Bear with my little story I’m about to tell. It reveals why some photographers can charge vastly more than others and still have delighted clients, despite the end product being virtually worthless.
I’ve been going to a chiropractor for several years. I pay £35 per session and must have paid about £500 over the course of our relationship. My back is much better than it used to be.
About 18 months ago I started to get a searing pain in my left hip. It would last for 4 or 5 days and then go away for a couple of months, before returning.
A wedding photographer with a dodgy hip is about as useful as a short-tempered yoga instructor!
A few weeks ago I decided I had to get it looked at before I ended up swearing in pain while one of my brides made her grand entrance.
My doctor told me he thought it was trochanteric bursitis (an inflamed tendon). He referred me to a physio. The physio looked at me for 2 seconds (literally) and told me I had one leg longer than the other. He recommended I go to the local pharmacy and get an insole for my shoe and to do some leg exercises.
Why do some photographers earn thousands for their family portraits, while others struggle to make minimum wage (after they’ve factored in their costs)?
Are their photos 10 times better?
Do they steamroller their clients with a barrage of bewildering sales speak?
The following video won’t just show you how to increase your family portrait orders. It also demonstrates why the best way to earn more is actually the easiest and least stressful approach. In the video I mention a piece of software I use called Proselect. It takes a lot of the stress and pressure out of selling. If you’d like to know more about how Proselect helped me triple (and then some!) my average order values then click on this link after you’ve watched the video.
Do you sweat like an Eskimo in an oven every time you have to try and book a new client? Do you wonder why some photographers seem to be able to charge vastly more than you despite their photography being no better than yours?
This post explains how to book more portrait clients by getting inside the mind of your client and helping them see the value in choosing you.
I recently wrote about this same subject from a wedding photographer’s perspective, so you should check that post out too.
Speaking of ‘perspective’, that’s actually the beginning of the secret to booking more clients. You need to think from the prospect’s perspective. What do you think is going through their mind when they’re contacting you? The better you understand the answers to that question the easier it is to give them want they want.
We’re all great at thinking up excuses about why we’re not where we want to be in the world. This video explains what’s holding you back from a great photography career and how to overcome the issues.
I know exactly how it feels. You feel you’re not as smart as everyone else, or you’re not as naturally gifted at photography. Maybe you don’t feel confident around people. Perhaps you feel lost and just don’t know where to start because launching a new business is pretty overwhelming.
Take a look at this video – I’m sure a lot of my experiences will resonate with you. Best of all, I explain how I overcame the chips sitting on my shoulder.
If you’d like to read more on this subject then you’ll like my post ‘A Photographer’s Biggest Competitor is in Their Head’.
Please leave a comment if you have a sec – I’d really appreciate it.
Looking at this photo, no wonder photographers are often treated with as much affection as serial killers and lawyers (not necessarily in that order!). This photo of Beyonce at the Super Bowl is a perfect example of why you should never show clients all the photos. There is a slightly grey area though. The word ‘all’ can be rather flexible – well, in the eyes of a lawyer anyway!
Even the most wonderful photographer on earth is going to catch people with drunken eyes because they’re half way through a blink. There will always be photos that should never be exposed (if you’ll pardon the pun).
With family portrait photography I try to keep the selection of images down to around 20. If you start creeping up too high then clients get information overload and they can’t make a decision. This is catastrophic for your sale. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you’ll know I always recommend you meet portrait clients in person when presenting your images to them. If you have too many images they will ask to take home proofs or ask you to pop them online so they can decide later. The resulting sale is nearly always pathetic and the client ends up confused and overwhelmed.
The wonderful thing about keeping down to around 20 photos is that you have time to lavish on each photos so that when they view them each one looks utterly gorgeous. It’s not about quantity, its quality. You only need them to invest in one or two decent sized wall portraits anyway – that’s where the money is and that’s where the satisfaction is for your clients too. The opposite of quality over quantity is selling the dreaded CD of the session. My portrait photography system is set up to avoid this at all costs as CDs give the Continue reading
When things are tough most wedding and portrait photographers instantly press the panic button and follow this dangerous three step process:
They quickly realise that the small increase in orders doesn’t cover the decrease in average order value.
They then quickly jump onto Google and type in ‘How can photographers make money fast?’ and get saved by reading this post! You’re about to learn the six quickest ways to bring in more profit to your photography business. Some of these ideas work instantly and others will take a few minutes, days or weeks of your time, but they’re all extremely effective.
But why doesn’t reducing your prices work?
OK, let’s rewind and analyse why reducing your prices is the kiss of death.
In this post I explained how you need to think of all the problems and concerns your client may have and then think of ways to help them overcome them. This time we’re going to look at some of the problems your business has and what you need to do to overcome them. Actually, to be technically correct, your business doesn’t have these problems, your brain does. But then you ARE the business, so if it’s not working you have to kick your own ass and set things straight.
Today I’m going to kick your ass for you! So, I apologise in advance if any of this sounds less pleasant than a dentist appointment. However, the more this information hurts, the more you probably needed to be told it…
Don’t worry though, you’re not alone. We all suffer with some, or all of these afflictions at some point. In fact I actually highlight what I did to overcome each issue. The key is to acknowledge the problems and set out a plan to deal with them.
OK, so last time I explained that New Year Resolutions were pretty pointless. I suggested that you need something much more concrete and measurable. No-one ever got successful at anything because they made a resolution. You need a system. I’m now going to share with you the system for how to be a successful portrait photographer. I’ll take you through step-by-step the process I use to bring portrait clients into and through my business.
This system isn’t unique to me. I learned it from Charles Lewis and most of the successful family portrait photographers I come across do something similar. I’ve learned that the people at the top of most industries tend to do things differently to everyone else, although similarly to each other. For example, successful marketing copywriters tend to follow very different rules to your average marketing executive. It’s obvious really. Successful people do things differently. If you do the same as the masses then it gives no-one a reason to choose you.
I’ve used this quote before, but I like it and it fits well here:
“The minority is sometimes right; the majority always wrong.”
George Bernard Shaw
It’s a great point, although you’ll be delighted to know that I’m not about to stop wearing clothes just because everyone else does!
Using serial killers as an analogy for brides may be a rather odd one, but bear with me! FBI profilers have learned how to catch serial killers by using psychological techniques to understand how they think. You can catch brides using a similar philosophy. To learn how to book more wedding photography clients you need to understand what your wedding prospects are thinking.
Wedding photography is a large investment and someone’s wedding day is clearly a big deal. So, naturally, your prospects are nervous. They’re worried that one wrong decision could ruin their special day.
I’m going to look at all the things your prospects are likely to be thinking and then show you ways to handle each one.
The successful wedding photographer’s mantra
The common thread running through all of this is that you’re demonstrating to your potential wedding client that you understand them, you’ve thought about their concerns and you’ve taken the time to present a solution. This positions you as a caring professional who offers a great service. This approach builds trust and when you’ve got trust then you have one foot in the door.
That said, you still need to ask lots of questions because you can’t presume to know everything that’s important to them or concerning them.
Isn’t it frustrating when you spend half an hour crafting a beautifully written response to an enquiry about your photography services, only to hear nothing back? Did you scare them off with your price? Did another photographer respond before you? Fret no more. This post and the video below explain exactly how to respond to email enquiries about photography.
Before you scroll down to the video, I want to provide you with some crucial background information.
There are two fantastic methods for responding to emails that will blow you away.
The first idea is one I got from the genius mind of Charles Lewis. The idea is to use a ‘drip campaign’. I’ve used drip campaigns in my marketing career before, but I never thought of using them as a way to respond to emails.