Thursday, March 17, 2011

Business Day Thursday Continued On Friday: After The Wedding: Workflow - Part 5


Good Evening Again Everybody,

Too much stuff going on around her this week, but I still managed to complete yesterday’s post below. It rounds out a few more areas I began discussing and leads into next week’s post.  Anyway, enjoy the read.  -David

From Yesterday---

Good Evening Everybody,

This is the post that almost did not make it up today.  Even though I had most of it written yesterday, I just simply had no time to finish today.  I’ve been at the computer since 5:30 a.m. with no breaks – whew! But I still wanted to get the partial post up – I’ll do my best to finish it up tomorrow before noon. 

Lighting, Portraits, & Wedding Workshop In Sedona June 6 – 8

Desert Dancer 2IMG_5254That’s right - I have a wedding scheduled in Phoenix June 3, 2011 so we are looking at scheduling a three day workshop in Sedona, AZ. 

It would be a hands on class with us shooting a good bit of the time and then reviewing and critiquing  our images.  This workshop would only be limited to the first 12 photographers who register.  If you are interested, give LaDawn or Jennifer a call at 800.292.2994 for more details.  Cost will be $1,495 and include 2 1/2 very FULL days! We will start Sunday evening with a meet-and-greet  sharing time. Then Monday and Tuesday will be full of technique, lighting, composition and actual on-location shooting in beautiful Sedona. Wednesday we will finish-up in the early afternoon.

This is brand new concept for us and I'd sure like to know if there is any interest in an on-location experience/workshop like this. You can also leave a comment below. I think it would be way cool!

After The Wedding: Workflow - Part 5

Last week we left this series of posts with all the images being placed on line, the client selecting favorites, and then making the appointment to have the bride and groom and their parents to visit our studio for the final album and gift print selection.  Let's talk a bit more on that today.

After the client selects their favorites from the Internet posting, we download those favorites, fire up Lightroom, and key all the "client Favs" with a 2-Star rating.  The appointment is confirmed and we are ready for the face-to-face sales presentation.  I've said it a million times here at DPT and I'll say it again - the only way you can expect a sale to go anywhere is by being pro-actively involved with your client in the final selection process.

You've Got To Get Them Fired Up!

Back in the film days before the Internet,  photographers would deliver their images in proof albums to the couple.  Historically photographers who took that tack would always be chasing down their clients to return the proof album and when they did, the final selection was always the minimum order.   Why?  Because the client is making their buying decision when the "thrill is gone" - just like B.B. King said in his great blues tune.

Speedometer - Fired Up! Think about the client excitement, the upbeat emotions in your studio, and sales potential when the client is visiting your studio knowing they have selected way too many images to fit in their album.  Your sales can only go up. 

Don't get me wrong.  If a client is super excited about your images AND you are there to share with them what you saw in your mind's eye and felt in your heart as you photographed their wedding celebration, you are truly doing your client a service in helping them tell the best story they can with their images you worked so hard to create.

If I wasn't that excited about what I had to show and share with my client, I probably wouldn't go to all that trouble for this very important meeting.  Heck, they can just select them on-line, or I'll just give them the disc - what do I care? 

I think that pretty much sums it up - if you love what you do, you WANT to share your excitement with your client.  I suspect I'll get a few comments on that point but I feel sternly enough to re-iterate it plainly here at DPT.  Too many folks make too many excuses about their lack of sales instead of making the necessary effort to work with their clients to help make the sale. I’ll get off my box, now.

It's Showtime
Today it's "Show time." All of us put a lot of our energy and effort into creating beautiful wedding images for our clients. But, unfortunately making the sale is where many photographers begin to stumble, fumble, and fall before they cross the finish line. It's sad that so many photographers are only order takers instead of order makers.

A New Way To Present Your Images

In today's post I want you consider a brand-new way of presenting your images to your clients. This brand-new way does not include the Internet, proof books, or images on a disc - it's projection! This is the single most powerful way to present your images to your clients when engaged in a personal meeting with them in your studio.

I have been projecting my images for my wedding and portrait clients since 1980. From that point forward, I watched my sales triple over what they had previously been. Why is this? It's because now when the clients see their photography in a slide show with music, they are thrilled with what you've done for them. And that thrill is partially because of the methodology and intimacy of the presentation.

Why It's Important To Your Sales

Years ago I photographed the wedding of a funeral director's daughter. The bride and groom along with parents came over to the studio to see the images. After the presentation the dad made the remark, "Wow, if I did that kind of presentation in my business, they would arrest me!" We all had a good "giggle" with his remarks. But they echo what so many of my clients have said over the years, "What a great way to see our wedding pictures!" Folks, the rest is history - I've been projecting my images with music in a slideshow presentation ever since.

When your clients connect emotionally with what you've done for them, you can always expect the sales to increase. There is nothing wrong with that. We are creating a exciting, wonderful, impacting set of memories for them. Why should these wonderful memories be devoid of any emotional connect? Heck, don't we make buying decisions based on our emotion connect with the product at hand - think new camera, iPhone, iPad, etc?

How To Set It Up

So, how do you set your studio up as a projection studio? This is really quite simple. The cost of flat-screen TVs have substantially decreased over the last several years. A quick check at B&H shows most 32 inch LCD sets under $500. [link]

Many of these TVs even include computer inputs which, basically makes him a very large monitor upon which to review the images you create for your clients. This is probably the least expensive way to proceed.

My favorite way to project my images is with the use of a data projector. This video which I’ve posted here at DPT a few years ago gives a good overview of my studio set up.

The first projector I purchased in 1999 was $6000! You can now find reasonably priced projectors that will do the job easily for around $600 [link]. As a matter of fact, just yesterday I received an e-mail from Dell promoting their brand-new pocket-size projector for only $332 [link].

Folks, the technology is right there in front of us. It's technology that can excite our clients with what we were excited about capturing for them; technology which can substantially enhance the client's studio experience and our sales.

Folks, the bottom line is this; Too many photographers are in this profession for "beer money" - a few extra bucks made on the side. I think it's time we got serious about what we are all excited about producing. I, like so many other working studios, have to make a house payment, rent payment, car payment, and cover all my other expenses. It's time to get serious about how we sell our photography if we want to be successful in this business.

Are you in this business for fun or for profit? I hope it's both. It is, I hope to still see you reading this blog next year.  Anyway, moving on…

Image Review - One More Time

OK, you’ve seen the set-up above, now let’s get started with the sale.  Even though we marked the client favorites with two stars, I’m still going to move through ALL the images one more time, albeit very quickly.  I assure the client that the review is really to catch anything they may have missed in their on-line review and that the process will move quickly. 

Remember, I’m projecting their images into a 9 foot wide ceiling mounted projection screen so they can REALLY see every detail. Invariably they will see and select about 20 additional images that were somehow overlooked on line.

Lightroom Grab

The point of this image review is to cull the favorite images down to a manageable number for the album.  So, even though we've added several images, several others have bit the dust in this part of the selection process.

This time the client favorites are given a 3 - Star rating.  After this run through of the images, we sort to the 3 - Star images and move through the images again.  This goes very quickly and is more of a final image review for the client. 

At his point we are also noting images for parents and friends too.  Occasionally the client will have a retouching request that we note separately. Going through the images only heightens the clients excitement.  Why?  Because we are getting to the "cream of the crop", the absolute favs, the ones they definitely want in their album! 

The reality at his point is the fact that they have typically selected about 250-280 images.  They may have selected one of our 75 or 100 image collections and now are saying they love easily twice as many as originally booked for.  For the record, I let my clients know at the original booking that this will happen so when it does, it's no big surprise.

We have special pricing on the extra photographs too - basically it's 50% off our regular print prices. The sales challenge now is to make the purchase of the extra image they love work into their budget.  Next week I’ll walk you through how we ask for the sale and collect the deposits.

Man, this series seems to going on forever.  I sure hope a few of our DPT readers are getting something out of this ;~)


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  I’ll see everybody next week. And an exciting week it’s going to be.  We head out for Florida Monday morning visiting my buddy, Denis Reggie, and eventually landing in Sarasota, Fl for LaDawn’s son’s wedding next week end.  It will be busy times, but I should still be around – see ya’ then.

Adios, David


  1. David, I'd definitely be interest in an on-location experience/workshop like this, if I lived in that area. (Which sadly I do not.)

    I hope this works out for you so that you can expand it into central Illinois!

  2. David,

    I love the idea of projecting the images, but right now we are an "on location" only business. It fits our business right now and we don't want to take on the overhead until we're ready.

    Since we don't have a studio to present in, what would you recommend as an alternative for these kind of presentation?