We LOVE high school seniors! We love their creativity, energy, willingness to do just about anything you want them to do during a photography session, and the uniqueness of this type of photography session. This only happens once, right? And these families are so proud to celebrate all of the accomplishments and successes of their senior.
More than most other sessions, high school senior sessions provide rich variety of images, and this variety fits beautifully into a professional album sale. We offer our seniors two main session options: a one-hour and a three-hour. Both sessions use time as the only limiting factor, so outfit changes and incorporation of items to represent areas of strengths and interests are all included in either session.
We firmly believe in presenting retouched portraits to our clients in our sales sessions. Yes, this is more work on the front end, and yes, there is a little risk involved since you don’t yet have the sale. However, when you structure your prices properly and then practice and perfect your overall sales experience, you can expect strong sales that meet or exceed your goals. The reason we retouch our portraits on the front side is two fold: First, we are the professionals, and we can’t expect our clients to “see” what a non-retouched portrait can become. Some might be able to do this well, but in general, most people will only see a “rock” versus the “diamond” the photographer can see. Second, people will create a greater emotional attachment and love for more portraits when the portraits look awesome from the first view. If you’re not currently finalizing your portraits before your sales session, I would challenge you to try it with a few sessions and just see if your sales increase. If they don’t, you at least gave it a solid try. If they do increase, you’ll see how the time spent before the sale drives a better sales average.
We show our one-hour clients 20-35 portraits and our three-hour clients 60-80 portraits. They see the best, and they see everything without needing their imagination. We show quality portraits (not quantity), and we have found that our families typically keep over 50% of the portraits they see as favorites. This is where a custom photo album then becomes your best friend in the salesroom and nearly a no-brainer for your clients.
With so many favorites, they are likely to feel excited, yet quite overwhelmed. The custom photo album is the single best format to place all these favorites. It’s a great opportunity to say something like, “The great news is that you love your portraits!” The next step is to have album samples readily available in the sizes you offer and ask, “What do you think about an album?” Our custom photo albums include 20 portraits standard (and of course we have options to upgrade to a larger number of portraits), so when a family is in love with 20+ portraits, an album will sell itself.
The benefits will be obvious to your clients as long as you’ve priced your prints and custom photo albums thoughtfully. A couple of quick tips: Price your professional prints high enough so that your album can be priced for profit and still be attractive to your clients. The custom photo album price should be one that saves your clients money over purchasing 20 professional prints.
Humor in the salesroom can be quite helpful, and when they have all these favorites but seem “on the fence” deciding on whether to purchase a custom photo album, I’ll say, “Your other kids might have a hard time if Ben gets a 20-image wall display in your home, but I bet an album would be special to have for each of your kids,” or, “ I’d be happy to sell you 20 8x10s of all these favorites, but I think the custom photo album is the better value for you.”
The other benefit to your sales is that your clients relax as they make their wall art and print selections. With all their favorites in the custom photo album, they can now focus on the “favorite” favorites for all those other great items you offer. We have found that custom photo albums add to rather than detract from the sales of our other offerings.
Once you secure a custom photo album sale, Zookbinders can take care of the rest to save you time on the design end. If you haven’t already, take time to check out their tools and expertise in both designing and final product options. Zookbinders can be your “easy button” solution for album sales, and we love that their albums have features that aren’t available on a consumer level.
Jonathan & Lindsay Betz are a husband and wife team specializing in outdoor photography and primarily photographing high school seniors and family portraits in Colorado Springs. They launched their business in 2006 and are beyond blessed to support their family of four with full-time photography.