Elizabeth Halford Photography {the blog} » photography in plain English

5 reasons you should do your sales in person

Let’s make a list of some’a the things you can now do online:

  • Order pizza
  • Grocery shopping
  • Buy a car
  • Shop for a spouse
  • Become a celebrity
  • Take a pregnancy test {what on earth?!}

With the entire world going online, it really did make sense for photographers to do the same. Afterall, getting our clients in the first place often takes place online. But I think that selling online is bogus for a business that’s meant to be so deep and personal. I mean, you’re capturing people’s memories, moments and everlasting souls through your camera. And then to just present them in such an impersonal way? I just think it’s a bit…well…bogus!

So here’s my top 5 list of reasons you should sell in person:

  1. The photography market is saturated. And many photographers don’t have the confidence, know-how or guts to sell in person. So adding this to your business model gives you a gargantuous leg-up on the competition.
  2. In-person ordering is a premium service that will add luxury to your brand. Which means you can charge more for your products {assuming you’re actually a good photographer}
  3. I have a secret. I would do this job for free. The feeling I get when I see the tears flow at viewing sessions makes what I do the best thing EVER. And if I didn’t have to -like- feed my kids, I would do it purely to see that reaction over and over again. Doing in-person viewing and ordering will make you the most confident photographer who ever walked the face of the earth because you will see their first reactions and it’s always a priceless moment to behold. A sidenote, though: if you post even one sneaky peek before the viewing session, you will eliminate the opportunity to see their very first reaction. Resist the urge! I’ve had many’a client tell me they cried when they saw their first image, but I was’t there to partake in the joy.
  4. When clients have such huge emotional reactions to your work, they can’t pretend they didn’t like them and then not buy them. They know that you know that they were the best things they’ve ever seen. So naturally, the sales will follow.
  5. On that note, it’s proven that sales are double when done in person.
  6. Number 6. Yes, I can count, thankyouverymuch! However, a couple days after first writing this post, I realized that I missed one other very important reason: Quality control. As a photographer, you’ll understand that when you edit your images, they might not print to look exactly like you plan them to and they won’t match what you see on your screen. This is why you calibrate your monitor. So you have control with the printing, but what about how your clients view their images on ordering? Unless they’re also using a superfly computer like you might be, they’re not likely seeing the sharpness, clarity or vibrancy you edited the images to have. This is one of the top reasons why it’s so important to control the quality of your work as much as you possibly can until money has changed hands. After that, you can’t control exactly what their friends see when they view their photos on Facebook, but you can control the images through the ordering and printing process if you do in-person viewing and ordering.

Check back tomorrow because I’m going to tell you the top 3 excuses I hear for why my readers say they don’t do in person sales. And then I’ll tell you why they’re bogus excuses and how you can make in person sales work for you.

{Further Reading}

RIP • Death of the Sneak Peek pt1

RIP • Death of the Sneak Peek pt2

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  • Lisacurriegurney

    Thanks… your input is so valuable.  

    Hugs From My Heart

  • Rosebudsara

    I LOVE your blog!  You are so informative, and have helped me rediscover my artistic confidence.  All of the little things I have told myself I need to learn, or can’t do, you’ve proven are attainable.  I went to school for photography, and was taught how to be a pretentious artist who was planning on living on coffee shop shows and making it big in the ‘big city’ art galleries (HA!).  As students, we were given no guidance business-wise, and instead of taking a work sabbatical, I continued to work retail full time not giving myself enough breathing, creating, or business research time.  I learned how to sell in the high scale retail business (made my way all the way to super upper management-could sell you the shoes on your own feet), but forgot how to sell the most important thing as an Artist…MYSELF!  Thanks for reminding me! You’re great, and a wonderful inspiration!

  • Mark&Tracey

    I can’t believe I’m reading this Elizabeth…. We’ve only just completed our first paid shoot last weekend and now we’re ready to do the upsell… Our question is (OR WAS) how much do we show the client (sneak peaks) versus how much do we show at the proofing sitting.  Do we show all of the final proofs or only a selection? Will people travel out to us twice?(once for the proof viewing and the second to collect the enlargements) 
    After reading this post, we’ll be doing almost all of the proof viewing in person. Give the client a taste with 2 or 3 samples but leave the “WOW” shots to the in-person sitting.We plan on presenting the images with ALL of the family members present in a slideshow so it tells the story, hand over the printed proofs in a beautiful giftbox and then show them 1 in an enlargement of say 8″x10″.  We also have our wall displaying the This has been the most difficult part to get right, thanks to your informative and invaluable posts, you’ve been able to put our minds at ease so we at least feel like we are heading in the right direction.Lots to do and think of but it’s so much fun when it’s something you’re so passionate about. Keep up the great workThanks Mark&Tracey

  • elizabethhalford

    Hi and congratulations! I wouldn’t give sneak peeks though because you’re completely elimnating the experience of seeing their first reaction. Also, any images after that won’t feel as good to them as their first encounter with their images and so the viewing session may be tinged with disappointment and this will also lead to less sales. More about that in this two-part blog post: http://www.elizabethhalford.com/the-business-of-photography/rip-•-death-of-the-sneak-peek-proofing-gallery/

  • Guest2111

    Would you provide more details on Number 5? How has it been proven? Thanks!

  • Cassidy LionHeart

    Always informative with a pinch of humor. You have helped me so much that I come back for more. Thanks.

  • Amanda

    hey your ever faithful stalker here….Is there any chance you could give wall flowers tips on how you actually go about selling yourself?maybe even a mock up video?Id love to do this in person once i reach that stage but wouldn’t have a clue….some people might get it totally wrong, hard sell or not enough bla bla…an idea of what works for you that folk like me could use as a guide or get ideas from to make it work….or is this a totally stuuupeadO thing to ask?x

  • http://www.corporatebrokers.com.au/business_sale.php business sales

    Great information you have shred with us.You have made really a great job by sharing this post with us.I like this & would like to read your more updates.Keep in touch with us in future too.

  • Lore

    Hi Elizabeth, thanks for all your information and advices. I read in the last hour about sales in person, but I still have a question. Maybe I didn’t read enough or maybe I missed the subject. My questions are: If I go to the client for viewing session, the client will order and all that, but in the end, do I still have to give them the photographs in digital? And when? And also, if the client pays for the photo session, then the prices for prints are separately? Or should be in the same price with the photo session? I hope you will understand my questions, if not I will come back with details. :) Thanks and good luck with your business!
    Lore

  • Arden Ballard

    I was about to ask a similar question as Lore did a while back… (This is my first post to your blog btw, although I’ve been reading for quite some time now!)

    I can vision offering a framed 8×10″ included with the price of the shoot and holding off previewing all the shots prior to the reveal (AWESOME Idea!). do you charge for a CD with digital images so they can share on social media, email, etc? I’m thinking a jump drive (maybe even getting some personally made with my logo, #, etc on it. They’re cheap nowadays.) with all edited images; for these images, do you still brand/watermark them? After all, you know where they’re headed!

    Thanks for the input :) LOVE the blog!