Previously published in Success Magazine by H&H Color Lab, 2020
Want to make more money with your post-wedding sales? Think it can’t be done? Well, you are wrong. There are lots of studios and photographers making a killing in the wedding business, and if you want to be one of them, I have five tips that can help you thread the needle on these elusive sales. I’m not saying it’s simple, but I am telling you there is a proven formula that works. Sure, you can add your own little twist to it, but this is what we have been doing for 14 years in our studio, and I can tell you, without a doubt, it works.
Tip 1 // IPS
If you are not already engaged in in-person sales (IPS), you are going to have to bite the bullet. There is just no other way. Once the wedding is over, people move on in life. Getting them to your studio is key to getting the couple to focus on the task at hand. If you are afraid of IPS and/or have never done it, I promise you, it’s not hard. Photographers make it hard.
The goal is obviously to make it easy for your clients to say “yes” and to make it easy for them to spend money. The first step is to mentally accept you are going to engage in IPS. The second step is choosing a tool that will help streamline your sales process. For us, we use a single tool, N-Vu. N-Vu.com is a powerful IPS tool that offers a Swiss Army knife of options. In a single place you have galleries, mobile apps, invoicing, IPS tools and more. I don’t know about you, but I like a simple and streamlined process. Time is money, and in this case—one tool, one price. I like the way that sounds. #winning.
Now, the next objection you might have is that you don’t have a studio space. Come on. We are here to make money—where there is a will, there is a way. Meet at your client’s house. Rent a part-time space. If you are serious about making more money, IPS is the only path. I promise you. Whatever you are making now, you will make more with IPS. And you will make more than enough to pay for a studio or rental space.
Tip 2 // Pop the Champagne
When our clients arrive for their IPS session, the first thing we do is pop open a bottle of champagne. Remember, this is the first time they are seeing their pictures. It’s a momentous occasion. Act like it.
At this point, it is all about the experience. You have to create that experience. This is the perfect way to do it.
Look, it’s been proven time and time again that people who are enjoying the experience are more likely to spend money with you. So, if your idea of an experience is just having them show up and watching a 20-minute slideshow, then it’s no wonder your sales sessions aren’t yielding the results you want them to.
Our typical post-wedding sales sessions last about 1.5 to 2 hours. We will open wine, champagne, and beer and just enjoy their images. Your goal should be to make this reveal as exciting and as memorable as possible.
Tip 3 // Wow them with a Signature Edit
What is a Signature Edit, you ask? This is that single image you captured from their day that just screams “Print me!” to the client. Now, it’s not just an image. A Signature Edit is more of a moment that encapsulates their day in a Hollywood, cinematic sort of way. As you can see by checking out a few of our Signature shots, these are fully edited and polished images that are meant to be large in the client’s home.
You don’t just declare a “Signature Edit.” These are crafted a certain way to ensure that they are somewhat of a timeless image. We tell our clients that our goal is to create that single image for their home that they will enjoy looking at every day, that they will cherish for generations to come.
How to create one is beyond the scope of this article, but be sure to spend some time on the wedding day and pay attention to all the details. The lighting, the posing, their expressions, all of it matters. The metaphorical icing on the cake? The final edit. If you want them to spend money and put this on their wall, you will need to show them a fully edited and final image. There is no other way. This works 9 out of 10 times, because it helps them envision the final image.
Tip 4 // Show them something big
We have all heard the saying, “You have to show it to sell it.” Well, after 14 years at this, I can tell you that this holds true still to this day. For the first few years of my business, the largest I could sell was a 20×30. No one would buy the 30×40. “It’s too big,” they would say. It just blew my mind how they could not see that a 30×40 would look perfect over their couch.
Guess what? The largest size we had in our studio on display was a 20×30. I thought to myself, there has to be a way to get them to buy the next size up. So, we took one of the walls in our studio and put a sample display up. We had a 30×40 flanked by two 20x30s. And wouldn’t you know it, the first client we showed it to bought it without a single objection. It was a family session, and we showed them three images—a large family portrait for the center, and then a portrait of each of the kids at 20×30.
By showing sample sizes on the wall, even though it wasn’t their kids, they were able to envision what it would look like on the walls of their home. Every lab offers sample sales. Take advantage of it. You will make your money back ten-fold.
Tip 5 // The album is the centerpiece
You must offer your clients albums. There is no easier way to increase your sales. And no, they are not going to design their own albums or buy them online. Have you seen the crap that is online? There is no way this is going to be archival or stand the test of time. So many photographers assume that their clients will not want an album. We find the opposite to be true. If your clients don’t want an album, then you are doing something wrong in the way you are positioning them.
Two things can help you here. First, invest in a good mid-level to high-end album. You have got to show your clients quality. Don’t tell them about it. Show it to them. Let them see and touch it. If you do this, a majority, if not all, of your clients will absolutely want this to display in their homes.
The album is and should be the first family heirloom they have together as a family. You must position it this way. The key is to show them something they will lust after. For us, I will shamelessly plug our own album line. We invested a lot of time and energy in building the perfect album for a photographer to sell their clients. It is stylish, yet timeless, with unparalleled quality for the price. Be sure to check out Salvatore Cincotta Albums by H&H. You will see why our clients all lust after these.
The second key to selling more albums is designing albums in a way that are simple and clean. Don’t clutter every page with 20 photos. All our sample albums are designed in a clean way, only including about two images per page. So, our clients see a very modern layout and know what to expect when it comes to the final album. This simple process ensures that our clients add additional pages to their albums after the wedding.
Consider this: We show our clients about 1,000–1,200 final images after the wedding. A typical 30-page album only hold about 60–75 images with a clean design. It is an easy upsell to get your clients to see the value in adding additional pages to their albums or to add additional volumes to their collection.
That’s all for now. I truly hope this helps you and inspires you to make changes in your post-wedding sales process and, of course, helps you to make more money at the same time.
About the Author: Sal Cincotta
Sal Cincotta is an international award-winning photographer, educator, author, Canon Explorer Of Light and the publisher of Shutter Magazine. Sal’s success is directly tied to the education he received in business school. He graduated from Binghamton University, a Top 20 business school, and has worked for Fortune 50 companies like Procter & Gamble and Microsoft. After spending 10 years in corporate America, Sal left to pursue a career in photography and has never looked back.