In-Person Sales: How To Profit BIG When Shoot and Share Isn’t Working

The Shoot and Share method may be simple, but is it limiting your profits? Photographer Alison Winterroth reveals her successful transition from Shoot and Share to In-Person Sales. And she DIDN’T have to become a hardcore salesperson to do it!


Photographers – like most artists – hate selling.

“I just want to make beautiful pictures!” you’ll hear us say. It’s the business side of our businesses that overwhelms us, so we neglect the very practices that could help us thrive.

But just like learning Lightroom or figuring out your flash, even the most intimidating methods can be learned. And, with practice, what once seemed scary soon becomes second nature.

In-Person Sales: How To Profit BIG When Shoot and Share Isn't Working
Photo by ALISON WINTERROTH

If you’re ready to:

  • stop limiting your profits, and
  • be a true advocate for your clients’ photo session success

…you’ll love revolutionizing your business with In-Person Sales!

…now keep reading and learn step-by-step why and how In-Person Sales will work for you!


Shoot and Share vs In-Person Sales

Let’s start by defining the differences between the two methods.

Shoot and Share

With the Shoot and Share approach, you charge your client one flat rate to shoot the photographs, then share the digital files with them at no additional cost.

Pros: You book the shoot, complete the session, and upload the gallery of images. You’re done! You receive a larger up-front fee for your services, and aren’t obligated to conduct any post-shoot selling.

Cons: Shoot and Share clients are less likely to purchase prints and products from you, opting to make their own prints through consumer-friendly labs – foregoing products altogether. Client-created products are often sub-par, and may not showcase your work in its best light. (Drugstore prints, anyone?)

In-Person Sales: How To Profit BIG When Shoot and Share Isn't Working
Photo by ALISON WINTERROTH | Prints by MILLERS LAB

In-Person Sales

With the In-Person Sales approach, you charge a low up-front session fee, but don’t include any products. Your client must make additional purchases after their session if they wish to receive any digital files, prints, albums, etc.

Pros: Your clients’ up-front costs are lower, reducing the barrier to booking. Many clients are also reassured knowing they’ll only spend more money if they love their images. (Of course they will!) And when you personally guide your clients through viewing and ordering their photographs, you’ll enjoy sales that greatly exceed the Shoot and Share photographer’s average per-session yield.

Cons: In-Person Sales requires more client interaction, and at least a small up-front investment in tools and/or sample products. We’re convinced that the return on your investment is well-worth it!


In-Person Sales: How To Profit BIG When Shoot and Share Isn't Working
Photo by ALISON WINTERROTH 


In-Person Sales: “4x the profits!”

Let’s use some nice, round numbers, and say that right now you’re charging a $500 flat rate for a one-hour Shoot and Share portrait session – all high-resolution digital files included.

If you transition to an In-Person Sales method, you’ll change your pricing structure. Now you charge a $150 session fee that covers only the shoot itself – no prints or products.

That probably feels really scary, right? What if you do the shoot, and your client never orders a thing?

“Yes: a client could purchase nothing. Or only a single print. ‘Buy what you love,’ I tell my clients. ‘I’m going to do my best to make you love ALL your photographs!’ And most of the time, they do!” – ALISON WINTERROTH

In-Person Sales: How To Profit BIG When Shoot and Share Isn't Working
Photo by ALISON WINTERROTH

There is a level of risk with In-Person Sales. But that risk also opens the door to huge rewards! The $500 Shoot and Share client will only ever spend $500. But the In-Person Sales client has the potential to invest much, much more!

“You’re GOING to have those low sales. But then you’ll also have HUGE sales – sales so big they make your knees shake. When you’re Shoot and Share, you can’t grow. You’ve closed the door on any additional money. With In-Person Sales, there’s less of a safety net, but the gains are so much greater. And your clients are so much happier! Your clients come to you because they want photos – and not just on a flash drive. They want them printed!” – ALISON WINTERROTH

Need proof? Within one year of transitioning from Shoot and Share to In-Person Sales, Alison’s sales average had nearly quadrupled.


In-Person Sales: How To Profit BIG When Shoot and Share Isn't Working
Photo by ALISON WINTERROTH


“But I don’t want to be a pushy salesperson!”

You understand why and how In-Person Sales works. But you’re still nervous. Not about the end result, but about the process itself.

After all, you’re an artist, not a salesperson! You like to connect with your clients, not convince them to spend money with you!

The good news? In-Person Sales isn’t really about sales at all. It’s about the very thing you love. It’s about connection.


In-Person Sales: Connection & Connecting the Dots

Your clients aren’t photographers. Nor are they professional photo clients! They’re just people – moms and dads, couples in love, new parents, ambitious professionals.

They don’t “do photography” day in and day out like you do. So when you email them an online gallery link and say “GO!” how do you think they feel?

They probably smile and shed a few happy tears and share their pictures with their friends… then they feel really, really confused about what’s next.

In-Person Sales: How To Profit BIG When Shoot and Share Isn't Working
Photo by ALISON WINTERROTH | Products by MILLERS LAB

What should they buy? Does an album make sense? What size canvas should hang above their sofa?

That’s where you come in – not to sell, but to guide. You know your photographs and products like the back of your hand, and can determine what makes an album perfect for one client, and a wall gallery ideal for another.

As the professional, you are equipped to take care of your client’s photography needs like no one else. Don’t abandon them now!


Step By Step: Doing In-Person Sales Right

There’s more than one way to “do” In-Person Sales. As you get comfortable with the method, you’ll find tweaks and modifications that make the method your own!

Alison uses a “hybrid” approach, supporting her In-Person Sales sessions through ShootProof, with designs built through Fundy Software, and products printed by her favorite lab, Millers.

In-Person Sales: How To Profit BIG When Shoot and Share Isn't Working
Photo by ALISON WINTERROTH

“I call my In-Person Sales session a Viewing and Ordering Session. I never say ‘in-person sales’ to my client, because I’m not trying to sell them something. I’m just providing a service: helping them decide what THEY want.” – ALISON WINTERROTH

Alison prepares for a Viewing and Ordering Session by uploading images to a private ShootProof gallery she will reveal to her clients at the Session. Each client’s ShootProof gallery contains three albums:

  • #1 Album: All Photos
  • #2 Album: Album/Book Predesign
  • #3 Album: Wall Galleries Predesigns

In-Person Sales: How To Profit BIG When Shoot and Share Isn't Working
Photo by ALISON WINTERROTH

Step 1.) The Gallery

When Alison’s client arrive at her studio, she accesses her client’s ShootProof gallery using the client’s email address. (This allows her clients to receive a direct email copy of their order once it’s placed!)

Vendor Partner: ShootProof


Step 2.) The Slideshow

She then connects her laptop to her television, and plays a slideshow of the gallery. This is her clients’ first time seeing their photographs!


Pro Tip: Alison mirrors her laptop on her TV using Google Chromecast!


Step 3.) The Printed Reveal

Alison doesn’t stop with digital! She prints all of her sessions as a series of Miller’s Lab 8×10 deep matte prints matted to 11×14, and presents the prints to her clients.

“People love going home with their prints! They go home that day with something to show from their Viewing and Ordering Session!” – Alison Winterroth

Vendor Partner: Miller’s Lab

In-Person Sales: How To Profit BIG When Shoot and Share Isn't Working
Photo by ALISON WINTERROTH | Canvas by MILLERS LAB

Step 4.) The PreDesign

Now that her clients have seen their images, Alison opens their ShootProof gallery and reveals their Wall Gallery and Album predesigns.

“I use Fundy for my Wall Gallery and Album predesigns. Fundy makes it so simple and quick! I upload the designs into my clients’ ShootProof gallery and place their orders directly from there!” – ALISON WINTERROTH

Vendor Partner: Fundy Software


Step 5.) The Guided Order

“I ask, ‘What would you like to do with your images?’ I look at this as helping my clients. They’re busy people, with a lot going on. They don’t want to sit in front of a computer contemplating, ‘Maybe this image would look good here, or maybe this image would look better there…’ My clients want me to take care of it; I’m the expert!” – ALISON WINTERROTH

With numerous product samples in Alison’s studio, her clients can touch and feel and fall in love with albums, canvases, prints, and more!

In-Person Sales: How To Profit BIG When Shoot and Share Isn't Working
Photo by ALISON WINTERROTH | Album by MILLERS LAB

Albums and Wall Galleries

If Alison’s client loves a particular album style or wall gallery, she simply clicks “Buy” on the predesign in their ShootProof shopping cart! She can make any requested changes to the design in Fundy before sending the final layout to Millers for printing and binding.

Prints

Clients’ print orders are added quickly and easily to their ShootProof cart!


Step 6.) The Checkout

When the order is complete, Alison checks out through the ShootProof shopping cart. Her clients enter their contact and payment information, submit their order, and receive email confirmation within minutes!

If Alison’s clients purchase their Print Reveal images, she wraps them up, and her clients take matted prints home with them that same day!

“The average Viewing and Ordering Session only lasts 30 minutes to one hour!” – ALISON WINTERROTH


In-Person Sales: How To Profit BIG When Shoot and Share Isn't Working
Photo by ALISON WINTERROTH 


“But what if I don’t have a studio?”

Maybe you dream of having your own studio; or maybe you prefer the flexibility of a studio-free life. Whatever your situation, there’s an In-Person Sales solution that’s right for you!

Meet In Your Clients’ Home

If your clients’ home is within a comfortable distance of your own location, conduct their Viewing and Ordering session there!

Pros: Your clients are most comfortable in their own environment. Bonus: access to your clients’ space enables you to make custom recommendations for wall galleries, coffee table books, large canvases, and other home decor products!

Cons: Your clients may be too comfortable in their own home! Distractions from pets, kids, or a ringing doorbell or phone, are more likely to draw your clients’ attention when they’re in a familiar environment.


Pro Tip: Schedule your clients’ Viewing and Ordering Session with both a start and end time. Request that they clear their schedule from all distractions during that time frame, and command their full attention during this time. Arriving with a well-prepared “script” can help you stay on track!


In-Person Sales: How To Profit BIG When Shoot and Share Isn't Working
Photo by ALISON WINTERROTH



Meet In A Cafe or Workspace

Many public locations are well-suited for Viewing and Ordering Sessions!

  • A clean, quiet coffee shop
  • The bar or cafe of a luxury hotel
  • An as-needed, shared-use workspace, such as WeWork.com

Pros: Non-studio, non-home environment are neutral territory! You and your clients can both relax, order a coffee or a cocktail, and enjoy the photo experience without the pressures of studio or home demands. Additionally, an outside venue may offer more luxurious surroundings that you might have access to otherwise!

Cons: Anywhere food is served, look out for crumbs or sticky spots that could damage your products or laptop! And remember: if you’re not in a studio, your clients will be limited to viewing their photos on your shared laptop.


Pro Tip: Purchase a tablet that can mirror your laptop’s screen via Bluetooth. This way your clients can comfortably view their photographs on one screen, while you navigate their gallery on another.


In-Person Sales: How To Profit BIG When Shoot and Share Isn't Working
Photo by ALISON WINTERROTH

Host An Online Viewing and Ordering Session

Use a screenshare program such as Join.me or Skype, and walk your clients through their Viewing and Ordering Session online!

Pros: You and your clients can both be in the comfort of your own homes for this Viewing and Ordering Session – or anywhere in the world, for that matter (as long as there’s an internet connection)!

Cons: Your clients won’t be able to touch the products, or enjoy a Printed Reveal (should you choose to implement Alison’s method). Unreliable internet can also throw a kink into your In Person Sales plans.


Pro Tip: If your clients are completely unavailable for any sort of Viewing and Ordering Session, simply send them their ShootProof gallery as a last resort. However, guided sessions are always more fulfilling for your clients.


In-Person Sales: How To Profit BIG When Shoot and Share Isn't Working
Photo by ALISON WINTERROTH


It’s Time: Make the Transition from Shoot and Share To In-Person Sales

Before switching to an In-Person Sales model, all of Alison’s Shoot and Share packages included the digital files.

She worried that her longtime, repeat clients would be put-off if she suddenly implemented a new approach that didn’t include all the digital files. So she transitioned slowly.

During her first year conducting Viewing and Ordering Sessions, Alison’s packages did change – but they still included the digital files! This allowed her clients to grow accustomed to the new viewing and ordering method without suddenly losing access to the options they’d grown to expect.

In-Person Sales: How To Profit BIG When Shoot and Share Isn't Working
Photo by ALISON WINTERROTH

Alison’s Shoot and Share Package

One higher flat-rate price included all photography and all digital files.

Sales Average: The occasional product order made Alison’s Shoot and Share average about $200 more than her base price.


Alison’s Transition Package

A lower session fee paid only for the session itself. Packages began at a comfortable mid-range price point, and ALL packages included ALL the digital files. It didn’t matter if her clients purchased the smallest package or the largest.

This guaranteed that Alison would always make at least her Shoot and Share average, and her clients would still receive the digital files they’d come to expect.

Sales Average: 3x her Shoot and Share Averagemore than Alison ever anticipated!


NOW: Alison’s In-Person Sales Package

A low session fee covers only the session itself. Alison’s clients are never obligated to purchase prints or products, but they always do! Every print is delivered with its accompanying digital file. Larger product packages come with more digital files. And “digitals only” packages are always an option.

Sales Average: 4x her Shoot and Share Average – Alison’s legacy clients are fully integrated into her new In-Person Sales approach. The results speak for themselves!


In-Person Sales: How To Profit BIG When Shoot and Share Isn't Working
Photo by ALISON WINTERROTH

When Alison fully transitioned to her In-Person Sales package structure, she did away with the automatic inclusion of all digital files (though she does still make them available for purchase or as part of certain packages).

Alison’s new perks are even better: stellar customer service and a highly personalized experience, from her clients’ first email to the final delivery of their beautiful prints and products!

The steady increase in Alison’s bookings and profits is proof positive that her approach is working – not just for her, but for her well-loved clients!


“I’m ready! What’s next?”

You’re ready to book your first In-Person Sales client! Here’s where to start:

  • Craft your new pricing. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect! You can tweak it as you discover work works best for you and your clients.
  • Build your new packages. Don’t feel the need to offer everything. Offer a handful of products you truly believe in! Too many options may overwhelm your clients – and you!

“I provide a digital price sheet when a client inquires. Then, when they arrive for their session, I also give them a hard copy of my pricing, and invite them to see sample prints and products first-hand.” – ALISON WINTERROTH

In-Person Sales: How To Profit BIG When Shoot and Share Isn't Working
Photo by ALISON WINTERROTH

  • Purchase sample products to enhance your clients ordering experience. If you’ll be meeting your clients on location, choose small, easy-to-transport samples.
  • Your clients are busy – just like you! Book your clients’ Viewing and Ordering Session on their session day so it can’t be overlooked. (Allow yourself ample time to complete their post-production!)
  • Practice your In-Person Sales conversations, maybe even enlisting a friend to sit in as a practice client. Get comfortable with the full process, from sitting down with your clients, to opening the slideshow, to beginning the ordering process.
  • JUST DO IT!


In-Person Sales: How To Profit BIG When Shoot and Share Isn't WorkingPhoto by ALISON WINTERROTH

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