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Portrait Startup

Lesson 27 of 35

What Products to Sell

Sue Bryce

Portrait Startup

Sue Bryce

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Lesson Info

27. What Products to Sell

Lesson Info

What Products to Sell

One of the decisions I think you had to make watching Facebook, was how do you choose what product to sell? Now, I made it very simple, in the glamour genre, to sell a folio box of 20 images; why did I choose a folio box? Because people wouldn't buy 20 wall portraits, and I don't like albums, 'cause albums are too hard to produce, and they're expensive; the folio box was cheap, it was cost effective, it had a good profit margin, it was easy to assemble, I could pre purchase them and stack them up in my studio, and all I had to do was print the images, or send them off to the lab, back then, because I wasn't printing my own work, then, get them back, put them in the folio box, and now, I get them back, put them in the folio box, put them on the reveal wall, and I find myself, inevitably, having the client come, tune up, have a look at their photographs. I wrap up the box, tie it up in a beautiful ribbon, wrap it up in gift wrapping paper, and they take it home with them, right then and ...

there, now, the process of that takes a little bit of refining, and until you're ready, you need to go to digital sales, until you're ready to do the reveal, but when you are ready to do the reveal, trust me, it's gonna work, and you're gonna be really impressed, but dial in your system, first, around selling; okay, here you go, think about this with digital sales; you can sell in Starbucks with a laptop, I've done that before, I've done it via Skype, I've done screen share, but make it in person, whether it's at their home; I've even been to somebody's home, and would you believe it, they got my laptop, and plugged it into their entertainment system, and I sold on a projection screen in their living room, for $3,000; that's right when I was starting out, when I had no money, nothing. This guy's writing me a $3,000 check, sitting on his own couch, you know, and I'm just sitting there, thinking, oh my goodness, I got in the car, I went home, I called my mum, and I was like, I just made $3, sitting in this guy's lounge, selling family portraits to them, you know? So digital sales, you gotta really lock that down, but, I've said it over and over, and over and over again; what are you selling? Because until you tell me who you are, what you do, and what you're selling, I don't know who you are, what you do, or what you sell, and I certainly can't buy anything from you, so you need to lock down your product, and do it this week; I want you to simplify your menu, simplify your price lists, small, medium and large would be my ultimate satisfaction for you, but obviously, I'm looking at photographers all the time, and all I'm seeing is price lists; you know, I look at images, eight by 10, 11 16, 40, 10 canvas, blah, blah, blah, and it goes on and on and on and on, to a whole other stuff that the public do not understand. You're selling me numbers that I don't even understand; you're not selling me a beautiful product, you're not selling me anything tangible, you're not selling me anything I understand, and you're certainly not making it easy for me to spend money with you, so for me, locking it down to a folio box was simple; if you're not doing a folio box, you can't really do the reveal wall; the reveal wall is based on a pre sold package of a folio box and a wall portrait, so until you're ready to lock that right down, you cannot do it; I'm telling you right now, the only person that has to accept what you're selling is you, you have to accept it, you have to believe it, you have to be okay with it, you have to like the product that you've chosen; at the moment, all of the mentors have put an embed with Sue, how they're doing reveals, the different folio boxes they've chosen. I use finao sell; everybody uses something different, on day two, they all told you that all an embed with Sue on Facebook, they've put it all up there for you to see, there's a file you can access with all the different options of folio boxes to suit everybody at different places around the world, and different price options and build; Niki builds her own mets, I couldn't think of anything I'd rather not do, but that's okay, if that saves you time or money, or whatever it does, that's cool with me; it's whatever you feel comfortable with, alright? I just feel like this is really, really important. Sue, people still have some questions around digital sales Yes. And mainly, how do you price for digital sales? Okay, so the next slide is where does the price come from? So, interestingly enough, Tammy said, on day one, she went to my highest package, right from day one; her very first sale in the studio was $2,400, because she just took my price list and made it her own, now, I have heard every argument under the sun in the last five years, as to why you can't use my price list; "nobody would pay that in my area, nobody would spend "that money on themselves, nobody would buy that many "photographs, my mother in law said I'm disgusting, and "who do I think I am for charging that?" I went through, on day one, the evolution of pricing, with you, starting at $400; let's get real, if you're doing anything under $400 for a photoshoot, you're not making any money; you're actually paying someone to take their photographs, so let's go back and start our price point, at least around the $400 mark, and remember the evolution of pricing, so I really hit that on day one, the pricing, you need to go back to that segment and re watch it; it comes down to, you start at 400, it goes up in increments, it's around 600, 800, 1200, 1800, it keeps jumping up. I've seen the evolution of photographers through wedding and portrait, all do the same thing; pricing portraits is really interesting, I want you to start at an eight by 10 up; I don't really want you to sell smaller prints, if you have to sell smaller prints, so this is what my boss did 20 years ago; we took the five by seven off the pricing menu, and we just put the eight by 10, starting at 190, 20 years ago, and if somebody said, "well, do you do a five by seven?" He'd say, "yeah, it's the same price as a eight by 10," so size didn't matter, anything smaller than eight by was the price of the smallest portrait, so anything up to an eight by 10 was one price. It's genius, and it worked, however, most people are like "oh, that's never gonna work," and it's not, it's not gonna work because what you believe and what you say, of course it's not gonna work; the second you push back on it, it's not gonna work; you can sell whatever you want, at the end of the day, if people are buying it, and you're offering really good service, and your product is viable, then you're gonna sell it. It's only you in the way; you're the only person that's standing in the way, it's not the industry, it is not the state you live in, it's not the amount of photographers working around you, it is not your cost, it's what you believe; I've seen it, I've seen it over, and over and over again, the evidence is compelling, it comes down to what you believe, and every time I see somebody write a block on Facebook, here's the beautiful part. "I'm doing everything right, I'm doing everything "Sue says, I'm pricing it out here, I love my work, "fully believe in myself, 100%; it's not working, "and I just don't understand what my block is, "because I'm doing everything right;" you are, you're the block, there's something you're doing, saying, thinking, being, that is blocking you from getting the money, and that is the hardest thing; you're looking outside you for answers, and the answers are inside you, you're saying it, you're thinking it, you're believing it, you need to fess up to what that is, and don't tell me you don't know, because you do; you're doing it, you're saying it, you're being it, and it's like the hardest realization. It's like turning a mirror, slowly towards yourself, and you're going like this (cringing) and then it comes around, and you're like, "ah, no, it's "me, it was me," it's you the whole time, it's you; I'll tell you right now, it's you, where does the price come from? I worked it out like this, I would like to do a photoshoot and get $3,000, that's how I did it; at the end of the day, I just pulled $3,000 out and said, that would be a great number for me, I would be able to pay a studio, I'd be able to pay a lease, I'd be able to pay a staff member, a PA and a makeup artist, or both, a re-toucher; I'd be able to outsource my retouching, and offer an incredible product within that value; how about we change the idea of price, and look at it like this, what would you like to average in your portrait sales, okay? Let's just say that, I want you to write it down at home, right now, and what would you like to average? Niki, what would you like to average? 2400. Okay, if you would like to average $2400, I'm only gonna ask you one question, do you know what it is? What are you going to put in that experience and package that is worth $2,400? That's the only question I need to ask you; let's say Kenna says "I want $800," I'm like, okay, Kenna, what are you going to put in that package to get $800 that you feel good about giving this much service, this much product for $800, what are you prepared to do for that $800, okay? Let's say I just announced, right now, my new portrait package is $10,000, the only question I would ask Sue Bryce, is "what are you prepared to do to get $10,000?" What does that look like? Is that a seven hour shoot? Is that 50 images? Is that a video of behind the scenes? What are you prepared to see the value of the average sale? If you can answer that, and I don't mean, what does Sue think is the value of the $10,000? I'm asking what you think is the value of the average sale you want, because if you're working from your value system, now, let's say, Kenna and I both charge $3,000, but Kenna thinks she's so awesome, she just gives a CD, and they're lucky to spend an hour with her, that's $3,000; she will sell that because she believes that, but let's say Sue feels a little bit more guilty, and for $3,000, she'll take four hours to shoot, she'll do eight outfits, she'll even help you pick the clothes, she'll rent a runway for you and take you out to lunch afterwards. But that's what I need, in order to feel good about the $3,000 I'm charging; let's flip it around, is that helpful if I ask you how to value your average sale? Now I'm asking you what you feel comfortable doing for the amount of money that you want, so let's say you're struggling to meet a $300 average right now, you want your average to be 1200; what are you going to change to feel comfortable doing what you're doing to get $1200? That's the only question I need to ask you. Therena Carlans says I understand the process of getting your cost of doing business, but I have a block when it comes to how much I want the profit to be, so I'm not sure what is realistic, so do you look at not just the $2400 sale, as the revenue that comes in for that, but are you thinking about the profit within there, as well? You know what, if any of you out there are actually making profit, you're probably not watching this workshop; unless you want to make it a lot more profit, so basically, at the end of the day, a startup business doesn't make a profit; most startup businesses don't make a profit for five years, but I made a profit from day one, in my portrait studio. My accountant, actually, was amazed when they did our books after the first year, and I remember thinking, I wasn't trying to hit a profit margin per sale; I was trying to be okay with what I was selling, the fact that there was a profit there was just miraculous to me; at the end of the day, I wasn't sitting there, going, now, let's have a look at it, this folio box costs $199, these images cost this much money based on this much money; the profit margin on this, if I sell a six folio box and eight folio box; I wasn't even close to getting there, what I was just trying to do was up my average sale, and every time I upped my average sale, I seemed to just get more and more profit; I'd get paid more, and it was amazing me, so right now, the cost of doing business is important. How much is my income, what is my average sale, yes, you do need to focus on that, but profit on product was something I wasn't really focused on; what I was focused on was the one question, what was I prepared to do to get that profit? What was I prepared to give to get that profit, both time wise and product wise, because ultimately, they, time and product chips away from your profit, so if it takes me three times longer to make the same amount of money as Kenna, and I give three times the product that Kenna does, clearly, Kenna's gonna have a higher profit margin than I am, but I wasn't driven by profit margin. I was driven by average sale, what I was gonna do within that sale, and also, I was over-giving at the start, so I burned out really fast, 'cause it's really hard to over sell and over re-touch, and over take and over deliver, just to feel good about the money you're receiving, and then I realized, that was not sustainable; I couldn't sell till nine o'clock every night, and then re-touch till three in the morning, and then get up at seven o'clock in the morning, and do it all over again; it wasn't sustainable, so basically, what I learned to do was button off what I was giving, and just feel good about what I was giving within that profit margin.

Class Description

When Sue Bryce taught her first CreativeLive class in 2012, she reinvented the category of glamour photography. That workshop inspired thousands of photographers to create a new kind of portrait photography business.

During this special event, you’ll hear from Sue again and meet nine photographers who changed the trajectory of their business and their lives thanks to inspiration they found in Sue’s CreativeLive classes.

In Portrait Startup, you’ll find out exactly what these photographers did to transform their fledgling photography operations into sophisticated, profitable businesses. You’ll learn about what it takes to build a profitable photography business and Sue will detail the Areas of Mastery required to run and sustain it. 

You’ll learn about:  

  • Cameras & Lighting
  • Studio or Location
  • Website & Portfolio
  • Marketing & Design
  • Social Media & Connection
  • Price & Product
  • Sales & Selling
  • Money Management
Sue will discuss the essential elements for building a successful glamour photography studio and you’ll get specific, tactical insights for doing it yourself.

Each of the guest photographers will share their own unique story of following Sue's business model and they’ll provide intimate details on what they've discovered and what worked (or didn't) for them. Sue will share the secrets behind her wildly effective Reveal Wall and share strategies that guarantee sales while keeping clients happy and eager to refer you to their friends.

If you want to build a photography business that celebrates the beauty inherent in all women, while running a business that provides for you and your family, join Sue Bryce and guests for Portrait Startup and learn how to build a business and life that you love.

Click here for the Complete Sue Bryce collection.


Sandra Sal

How glad I am that I have purchased this course! Sue is just wonderful woman, photographer, business person and life coach. This course is so informative, inspiring, educating and just AMAZING!! Simply a must have! Don't even think "should I get it" just buy it and you will be blown away! I loved every second of it and will keep re watching it many times more! Thank you to Sue, wonderful mentours and Creative Live!!

Laura Captain Photography

As a person that is new to portrait photography and to starting a portrait business, this class has been extremely valuable to me and well worth my time. It is also very helpful to hear from the mentors. I have a lot of respect for Sue, her work and her wisdom. She is genuine, has a passion for her work and has a wealth of information to share. I believe this class will actually allow a person to achieve their goals and build a business. I now feel more knowledgeable and more confident about pursuing a photography business. Thanks so much Sue and thanks to CreativeLive for providing wonderful online education.

Janice S.

i just finished watching this workshop. though i'd seen sue's name on the list of creative live workshops, this is the first one i've done. to me, she is effectively partnering life coaching with photography education. which is awesome. between being an ER nurse for almost 20 years, as well as arriving at my late 40s not unscathed, i can relate to much of what sue has said and would like to think that i'm in a better position to tackle the business of business ownership than i would have been 20 or 30 years ago. the other thing i noticed was hints of rhonda byrne. this may or may not actually be the case, but it seems like it. the power of positive thinking essentially. i loved the whole thing. though i'm not really close to implementing the business practices taught here, i wanted to watch the whole thing before moving on to her glamour photography workshop. i wanted to understand what i would be moving toward as i go through my technical education. i believe i will be adding 28 days to my class list too. thank you sue!