? Thirty, sixty grand a month you can start figuring out what you can make throughout a year now. Granted, there's have been flow right? I'm not suggesting that every week we're gonna have five shoots when it's summertime, I'm doing four to six shoots per day, four days a week during the summer, then when I get until like november december, I'm not doing anything. Maybe I got one or two weddings going on during that period of time, and so it's all about average is that's the way we got to start running our businesses, and we keep track of this in a spreadsheet. So I'm assuming that's what you were using some spreadsheet to give me that average right that okay so we use a spreadsheet it's super easy client name what they what they spent on each session so real quickly I can know what my average wedding contract is what my average engagement sale is what my average bridal portrait is and what the average is spent across the entire wedding from a client gotta have access that that data really really quickly or else you really don't understand your business is making sense and so and wrapping this segment up because next we're gonna talk about pricing your work but in wrapping this segment up first we want to give our clients a complete service ah complete experience that's ultimately what it's about and for those of you out there who especially you guys here right you've seen the difference between handing over that cd and actually selling being advocate being ambassador for it right share the good will help your fellow photographer figure out right show them the white the weight the path away from not making money helped them make money network with them make friends right it's for tarver's I don't understand why we can't all just get along it's too interesting to see that the cattiness that goes on in our industry sometimes and so we have to be the advocate for that for that goodwill right there's plenty of business for all of us I realize that they wanted your clients absolutely want prince they do again. I'm just going to keep talking about shutterfly seven hundred plus million dollars in print sales that's just shutterfly right there's all sorts of the print lab's out there that are doing prints for your client. I'm gonna pause here for a second because again I'm gonna talk real world I would say for those of you who don't know, I own a company called evolve at its so we've all that it's his post production for you guys as photographers, I would say we get on average three to five requests per week from bright edit their pictures three to five requests per week we don't do it because we work with the professional photographer we won't do it but it's mind blowing to me that they're contacting evolve for post production services because they want those special edits salvator cincotti photography just last week I'll try and remember that toe to bring this email in ah bride called us solid person kind of tire she knows nothing about evolved nothing about this side of the business she knows our photography studio her friend lives in o'fallon, illinois, our hometown she got married in another state somewhere her friend contacted us and said, we love your pictures, which is funny because you didn't hire me for the wedding can you take her cd of images and edit them like yours? That was the request absurd, I know, but this is where it's going, and this is what is leading them to be so passionate about what I'm saying to you this is what clients want they're telling us why they contacting involved that's incredible to me, their photographer should be contacting involved, right? Uh, why they contacting me? They should be contacting their own photographer to get this, so we're offering them an incomplete service. Invest that extra time you're going to reap the rewards, I promise. And ultimately we've got to start thinking like business people. That's what it's all about that's what this conversation is it's about how to get you to really master the business of photography how do we get you there? How do we teach you how to really run a business like an entrepreneur? That's we've gotta be! We're all entrepreneurs slash artist slash photo shop editor slash slash slash we wear million hats on our company, none more important than that of the ceo of our company, so that being said, I hope I've converted at least one of you than success is mine, for sure. Next up we're going jump into pricing your work and there's two parts to this, we're going to go heavy into talking about just understanding how to price our work, where to start and don't zone out on this, so especially for those who are like, yep, I've seen sounds, pricing, no pay attention, pay more attention than you've ever paid before, because I guarantee you you're doing something wrong, and you're pricing model. I have not made a single photographer, who's told me. They're following our pricing. Who is doing it right? So unless you guys are the first, uh, it's, probably not gonna happen here, either. There's gonna be subtleties, but you have to tweet to get it right, so we'll cover that in the next segment.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Master the Business of Photography - Workbook
Master the Business of Photography Slides
5 Tips to Finding and Booking Your Client

Ratings and Reviews

Brandon D

Sal isn't disgruntled and angry like someone below said, and he doesn't have time for people constantly whining about why their business isn't going good. He's from Brooklyn, so he can come across as harsh at first, but after watching several of his classes and even getting to meet him in person and talk a bit I can tell you he is a really nice guy who truly does want you to succeed. He was very encouraging to me after I thanked him for helping me and my business get to where it is now. Growing up, I can remember photographers grabbing us and posing how they wished. They are often in a hurry to get things right, such as at a wedding, so I am not sure why one reviewer stated he would dismiss them. Sounds like he is just looking for a reason to feel powerful. Anyway, this is a great class to get you on track with your business. Yes, its a bit wedding heavy, but the concepts are the same no matter what. Just apply them to your niche and you are good to go.


Amazing course. Sal is such a great photography educator. Terrific course. I'm not usually big on watching business courses, but this course as taught by Sal was terrific. Down to earth, entertaining, packed with real life experiences do's, don'ts and lessons learned. This courses business A to Z and Sal is very entertaining to watch/listen to. Thanks CreativeLive for getting Sal.

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I have been a long time fan of Creative Live and have sat on the fence with all of Sal's classes because I already attend Shutterfest every year and get loaded with valuable information there, so it was hard to pull the trigger on a $300 course that was filmed 5 years ago. Also, in my earlier days of hearing about Sal, I'd heard a lot of negative opinions about how he comes across. Still, I'd heard he's a marketing guru, and my background is in marketing as well, so I really wanted to see what this class was all about. Now that I've finally gotten it, I'm completely blown away. There is just SO MUCH MATERIAL in this class that its actually difficult trying to decide what to implement first! It is good stuff too. It is all about marketing, sales, and workflow. If you're looking for a class teaching you how to take better photos, this one is not it. This is the class that teaches you how to get your work where everyone is seeing it and convincing people to book you and tell their friends about you! Now as far as others have already said... this class is definitely geared toward wedding photographers. Yes there are bits of information that work for other types of photography, but it is so heavily wedding oriented that there might be a better fit out there for another type of photographer. If you do weddings though, this is an amazing class! As far as Sal's personality goes.... he's a New Yorker transplanted to St. Louis. So expect that NYC no BS type of attitude. Susan Stripling is another one of my favorites and she is similar in attitude (and also extremely talented), so if you like her, you should like this. If you have a hard time with her, you might have a hard time with this. Regardless, its stuff y'all need to hear and implement to be successful. Obviously because the class is a bit older, you may have to make small tweaks to a few things (even though he says don't jack with the recipe), but the marketing principles are solid and timeless. Shoot this course is worth it for the SEO advice alone. Just buy it already!

Student Work