Thursday, January 12, 2012

Make BIG Money Being A Shoot and Burn Photographer – Part 2

Good Afternoon Everybody,

I can’t believe that as I write today’s post, we are packing again. Early tomorrow we head to New Orleans for the big Imaging USA Convention.  It will be great to catch up with friends we haven’t seen in a long time, explore the trade show for the latest, greatest new software and photography equipment, listen to a few new speaker presentations and taste that amazing Cajun cuisine once again – yum!

We head out bright and early tomorrow morning so let’s get right to today’s post.  Here we go…

Make BIG Money Being A Shoot and Burn Photographer – Part 2

Shoot and Burn PhotographyLast week I started a conversation about how the evolution of wedding photography has turned into a “Shoot and Burn” world [link].  Wedding sales are down, people are giving their work away, and the quality of wedding photography has dropped dramatically in the last 6-7 years.

I also mentioned that we “main street” photographers needed a Reality Check and that the only way to buck the trend was to join the masses of “shoot and Burn” photographers.  Once again, here is the link to last week’s post.

In that post I also pointed up some good suggestions on how to join the “Shoot and Burn” crowd but still be profitable in the process.  I’d like to take the topic of profitability a bit further today.

Last week, I suggested that if you wanted to be a “Shoot and Burn” photographer, the best way to increase those profits was to charge separately for all the additional services that go into delivering a quality collection of images to the client.  But how can we raise the profitability stakes even higher?

Walking Away From The Sale Is No Way To Do Business!

Money On TableLast week I stressed how “Shoot and Burn” photographers leave way too much money on the table. They just never even consider an upsell.  For most, it’s about shooting the wedding, burning the images on a DVD – images that have received little or no post-production processing or enhancement, and delivering a mostly substandard product to the client.   

I have to admit, I am on my soap box again, but it surprises me, no it actually saddens me that so many of the new breed of wedding photographers don’t take enough pride in their work and their products to deliver the best they can to their clients.

Let’s let that one lay for a bit and let’s change gears to the “Shoot and Burn” photographer that does care about their photography and the final collection of images they deliver to their clients. I hope that includes everybody reading this post today. 

I’m going to direct today’s post to all “Shoot and Burn” photographers but ALL the ideas and suggestions I put out there today will work for ALL wedding photographers.

Before A Client Buys Our Service, We Need To Sell Our Service

Let’s go back to square one.  If you are a “Shoot and Burn” photographer, what process do you go through to book the wedding?  I suspect it’s a quick conversation, perhaps even at Starbucks, a handshake and then on to the wedding several months later. My question is why so little effort is put into the pre-sell?

In my client consultations, I take the time to educate my client on the full range of products and services we offer.  The “Shoot and Burn” photographer needs to do the same.  The problem is that many have no additional products to offer. 

OK folks, this is where the rubber meets the road. And this is true for ALL photographers including “Shoot and Burn” photographers.  If you want your sales and profits to gain traction, it’s time to develop and implement products and services your client WANTS to buy!

Gaining Traction In Sales and Profits

Blog StatisticsWhat are some of the easiest services to offer for any “Shoot and Burn Photographer?”  My gosh, that’s an easy one.  If someone is going to offer their S&B services for the wedding, why not offer your client you S&B services for all the events that lead up to the wedding.

For instance:

  • Bridal showers.
  • Engagement sessions.
  • The Engagement Party.
  • The Rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
  • Sunday brunch after the wedding.

These are all perfect no muss, no fuss S&B opportunities. And, any, some, or all can be bundled together for a greater package sale up front.

Now Put A Little Meat On Those Skinny Sales Bones

Muscle GuyAnd that’s exactly want an S&B photographer is offering their wedding client – a “skin and bones” coverage.  Like I said last week – a lot of money is left on the table by the S&B photographer.

By adding “meat” or products to your S&B services it’s really easy to grow your sales. Let’s say you contract your client for a bundled package that includes the wedding coverage and an engagement session.  Why not take that time you spend on the engagement session and leverage that time into greater sales by offering some cool products your client would love.

For instance:

  • A Sign-up photo board for the wedding.
  • An engagement album the clients can sign at the wedding reception.
  • “Save the date” items.
  • An exciting DVD via, say Animoto, that the client can enjoy on their big screen TV.
  • Additional stylized* 8x10’s and 5x7’s the client can display in their home or office.

* By “stylized” I mean enhancing the image with a special boarder, text or technique that enhances the image making it even more special to the client. Sure, then can easily get additional prints made at the local Wal-Mart, but offering something a bit more artistic may easily get them to one more “YES” and you watch your sales grow.

Now A more “Meaty” Wedding Coverage Too!

I don’t know about you guys and girls shooting but at the end of the day, I know and feel that I’ve worked my butt off to get the best images and thoroughly cover the wedding event. Why is it the S&Ber’s work so hard for so little.

Here is what I would do to enhance my sales as a S&B shooter:

  • I’d be showing sample albums in all price ranges.
  • I’d be stressing the significance and importance of family albums to moms and dads, grandparents, god-parents, bridesmaids, etc.
  • I’d be showing how cool an album layout of images could look on an iPad.
  • I’d be suggesting that an album “slide show” on their Facebook page could be kind of cool.
  • I’d be offering album design services for albums from small to big, inexpensive to top of the line.
  • I’d be offering S&B sessions for the new babies to be coming along around the couple’s anniversary.
  • I’d be giving everyone of my clients their very own set of business cards featuring one of their favorite images with my branding prominently positioned on the front of the card.
  • I’d be offering image enhancement services – good, better, best – as an add-on to my S&B services.  This is an easy “sell” – who wants to be looking bad on Facebook.
  • I’d be offering a “Top 10 Special” a more expansive, image enhancement service on the clients top 10 favorite images. Now they’ll really look good on Facebook and in all the prints they’re going to print up at Wal-Mart.
  • I would constantly be looking for ways for me to continue to interact with my clients down the road in order to continue to build on those sales.

We all work REALLY hard when shooting a wedding – why walk away from all the potential sales opportunities!?

Folks, you know it as well as I do.  This list could go on forever.  You probably have some great ideas too.  Why not post them in the Comments section below for the benefit of all our DPT readers.


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  It’s been quite a week.  I’m really stoked about the new Lightroom 4 BETA release and want to spend more time on that over the weekend.  I’m sure I’ll have more news next week after I’ve had a chance to poke around underLR4’s hood a bit more.

How about I see everyone sometime tomorrow for a short post leading into the weekend.

Hope to see you then,



  1. As much as we "S&B" photographers would love to charge more money, we cant really do. With the competition on CL for business, it has made it even more difficult. People are on a budget- especially if it means cutting corners. With the lack of jobs readily going around- some photographers will take whatever they can get. Unfortunately, I am one of those "S&B" photographers...

    1. With all due respect Jacqueline, you are shooting yourself in the foot. Purchase the Charles Lewis sales system. He will demonstrate that you can get more than you do now without changing a thing about your photographer and how you can get way more that you think is possible.

      Then purchase all David's resources to enhance your photographic ability so that it is worth more too.

      Combine both and it won't belong until you realize that you don't have to be where you are. It is a choice. May as well chose the options that pay you better.

  2. What we do is sort of a hybrid model. Our lowest package is S&B with a modest lab credit that can be applied to prints, albums, canvases etc. The full res images can be purchased for a not so modest price. Which generally pushes people up to the higher priced, larger lab credit packages so they "get their images." We used to be primarily shoot and burn but since doing it this way we've increased our average wedding sale by nearly 60%. I'm sure there's more that can be done and we're working on it. But now we have contact with our clients after the wedding for more than just handing over the discs.

    On a side note...we purchased an Apple TV which has been phenomenal for showing our clients their photos. We hand them the iPad with "Remote" app running and they can flip through their images. Hold up an 8x10 next to your 55 inch lcd tv and they're going to see how small that thing you know their bumping up to a 16x20. It paid for itself our first sale and then some.

  3. Great tips, goes to show that a little bit of detail goes a long way!