Albums as a Profit Center
So in this segment, we are really going to talk about albums. Is a profit center, right? Just like you said, you can't sell digital files for thousands and thousands of dollars, right? But you can't sell albums. So let's talk some numbers. So one of the things that I'm really lucky in the position I'm in, I get to talk to a lot of photographers on a weekly basis. You know, sometimes they'll ping me and I'll kind of help them walk through how to do it in person designed consultation. And, you know, just we bounce a bunch of ideas off of each other, right, because it's a community, and the more we share, the better we can learn. So just to give you an idea of some numbers we're talking about, I just talked to a local photographer in Portland, and he had three design consultations that he did over Skype, right, because the customers were out of town and in those three album consultations just on albums was an extra $10,000 in that week, right? So about $3500 a client, I talked to another ...
photographer who, and this is not the norm, but it's great to get thes surprises. Had an album consultation and with the main album and the two parent albums made an extra $10,000 on one client. So this is so we're not talking about a few 100 extra dollars. We're talking about a few $1000. So, um, who who shoots at least 20 weddings a year? All right, who shoots at least 30 weddings a year? Right. So, 30 weddings. If we could get an extra $3000 per wedding, does that work out to be? Yeah, she is your wife. Is your wife gonna be happy with that? Yeah, Exactly. Right? Yeah, like another bad week. Honey, where'd you get that new car? I don't know. So that's great. So, you know, we're talking about big numbers, and what that means is that we can go from, you know, a sole proprietorship into ah, business where we have employees and we have a strategy around how we work. And then, as we're doing these albums for the wedding, clients were also connecting to Mom and Dad and everybody. And then we can do family sessions from all of the families that we meet throughout. And if we can do an extra 6500 for each family session, everything built upon itself. But if we give them a really pretty USB box with the images on it, that's where it ends. You just You've just closed the door, right? So when we're talking about albums, his wedding photographers, you have basically three options in your business. And they're all valid options, like, obviously, I believe in producing an album and then giving the client the opportunity to get the biggest version of their story that they want. Right? But there are other options, right? So one option is just don't offer albums right, which is perfectly valid because there's no extra work right designing an album. It's extra work, all right. But the downside is there's no extra profit available there, right, And most importantly, I believe it doesn't satisfy ourselves an artist because we put you know, probably 40 hours for a wedding total, including shoot design, consult everything. We've spent 40 hours of our life to hand somebody a USB drive that doesn't satisfy me, right? So I don't think it satisfies ourselves as artists. But when we can see that story in print, and then we can see our clients faces light up when they see that story in print. That's what truly satisfies us as photographers I. The second option is 30 page albums included in the wedding. We designed 30 pages. Client approves that maybe they make some changes and we're done right. But there's no Upsell. We don't do a design consult. There is extra work that goes into it, but there's really no extra profit. So this is in many ways the worst option because we've given ourselves extra work after the wedding. But we don't give ourselves any reward for it. But it does satisfy us as an artist because we are producing something that they can hand down to their Children grandchildren. So that is good. But the last option is what I believe is the best option, right and we're really concentrated on the business side of things, but and it will help our businesses. But ultimately we're allowing our clients to get the best version of their story possible, right? We're giving them something that only we can give. Like Onley, photographers have the magical power to give everyone their own story and print that's gonna be handed down on. That's the beauty of a book, right? Even eight millimeter movies. How many people can play that now? That wasn't that long ago. It wasn't that long ago, but a book 500 year old book. I know how to operate that thing pretty easy, right? If you hand a book to your year old grandma, she know how it works. Swipe left, Swipe left. No, you don't have to do that. She knows how it works, right? So Onley photographers have the power to give somebody something that's gonna work forever, right? So album and options form or images and or spreads is the third option, right? It is extra work, and it does involve extra time for presenting. So here's the key. Remember, I talked. I had the bad news about picking up the telephone at which you must do have some other bad news. You must present your album in person, right? And that could be in person, in person. Or it could be in person over Skype. All right, and if that makes you nervous, don't worry about it. I'll show you an easy way to do it. It's not gonna be painful. It all because all you have to do is talk about how much you loved your client and how much you love making their album. And everything else works and it satisfies is us as an artist, right? And if we can bring in $90,000 extra, that's $ extra money. Or it might mean that we can shoot eight less weddings next year and instead spend that time in Hawaii or come up and visit me in Portland. I can take you to the awesome food carts Waken hit every single food card in the city on $90, right? So these are three options. So currently, if anybody's brave enough to volunteer, what's your current business models around albums. Anybody want to share no albums? Okay, which is great cause there's no work. Downside is no possibility of any more money. Number two right? Provide the album and done satisfies you as an artist. But I think that ultimately it doesn't satisfy the client because they're unable to really have the option to see their full story unfold. And what that what that means? Sure, Alex and Alex like when they went through the process and they had the option off when we were doing the wall out. Do you feel as though you got more value from the shoot because somebody was there to present the photos? I don't know. Andrew's gonna do this a bit later on a swell way. Think we're bugging them? Who doesn't want to be treated special? Yeah, I think as artists, we understand what it takes and what makes up a great photo. But how? Clients don't. And if we don't take them through that, they never get that opportunity, That opportunity to to see the true vision of Of why that photographs taken on what that means do a great me. And yes, there were pictures that we were both, like Why? I don't know. And then Jason took us through the step through the artist I and then we appreciate it so much more. Yeah, how it's called the store, adding value. Yeah, well, and it's easy to relate to you. Does anybody listen to fresh air on NPR? All right, how many times have you listened to like a director? Talk about a movie that they made that you haven't seen, I would like. The first thing I want to do is watch that movie, right, Because you heard his or her passion of why they made the movie in that way. And so now I got to see it because I want to see what that person just described so we can give our clients the same experience. They want to know why we took it that way, why we laid out the album this way. And if we can express that more, we're giving them our emotion behind what we're doing. And they will respond to that by wanting that. Do you feel more inclined that you would share that with your friends and family? That story? Oh, yeah, really? I think even with album with Wall our I mean, we were just thinking of everything that we want to do him take even more pictures now. So that's gonna generate better referrals. Exactly. Right. So and and then once we begin this journey, it's just like when you raise your prices as a wedding photographer, right? When you first raise your prices, you're moving from one market to the next, and it's scary, right? It's a little bit harder to fill your schedule. So but what happens is that those new clients of the higher price point start recommending their friends who are willing to pay it that higher price point. Right? So we're building in a new referral system. Same thing when we're moving to bigger albums and selling wall art is that we're creating a new set of client referrals that value what we value, right? So then it's a self fulfilling prophecy. When we first make that move, it is difficult because you're making a transition. But what you're doing is you're just getting a whole new band of true leaders that air championing you for what you want to offer. So here's a few tips for success and will be going through these right show product. Remember, we talked about how print activates emotion and desire? Well, we have to show that people have to see it and touch and feel it right, and with Wallert, encourage your clients to walk up and touch the wall art on the wall. Make sure it's secured so it doesn't fall down. We must have album rules in the contract right in the wedding contract, let them know what's coming and have it in writing. So they understand, right? And we're always communicating That designed the album with your selects. You shot the story. You need to tell the story. All right. Does anybody let their clients choose the selects? How hard is it to design an album with those selects? It's horrible, right? And the other downside is that often takes a lot of time for them to get back to you. All right, So imagine you just got married, and then you just spent a week in Hawaii. All right? Everything was put on hold, and then you get back, you have to catch up on all your work emails. You gotta make sure your bills are paid. Do you want to go in and choose your album? Selects for your album? That's like, the last thing I want to dio, right? Because you just have this wave of getting back to reality, come back and to have to go in and choose all this stuff. But if I tell you, go on your honeymoon. Relax. I'm gonna bust my butt to get all of your images processed and then you can come in. I'm gonna have a bottle of wine. I know your wife like chardonnay. So I got this great chardonnay picked out. We're gonna have a nice snacks to come in. I'm gonna do this great slideshow of your album. How does that sound? Yeah, right. Yeah, I'm gonna do all the work for you. Don't you worry about it. I just want to share one of my best friend, But But he's got married last year and he asked me to recommend a photographer to shoot the wedding. And I rang them a couple months after the wedding and how to go. Did you really love your album? And he's like, Steve were freaking out. He's like the photographers in his photos for us to select. We have no idea what we doing on there were literally freaking at over these, um, and didn't want to embarrass to call the photographer and let them know that so they just get kept putting it off on off, on off and getting more and more and more agitated. And I think sometimes we way tell us of these stories that are inclined to be easy or whatever, but they freaking out. Yeah, they don't have never done that before. They don't want to do that. Right? So, for example, my father can attest I'm not the handiest person in the world. I'm horrible. My biggest claim to fame is I fixed my dryer by going on YouTube and figure out how to replace the heating element. And now I could just die because I'm happy because I've accomplished that. But, you know, we put in a big patio in the back of our house, and we hired someone to do it because I am not that person, right? If they had asked me to design the patio for them that they would build for me, it never would've got done. Of course, I asked them to design it for me. Like they're like, Well, you want this, like, roughly. What do you want? I told him like, OK, great. And they came back with few designs that use which what I want. I'm done. All right. I would never hire someone that would ask me to design something before it was built for them. Okay. I don't know. Made a patio before? No. All right, stop posting sneak peeks to Facebook. If you want to give him a sneak peek, do it. My good friend Jason Dominguez does. And buy a cannon selfie for By six printer and bring it to the wedding and print off 10 4 by sixes and give it to the bride and groom as they leave. Here's your sneak peek. Take that with you to the honeymoon and then when they come back, the first thing they see is the album designed is one of the rules of sales and one of the rules of clients. Everybody is satisfied with the first thing they get, and if the first thing they get is an image on Facebook or a blood post with 20 images, they're satisfied. They're gonna share all that with their friends, and they're good. You're satisfied. We don't want to satisfy them with that. We want to satisfy them with their albums. And so the first thing they see is the design present in person. No shortcuts. Unfortunately, I wish there were shortcuts. I wish I could shoot the wedding without having to put on nice clothes. I wish I could do it. My shorts right. There's no shortcuts, right? And we must get payment at the consult or at least start the payment plan. Right? So we've made a commitment to them. The clients need to make a commit to us. It's just like, you know, you don't get to buy anything else on promises. Why should the question clients get to buy photography on promises, get payment when they're done, you decide to get payment just like a normal business. And so we already talked about this, What we're currently doing, right. So think about what you're currently doing. Think about what you can change. And we're talking about these changes to build your business. But we're really talking about these changes so that our clients grandchildren have something because we don't make this changes. They won't. And, uh, just like Ben Crissman said, you know, we're gonna be forgotten generation. We're taking the more photos than anybody else in where? Graham. Nothing to show for it. Right? And so part of our job and our duty is photographers, is to make sure future generations have something all right. And Justus. We start with the end in mind with her with our albums. Let's Let's start with the in mind our business schools. So write down a number. How much money you want to make on albums? After the fact of your weddings, put it in Excel spreadsheet, track it and then at the end of the year, you're gonna have your average and then when you have your averagely, okay, next year I'm gonna bump that up by 20% and then you have your new number and then track it so another, I think was Harvard Business School. So they did this study. So there's all these studies on how to improve everything, right? And they train, you know, NBA's on middle management, how to improve this. How to improve that? How to improve this. So the Onley really tried into a way to improve something that they found is to track it. No matter what, you track will improve. That's all you do. All you have to do is track it right up on, write it down somewhere and keep it. You know, write on a Wall Excel spreadsheet. Whatever you try, anything you track will improve