The secret to making a living in photography isn’t a secret
You'd like to make a living from photography, right? Can I tell you a secret, then? Making a living means … making a living.
Err … isn't that obvious? Maybe to you it is, but to some, I don't think it is.
Let me repeat:
To make a living, you must make a living.
Making a living means you have to make money, because last time I checked, you can't buy groceries or pay your mortgage with photo credits. Profit is not a “dirty” word, it's what allows you keep doing what you love – photography. Without it, this craft would be nothing more than a hobby for you.
Session fees aren't enough
For most photographers, session fees aren't enough to make a living on.
If you want to really make a sustainable career out of photography, you must also sell products such as albums, books, prints, canvases and so on. I've written about the session vs digital vs print debate many times:
- How to always sell prints, even if your clients say they want digital
- How photographers can talk about the benefit of prints over digital files with their clients
- Why you must sell digital files, and how to price them properly
- Photography is only enjoyed once it's printed
- Podcast episode about the gate technique
If you're on board with the fact that session fees alone aren't enough, then you're probably aware of in-person sales. We've had many discussions about in-person sales on the podcast in the past:
- Deconstructing in-person sales with myself and Rob
- Deconstructing In-Person Sales Continued also with myself and Rob
- In-Person Sales for Photographers with Chris Scott from Salesographer
- The Elements of the Perfect Sales Setup with Ron Nicols from ProSelect
What you'll find when you start talking with photographers about in-person sales is that everyone who does them knows it's best way to maximize your sales. But let me add to that that it's also the best way to get your client what they truly want and need.
Making money and making clients happy? Sounds good!
But … still most photographers don't do in-person sales.
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Hm, why not do in-person sales if you know you can make more money and have happier clients at the same time?
Well … I believe there are a number of reasons why you might not do in-person sales:
- You don't want to spend the time doing in-person sales.
- You don't want to feel like you're being a pushy salesperson.
- You don't have a physical space to invite clients to for in-person sales.
- You don't want to invest the money into a projector, a screen, etc.
- You simply do not know how to do in-person sales.
- The majority of these are all just lies you're telling yourself, but that's another article altogether!
The alternative sucks!
I could de-bunk all of these reasons for you right here and right now. They're all lies you're telling yourself.
Maybe you are still telling yourself these excuses though, and so you don't do in-person sales. But what do you do instead? Probably online galleries, right?
Online galleries are convenient, relatively hands-off and flexible, but I'll bet that your average sale from a session with an online gallery is not much greater than $150. And you probably sell a lot of big ol' 8x10s, don't you?
I'm sure you've heard it before (and maybe I'm preaching to the choir), but did you know that most photographers who do in-person sales average around $1500 of sales per session, and they sell sizes more like 20×30's and 30×40's?
Which camp would you like to be in? Making $150 per session and a couple 8x10s, or $1500 per session and large beautiful wall portraits that you know your clients ultimately want?
There must be a better way …
What if there was a way to have the convenience and flexibility of online galleries with the results (and sales process) of in-person sales?
All while squashing any and all of the objections above for not offering in-person sales?
Well … there is.
Maybe you've read about Sales Galleries already on our website, or maybe this is your first time, but let's just say that Sales Gallery (within Sprout Studio) is the first of it's kind in the industry.
The Sales Gallery feature within Sprout Studio is literally going to change the way photographers sell prints.
That's a bold statement, I know, but it's not a claim we're making on our own. Most photographers in Sprout Studio Beta are more excited about Sales Gallery than almost anything else in our entire line-up!
(And considering how excited everyone is about everything else we offer, that's a lot to say!)
Sales Galleries: The perfect solution
Imagine being able to imply the same time limitations, the same “guided tour” process, the same urgency, and the same ability to place a photo on a clients' wall as a typical in-person sales session, but all from the convenience of an online gallery. The perfect marriage between online galleries and in-person sales.
… And …
If you still want to do in-person sales (which I'd recommend), you can do it all from the same system/software but only in-person instead of online.
Well that's what Sales Gallery within Sprout Studio is, and I am so excited for you to to start using it. I'm excited for how it'll transform your business, how much it'll change how you do sales, and ultimately how much more money you'll be able to make.
Oh yeah … and I'm excited by how much happier your clients will be!
Here's a quick tease of one of the features within Sales Galleries. Remember, this and the entire Sprout Studio suite is all a web-app, so it's cross-platform, works on any computer, and is even responsive to work natively on an iPhone, iPad, Android device, and so on.
Your clients can add a photo of their own room, and then “measure” something in that room to give the prints they put on their wall the appropriate scale. All with the same simple and user-friendly user-interface that you've come to expect from Sprout Studio.