Shooting to Sell: Big Prints, Albums & Products
So let's talk about shooting cell and I know this is a term we use all the time but I can't stress it enough because no matter how many times I use it I still see photographers out there not wrapping their head around this concept so in a nutshell this is from ah workshop we did in vancouver this to me epitomises shooting this out this is a print that I understand it was from a workshop regardless this I would do this with my client this is a print that we fought we photographed I'm walking down the street I was I was going to starbucks of all places from my hotel and I saw this overpass going over the street I'm going up there and we had no intention of shooting there we go up there and this is what we see up there look at the architecture there right and then we put we get the models and we put them in there and this becomes the picture will the coolest part about all of this was one of my one of my attendings his name's rob he was in their guide in new york he's learning his hungry ...
za sponge right he's the outdoor cat he's a scrappy count right now he while he's in the workshop I can't make this stuff up gets a lead on an engagement shoot in vancouver while we're there gets the engagement shoot goes and uses this spot and produces a badass picture for his client right house out like for instance, success he goes and does this and duty rips it he rips it from me but he doesn't in his style he puts his client there he's added kudos for him, man because that's what it's all about he shot to sell and buy shooting to sell I'm talking about large portrait a client cannot do this smaller than a twenty by thirty it's just not possible if they do they're going to be tiny in the frame that's the ultimate goal when I talk about shooting yourself it's seeing the big picture anybody can take any by ten it's not complicated to do okay but doing this seeing this leading lines composition architectural elements this is what's gonna get you to that next level with your climb they're going to look at stuff like this and go oh my god that's so cool this isn't this is just an overpass so don't look at my locations and believe all you're lucky you're you shoot in new york are you shooting? It could be an alley this is merely a overpass off one of the busy streets in vancouver that's all this is so when you're shooting and we're saying shooting sal what's your ultimate goal the ultimate goal has to be diversity diversity and want youto living right so we talk about that tight middle wide right so we want a tight shot of them a middle shot and a super wide shot the one you just saw that I was showing you that's a wide shot I would consider that why that's with my sixteen thirty five um we want a high image count I want to give my clients as much to choose from is possible because that drives album sales so it's a typical portrait session I'm talking engagement ah bridal session a senior a family we're going typically show them about two hundred to two hundred fifty images I might photograph close to five hundred images it just depends on the scenario on how many outfits they have but at the end of the day I want them to see that two hundred to two hundred fifty images now with that comes an understanding that I'm not talking about two hundred images all looking same right it's two hundred images with diversity toe different expression different angles different poses how do you find locations inspiration strikes and most random random times right so it could be an overpass it could be a brick wall it could be a tin wall it could be an alley look for random places that are different you want everything to be on a white background a black background mix it up give them diversity think about their home think about where they're putting this and if you look at all my images up here right this particular scene I love it. This is one of my high school senior she's a real senior she's not a model. Okay, this was her prom dress on dh we found this if you were to look around this area if I had a wide shot it is a complete crap hole. This is not where you'd want to take your client to be in photograph, but from my style for a photography this is my style, that contract I see I got a beautiful girl, right? And this gritty scene that is my style. Those of the clients I'm looking for same here we're in an open field, right there's architectural elements here these air thought out shots that we're going after because we know we want to sell these and that's what you have to think about so if I were doing this and it wasn't working I'd stop doing it it's that simple so don't knock it don't hate it go try it that's the key see what your clients are willing to spend money on don't be afraid to take that risk also coordinating locations without fitz so something we do whether it's an engagement session style I shoot ah ah high school senior is I'm not going to take a senior who's in a red shirt and put her up against a red brick wall right, so we're trying to coordinate outfits so that we're thinking about color palettes as well. That's, our job is artist is to start seeing that contrasts not only visually, but color wise, right there's contrast in the color, we have to look at it and see it differently. But again, I can't stress it enough what's selling if it sells, keep doing it. If it's not selling, don't convince yourself your clients or stupid, and then they just don't understand what you do. Right? That's, that ego in us for me I can take taylor does it to me all the time. She's like, why do you keep taking this picture? And I can tell you the picture. It is high school seniors wearing sunglasses. They don't buy him it's. That simple. Mom wants to see the eyes well, just a couple of weeks ago, I got this opportunity. Uh, one of my seniors she's a pilot, right? And so we had access to an airport propeller plane. Ah, hanger. And we got all these amazing pictures. Well, I spent all this time setting up this shot of her wearing her leather jacket, standing there in front of the plane, the plane, the hangar in the background setup strobes to get this amazing shot. But I used I had are wearing her glasses, set it up with a signature at it on it I mean, it's amazing, I'll try and posted tow our facebook site, so you see it mom didn't bite is a big shot, all right? So taylor first thing she does as soon as the sessions out jumps my ass about why I keep doing it right, so I have to listen to the feedback and not be stubborn and start, listen not, it just isn't going to sell, so I've got to stop doing it. And if the client brings sunglasses taken obligatory handful of shots but don't do anything that I'm shooting for big, big prints with sunglasses on, right? So we've got to listen to the client we've got to get the client excited about it. This is going to impact your sales. We've got to start thinking big think big picture, big portrait's, big prints don't be afraid to try and sell your clients big prince that's very, very important album's number one product we're selling in our studio albums it's all about album, senior albums, wedding albums, family albums that is a completed product or service you cannot expect your client to go design albums, I don't know why we expect lines to go design out there, not album designers that's what we do all right, so how and when do we start selling these? I start selling these the minute they walk in the door. So if it's a wedding client when they come for that initial consultation, my entire package structure is based on scene. Okay, those those wedding albums, if it's a senior, we're showing them senior albums when they come in to get their hair and makeup done. So we're already showing that to mom, and she doesn't even know what anything is going to cost that that point. And so we're already getting them hooked on the albums. Yeah, you say they don't see the prices until they come in for their actual shoot. They don't, they don't come to meet with you before the shoot to decide on no there's, no pre meeting with a high school senior, they asked like, hey, what do you start at? That is true. So let's have this conversation so high school senior will either send out two wrecked mail or ambassador program things like that, and we'll end up happening with in that scenario. Is the phone worrying how much I mean bottom line? And so the answer is very it's, very important how you answer these questions, so for us on a high school senior calls in hey, we have to, you know, to sessions one is two hundred dollars, one is three hundred dollars. The three hundred dollar one is like five outfits two and a half to three hours it's actually this many locations. Okay, well, the next question is, does that include any prints? No, that doesn't include any prints that's for south time and talent. After your session, we put together packages in pricing that will significantly discount, uh, product for you, but there's, no minimum order it's very important. You let them know there's no minimum order, the next question will to continue to follow. Well, how much is an eight by ten? An eight by ten is fifty dollars. But to give you perspective, the average family spends about a thousand dollars in our studio, so we're telling them how much an eight by ten is we're telling them what the average family spends, and we're also telling them there's, no minimum order all things that are true if they continue to move forward with us, they understand what they're getting themselves into. I'm telling you the minimum or the average orders around a thousand dollars, even though it's much higher that's a price point, I'm setting that thousand dollar mark because I don't want clients were coming in looking to spend five hundred eso the average kind in our studio spends damn near close to two thousand dollars for a high school senior but I don't want to scare the crap out of somebody because there's no minimum order so there's no bait and switch because we're being clear where that order is what I don't think his fare is to say to people like there's no minimum order okay and then or don't even talk about minimum orders and then you put a minimum order in place that's where they're starts becoming some bait and switch right if you say the average client spends a thousand dollars but then there's a two thousand dollar minimum package order they feel dudes right so I'm trying I try to make sure we give them all three scenarios no minimum order how much an actual print is why they judge us on an eight by ten that's because they go to all the tigers and asked the same question and then we talked with the average family spends and if they start asking more than that you've got to realize it's more likely not gonna be your client because they do have enough information to make a decision you kind of almost answer that but so like what we do is you know prince start out you know whatever what do you do when someone asks if they can see your product klein before or like packet like fast how much your packages are before? They book a shoot. How do you handle that? Yeah, to me, it comes along. It comes back to what the average person spends if they push back and they're like, well, what? Your packages, right. Okay, well, to give you perspective, our packages, they're tied to vender specials. So as vendors are running discounts and specials, we alter our packages. But our base packages five, ninety nine and that includes a b, c and e. But just to give you perspective, that's how it stands now, I can't guarantee it'll be that way when you come in that's very important, because if you don't do that, you'll now locked into something that mean, they may not shoot for another four months. You never want to be locked in that you're pricing for that long. You just you can't be it's just things change new products come out right, like I just showed you this new product. Well, you're locked into your pricing for the next six to eight months. How do you incorporate that product into it without being able to raise your your prices there? So there's design makes sense other questions around this? Well, and so I know from previous workshops with you, you know, the vendor special thing is just that's, just something that you're kind of now I'm making that up, you know, that there's, no doubt about it, there's truth and there's lives to it, right? In a certain sense, it is tied to the pricing we're getting from our vendors, but obviously they're a little more stable than changing every week, right? So but if that's the most gamesmanship I embark on, I'm okay with that, because at the end of the day, the reason I do it it's important understand why we do it? Because I need a sense of urgency if there's no sense of urgency for your clients to buy, and you're discounting them, right what's to stop them from saying, welcome back in six months, and I'll buy that. First of all, we know two things that's never gonna happen, they'll never come back in six months, and secondly, we can't afford for them to never come back. So in order to toe kind of circumvent that that's, our pressure point on them, and we have no pushback on that whatsoever, and the reason we have no pushback is because we don't play more games and go well, um, if you don't buy them now, you'll never be able to buy you absolutely can buy in the future, but you're gonna pay ala carte price. That's a sales tactic that sale ends on the state that's, right? Every store, you know, and I do it's funny you say that, susan, because I've gotten pressure in the past, people saying without that seems really sales. Is it any more sales even best by running a twenty percent off one day sale, forty eight hour sale on tvs, is it? I mean, did the tv suddenly cost less to produce? Numb? Right? It costs the same price, but they're trying to drive sales that's the whole point of a frickin sale. So I'm trying to drive a sail tonight while you're in my studio and that's why I'm running it that way so we don't get a lot of blowback from clients. Our clients don't don't push back on that, um and so ultimately gonna have to see do what you feel comfortable with as a photographer. Yeah, I totally used the tide of under specials line and trying teo work with clients and a consul. Um, and I find myself adding well, we do it this way to get you the best value and my then, like, diverting from the right? No, I feel I feel like you're I feel like you might be almost over defending. The fact that it's tied to mentor specials writes, you gotta believe in the vendor specials a little bit more, and the problem you're having is, you know, your venue special, a little bit of bullshit, so you you're kind of justifying it, right? You just gotta believe just got to say to him like we'll give you special is that are tied to our vendor specials, like I said, while there is a little b s tied to it, it is very accurate because if my vendors raise prices, my prices will go up and that's, not it's, not like that doesn't happen it's just not as volatile as we're making a team that's kind of the big, you know, hires right? You're it's, not his volatile, we're making it seem a little bit more volatile than it is, but I don't wanna have pricing locked in for the next year because I do have situations where somebody comes shooting with us in march and then maybe they come for a baby shoot in july write something to that effect. I can't lock prices in in definitely have to be able to move his products, come out a certain products, sell or don't sell these are good questions, this is from the other side of the perspective this is from sm, sm who says I am a soon to be bride next month and also an aspiring wedding photographer? I don't see a cd of edited images as ingredients like coffee the beans and cups I see it as a final product one which I want I specifically chose a photographer who will supply me with the digital files because that's all I actually want I genuinely don't want an album and my unusual as an aspiring photographer maybe and she said I as a client scare myself no, this is good debate I love the debate so let's start off with a couple of things one not my client, okay she's she would not be my client number two I think she is, in a sense odd man out because I find that my graphics artistic people that's all they care about why? Because we're going to go off and edit our own image is ok, but my bride is willing to pay ten thousand dollars for a wedding mike, what is she doing during the day? She's not editing pictures at her desk she's working she's a lawyer she's a doctor I had a bride state anyone time what is this? And she pointed to the digital negatives on the price I said is your additional negative so you have your image is right because it is built into our packages she said what the hell am I supposed to do with that? This is my bride right she's like what am I supposed to do with that she goes is this what you do? I had a lot because I've never had anyone call me out in that direction on this right no no this is what we do I said they think of it like archival this is so you have him forever if you want to share with family and friends and she's like okay right? So that's my bride this necessarily isn't and I have had artistic people graphic designers other photographers come to us they don't end up booking us because I refuse to just hand that over so don't worry about it you probably are scaring yourself a cz your own client and bride to be but think about your needs as a photographer in graphics person first the need of your potential client and I want to expand on this this is something else have had a conversation with we talk about brandy and how you are part of your brand and wanting to attract the right client. If I was talking to someone, I forget what city was in but they said I don't like name brand stuff but I want to be a high end elite photographer I feel like I'm I'm conflict I'm a conflicted person here and you are to a certain because you will never understand your bride if you don't understand brand okay now I always talk about louisville time let's just keep talking about it if you look at louis vuitton and you just see louis vuitton is you're like I could care less bag is a bag is a bag you would not be your own client some make any sense so you have to understand that if you want to charge top dollar for an event the client you're going after is the one who doesn't see a photographer is a photographer is a photographer that's not the person I'm going after I'm going after the person who sees the the difference the subtle differences between what you do with the camera and what I do with a camera those are the people we have to be going after so sometimes using yourself is not always the best way to figure out who your bride is yeah that's a good question I would love to talk to her I know you'd like to hear the difficult difficult ones yeah can't can't softball me every time so let's see uncorked jen is kind of calling you a little bit, she says I feel like he's lucky a little with his brides all budgets and type of people in our area seemed to want the digitals boss about she has called me out I love it we're not lucky we are in st louis blue collar america it is not I do not have bride's running around just have ten thousand dollars to spend I've already told you I am by far the most expensive photographer in our area I have lost plenty of business because I'm too expensive what I what I want you to understand and believe if I can convert you is understand that no matter where you are in the world in the country there are people who have money. You either believe that or you don't write if you don't believe that people in your area have money, there's probably nothing I'm going to do to convince you but if you believe there are people who have money, the next question is somewhat logical how do you get to him, right? If there's people in your area with money find them, those are the ones who'll spend what you want and so I don't have any different brides, and when we look at demographics, I would say my demographic is probably worse than most parts of the united states new york, chicago, l a san francisco seattle the's are areas where the demographics support charging a lot more for weddings I'm in an area that would support the average wedding photographer in the midwest is probably in that two thousand to three thousand dollars range, so how do we start off charging more than double that I'm not lucky it's just I know my bride and that's what you've got to get so good question keep pushing back on me I can take it we'll go from there I love that you answered that to sell because there are so many people asking questions I live in this small town you know where the closest town is fifty thousand people you know things like that so there's really no demographic als situation because even in that small town I guarantee you there's people with money right or the town is just disappearing and if that's the case for khun move right you know what there's nobody in your town with money why are you there now why would you want to start a business in a place where there's no money now what's gonna happen is there's people out there going easily go they're just going to check out they're going to go okay well there's obviously no money in my town so I can't this isn't gonna ply no I'm telling you no matter where you are in the country there's money and don't be afraid to travel why would you be afraid to try on where we are we are in o'fallon, illinois and that's a suburb off st louis metro ok so I would say ninety five percent of my weddings are in st louis very few people in o'fallon for weddings not seniors for weddings hire us we go, we go to st louis and I don't charge him anything extra. So typically, I might drive forty five minutes to an hour. Twenty to get to my wedding where I'm working because I'm chasing the money. Go where the money is, right? Stop whoring about what's going on in your in your little town. No more excuses. Yeah, one kind of cool thing that was nerve wracking at first, but not this year two thousand two thousand thirteen. But last year was like our highest weddings that we had and we're doing a lot of that. We'll do limit last little bit less. And then this year, we were so stuck on our prices of being like, no, we will not do anything less than this a little bit less weddings. But we're already getting referrals and booking into next year, and people are like, okay, boom, I'm I want this package they don't question, uh, can we do it for this? S o rachel, that is a hard we were talking about this over lunch, right? That is the hardest home for everybody out there. I'm so glad you're saying something now. So people here it is the scariest thing to be able to do is stand firm on your prices because you're so hungry. You don't want to lose business, you don't want to see it uh disappear on you and so the hardest thing to do is stay stand firm but once you do, you get those clients that are in that bracket instead of referring back clients and get for the same people that kind of want that experience want that no it's exactly right? And that is the biggest thing I understand yeah, that was even though there's a few less weddings like you're still making more your margins are higher, right? You're shooting last but you're making mohr per event and that's the thing to understand it's okay to go backwards in numbers assed faras total bookings because that's not the metric we're looking at right? We're looking at sales so it's all about sales so if sales are going up, I don't care if I shoot last events I wantto right? I just want to keep growing the business and who doesn't want to work last make more it's the ultimate stephen kids that's what that's about yeah product offering what should you carry? Canvas prints, right? So this is what you have to if you want to build a high end brand if you want to differentiate yourself, you've got to start carrying the right products so obviously campuses a big seller, it's not going backwards for it's just classic prince I don't believe you should carry all sizes just because the lab offers the size doesn't mean you should carry that size, limit your offering and it's funny you'll see when we show my different pricing that I had from last year are from two thousand ninety two this year, you'll see that I had sizes on there that we don't carry any more just doesn't make sense they weren't selling. Nobody wants it there's too many choices, so limit your sizes. Wallets are candy for the seniors, unique sizes like fifteen by thirties okay, are very important. Uh, those are the long, skinny ones. This one's a fifteen by thirty is to me is a very important size toe offer because it allows you some creative control to do things and it's a size where if they see that they can't buy it in an eight by ten, they can't buy it in a four by six doesn't crop that way, and so they understand that they have to buy this in that bigger size, and this is a size once it's mounted, it'll fit on and it's actually too small to go over a couch. I don't know if you get that field, you know, at home, but this would never fit over a couch, it's too small. Okay, so these are the things we want so that it would go on a bookshelf or one of those couch back tables, something to that effect albums you've gotta offer both press printed books and albums, riel albums, not just press printed books, legit albums, handmade albums, graduation announcements save the day thank you cards facebook we've gotta post to facebook we've got engaged in social media that's where our clients are there's no turning back on that that is the new generation, they want everything on facebook on, then, of course, just various out items, we offer facebook timelines, right? So the timeline, the top part of the page, we have templates for that, and so we sell those templates we tow our clients, we allow them to customize him, and then we give that to him. So that's free advertising forces well, sticky albums, right? So that's a company, hopefully you guys have heard about him? I don't know if you're living under a rock, but sticky albums that's an iphone app that allows you to give your clients their images on an app. Okay, so on their iphone on their android device there doing this, and I'll show you guys some of this tomorrow, but these are the kind of things that we're offering our client's slide shows right, it's, not it's, not a new thing. A slideshow is not a new thing, but then we still use an emoto for everything our clients love and a motor. You guys all using an emotive? Yeah, one former fashion known something. So you've got to start looking at them. It's just it's. A cost effective solution. It's what they want.