Day-of Photoshoot Sales
Talk about selling the day of. You have to get your tables... We bring our own tables. I think it's important if you don't know where you're going to bring your own tables. Some of the schools that we work at, we are able to put it in the permit that they have to provide us with tables. But at the end of the day, when you're gonna go and do a big job, you have to have a table to do sales. Like, it's not gonna work if you get there. So if you're not prepared and you don't bring your own table and you're hoping that's gonna be there and they don't have one, your sales are shot. So have a table or put it in your permit. We call for four tables. Let me show you guys why. We set up all of our products, like I showed you guys, and we bring extra order forms. The biggest absolute sin you can have doing a volume job day is running out of order forms. I had a friend that brought me up on a shoot, and we were photographing a bunch of basketball teams. I think we were doing, like, forty teams, an...
d we were ten teams into it, and they ran out of order forms. And do you know how embarrassing it is to be at a table and have people say, "I want to give you money," and you have to say, "I can't take it right now," because I didn't have an order form? That's crazy. We bring thousands, thousands of extra order forms. Okay? Those number ten envelopes that I was showing you guys? We print them on a sheet of paper, we cut that paper in half, so it is not an envelope, because if they're buying the day of, they're giving me a credit card. So we don't give them an envelope. Saves me money, it's easier. Makes them comes to us to pay us. Okay? You have to create a sales and check-in table. Teams come to get checked in for sports. We have a big sign right above it. Check your team in here. I love it when I walk through the crowd and you say, "Have you guys checked in?" and they say, "We don't know where to." Where it says, "Check your team in here." When teams check in, we start the workflow on getting the teams into our cube for getting photographed and getting out the door. That is also where they would pay for any order that they would purchase that day. Show what you wanna sell. This is a good example of our sales table. We take cash, checks, credit card, but not provide change that day. If they come with cash and they need change, they will get the change with their order form or with their order. We just explain that to people. No pushback on that. And we use a square iPod or iPad stand for taking credit cards, which is really fun because you go like this and it spins around. You slap it and the thing spins. It's super fun. You will notice there are some strategic things that we do. I'm gonna walk you guys through the order, like, the day flow. But this is where teams go in is right through here. So you'll see this is where my employees would sit. You will notice there are only two chairs there. We do not want parents to sit down anywhere else. This is not a kick-it spot, okay? Do your business, move on. Alright? We put the tables all the way to the edge because we don't want people walking behind our employees. This is where you come. This is the front. This is where we interact. Okay? So this is all down very deliberately. We have order forms, we have pens. We take the regular order forms that you guys saw. We print it out on vinyl. We tape it to the tables, so we don't do a bunch of loose eight and a half by eleven sheets of paper. That's what these are right here. Tape there, tape there, tape there. Those are your order forms, so that's what we point them to. Okay? All of that stuff is designed to keep them out of the spaces we don't want and make it really, really easy for them to see everything that we offer. Late orders, okay? If they come through and they don't have an order form, we will give them the order form back if we know that they don't have it with a frame number. Okay? Sometimes kids don't take it back, and we will have a parent's phone number on it, which we will then call you the next day and say, "Hey, Lorenzo. Your kid didn't order. Do you wanna order now?" And we'll take your money that way. Otherwise, we do schools where we do the yearbooks photos. If we have an order come through that's late and we do not have a frame number, we have the luxury of being able to just look up their yearbook photo. We say, "Oh, Brandon Smith. Brandon Smith" We look at his yearbook photo and go, "Puh puh puh puh." That's Brandon, he frame's number... Get the order out. Okay? With some of the other accounts, if we don't do the yearbook photo, if we don't have a frame number, if we don't have any access to it, what we will do is we'll set up a GoToMeeting, which is a screen share, and I will go into Lightroom and I'll go through the catalog. Is this your kid? Is this your kid? Is this your kid? Is this your kid? Is this your kid? Is this your kid? Is this your kid? That's your kid? Okay, and then I minimize it, and I do it zoomed in on the kid's face. I don't want them to be able to get screenshots of it. I don't want them to have anything that's of value, and that way I'm not producing an online gallery or something that's going to live online. They're viewing it with my oversight at that very moment. Cool? Okay. So, how do you keep parents out? You have to make sure that they can't photograph what you're setting up. Okay? Critical for your sanity and your profitability. This is probably the biggest complaint I get from photographers. Like, honest to God, this is probably the biggest complaint I hear about volume shooting is how do you keep parents away? And it's really, really simple. We don't let them there. We don't let them in where we're shooting. I hang signs up. We got it covered. Go away. I'm gonna show you exactly how we set up our extreme flow days. I'm gonna show you exactly the steps we take to keep parents separate. And it's just... The process goes so much, so much more smoothly when they aren't there. It's incredible. So we hang signs. We have conversations with athletic directors and coaches, and we remind them we are there to do a job. We are the only photographers that are there when we're shooting. We can't allow parents to take the pictures that we take. Some people, I don't even think they do it out of... I don't think people are trying to cheat you. I don't think people are trying to get you. I think people genuinely don't understand it. Some people think I get paid by the school to go do team pictures. Like, they think I get a check to... No, I don't get paid. I only get paid what I sell. And some people don't process that going up and taking a teen photo to put on Instagram is inappropriate. It's not because they're rude. They just don't think about it. So what we do is we eliminate the opportunity for that to happen. They aren't where we take the pictures. And we hang signs that tell them, "You don't take pictures right now." Sometimes you will have booster clubs that will hire photographers. Booster clubs and high schools have a different relationship. Booster clubs operate outside of the oversight of the athletic department. They can't tell them what to do. For that reason, sometimes booster clubs will hire their own photographer to do different photos. Maybe they wanna do their own banner that they wanna do differently. Or maybe it's a different agreement. Whatever. What we do with them, if we have a parent photographer or a booster club photographer when we show up at the shoot, we just simply walk up to them and say, "Hey. It's really great that you're here to do pictures. We're excited. It's gonna be a great shoot today. I just wanted to let you know really quick that I see you're here to do photographs. That's cool. You can take as many pictures of whatever you want. I have no problem with that. But I can't let you photograph the things that we set up. So what I'm gonna ask you to do is you go ahead. Do all of the pictures you want. Let me know when you're done and we'll start. But as soon as we start shooting, we're the only cameras that are out." And so we put it on them. It's critical that they go first because they probably aren't as talented as you. They probably don't know what they're doing. Their team photos will look awful. The posing will look sloppy. It'll be in bad lighting. But if they sit there and watch you do everything, they will just literally copy your pose and do the exact same thing five minutes after you leave. So let them do it. Sit, hang out. Have a Coke and a smile. Check out the Gram. We have had a photographer that we had had ongoing issues with, and he had kept showing up and kept showing up, and basically he would set up in the middle of where we were shooting, and it became a huge distraction. It would kind of pit kids away and it was just a distraction. It was just a distraction. So we ended up telling him, like, "This is the deal. This is how we shoot. We can be the only cameras out. And I appreciate what you're doing, but you have to either go first or a different day." And I showed up with our crew to shoot and the guy showed up to shoot at that day at the same time. And so I walked up to him, I said, "Hey, buddy. You can't do this." And he put his arm around me and he called me son. That went over really well. But I made him understand, I said, "Hey, man. Here's the deal. As soon as I see your camera... We have nine guys out here to shoot this. The moment I see your camera, we're tearing down. And they can reschedule with us. We'd be happy to come out again at no charge to the school. But the second we see a camera, we tear down. No matter where we're at in our work flow. So, if you wanna do your pictures, pretty please another day or before us." He left. And you hate to pull the... You don't wanna be a jerk about things, but you also have to do your job efficiently, and if people are getting in the way of it, you have to communicate what they can and can't do, what is appropriate. Do you have a question?
Yes. Do you allow them to do, if they do it first, do you allow them to do it on the set ups that you have, or do they have to do it on this side?"
I don't set anything up. So this would be a situation... So this would not be... Like for our volume stuff, they don't get to shoot on my backgrounds. Like if I have background set up, no. No, no, no. I actually have one story. I had a guy walk in, a dad that snuck in, and I was trying to take a picture, and he's walking up and he's got his phone out like this. And I say, "Hey, sir. I see you got your phone out. I'm gonna have to ask you to put your camera away." And he goes, "It's just for Instagram." And I said, "No, cool. I appreciate that. But I'm still gonna have to ask you to put your phone away." And he goes, "Why?" And I said, "We don't allow pictures on our backgrounds." And he goes, "Says who?" "Says the guy who owns the backgrounds." And he goes, "Well, I don't see a sign that says that anywhere." And I said, "Well, there's one right there, and there's one right there, and there's another one right there, and you walked past two in the hallway." And you could kinda tell that the guy... The interaction was going south. It really wasn't... It wasn't a big enough deal with this guy that I wanted to kind of go to war with him on it. And I'll never forget his name. I said, "What's your name?" He says, "Greg." I said, "My brother's name is Greg. I'm Matthew. It's nice to meet you." And he goes, "Oh, yeah." I said, "Greg's kind of a unique name. You don't meet a lot of guys named Greg anymore." And he goes, "No." And I said, "Remember that TV show House?" He goes, "Yeah." I said, "That guy's name was Greg too. Remember?" And he goes, "I never saw it." And I was like, "It's about a really brilliant doctor who's a jerk." (laughter) And the guy goes, "Oh." And I said, "Greg. Pretty please with a cherry on top put your camera away." And he did. You gotta kind of take control of that situation though. You have to. And that happens. So getting in and owning your space and prioritizing where people are and what they can do is critical. And the final step of all of this, the most important thing is as you're doing all of this, you have to keep it all organized. And organization is not something that comes natural to me. It is something I have to work on. But not being organized and being a volume photographer, you can't be successful. So doing all of these ordering processes, you gotta keep everything dialed in.