Is there anything portrait photographers should be more interested in these days than increasing their bottom line? Yet, for a combination of reasons, many studio owners are not set up to achieve maximum profitability.
Consider this: A few years ago, we wanted to take senior photography to the next level at our studio in Seymour, Indiana, population 20,000. We were averaging $400-$500 per senior. Today, we're averaging $1,640 per senior. How did we do it?
Image is a big factor. So we created an environment where people are comfortable with us and appreciate our work. Here are some of the changes that have been most effective for us:
IT'S IN THE PRESENTATION
OK. You've taken beautiful portraits. How do you turn a successful session into a sizable photo order?
- You can't send your client home with a paper box of 4x5s or a floppy proof book and expect them to return excited to spend $2,000 in reorders. We invite clients to come back in four to five days to view images in a slide-show format on a 72-inch projection screen with synchronized music playing.
- Afterward, we make suggestions and a sales assistant designs custom products. We show three to four options on-screen using their images. All of these products are on display for the client to see and feel.
- A typical order will wind up with a collection for $999 (wall print, gift sizes, and wallets) and a wall collection for $499, with many clients adding more wallets and additional framing.
- When the order is completed, the client receives a printout of the package and products ordered, and makes full payment. If you send proofs home unpaid for review or post them on the Web, clients may decide not to spend $1,640 at your studio.
IT PAYS TO ADVERTISE
You need to find ways to get your name out there and reach more people-prospective clients.
- We started a newsletter, featuring families that have visited our studio, including testimonials and portraits. The newsletter mails twice a year to our database of 5,000 clients and prospects.
- Another effective promotion is mall displays. We have three within a 40- to 50-mile radius of our studio. The displays cost about $400 per month and always have literature about our studio.
- Postcards are a great advertising tool. Three times a year we send eye-catching postcards to our seniors. We find that one image works best.
If you believe in your work, and focus on promotion and presentation, your profits are bound to rise.