When you run a photo lab, you get to talk with photographers. Lots of them. And after a while, you begin to see patterns that the most successful (i.e. profitable) ones have in common.
When it comes to wedding photographers, the most successful ones I’ve talked to use the K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, stupid) principle. They have figured out that although a bride may seem to want a million options, what the photographer provides is what she really needs: stress-free and confusion-free photography on her wedding day – and when it comes time to select prints and purchase the album.
These are the 6 (simple) steps to a successful wedding photography sale:
1. Sell yourself on the phone. Offer a free consultation at her convenience. Avoid quoting prices. If asked, stick with “we work with your budget.” If she’s unwilling to come in, get her email and immediately send her a link to your website. Make sure it has lots of examples and testimonials from other brides.
2. Sell yourself at the consultation. Show 2-3 great sample albums, no more. Sell yourself again. Promise that you will reduce stress and confusion, and make the photography fun. Offer three prices points: a “budget”, the “most popular” (what you really want to sell), and a “deluxe” package. Get a deposit.
3. Shoot the wedding. Take charge by making suggestions, not demands. You’re the wedding expert. Look, dress and act the part. Leave cards on the tables for guests to go online and purchase prints. Images online should be the same ones you’ll show the bride for the album – don’t put all your images online.
4. Present the images. In-studio shows on a big screen are best, right after the honeymoon. At this point, you’re selling a dream, not a product. Show the couple only the best images that tell the story, about 25% more than they ordered. The average album has 120 images – never show more than 150. Let them cull out the unwanted images. If they cannot, offer an upgrade package. Reveal a “holy smokes” shot to end on a high note – and to offer as a wall portrait later.
5. Sell the album. Stick to the “Rule of 3”. Bring out 3 samples: good, better, best. Bring out 2 colors, black or brown. Bring out 3 sizes, 8×10, 10×10, 11×14. Don’t make a complicated grid of options that change the prices.
Complete steps #4 and #5 in 90 minutes or less.
6. Deliver the album. You should have the album built and returned to the bride within 4 weeks of their wedding while she is still excited. The sooner the better.
While you can be a successful wedding photographer without this list, I guarantee if you try it you’ll have even more success than before.
(image courtesy of Sam Sarkis)
Agree or disagree? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with other wedding photographers.