As senior portrait photographers, we are often plagued with the decision of what to offer and what to sell to our clients. For those doing in-studio sales, the goal is to sell products that people desire and want in their homes. Below are five products that sell like hot cakes in my studio to high school seniors and their families.
If you are just offering a’la carte products I believe your sales will be significantly lower. People will diminish their needs and go for the bare minimum of products. However, if you offer collections or packages at a slightly discounted rate than the retail a’la carte method, you will have more opportunity to make a larger sale. Clients are always looking for a deal; if the packages appear to be a deal compared to the a’la carte menu then they will buy into the collection even if it includes a few prints or products they don’t necessarily need. Remember, money flows like water, it follows the path of least resistance. Everyone loves to feel like they are saving money, even if that means they are buying more.
I wrote an article a few months ago about the benefits of selling digital files, which you can read here. I firmly believe that you are missing the boat of this generation if you aren’t selling digital files to seniors. It remains the top sales item in my studio. Decide what the cost of a single digital file is worth to you and let your client decide if it is worth it to them to buy. You can always make bundles of files at a rate that maintains your average and helps you reach your sales goals. You may be surprised how many people will opt to buy a higher cost digital file than a couple of print products. It is a win win for you; the files don’t cost you time or money like prepping and printing a file from a lab.
There are several companies out there that offer online apps and albums, my favorite is Sticky Albums. My seniors love this product, and is included in our higher end print collections. Once they see what the album can do and how they can share with their friends and family on social media, they are immediately interested in paying attentional for this option. This product has not only boasted my sales, but continues to bring my company new clients. I am always surprised at how many ask how to get the app on their phone prior to their photo-shoot. The nice thing about Sticky Albums is it is a nominal yearly fee and I can upload as many albums as I wish. Definitely do some research on what type of online album/app will best suit your clients needs.
Canvas used to be all the rage, but my senior clients and their families are drawn to the less expensive and smooth finish of a standout. There are variations in each lab, but this product has no texture and still has an edge that stands out away from the wall. Seniors love the smooth finish as it gives the flawless look to their skin. There are also float wraps, which have a velvet texture and still wrap like a canvas. Look into other wall hanging products that your lab offers, you may find some inexpensive alternatives that your clients will love.
I love selling albums, but sometimes it is out of a client’s budget. Let’s face it, albums are costly and timely to produce, therefore, we have to sell these products at a higher rate. Something I have been noticing with my senior sessions is additional styling and taking advantage of the overall experience. Thus, they are booking more hours of shooting, using more props, and having more outfit changes. The best selling images are still the closer cropped portraits, but they want something to remember this experience. I added a proof option to my product line last year, it includes a 4x6 of all final images and comes in a keepsake box. The proofs have a ¼ white border around them so it won’t take away from your gift print sales. I also use this product in my collections to steer clients from buying a'la carte. The cost of printing proofs is very reasonable and I don't do any extra editing to these images like I would do with an album.
If you're looking to freshen up your product line, I hope you check into some of these products. There are many other products we sell in studio but these five always tend to boast sales.
Canvases are seen as old fashioned, but standouts are very modern.
Thank you for this article. I am relitlevly new and it's good to know what sells and what doesn't from experience!
Here in Brazil (or at least in the north) NOBODY cares about prints and albums. I don't even remember the last time i've printed something for a client, It's all about the digital files.
Even the weddings packages sometimes offers the album as a gift or a free bonus and the photographers usually delivers ALL the files (around two thousand images!) to the client.
It's interesting how the industry changes so much from place to place.
Hey Gabriel, I think most people in my area only care about digital images as well; it is the way of the world now that we all so connected. I bundle a certain number of digital files and prints. I want them to have something nicely printed. The parents still care about having something nice to put on their wall. I believe I have carved out a niche for my area as most of my competitors just hand over the disc. They see me as more of a full service studio and don't have to worry about printing themselves. You should try that in your area. Those clients are willing to spend extra so it is taken care of for them. They care about quality and service. They are still out there, but indeed getting harder to find :)
Just today a answered TWO e-mails from brides who wanted to rip off the albums from their wedding packages. One of them just wants to save money and the other one does not care about any prints at all.
* I just realized we had the exact same "chat" in another one of your posts =)
Great article Lindsey!
I never heard about StickyAlbums, but it seems nice!
* I would love to see a nice sample album, but i'm not sure how to see/download one on my android phone
Here is my first StickyAlbum, a senior session from last month. I was using MyPhotoApp, but I like StickyAlbums a bit more. There are some big differences between the two. It's a bit easier to promote with an image in MPA, ie. have an image as a business card with a link attached to it. Sticky makes you have that loaded as an extra image, or via their promotions function.
Still testing to see how it works for me.
Hi i am considering starting to sell my prints instead of just the DVD. My clients are usually tourists.. I shoot in Aruba..
How can I get over that hump?
thanks for any help