Thursday, August 14, 2008

Are You Just Taking Pictures Or Are You Shooting For Profits? Here Are 7 Ways To Shoot For Profits

Good Morning Everybody,
We are off and running with a "ton" of info again today - I hope you enjoy it.

After listening to Kent and Sarah Smith's podcast yesterday, it struck me that they are not just photographers when shooting their sessions, they are first and foremost, business people. It not just about getting the shot. It's more importantly about getting the shot for something. That something may be a special B&W series, a beautiful multi-image frame presentation, a striking water color portrait, the large wall portrait. Folks, most of us are going about it all wrong. If we are running a studio we need to burn into our brains that it is not about the pictures, it's about the business's success. If we think it's only about the pictures, then we probably won't be around in a few years.

Let's get back to the opening question - Are you shooting for pictures or shooting for profits? When I heard Kent and Sarah say that they shoot images for their products, it was like a light going on. Of course, why do so many photographers go out on their assignment and shoot their hearts and souls out, get good images, and spin the wheel of misfortune hoping the client selects enough of their images so they (the photographer) will perhaps make enough money to pay the rent that's due next month?

Think of the possibilities if you change your thinking when shooting your next job. To see what I'm talking about, hit the "Read More..." link below for the rest of the story!

First determine what new, cool products you can offer your clients - multi-image frames, image boxes, water color prints, black and white, sepia, multi-image collages etc. Then on your next shooting assignment create the images that will accommodate your new products. No longer are you just trying to get one good image of that senior - now you are shooting for that 3-image frame. How many times can we do that at our next shoot? I'll tell you, the possibilities are endless.

Here are seven quick examples of different products you can add to your product line and then go out and shoot to fulfill these new products.
1. A multi image frame - shoot for selling 3-5 images in a frame instead of just one.
2. The wall portrait - back up, get the whole scene in. Make the composition exciting. Use the whole location, the park, the ocean to create a dramatically beautiful image that would look beautiful hanging over the client's fireplace.
3. The Image Box or Treasure Box - for a family portrait, this might include several different combinations of the family loving, hugging, playing with each other that catches the spontaneity of their relationships.
4. Did they like too many images from the shoot because you were so good at getting a "ton" of variety and feelings in your images? Then a portrait album is the logical choice in which to present those images.
5. Shoot part of your series for B&W only. Some poses with a more dramatic lighting look great in B&W. The same is true for some images with a very soft low contrast lighting. Be sure to make some images in both styles, shooting of course for the B&W presentation of those images.
6. Painterly images - I just photographed a family yesterday where the beautiful little three year old daughter would not stop clinging to her mother. I went in close and got a beautiful image of innocence captured on the little girl's face. I think it will make a wonderful stylized portrait and plan to present it that way to my clients when they come in for the image review.
7.High Fashion images - yes, just like the ones seen in the ads in all the trendy, fashion forward and classy magazines. Kent and Sarah have their Porcelain Series which is a very stylized shoot of their clients featuring that fashion style in the finished result.

Think variety. As I've said, it behoves each and every one of us to constantly work to develop new and creative products that we can then shoot for and present to our clients. The result will generate an excited, involved client, your own enhanced motivation, and a substantial increase in your profits!

ps: All photos curtesy of Kent Smith Photography


  1. Hi David.
    That was a great post. I am a Photographer in Fort Lauderdale - Miami - Florida, and sometime I feel that I have so many good shots of my clients, but I still struggle selling different products to them.
    Thanks fro this great post.
    Paulo Jordao

  2. Nice post David, and good tips. My concern is getting so concerned about just shooing for profit that we ultimately lose creativity. I suppose the key if to find a way to use our style in a way that is irresistible to clients, and hence profitable.


  3. Hi Gavin,
    On the other side of the coin, it may enhance creativity because you know how good the product can look with just the right image(s).

  4. Happy Birthday David, you were quick on pull down the post, but some of us saw it.

  5. David,

    You're always making me money, thanks!
    Anyway, I have found that when ever I make up a product and show it when the customer views the "proofs" that I sell that product. Sometimes it's just a small image with the proofs or if I'm sure of it I'll print the canvas and frame it. They have always left with the product. I think it is that they can't envision what we can do for them. show them and they will give you their money! It's Cool!