Thursday, July 10, 2008

[B]Business Day Thursday - 7 Really Easy Things To Sell To Add To Your Bottom Line

So many people enjoy photography as a hobby and say they want to be photographers and aspire into the profession. But the reality is that too few aspiring photographers really leverage the results of their skills - their photographs. These photographers' lack of client relationships regarding sales are barely ever exceeding more than a delivered CD of images and few prints for family and friends. What's happening here? Where are the finished albums? Where are the beautiful wall decor?

Folks, it about products, products, products and more products. What do the big guys do that sell to, as an example, supermarkets. They are always creating new products to take up more shelf space so you and I will purchase their numerous variety of products. I was in a supermarket recently, walked down the aisle looking for some baked beans for the July 4th picnic, and was blown away by the tremendous variety of such a rather mundane product. There was plain, smoked, barbecue, honey flavored, with bacon without bacon......on and on went the list of varieties. I settled for the "mesquite smoked, honey spiced, Southwest flavored". Do you get my drift?

We need to take that same kind of approach in our own photographic businesses. Start creating some different types of products that will give your clients a reason to take a second look even a third and fourth look and maybe, even make those additional purchases. OK, enough said on the point. Let me give you 7 really easy products/services to add to your product line up that could add $200-300 to the bottom line of every sale. Hit Read More... for my 7 easy product add-ons.

1. $50-$100 - How about offering a slide show at the wedding of the images you shot from the day. Just download the images onto your laptop, do a quick edit in Lightroom, hook up some inexpensive speakers, set it up on the bar area and let it run throughout the evening. Be sure you have your studio name listed at the beginning and at the end of the show. If you don't actually want to sell the service, then at least offer it as an incentive for your client to choose on one of your larger package coverages. Sell the slide show DVD later to family and friends for the additional $50-$100.

2. $100-$300 - Version 2 of the above - "A Through the Years" presentation at the wedding reception. Collect images of he bride and groom growing up, early dates, and combine that with some really cool images you do for them during the engagement session you have already sold them the $50-$100 or incentive for larger coverage. Make that presentation at the wedding reception. Don't forget your titling. This kind of stuff will make you "famous" in your community. It's what I used to build my business in the early years.

3. $100-$200 - Neil Enterprises sells some really reasonably priced 20 side self-stick books in various sizes. I like their 8x8 size. Fill it with some really reasonably priced images from your favorite lab like MPIX and you have a reasonably product that looks good, sells well, and has decent margin in it for you. This could maybe be an add on for those family shoots.

4. $50-$100 - Neil Enterprises again. Pick up some of the 10 page self-stick 4x6 albums. Now this is the cool part - pick yourself up an Epson PictureMate for about $100 and print 4x6's out at the wedding, put them in the book and deliver it to the client at the wedding reception. Need a name for the product - how about "Honeymoon Album."

5. $50 - One of my favorite web sites - now let's you download a hi-res show from their site for only $5 bucks. Burn it to a CD and offer it to your clients. Once they see it, they will want it for sure. Use this code - lmwrdzik - it's worth $5 off your All Access pass. Don't say I never gave you anything ;~)

6. $40-$50 - Sell an 8x10 photo collage. Include, say 4 images, and mark it up 2x over your regular 8x10 price. What a deal!! Your customer now gets 4 images for the price of 2. What a deal! Save the template in Photoshop or better yet in Lumapix collage software and then it's really easy to do the next one.

7. $100-$200 - Sell a mini Black and White collection of images as a wedding add-on. It's a great way for your client to feature their favorite images from their wedding day. There are several companies that offer attractive boxes to hold the collection. I use Epoch boxes and they are available locally from Alan Galleries.

Hey gang, add your own good ideas to the Comments section below. If we have at least 20 good suggestions, I'll send my 2-DVD set Digital WakeUp Call ($78.00 value) to the person submitting the idea I declare the best. So get those ideas posted so we can all benefit from everyone's creativity.


  1. I have two add ons that work well, an ipod with their images on it for $450 they keep the ipod and get more use out of it than just the pictures that come with it. And a Digital Pic Frame with a sandisk card with all their Images on it for $650. With the Digital Pic Frame the customer gets all the rights to the images. These are both add ons to a regular package they would buy.

  2. My add-on would be a parent album for a smaller price and a smaller size. In addition I would also include a second parent album for an even lower price. This way you are likely to get a three album sale, rather than one.

  3. There is a free program called FlyPaper that lets you create beautiful Flash presentations / programs without knowing any Flash at all. I have used it to create photo galleries and fancy slide shows. Oh, and did I mention... ITS FREE!

    Main Site:

    Photo Gallery Demo:

  4. Take a favorite engagement or wedding pic and make "thank you" cards for the B&G. B&G (especially bride) appreciates that the thank you card and it almost becomes a "gift" from them... (of course on the back of the card would be your info -- in a tasteful font and size)... Easy to offer for $150-$300... (make sure you don't use "coated paper" otherwise B&G won't be able to write on them.

  5. Here is another idea not really a "sales" item but.... create business cards from one of the great bride and groom pics. Have 100 (can find suppliers that will print for under $15 for 100-250 cards) or so printed and give to the B&G to place in "thank you" notes or cards, or pass out to friends at the office... of course on the back have a note with the date, etc of the wedding and yep... your name and simple contact info... These actually can be sold ($30-$60) especially to the parents and grandparents as "bragging cards".... these seem to be a fit with the upper age group.

  6. I hope multiple ideas are ok (even if they only count as one entry)...

    This idea is high $$ but also high perceived value. Take B&G picture (together or each alone) and offer “digital” oil / pastel painting of them. (Engagement pics work well here also). Just offering this service push the perception of your work to another level… I find they see you not just as a photographer but also an artist (even in you “farm” the work out)… price range is $1500 to 5000…

  7. Ok one final thought…. Gallery wraps / canvas prints. Incorporate David’s collage idea and create almost a “album” page but on a large scale… a very contemporary grouping of pictures in a long horizontal or vertical style (10x20 or 10x30). This can be a very striking and unique look (and also fits smaller or uniquely shaped wall spaces.)

  8. We use Blurb to create a custom designed guest book of their engagement session. We did the first one just on a whim, they didn't buy it, but when the next couple saw it, SOLD! We charge $250.

  9. I take a B&G image, put it on a card and one of my assistants runs it to a lab or to our studio (depends where we are) and we get 2- 20X24 gallery wraps done. After dinner, B&G give one to each set of parents. Retail 750 each. Adds 1500 to bottom line and it gets better if parents are divorced, B&G might buy a 3rd.

    If your clients have smaller budget, go with an 11 X 14 or 8X10. You get great publicity - it is announced in front of all the guests and our studio wrapping can be seen by others.

    Our last add to this is 8X10's of each bridal party member presented at reception.

    next surprise is for the groom, a custom made album of bride in a boudoir setup. add another 600-1000 depending on session.

    I have assembled the above from many seminars and testing what works best.


    David - you rock !

  10. josephhalberstadt@yahoo.com5:16 PM, July 11, 2008

    A well produced slide show using quality software like Pro Show Gold and presented at your clients preview session. I use 50 to 75 images that cover the highlights of the wedding day. With tasteful transitions and motion added you get the feel of video that only last 6 to 8 minutes.
    I offer this in a nice folio from Tap for $75.00 and duplicates for $35.00
    These make great gifts for the family and wedding party. Add on sale have averaged around $200.00

  11. My suggestion is postcards or regular cards. Sell them in a set of 50 for $100 bucks. You put images from the bride and groom's wedding on the front, and then on the back your website address. Suggest that the bride use them to send out thank you notes. It's an extra sale, and extra free publicity for you!

  12. My suggesting involves the couple's first dance and the Father/Daughter and/or Mother/Son dance. Contact a local ballroom dance instructor and negotiate a deal with them to set up a couple lessons for your clients. Then, present your clients with an all-inclusive dance package: 3 (or more) 45-minute lessons from a professional ballroom dance instructor, photographic and video coverage of those lessons, and special attention to those dances at the wedding reception. As a couple of add-ons, offer a Dance DVD (incorporating the video media as well) separately or in conjunction with the standard media presentation you offer and/or a Dance Album highlighting the couple's dance journey. Minus the add-ons, it's worth about $350-$600 depending on the fees of your local instructor and what kind of deal you can strike with them. By encouraging this package, you bring business both to yourself and a local dance studio--who may, in return, do you favors in the future (like let you photograph and sell your products at their sponsored ballroom dance competition). It's one more way to network and promote yourself while making money.



  13. Gosh I hope you don't mind multiple post (but this topic got me excited).... Now I haven't tried this myself but what about having one of those digital frames for the wedding day. You could send the B&G on their way with a digital frame with a handful of the best images of the wedding. Nothing huge so they potentially could take it with them to re-experience their special day on their honeymoon / wedding trip.

    Take care!

  14. In our weddings we sometimes setup ( with B&G permission) a ringlight flash with a backdrop in the back of the reception hall... so guests can take glam shots of the guests.. Then give each guest a number and tell the to go to smugmug (or the like) and they can order pictures for 20-30 bucks a piece... Best of all you can use all these shots in a wedding album or u can make an 8x10 book of all the shots to sell to the couple for 2-3 hundred... No editing at all just drag and drop the pics into a blurb book and BAM!!! Coffee table book in a couple of mouse clicks..

  15. another idea is to load up 2 iPods with the pictures (one pink and one black) with the wedding pictures and sell them to the couple (the picture of course can't resell an iPod legally) one for the each of them... iPod nanos are like 150 bucks nowadays... So u can charge them 300 or more... Also u can get them engraved or laser etched with their names

  16. With the B&G's permission I sell small albums to the guests at the reception. They are 6x4 or 5x7 format printed on the HP B9180 by an assistant and contain engagement, church and one or two formals and large group shot outside the church (by assistant). These are cheap to produce and unsold albums are recycled. Guests get a memento of the day, the mark-up is good and my details are on the inside cover.

  17. To keep your clients coming back (worth tens of thousands of dollars) give them a gift certificate for a FREE Baby portrait. Nine months plus later (hopefully not sooner) you have given them a reminder that you are not only a great wedding photographer but a family photographer that they can come back to year after year.

  18. Show a "wedding video" at the reception!
    After the first dance, have an assistant load your best jpgs onto a laptop, use your favorite presentation software ( pro show producer for me) and have your laptop set up next to the bar.( or someplace strategically placed that will have "traffic" but not take away from the main event) Guests will ultimately go for a drink, see the fab photos of the bride and grom/wedding!
    You create a "buzz" that will have everyone talking- more importantly, viewing your work!
    You'd be surprised how many more bookings ( and sales of DVD shows) you get from this!!!

  19. I am really shocked someone has not mentioned this already, but "Trash the Dress" is a popular thing today. I just did my first one last night, you charge extra money for this session and we get to take more pictures since that is what we are passionate about. I charge $450 for this session. The Bride last night loved it and is extremely excited to see the pics this also opens up another door to sell a small hard back book or another album. And another thing that just hit me is that this can be marketed to anybody not just your bride, but maybe someone comes to you and says I had a bad experence with my photographer you offer this for the bride and groom, you can even advertise didnt get your wedding pics with us, now is the chance to with a "Trash the Dress" session or something like that. Ok now i am excited and rambeling I will stop.


  20. David,
    this is a far-out concept for most, but I hope you all will be able to follow it...

    Take care of your client! By this I mean to always be exceeding their expectations, under-promise and over-deliver! If you think it may take 2 weeks to finish images from a shoot, tell them 3 weeks, call them a week early and you're the hero! I have a close frien who just celebrated her 1 year wedding anniversary and still has not seen a proof for her album! And this wasn't some fly-by-night Joe with a Camera she was dealing with, it is a long standing pro (although I'm not sure how, given her business practices). Their are some great ideas on here that will net some great additional sales (I've got my notepad out now!), but the return on the investment from referrals and repeat business will trump any of these upsell items.

    Remember their birthdays, anniversaries, engage them and genuinely care about them, and they will take care of you...


  21. Not really an add on to sales, but little bit different idea.

    As I live in small town and I´m just coming to business and need to find my own market share, I was first thinking to get as many weddings as possible as near as possible. Nearest church is only 10km away, and second at 16km so with little less prize, like -10% or 20% I hope I'm able to sell few easier weekends to those two churches and find good footstep to business at here and having off-town-guests coming to here is easy way to make more clients further and grow the business further away... rinse and repeat =)

    2nd point to "Why cheaper is good business", you may ask...

    Well, the time away from home at weddings is time away from my family and if that quality time at weekends isn't valuable, what is? And longer I need to go on trip to photograph the weddings is longer away from family.

  22. One thing that may impress is if you have a series of continuous shots you can give them a flip book or a "digital reel"

    I would personally like to know how to create one to impress a certain lady.

  23. another thing you can do is set up a template of a 4x5 with a picture on the left and the data set "name" and Body" on the right and make thank you postcards for the couple...

    that way all they have to do fill out a data set on notepad and you use the automate dataset function to spit out like 300 of those suckas automagically...

    go to mpix and use the 19cent printing and charge like a dollar per card... thats 5x profit!!!!

    The couple has an easy way to make personalized thank you postcards with a picture of them in it and you have a good value add!!!

  24. One of my favorite sites online is You can use them to self publish books and, more importantly for this post, calendars.

    I went on a family vacation last November and selected 20 shots to make 12 calendar pages (its easier to make the 8x10 page yourself in photoshop then post it as a single image, than try to have them do the placement automatically). It also gave me the opportunity to add some text (I put in where the subject was taken, but if done commercially, then your studio name would be better). I gave a calendar to each of the people who came on the vacation as a Xmas present. Every single one of them asked for at least one more. Cost is $20 for 14x20 on nice (linen) paper. Other prices for smaller or more months.

    I suggest taking 12-20 of the shots you like from a wedding shoot and making them up into a calendar. Groom's pictures on groom's birthday month page, bride's on hers and their formal on the anniversary date, if they fall in different months. Send one as a thank-you holiday gift to the bride/groom a few months after the event (but no later than November). You'll probably get some sales from relatives, but even if not, it will put your name out there in front of tham all year.

  25. Rather than selling them trinkets and other such stuff, why not try to appeal to their emotional side? Repeat business and referrals ...!

    Do something in their honor, such as plant some trees via the Arbor Day Foundation. Or, if you know them, maybe give them a gift certificate to a local green house to buy a tree/plant that they'd be reminded of you of, long after they've stopped routinely looking at their wedding photos.

    Also, think "green." Offer products that are environmentally friendly (at a slight premium). Be carbon neutral yourself (as a business).