I wasn’t always able to sell digitals the way I sell products. In fact, the word digital scared me. I had put so much work into learning how to sell products and testing my approaches that I hadn’t even thought about how to sell digitals. Through learning how to sell products, I learned how to build value for the products I was offering. The albums and wall galleries were family heirlooms that served as a valuable daily reminder of what is most important to people. Having something in your home you can look up at every day and feel better about the troubles you’re facing is priceless. I could sell that all day long to my clients because I understood the value of it.
My single greatest business achievement is my return client base. They all are of means, and they stick with me year after year even though they have lots of options and they are informed consumers. Their unwavering support means more to me than anything I could accomplish photographically. New photographers coming up are very talented and competition can be fierce. The fact that my clients stick with me keeps me going. It forces me to level up my craft, my product offerings, my marketing.
In the wedding world, especially, it’s easy to think we’re making a ton of money because we take in a lot of money. The problem is that we need to spend it elsewhere. When was the last time you looked at your cost of sales, cost of business and how much time you spend? We end up making a lot less than we think we do, and there’s no way we’ve set ourselves up for the future.
My wedding career spanned many years. I stuck with it because I made good money. I found myself stuck in a creative rut, searching for who I was as an artist. I did not know where to start, but I knew I was ready for another adventure that would shake things up. That’s when I found “sportraits” and adventure photography—the inspiration and creative outlet that reinvented me as a portrait artist.
Adobe Camera Raw is the solution for nondestructive editing from Lightroom to Photoshop using Smart Objects. This is useful for Lightroom to Photoshop, but what about Photoshop actions into Lightroom? Adobe’s recent improvements give us the ability to create Custom Color Profiles in Camera Raw, so we can flex our creativity with Photoshop actions and Custom Color Profiles by exporting Look Up Tables, or LUTs. This is a massive overhaul for Photoshop that makes our Lightroom workflow even more powerful.
One thing that separates me from the other photographers in my area is the client experience I offer. We go places, plan setups, and use creative and exotic outfits and secret locations. We shoot with cars, horses, pets, guitars, guns, buildings, bridges and friends. But when we sit down with Mom and Dad to order, you know what they buy? Close-ups. The ones that show all of that beauty, the expressions, the smile they invested so much in, the sparkle, uniqueness and joy. This month, I show you how I incorporate close-ups with every outfit and location I shoot.
Is your senior portrait client too cool for school? Or maybe too shy to give a single smile for the camera? Seniors come in every variety, and photographing them brings a variety of challenges. Even if your senior portrait subject is confident and cooperative, she probably isn’t a professional model. She needs your posing expertise. Let’s talk about a few of my go-to posing prompts to make your senior sessions more authentic and fun.
There’s no better way to lay down a foundation of brand building than with a great blog. Sadly, so many of you treat it as an afterthought when it should be part of your core business and planning. Sure, you can have a website and a presence without a blog, but why would you want that? Success in photography today is about relationship building, and a well-done blog can help your target audience get to know you better and build trust. I know I’ve written this before, but your website is about what you sell and your blog is about what’s in your heart. This month I give you tips for building a stronger blog that works together with your website and skillset.
Working with your significant other isn’t easy. But it can be one of the most rewarding experiences you ever have if you figure out a way to make it work for both of you. I’m by no means in any kind of professional position to be dishing out relationship advice. But I’ve been looking at the life Sal and I have built in relation to our business together, and I’ve compiled some tips that have helped me find balance in my work/romantic relationship.
You have probably already figured it out. Gen Z is taking over, and they are not like their millennial predecessors. This is the first generation born with technology. They expect it to be everywhere and to always work. Where does that leave us as photographers and business owners? Welcome to the world of reinvention. Senior portraits are different than they were 20 years ago. Heck, they’re different than they were five years ago. The kids are different, their personalities are different and the final product is different. Below are some ideas for thriving with a new generation of seniors.
Our goal this month is to round out your sales system with clever and desirable upsell options to entice your clients to get the most out of their experience with you (and to get you the most profit). A quick note about terms: In the strictest sense, upselling means selling the client a higher-priced product than the one they were considering. The terms cross-selling and add-on sales describe selling the client additional items beyond the one they were considering. It’s become commonplace to use the word upselling for all methods of achieving a higher sale. For the purposes of this article, we use the broader meaning of upselling.
Building a proper infrastructure in your business is much more important than learning how to take pretty photos. I am not discounting the importance of being a good photographer by any means. I am saying that if you don’t have the processes in place to deliver an excellent overall client experience, eventually nobody will care about your pretty pictures.
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For successful sales, you have to create a system that makes getting to your target sale easy and fun. This month, we focus on the role of your price list in making your target sale the easiest way for the client to buy from you. It is not just a list of every product you offer, but a systematic approach of presenting different items and offers that your clients can’t resist.
As a wedding photographer, you should be filling your calendar with free leads from fellow vendors. I mean, aren’t they grateful? Haven’t they seen all the amazing photos on your blog? Without your images, no one beyond the guest list would ever see the flowers, fashion and decor they create—at least not in the appealing and professional way you photograph them. If you want to get on a wedding planner’s good side, see your name on a venue’s referral list or even become the go-to personal photographer for wedding vendors everywhere, consider the following tips.
You read that title right. All other things equal, marketing is the reason I see most businesses fail. They ether don’t do it at all or, quite frankly, they suck at it. And no, running a Facebook Ad is not marketing. There are time-worn strategies that go into marketing. You don’t just do something and magic happens. You need a plan. You then must execute that plan. You then evaluate the results, make adjustments and re-execute your plan. Rinse and repeat.
What is behind the shutter?
Behind the Shutter is a free online photography training and educational resource created to help both professional and amateur photographers run successful photography businesses – covering lighting, posing, social media, marketing, post-production, pricing, sales and more.
Sal Cincotta created Behind the Shutter to give back to the world of photography. As an up and coming photographer, Sal was struggling to find answers to basic questions. Most of the magazines out there were filled with fluff. Sal needed and wanted to create something that would challenge photographers, something that would educate them.
Sal, an active wedding and portrait photographer in the St Louis metro area, wanted to bring a sense of real world understanding to the magazine and photography education.
Our mission is to create and elevate the photography community by providing relevant and timely education. At Behind the Shutter, we believe that an educated photography community will raise the bar for all photographers around the world.
Photography training and education for the modern photographer
In today’s competitive landscape, quality online photography training and education is priceless to your growth. Unfortunately, most publications contain a ton of fluff. No real meat to their content. Not at Shutter Magazine. We are committed to the photography community and improving professional photography by providing current, insightful, and in-depth educational content.
Training topics include photography lighting techniques, photography off-camera flash tips, photography posing guides, photography business concepts and marketing strategies, Facebook for photographers, boudoir and glamour photography training, high-school senior photography concepts, IPS (In-Person Sales) strategies, family photography, lightroom tutorials, photoshop how-tos, and much, much more.