It’s easy to see why selling albums to wedding couples is so important – the album documents their day and becomes an heirloom to look back on years beyond the wedding. However, what about the other unforgettable times in life that should also be worth more than 24 hours on an Insta-story? One of these times is the senior photography session – for both the student and the parents!
Why not celebrate this accomplishment 13 school years in the making with a really cool album? Once you set a senior album sample in mom or dad’s hands it’s very hard to say no to something they know they will treasure forever.
Let’s dive into some best practices Zookbinders has learned to work best for album sales success with senior photography!
Why adding albums to your packages makes it easier for everyone
Why does it seem every wedding reception comes with perfectly matched chair covers? Because years ago venues came up with the idea to include them in their wedding packages, knock up the price a bit, and deem them essential. Click here to learn more about what we as photographers can learn from this cool idea!
When looking at a menu, why do we flip over to the combos and meal deals instead of the a la carte? As a society, we love the bundle options. We love the convenience of an expert putting together what we need, but also having choices of which combo we want.
A great example is from Maureen T. Miller Photography which has a 75% success rate of clients who receive albums! They achieve this by offering three senior packages and a la carte options. The middle package includes an indoor and outdoor session, an 8 x 8 Photo Book with 15 images, gift prints, announcements, and a digital copy of every printed image for social media use (low-res with the studio logo in the corner).
The owner, Maureen T. Miller, deliberately mentions in every consultation with the parents why she feels albums are so essential. She uses verbiage such as, “It’s great because I’m sure Anna is going to like a lot of the pictures and an album is the best way to show them off rather than putting them all in frames.” Miller also demonstrates this by putting albums in her most popular package.
Miller has found great sales success with their senior photography clients by showing sample albums, including albums in her collections, and showing enthusiasm for their products before, during, and after the senior photography session.
Making Sure the Price is Right
Jonathan Betz Photography in Colorado Springs has found album sales success by setting their small print pricing at professional and profitable prices. The small print pricing forms the basis for everything else you offer, including albums. Lindsay Betz explains, “the goal is that your album can then be priced profitably, but actually saves the client over buying that same number of album poses as separate professional prints.”
This makes the album a “packaged deal” with a wide variety of favorite poses for that family.
Pricing can be a little tricky at first but a tip Betz recommends is to “purposefully price an album at less than the cost of purchasing the poses separately as prints because then it’s very easy for a client with lots of favorites to choose to purchase an album.”
Keep It Simple
In addition, keep it simple! Albums companies have many options to offer – therefore it is up to the photographer to simplify the field for your clients. You simply cannot offer every type of finish, color, cover, and size. Choose the favorites that match your studio brand and clientele, and offer a few great options vs taxing your clients with too many options.
Betz explains, “if you do want to offer a wider variety of options, you can make a category upgrade one cost. When decisions do not change the cost of the album, clients can make more choices without fatigue. For example, you could make any cover upgrade the same cost regardless of whether they choose leather, fabric, or acrylic. Price the upgrade based on the cost of the most expensive option to you. This way, whatever they choose is the same cost, so they will have fun choosing from a variety of options rather than be stressed over what costs what.”
How to Secure the Sale
As photographers, when we mention photo albums to our clients we are envisioning what we know – a beautiful design with unique elements crafted into a high-quality album. However, if you don’t have a sample to place into the client’s hands then they may be envisioning something very different.
We can only envision what we know from our own experiences. Your client’s only experience of an album may only be their own wedding album from 20 years ago. They may also think of a low-quality photo book they bought for 50% off on Black Friday to put vacation images into. This will put you are at a disadvantage every time.
Your version of an album doesn’t match their experience, therefore your price for albums won’t match what their expectation to pay would be.
Photographers can change this experience by having physical album samples in the consultation, waiting room, and even the photo studio by the “mom chair”. This ensures that the parents know exactly the high-quality professional albums that you are offering, and why they are worth every penny.
If you sell online, you can still achieve this success! Bring an 8×8 sample to your on-location senior session for the parents to look at during the session. Make a special page just for albums on your website that showcase beautiful images and/or videos of your albums and flipbooks of the design.
Selling to your past senior sessions
Ideas for selling to your past customers – whether an album came with their package or not:
- If an album or album credit came with their senior portrait session:
- If you already sent them a gallery link to pick their favorites, then gently remind them that now is a great time to revisit their senior photos & select their favorite images!
- Maybe the parents of the senior are having a difficult time choosing! If so, we recommend for you to send the favorite images first – even if you already sent a gallery link, you can always send them a link such as Zookbinder’s Selection Service to make it easier on them.
- Once they select their images, then it’s time to start the design! If you want to get the design off your plate, send it on over to the professional designs at Zookbinders!
- An album or album credit didn’t come with their package or session:
- You can start by preselecting the favorites to make it easier and less overwhelming. Since the album isn’t something they prepaid for, you want to make it as easy as possible.
- A lot of our photography clients swear by “pre-designing” their senior album and sending them the virtual link. If they order the album as is, then they get a “special price” (maybe 5-10% less). If they have revisions, then they pay full price.
- Jonathan Betz Photography found success in a multiple option pre-design sales model. “We have two design options we offer: one with minimal design time on us and then an attractive upgraded design that will take us more design time but also creates a higher album sale for most families,” states Lindsay Betz.
One Final Thought
Make sure you create a wide variety of images that the client loves for their album. When your clients pay for their album (in a package or a la carte) ahead of time it allows the photographer to plan for the shoot.
Miller’s strategy is, “they can do two looks in studio and two outside. I shoot for variety. If there is an activity or hobby, we work that into the shoot. Any pets – cool, bring them! When possible, I like to get a few images in front of their high school and a few that show where they are headed to college or after graduation.”
Betz adds that “without a wide variety of poses, perspectives, changes of setting and/or outfit, an album simply won’t make a lot of sense to your client. With a correctly-priced small print, gorgeous set of variety-filled imagery presented, and the right amount of choices for the final product, albums should sell themselves!”
Whether your studio has been selling albums to your senior clients for years, or this is a new idea for your 2020 and 2021 sales, every photographer can achieve success by adding a package to your collections with an album included.
Add on a senior sample album to place in mom’s hands and you will see results that will end in higher upsells and great album sales success with your senior photography! Click here for some great senior album examples!