Music can supercharge your brand. It can be a powerful marketing tool for your business, and it can actually make (or break) a sale based on the way you use it. So we tracked down the authority on music in the photography world, Roy Ashen, an award-winning guitarist & songwriter, a Telly-winning film producer, and the CEO of Triple Scoop Music.
After 20 years performing in bands and working with Grammy & Emmy winners from around the world, Roy cofounded Triple Scoop Music to make it easy for photographers and filmmakers to license great music for any project. We asked Roy to share his top tips for using music in online galleries to easily increase sales.
Why is music important in the photography business world?
“Music,” Roy explains, “can enhance the sales of your printed products. The more your clients see you as a great storyteller, the more they’ll trust you with their business. The story is there in your images; the question is, how do you share that story in the most compelling way? If you present the best version of the story, the next step (sales) comes easily.”
Roy explained that this is the case with ALL businesses; what would your favorite movie be without that perfectly-crafted soundtrack? “Stores and restaurants use music to shape the way that you feel while you’re shopping,” he adds. “Music has the power to shape the mood and energy of the listener in a big way. This leads to more enjoyment and more sales.”
How can photographers use music to increase their sales?
The most important thing to do to support sales is to give the gallery viewer an emotional connection to the images on-screen. When clients feel emotional, they think with their hearts. “Music can radically change what people perceive and feel about photos. Carefully-chosen music can actually make you feel emotion about a simple piece of technology!” Roy says. “Hit mute on an Apple ad. You’ll feel a piece of the story evaporate.”
Clients basing their print and product selections on emotion means they aren’t hyper-focused on price, quantity, or need. Instead, they’re able to truly see what it is they love about a particular image or why a specific shot is meaningful to them, and this translates into sales for you. “When people feel that emotion of the story, they’re more likely to make larger purchases,” Roy explains.
Using music with ShootProof
Roy notes that as ShootProof users, photographers have access to music that’s been handpicked to enhance their images through specially curated collections. “There are ‘best of’ lists of music already laid out in ShootProof based on the type of photography you shoot.” But Roy mentions that photographers should remember that while there are so many amazing pieces of music out there, but just because a particular song is good for one gallery doesn’t mean it’s the right song for every gallery. “It’s important to experiment to see how music changes the feel of the entire experience.”
As an example, we’ve set up three galleries here for you to view. One has no music, one has music that is emotionally matched with the story of the family in the images, and the other has music that is — well, let’s just say it’s completely (hilariously) mismatched— to illustrate what can happen when music is not matched to the story. “It’s important to experiment to see how music changes the feel of the entire experience,” Roy advises. “For this particular photo session, the family wanted a simple, serene, peaceful beach photo shoot. They love summer and the relaxation it brings, and their family is low-key and super sweet. We selected a soundtrack that matched the story of the day and underscores the love the parents have for their kids.”
How do you suggest photographers start with selecting songs for their galleries?
“If you’re presenting images in silence, you’re missing an entire way to engage your clients,” Roy says. “So take one minute to write down a sentence that explains the story of a particular gallery. This helps guide the presentation and helps you choose the music.”
For example, you might write, This is a portrait session for the Smith Family and they are hilarious! They joked around the entire time and were full of energy. Their children are loud and carefree and the parents were full of laughter. Selecting songs for the Smith family’s gallery is suddenly much easier: songs might be lighter tunes and happy-go-lucky, as opposed to serious ballads or instrumentals. “If you don’t know what kind of emotion you’re trying to share,” Roy explains, “you can’t match the music correctly. Stephen Spielberg doesn’t just stick his favorite song into his next movie. He uses the STORY as a guide when making music choices.”
What are the top places a photographer can use music to boost sales?
1. In your own portfolio. “If I want to hire you as a photographer and you send me some standard link, that’s great, but it doesn’t tell me anything about you. It doesn’t tell me how working with you feels or how awesome it is to have you as my photographer.” Roy suggests this activity to help you focus on selecting the perfect musical accompaniment to your portfolio images: “Write down three words that describe the emotional spirit of who you are as an artist. Then, pick music that matches it.”
2. In your client galleries. “When you put your client galleries together, think of who’s viewing it,” Roy states. “Choose music that speaks directly to that viewer.”
3. At in-person sales sessions. “Show your clients the slideshow in ShootProof, and attach the appropriate playlists.” Roy also suggests creating several different playlists for the different types of clients you have (wedding, family, newborns, sports, etc.).
So, always remember: Use music to your advantage! It’s a powerful tool that can be used to create a connection between your clients and their galleries, which in turn boosts sales and betters your business.
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