With the new year, now is a perfect time to make some big changes in your photography business. What if you could make an extra $5000 or above by just making a few small changes? How would that change your life in 2023?
According to Ryan from The Office,“It’s ten times more expensive to sign a new customer.” While I haven’t fact-checked him yet, as a professional photographer, I can say it sure does seem that way. First, you have to get in front of a potential client, then you have to convince them to buy. And don’t forget about all of the work that goes into educating them, creating a relationship, and getting them into your system.
It’s much easier to keep working with your current clients, and today, I’m sharing three foolproof ways you can make more money from each one. Keep reading to discover three tricks to optimize your photography pricing for profits.
PHOTOGRAPHY PRICING TRICK #1: Pitch an upgrade
In high school, I worked at the local movie theater, and my main job was concessions. Everytime someone ordered a drink, I would say, “For a quarter more, you can have a medium (or if they already ordered a medium, a large).”
You’d be amazed at how many times that worked, and they would spend the extra quarter.
While a quarter doesn’t seem like much, imagine earning an extra quarter over thousands of transactions every day. That simple tactic likely generated an extra $10,000 each day across the movie theater chain, and you can do it too by taking something clients are already purchasing and adding on to it or making it bigger and better.
You’re simply taking something they are already purchasing and adding on to it or making it bigger and better.
Here are some great areas to offer an upgrade:
- Session (time, locations, people, outfits, professional makeup and hair)
- Albums (number of pages, page thickness, album size, cover options)
- Prints (size, texture, frame)
How to make the most from your upsells
#1: Show, don’t tell
Having physical products is so important overall, but it’s also extremely important when pitching an upgrade. Your clients need to be able to see the difference in value to understand why it’s worth spending the extra money.
For example, in his book “The Stack,” Shaun Gordon from Kiss Albums suggests photographers offer three different album samples: a very basic small one, a medium one, and a huge, maxed out album. When you show your clients all three, almost everyone will go for the medium or larger album.
When designing albums, I make a version that has significantly more pages than the client originally purchased, so they can see what their album can be like. If they decide they don’t want all the pages, they have to delete pages or images, which is hard to do once they’ve seen how great it could be.
Another great thing you can do to sell more wall art is to show what it would look like in your client’s home. There are several different pieces of software that can do this, but I use Fundy Designer. Have your client send you a photo of their wall, then use the software to show different sizes of prints on their own wall. This can really show that a smaller print just won’t look right in that space.
#2: Make it an easy “yes”
Making it easy for clients to say yes is crucial is a key upselling and photography pricing strategy.
People are naturally price conscious, especially when they’re already spending a good amount with you. By giving multiple upsell options with incremental price differences, you can make it an easy yes.
Clients should be thinking, “that’s not very much to get something better!”
At the movie theater, if the cost to upgrade had been $1 instead of a quarter, most people would have said no.
#3: Offer an all-inclusive option
I know I just said that you don’t want the price to be too high (for fear of scaring people off), but sometimes it might be good to offer an all inclusive option as well. For an album, this could be max pages, any cover, any paper type, and the largest size album.
I would use this if a client has shown interest in a few upgrades but is going back and forth between them. Offer them it all for a reduced cost. Still, keep it reasonable compared to what they originally purchased.
PHOTOGRAPHY PRICING TRICK #2: Harness the power of cross sales
One day I was shopping online for a new camera. Once I put the camera in my shopping cart, a screen popped up suggesting I also get an extra battery, a lens, and a camera bag. I hadn’t thought about these other items, but it made sense to get a few of them.
Cross selling is when you offer products that go well with something your clients are already buying. It makes sense to get both. . Getting that first yes to a product is the hardest part, which you’ve already accomplished. Getting that first yes to a product is the hardest part. Once they’ve already committed to buying one thing, they are more likely to buy something else.
In the photography world, that could be an endless amount of products. You might suggest a parent album with the main album, a matte box for their prints, or a boudoir session with the wedding collection.
How to maximize cross sales
When it comes to selling your photography, cross sales are different from an upgrade, so you will need to approach it a little differently.
#1: Only offer things that make sense
Cross selling is not a time to get greedy. You aren’t offering products just because you think you could get them to buy it. Instead, intentionally pick things that really line up with what they are purchasing and make sense.
People can tell when you are simply trying to make more money…don’t do it.
#2: Use these helpful phrases to get the sale
The words you use and how you approach these sales can be the difference between a big sale, and nada.
DON’T SAY: “Do you want to also buy _______?”
The answer will usually be no.
”Most people that bought ____, also bought _______.”
”One thing that goes really well with ______ is _______.”
PHOTOGRAPHY PRICING TRICK #3 Opt for some flash sales throughout the year
Any time I get an email from Miller’s Lab, I make sure to open it. Every other month or so, they will run a sale on a certain product, and it only lasts for maybe a week. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars on albums and other products this way.
The last way to make money from your current clients are flash sales, and it’s just like what Miller’s does. As the name applies, the sale happens in a flash, so it is relatively unexpected and quick.
You can have a flash sale for a multitude of things. It could be prints in general, or certain types of prints, albums, different types of sessions, or even a gift certificate. Adding three or four of these a year could bring in several thousand dollars. It’s one photography pricing and selling trick you don’t want to miss.
A few flash sale tips to sell more photography products
Flash sales are a great way to get clients excited throughout the year! Here are some tips for how to navigate drafting, announcing, and maximizing your flash sales!
#1: Keep them short
The main reason flash sales work is because people have FOMO (fear of missing out). If clients don’t move quickly, the sale will be gone, and so will the savings. The length will vary depending on what you are selling, but most flash sales last 36 hours, though some can go as long as a week.
#2: Only plan them a few times per year
There are several companies that are constantly sending me emails about their sales. At first, I was excited to see the sales, but then I realized everything was ALWAYS ON SALE. The problem with that is if things are always on sale, they are never on sale.
Again, the point of a sale is to motivate people to buy before the sale ends. If they can always get something at a sale price or really often, there is no reason for them to buy now.
#3: Vary your offer
One way to have flash sales on a regular basis without having the above problem is to vary your sale. Change what you are offering every time. One month you might have a flash sale on prints. Another month it might be for engagement sessions. This way, you’re only discounting one thing at a time, and people will still think it’s a good deal.
#4: Make your clients aware of your flash sale
If no one knows about your flash sale, no one will buy. It’s important to reach as many people as possible because even out of those people, a large percentage won’t make a purchase.
Where to post your flash sales:
- Instagram feed, stories, and reels
- Facebook (both personal account and business accounts)
- On your website (make sure you remove it when it’s over)
- Your ShootProof marketing banner
- Email list
Make sure to post at least twice during the sale in case someone missed the first post.
It’s also important to reach the right people. One way is through an email campaign. With most email services, there is a way to group your contacts. I use ActiveCampaign, and I can add tags to each person like engaged, kids, or album purchase. Then, I can send emails to the people with the appropriate flash sale.
A few final tips on photography pricing and selling more to existing clients
BONUS TIP #1: Change your mindset. STAT.
A lot of photographers don’t like selling to people. We feel like we are pushy, and we don’t want to upset or take advantage of anyone.
It’s so important to change your mindset. You are providing a service for your clients. You are offering them something that you know is good and valuable. You know how important it is to create artwork and memories. All you are doing is giving them the opportunity to purchase. I
Remember, if you don’t offer them the best, you are doing them a huge disservice.
BONUS TIP #2: Explain the process at the beginning
People get upset when they feel like they have been lied to or misled. At the beginning, make sure you explain every step of your process. Let them know that you will be offering them upgrades and other products. This way, they don’t feel ambushed at the ordering session.
The same goes for your flash sales. If there are limitations or restrictions, make it very clear at the beginning. Put it with your posts, but also, talk to each person that made a purchase.
BONUS TIP #3: Go for “no”
So you got your client to say yes to an upsell or cross sale. You’re really excited, but what do you do next? Do you stop because you’re happy with the one sale? No! Keep going.
Again, I think this goes to the sales mindset. We don’t want to keep pushing, but I say let the client tell you when they are done. Keep offering different things until you get a hard “no.” Even then, you might offer one or two final items. You’ll be surprised how many more photo products and prints clients will purchase when you are ready to stop.
BONUS TIP #4: Have the client’s best interest in mind
As long as you are treating the clients like you would like to be treated, you will be successful. Get to know them and build relationships, find out what they are really looking for, explain the entire process and answer any questions, and give them the opportunity to purchase things that will make their lives better.
These photography selling and pricing methods may seem overwhelming at first, but you can do it! And very soon you’ll be earning much more money from existing clients.
My advice to you is to start slow.
Maybe pick one of the three, and work on that. If you struggle at first, know that’s normal. The more you do something, the better you will get. In time, you will have mastered all three, and you will be making thousands of dollars more, and most importantly, you’ll be helping your clients, which is why we do what we do!
Written by BRYAN STRIEGLER
Bryan Striegler is a wedding photographer who loves superheroes, sports, and skittles. Along with his two big fluffy dogs and crew of kids, Bryan lives in Northwest Arkansas where, in his free time, he’s constantly searching for the next great Netflix binge.