Its a common request for families with a new baby to somehow incorporate the "first" baby, (the dog), with the "real" baby, (the human). How can you turn that into a long term project for you and a fantastic documentary for your clients? Heidi Peters shows us the way~
"The first time I met Mabel the bulldog was in 2009. I'd been hired to photograph a hip, young couple with a new baby at their home in Chicago. As we took some indoor portraits, the bulldog watched us unhappily, wondering how this small person had usurped most of the affection that had previously been heaped upon her. Mabel planted herself on every blanket we laid out for the baby to lie on. She sat on the baby's clothes that were carefully set on the couch for future shots. She was an immovable nuisance whenever possible. Eventually, we left the dog at the couple's apartment and walked to a local park, created some playful outdoor images, then returned to the apartment to part ways. Before I said goodbye, the couple suggested a shot of the baby with Mabel. Well, with such a stubborn personality, how could any photographer resist? After much positioning of both the dog and the baby, with both parents helping wrangle the subjects, we made the shot. We all fell in love with this image, wondering who was mirroring who? Both the baby and bulldog were patient, innocent, helpless participants in our quest to capture a portrait of these adored subjects together.
Despite moving house and adding a baby brother and sister to the mix, we continue to do this shot every year. Most recently, Mabel came on location with us, just to keep the tradition going.
It's a thrill to look back on these pictures and see the subject grow up, and the bulldog stay the same. I'm proud of the overall consistency and the fact that there is a clear artistic style, even though the locations and lighting scenarios were different each year. For the family, this series catches moments in time, with all the subtle details that only they will find meaningful.”
What client could resist collecting a canvas or framed print of each of these portraits?
We challenge you to think about what photographic traditions you can create with your clients. Besides being fun for you, imagine how special these type of portrait art collections will be for your clients, today and years from now. And, best of all, you are guaranteed an invested client for years! We love it.
Looking for a way to increase every sale this season? Try adding professionally designed holiday cards to each order! Our Holiday Card Catalog has everything you need to get started. Your clients will truly be ‘wowed’ by the clear straight forward manner in which our catalog displays all of their holiday card possibilities, because when it comes to sales presentation is everything. With the attractive display and vast array of options, your clients won’t be able to resist. Increase your sales by as much as hundreds of dollars per-shoot!
Jessie of J. Passon Artistic Portraiture shares her experience with the guide:
"I am so excited to use the Holiday Card Catalog with my clients! Every year I struggle with how best to present card design options to my clients. I have a lower volume of clients who order holiday cards and I like to work extensively with each of them for a very custom card. I never do two cards exactly the same and I am sure to point that out to my clients so that they know their card is totally unique. The more Design Aglow templates I purchase, the harder it is to present all of the design options. I also find myself using other Design Aglow templates for other products that translate well to being used for a card. So I essentially have endless design options that can be overwhelming to show. Enter the Holiday Card Catalog!
I will definitely be using the card catalog to present the multitude of design options I have and more specifically I am using it as a "starting point" collection. A guide to show my clients the design options I have as well as a way to pinpoint their ideal style and card. They can tell me which style and possibly which design specifically stands out to them as "it" for their design. I can then use that as a starting point for creating their custom design.
For presenting the card catalog, I quickly customized it with my branding colors as well as my default fonts. I also used a few Design Aglow text accessories to even further personalize the catalog. I am able to deliver it via PDF through email for those client who want easy and paperless access. Almost all of my clients do their card design via email, so being able to email them the design options without having to take up space on my proofing site with samples is a wonderful perk! For clients who like to have paper in their hands, I can print it out and present it to them in a way that is consistent with how I present all printed products from my studio. It is super easy to use just the pages that I want that feature designs I may have. I can also show clients designs that I do not have, but I will know that I can purchase those templates if needed. Having such a turnkey product is great! One other side perk is that I now have a catalog of many of the Design Aglow holiday card templates and I can keep track of the ones I have purchased and ones I may want to add to my collection!"
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Back in the day, wedding albums were the big thing. In fact, they were the only thing. My sister’s wedding album contains her 40 favorite images and…that’s it. No proofs. No negatives. Definitely no cloud storage. Just one leather-bound album with gilded pages and a handful of matted portraits.
Needless to say, things have changed a bit. Now, 40 images would be typical for a family portrait session, while wedding clients expect to walk away with hundreds and hundreds of images -- preferably stored on a tiny USB drive, ready to be posted instantly on social media. We want to share everything right now, and we want to share it with everyone we know. And that culture can make it difficult to convince gotta-have-it-all clients that a handcrafted album is a timeless treasure, not an archaic relic. Of course you already know that albums -- like the feel of classic books or the sound of a vinyl record -- can’t ever truly be replaced by technology. Here’s how to help your clients see that value.
1. Pre-sell your albums.
Start building the buzz for your albums before clients even book their session or wedding. Don’t just list an album in your packages -- explain why they’re a priceless investment. Take some dazzling product shots of your sample album and include them on your info page. Describe the craftsmanship and the customized design. You can even include a slideshow of sample spreads so they can see that they’ll be getting a work of art, not a stuffy old photo album. (Don’t have time to do all of this work yourself? We’ve done it for you in our Album Sales Catalog & Look Book.)
2. Sell while you shoot.
No, we’re not suggesting you rattle off a sales pitch while you’re clicking away. But think about your album while you shoot. Gather details that tell a complete story. Create those epic images that beg to be displayed across a full spread. Let them know as you’re shooting how amazing those images are going to look in their album. Get yourself in the mindset, and get them in the mindset: Someone’s going home with an album.
3. Emphasize the story.
A huge canvas print might show the bride’s stunning dress, the groom’s wingtip shoes, and the epic location. But they don’t show the handmade centerpieces, the thoughtful favors, the signatures drinks, the guests laughing, the blackmail-worthy dancing photos. Those details are a huge part of the story -- and if they’re not hanging on your client’s wall, where are they? Without an album, they could linger on a USB for…well, forever. If you shoot documentary-style weddings or lifestyle portraits, you’re not selling images -- you’re telling a complete story of their life at that particular moment. Albums are a natural extension of that. “I sell albums because my shoots tell a story,” says Jennifer Tonetti-Spellman of JellyBean Pictures in New York. “Shots of bookcases, hair ties, and favorite stuffed lovies wouldn’t stand alone. But sew them in with the child they represent, and you have that child’s story -- a story that deserves to be placed in a book and not just on a hard drive.”
4. Help them see the long-term.
We’re used to everything being shared in real-time, so naturally clients will be focused on getting their favorite files loaded onto social media to show (off to) their friends. But where will those images be in 10 years? How about 25 years? Will you still be using Facebook? Will your computer still read USBs? Not too long ago, we were using floppy disks and dial-up internet, so who knows what the next quarter-century will bring? Technology is constantly changing, but a tangible album can never be outmoded.
5. Make it part of the package.
When albums are sold a la carte, the splurge can be difficult for budget-conscious clients to justify. Including them in the package drives home the point that the album isn’t just an extravagant “extra” -- it's an integral part of the service you provide and an elegant way to store and share the images you’ve created. Some photographers include a standard size in their packages, with plenty of room to upgrade; others suggest providing an album credit instead. You know how you take a $25 gift card to Target and end up spending $172? With an album credit, clients are more likely to spring for upgrades, leading to better album sales.
6. Let them touch it.
There’s a big difference between seeing a pair of jeans online and actually trying them on in the store. Likewise, you can describe your albums in the most romantic terms and it’ll never compare to letting your clients feel the fabric cover, turn the heavy pages, and see how rich the colors look on a printed page instead of a computer screen. “We’re sensory people,” says Chad DiBlasio of DiBlasio Photography in Ohio. “Opening a keepsake box and pulling a stunning custom linen album with a cameo cover hits all the senses and develops a connection with what the album represents…not just what it looks like or how much it costs.” It probably goes without saying, but keep your sample albums updated. Bring them to every meeting or ordering session. Show off the luxe material, the biggest size, the cover cameo, and the most coveted images. It’s an investment, but you only have to sell one album to recoup the costs.
7. Make decisions for them.
Choose your favorite images, pre-design an album, and send them spreads to approve. (Psst: Many photographers recommend designing an album with more spreads than your package includes or your credit covers. Then ask your clients to remove any images they don’t need -- an impossible task once they’ve seen your gorgeous layout. Sneaky, right? But effective!) Simplify the process. Make it beyond easy for them to order. The more you let them agonize over decisions, the more likely they’ll lose momentum. They’ve already put their trust in you to capture their family or their wedding or their new baby, so let them trust your professional opinion on the best presentation.
8. Offer incentives.
If you just designed a breathtaking portrait or wedding album for a client, why not offer discounted duplicates to increase your sales? A 10x10 duplicate makes the perfect holiday gift for picky in-laws. An 8x8 clone of the album could make a perfect keepsake for grandma. Another option: If you have a repeat portrait client who hasn’t sprung for an album at each session, offer to combine more than one recent session in an album. “I sell a lot of albums to Baby Plan clients at the end of the first year,” says Sara Jensen of Sara Jensen Photography in Texas. “They see the extra value in getting an album that has images from their maternity, newborn, and first-birthday sessions. Clients who are on the fence about ordering an album feel better about it -- it’s the same number of pages, but there’s more emotional investment.”
Every client wants an album -- but whether it will be a Facebook album, a scrapbook full of 4x6 proofs, or a custom-made heirloom depends on how effectively you sell it. See how we can help you launch your own profitable album line today at Design Aglow Album Shop.
If you have a favorite technique for boosting album sales, share it below!Leave A Comment
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Coming next week: Win one of three gift certificates to Design Aglow (valued at $300, $200 and $100!) We are seeking fresh, original and inspiring baby portraits to celebrate Baby Week 2014. So don’t be shy….scour your archives, find your three best images (babies up to 18-months-old), and we'll announce how to enter next week~Leave A Comment