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Pricing Your Work Part 1

Lesson 9 from: Master the Business of Photography

Sal Cincotta

Pricing Your Work Part 1

Lesson 9 from: Master the Business of Photography

Sal Cincotta

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Lesson Info

9. Pricing Your Work Part 1


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction


The Agenda


Why You Will Fail


The Changing World We Live In


Biggest Competitors For Weddings and Portraits


Day 2


Defining, Understanding, and Connecting to Your Clients


Day 3


Legal Issues


Day 4


Shoot and Share vs Shoot and Sell


Day 5


Pricing Your Work Part 1


Day 6


Pricing Your Work Part 2


Day 7


The New World of SEO


Day 8


Social Media - Facebook


Day 9


Social Media - Instagram & Pinterest


Day 10


Building a Better Portfolio & Attracting the Right Clients


Day 11


Proactively Developing Vendor Relationships


Day 12


Get More Publicity


Day 13


Booking More Portrait Sessions


Day 14


Booking More Weddings


Day 15


Understanding the Initial Sales Consultation (In-person vs Skype)


Day 16


The Engagement Shoot - Shoot To Make Money.


Day 17


Engagement Pricing and Sales


Day 18


Destination Shoots


Day 19


Working With & Training Second Shooters


Day 20


Growing An Alternate Brand


Day 21


The Wedding Day Timeline


Day 22


Managing The Wedding Day


Day 23


Post Wedding Sales and Pricing


Day 24


Post Production - A Real World Workflow


Day 25


Wedding Albums - Their Importance, New trends & Selling Them


Day 26


Ways Not To Suck At Customer Service


Day 27


Video - The Future of Story Telling for the Photographer


Day 28


Packaging & Final Delivery To Your Clients


Day 29


Lessons Learned - Where I Have Failed Over The Last 8 Years


Day 30


The Journey Of You


The Journey Of You: 30 Day Plan


The Journey Of You: 60 Day Plan


The Journey Of You: 90 Day Plan


Student Examples


Interview with Warren McCormack


Interview with Lenny and Melissa Volturo


General Q&A


Lesson Info

Pricing Your Work Part 1

Let's dig into pricing our work, something every photographer needs help with. I've never met a studio or photographer that isn't struggling with this, no matter where you are in your career, even you struggle with things like when do I raise my prices? How much do I raise my prices by? What do I do when this scenario happens? What I do in that scenario happens, what are we doing? A bride wants to pull out an engagement session and on and on and on, and so would lead me to include this in this in this thirty day was really covering some of the basics, but then really covering some of the scenarios that arise that I think are a little bit more advanced, and so I'm going to rely on you guys because many of you are following our pricing model I'm interested in where you running into problems with it because I think people out there are running into those very same problems, they're almost there, but we're going to cover some things, right? So first, what I want everybody to realise is if ...

you've seen it before on my pricing, maybe it was my wedding bouquet, and maybe you've seen me a, you know, shutter fast or any place like that. Watch don't tune out this is very, very important because no matter who I work with, I find many, many things there doing wrong and they're very subtle. So remember when we started earlier, we were talking about, you know, as you're growing your business, learning that what you're learning absorbing shrinks every time you're hearing someone else speak or education, but you're looking for those nuggets, so what I want to do is as we're teaching this, if you've heard it before, look for those nuggets, because I'm going to find big changes from those little nuggets if you've never heard of before, I get your pen and paper because you're taking a lot of notes, there is a formula to follow. And so, like everything else where there's a formula where there's a recipe if you alter the recipe, the results will vary, and so if you're running into problems with sales or you want to get more out of your sails, averages it's because you're jacking with the formula, okay, so try and get as close to this formula's possible. Now I will tell you what can and cannot be changed with it, but understand that this pricing that I'm pushing out to you, this model has been refined over the last eight years this isn't something I just woke up one day and was like our cool let's do it this is something we've been working on in honing for eight years and still to this day my wife and I are still fine tuning this process and so you've gotta understand that if I'm still fine tuning it that means you got to keep fine tuning and so the single most important thing any photographer can put together pricing without pricing you're screwed if your pricing doesn't support everything else you're doing think about it from a marketing perspective can you be the louis vuitton affect rv but carrie warm our pricing can you be the walmart of photography high volume right that's what I mean by walmart it's high volume forget quality that's not what I'm talking about wal mart is all about high volume selling a lot of things with low profit margin but if you're a true artist you're not pushing out high volume right? Art doesn't come in volume and so you're you're limited resource so is a limited resource people expect to pay more money and so you could never be the walmart of photography but charge ten thousand dollars for a wedding those things don't make sense so pricing in and of itself is so important to your brand toe where you stand as an actual brand if nothing else it's signals to the client you must be good doesn't mean you're actually good, but if I go out and I say I'm twenty thousand dollars per wedding immediately everybody's meanwhile he must be really good they don't did you think your bride's know anything about light? Does anyone here really believe their their their brides no like like quality color spaces print quality pixels really ninety nine percent I'm not talking about that one ofthe bride you found that was a graphic designer or they're a photographer I'm talking about the average bride the average bride has no idea so how are they making decisions? It's definitely not off the quality of our artwork and that's a conversation will continue to have over this over this course it's not about our work to a certain extent a picture's a picture, a picture you and I can sit here and debate leading lines right? Weaken debate lighting ratios all these things right shutter speed the average bride will never understand that they understand price they understand what they like or what they don't like it if they like your work value is going to come from the price you're setting for that work reality man I'm just talking reality and so you gotta ask yourself do you want to be a high end studio, a mid level studio or a low end studio and again low end? I'm not suggesting low quality I'm suggesting high volume and so if you want to do high volume there's nothing wrong with that model we can talk about that I don't know many photographers that are like, yeah, I want to work more, most of them want to work less, we're artists, right? And so you've got to figure out how you get to wherever you want to be there's no right or wrong answer you know, the answer for you, uh doesn't matter if we're talking weddings portrait's family. So as you're watching this segment, it doesn't matter what your niche is this's not on ly applicability two weddings, it is applicant to your entire every niche you're part of. In fact, every niche we participate in follows the same formula, the same framework and so rule number one as you're paying attention to the framework, don't mess with the framework it's a framework rule number two stop jacking with my framework I am the master of this framework. I've worked on this for eight damn years I worked at a company that paid me tens of thousands of dollars to go to sales training every single year. This is a culmination of all that training. What I'm looking to do is give you this formula you walk off to your local market and take the south and kind of formula set up tent there, right? If I could, I would charge you a franchise fee and we would do it that way, okay, so take this plant your flag and be the salvador sin kata in your local market it works, we know it works we've proven it works, so just stop jacking with it human behaviour, human behaviour that's part you gotta understand when you're going through sales training, real sales training, you understand that so much of it is tied to psychology there's a psychology to a sale there's a psychology to why people do things when they have focus groups on almost every major corporation does they have a phone? They'll put out a new product right in front of you and they'll be like, how does that make you feel? They start asking all sorts of random questions, but do you like the color red? Or do you like the color fuchsia? But they start all these things start going into market research to understand how it's going to make you react when they put that on the product shelf, you'll then walk in and there's a science believe it or not, I work for procter and gamble if you don't know who procter and gamble is, I guarantee you you have probably half the product in your home or from procter and gamble head and shoulders got soaps, detergents tied pringles if you knew what pringles were made from, he probably never eat him again how many people eat pringles? Nobody eats pringles, you wantto pringle's total sag way here pringles come from believe it or not procter and gamble makes bounty bounty paper towels right? No, I'm not gonna tell you it's made out of paper paper towels but bounty makes paper towels right? And so when I worked at procter and gamble you learn all about the company to history the company things like that so you make bounty paper towels they have all these machines that spin up the paper towels and make the paper and quote them and all that other stuff, right? Okay have capacity issues meaning they can't make enough paper towels to keep the machines busy one hundred percent of the time, right? And if you're in manufacturing, you understand that if a machine is not being utilized one hundred percent of the time, so for us it would be our cameras it's not being used one hundred percent of the time you're losing money it's that simple so the geniuses over there came up with a product that they could make just like they make paper towels welcome pringles pringles is spun off and printed pretty much on the same line that bounty paper towels are made out of. So if you ever pick up a can of pringles it does not say potato chips because they are not potatoes they say potato crisps because they come out in a gel like formula print it out on that thing stamped shaped moulded everything so hopefully what you guys were making some funny faces you imagine the shit we eat and and how it's all made like that that's it what procter and gamble's new ones nothing new that's pretty interesting, right? So I don't even know what I'm talking about right now so let's come let's come back to this all right, but that's oh that's pretty interesting so when we start thinking about sales and sales models and how companies operate and focus groups okay, these are the kind of things we have to understand now, here's what I've realised as a photography studio, I'm never going to be able to have the millions of dollars to run focus groups and case studies and asked why we just there's not enough money we don't make enough money to do that kind of stuff. And so where I feel like I've been pretty savvy because I've grown my career is by paying attention to what the big companies are doing and what lessons learned can we can we gain from them right that's where you should be changing your mind set on? Like I said earlier on uh, you know, earlier segment I read magazines like business week like um adweek things like that I'm looking to corporate to set the tone on what's working what's not they're spending hundreds of millions of dollars on this, so just piggyback off some of that some of that stuff colors are such an interesting thing when it comes to our logos, right? Just because we like certain colors doesn't mean, you know, what was the one color it's like tiffany, the tiffany blue, right and that's ah that's a really popular color, right? Because brides air resonating with out there using in their weddings, and then all of a sudden you start seeing all these photographer logo's start emulating those colors as cool, right? But then what's gonna happen when that color is outdated and so when you're putting your logo together, you should probably try and go with something that's a little more timeless, or just be ready to update your logo every three to five years and something like that. Bye. And so, with that framework there's certain parts you can alter and they're certain parts don't mess with because if you mess with it, it's going to have a ripple effect it's going to impact the rest of your sales process so everything I do from the consultation, the initial console to the booking to the two opposing to shooting editing to sales is all interconnected, I promise you, and so if you just take one piece of what I'm teaching you and don't apply the rest you're gonna have a hard time with our process I guarantee you it's all interconnected so for example my posing tends to be very dramatic the way I post clients very cinematic maybe that's a better way to describe it that's my style that matches my marketing that's what brings him in for the console that's why they book us so when they get to that sales room they expect to see that cinematic dramatic edit done on that image if they don't I failed them it will hurt the sale taylor is constantly giving me that feedback why're you doing this? It's not selling so eighty percent of every job and I am I am going off on a little bit of attention here every eighty percent of every job is the same for me whether it's a wedding a senior family of baby eighty percent I'm gonna do the same thing every time. Why? When you go to mcdonald's you expect that cheeseburger to taste the same every time where you buy fries do you expect it to taste the same every time? Yes it's a recipe it's a formula you have come to expect that level of consistency, so to have my clients they expect that consistency so you can't jack with the formula that being said, if the twenty percent is where I'll experiment I'm an artist I want to try new things I want try new poses I want to try new lighting but my clients expect that eighty percent so what I do is I say to my clients I go hey, um try this thing might not even work my my completely sucked but let's try something new and almost all the time there yeah let's try that's right? They love the idea of trying and being part of something new so now I get into that sales room if it didn't sell taylor's gonna give me that feedback she's going to close that loop she's going to say hey, why you doing this she's? Not that nice about it right? She'll she'll be like this socks she tells me that all the time and so she's like stop doing it I'm like well, I like it like all the clients don't they're not buying it, so stop doing it! That could be my editing too editing styles have changed just in the last few years. So what was really cool three or four years ago with our high school seniors now is like a standard instagram filter so they don't want to see that anymore because they can do that on the room so now our editing has had to evolve as well so now from a senior session we're typically providing a single beauty at it something that looks more like what's in a high fashion magazine we were never doing that two years ago I wasn't doing that now I have to I'm talking full on beauty at its eyes skin just like it would be edited for a magazine cover we're doing one of those per sr and that tends to be the one that's selling big on their wall it's evolving the trends are evolving we have to keep up with those trends and so from the top pricing is never online these air the tenants of pricing pricing cannot be on your website if it is taken down immediately you can have pricing starting out that's okay, that makes sense you're going to requalify that's the key right? We want to absolutely pre qualify them in that I don't want people coming in my studio with a thousand dollar budget and I'm hitting them with a base package starting at four thousand five thousand dollars that's a waste of everyone's time so pricing starting at can absolutely be on your website makes total sense but you know I don't understand photographers I see you've got prices for eight by tens on your website. Why are you selling it by tens? Is that what you want to sell or you were encouraging them? Are you advocating an eight by ten why's it on your website? Nobody cares you're already you're already predetermining your destiny when you put that pricing on your website you're predetermining what your destiny will be with that client we've got to stop doing it we can't put it we can't put it up there um everybody here anybody here have pricing online that you wanted me to I should start asking questions before I thump you then and then I get different answers like I'm not saying yes to that that's crazy um everything is packaged based so no allah car right get allah card out of your mind set all the card is bad behavior that's the very behavior we're trying to punish no ala carte ala carte encourages them to think about the cost of things again it's human behavior it's psychology how much does something cause okay well if I get this eight by ten that's fifty dollars sixteen by twenty four that's another hundred fifty dollars wherever you're pricing is there adding shit up in their head the more they're adding it up in their head the worse it is for you instead everything should be bundled packaged again this is human behavior everywhere you go there's this concept of packaging cell phone companies doing their package things they bundles bundle things get data plus tax plus messaging forty nine dollars a month right just buy a cellphone by cellphone with two years of service I think about your iphones if you just will buy an iphone you're going to pay five hundred dollars for whatever the price is, but if you bundle it with two years of service contract now the iphones ninety nine dollars, right? This is everywhere. Everywhere we go, this exists so your clients expect this. They're not going to reject the concept of a bundle. That's the part you got to get through your head um, pricing is very, very fluid. It can and should change do not get stuck in your pricing if you get stuck in your pricing and you're doing the same thing for the last two years, you're already going in the wrong direction every two to three months. We're evaluating pricing it's very, very fluid if s so, I can look out two, twenty, fifteen, twenty, fifteen. We have almost twenty weddings on the books right now for twenty fifteen very, very happy my price has been very high. I've kept my price is high, so anybody booking me early out, I'm gonna keep my price high, but as I start getting closer to the year, which we are now right, we're good. We're in november, we're heading into december into january bridal show season, so the question becomes how many weddings so I want to shoot next year. Right if you're up to taylor should be fine stopping in twenty she doesn't want she doesn't want to shoot me I'm a workhorse I want to shoot I love being active I love weddings so I want to hit that forty mark next year so I'm gonna go in the bridal show season being very aggressive with discounts it's fluid my pricing will change and adapt depending on what's going on is that making sense and I'm going to change it enough five hundred dollar increments so don't just move your prices by two hundred dollars by three ninety nine right? Everything should move in blocks so for example, if your packages are making up or thousand dollars two thousand dollars and three thousand dollars let's say and now you want to raise prices raising by five hundred bucks across the board so now it should be fifteen hundred twenty, five hundred thirty five hundred if things are slow and you want to bring in more business, bring him down by five hundred dollars so now it should go five hundred dollars you know thousand dollars, fifteen hundred dollars right or two thousand dollars whatever it is so just keep moving them uh with some level of fluidity is that making sense there should be three packages this is another area I see a ton of mistakes man no, not four packages not two packages not build your own package three packages it's human behavior you put too many choices on the paper you are fighting countless years of research that suggests three is the magic number stop fighting it you don't know better you don't know better than all the market researchers that are out there just stick with three right? You want them to end up in the middle that's the answer that's where you want them you're middle package to be the most compelling package on the table that's where you should want them you should not want them in your base package right? Because money's like water will follow the path of least resistance so don't let him get to that base package. And so as we continue talking about the framework is his concept of pull through been talking about it for years pull through is that thing that's going to get them to spend more money? That thing is different for every client. Okay, I don't know what that thing is you gotta figure figured out what we have found is that there's three things that tend to get clients to move from package to package it's going to be time? How much time am I there on their wedding day? Senior shoots let's talk about seniors, seniors operate the same way sessions are based on time are based on outfits so again this model that I'm telling you it isn't just weddings, it applies to everything you're doing so for weddings, it's, time albums, negatives. Those are the three things that we use as as pull through top down approach when selling psychologic psychology again, right? We want them come the mind it's easier to come down in price, so if your top packages five thousand three thousand one thousand calling it's easier for the mind to come down in price because mentally, they're saying, I'm saving money by coming down than it is for them to go up in price meaning if you put your cheapest package first, one thousand, three thousand five thousand, it becomes very difficult for their mind to go past that it's a psychological block don't ask me why it works is probably the reason that putting something on a piece of paper that's for ninety nine gets people to believe it's not really five hundred dollars, but it works that's reality, we've got to keep cost of goods down in our packages. This is why packages are so important to business is it allows them to hide or bundle highly hi perceived value products. Call it a web gallery digital negatives that's a high perceived value but there's no hard cost their reality is there's no hard cost behind the digital images the delivery mechanism that you're giving them right where's ah, canvas orne acrylic or something like that truly does have ah hard cost that you're delivering on s oh those are the things you got to keep in mind when you're building your packages we want to keep those cost of goods a cz lowest possible and you do that by adding these high margin items everybody with me and so here's what we use web posting is a high margin item hours of coverage hey man at the end of the day doesn't make a difference if you're at a wedding for eight hours of ten hours you there my day shot it's not like I'm leaving after eight hours and I'm going to work another job on a saturday I can only do one wedding and so there's a high perceived value from the client but the reality is you know it doesn't change my life one way or the other so I don't have a true hard cost negatives facebook facebook posting is what all our clients want facebook, facebook, facebook are gonna put him on facebook right two days after their wedding or are they up on facebook so we'll talk about what we're doing there but this's again hi perceived value no hard costs an engagement shoot is there really a hard cost behind a negation shoot it's time again so my packages tend to be heavily based on time less based on hard product that are expensive uh slide shows an emoto sticky albums will talk more about that if you're not using sticky albums you're missing out on a huge opportunity I love that product I'll show you some of what we do with it and so let's dive into the packages because again this is where I see all of you missing the boat the number one piece I see whether you're a newbie or somebody who's been following our model for years is the cost of goods if you charge a thousand dollars for your package what is in that package cannot cost you more than one hundred fifty to two hundred dollars this is the one place I watched studio after studio screw themselves up okay, this is hard man this is your cost of goods what are you paying for an album? What you're paying for prince what are you paying for cds? Anything that's got a hard cause not your time hard cost of goods this has to be accounted for it cannot be more than fifteen to twenty percent so he's going to tell you a couple of things either you need to raise your prices or you need to pull out of that package some things I don't know what you've got to pull out of it but you've got to and so albums for example if you have a thousand dollar package, your album can not cost you more than a hundred bucks that simple but I love is I see a bunch of you just taking a lot of notes frantically and you are all practicing my systems so that makes me happy it means there's some things you're not doing and so these two numbers of the biggest place I see mistakes fifteen twenty percent cost of goods in that package meaning if it's a thousand dollars you can not put more than two hundred dollars of product in there and then the album is the other one the album is your typically you're most expensive item in any package ok, so you can't charge a thousand dollars and offer a signature collection album that's going to cost you eight hundred that the numbers don't work okay, so you've got to start offering products that makes sense in those packages we got questions about that costume goes jonathan one of the things you end up picking up in that cost agos because I'm concerned about the hard costs of the album versus paying somebody to lay out the album and do that you know that sze exactly right so it's in the spirit of that what should go into that hard cost of goods? Great question is everything other than your time okay? Meaning not that your time's not valuable it's being picked up in other areas in that package what I'm looking to do is go ok, I know I got to buy an album maybe I gotta pay a second shooter right? But you're I'm assuming you're bringing wendy with you right so she's kind of built in slave labor we gotta we gotta have her in there does he work? Is he working hard? Is this like who's calling the shots on the wedding wedding day when you are john I don't believe that so s so you've got you've got that cost is going to be is not there right for her so I don't calculate my cost when it comes to tail or being my second shooter but I do have to calculate my my cost of outsourcing right so I know you outsource you've got to calculate your cost of um the album you've gotta calculate your cost what else is in that package? Well that should be it that's it right that's all that should should be in there things like your web gallery if you're doing a web gallery it's not a real hard cost because you're paying like an annual fee for that web gallery right? So you're talking about pulling out four dollars or five dollars and it's it's not really that important or if you're doing a slide show things like that I'm more worried about those bigger items which your album is the number one item is that making sense but if you're outsourcing and things like that you have to account for that in there uh album design you know like do you signature collection albums now? Okay, well, if you were there's free album design, so then you wouldn't have to allow for the cost off the album design that's where I was going with that s so you want to figure that out there products out there like smart albums? So even if you're not using signature collection, I'm smart albums is a product that's out there could not be easier anybody using smart albums? I'm gonna show it later later on a cz we go through this smart albums dude, you're like it's grabbing your images you're hitting a few buttons yeah it's totally template driven but talk about ease of use you khun b designing a wedding album in less than sixty minutes and that's where you want to be for your business because here's the thing it's so funny the tigris again so funny do you think any of your brides you could design all your albums the same from here till the end of like three years from now? I don't believe in my heart that any bride is going to be like, oh, this just looks like my friends album it doesn't they have no idea what it looks like now I'm not advocating that we should just be template driven and there should be no art behind what we're doing but just as artists, we tend to obsess about things that just don't matter like that doesn't matter to me whether it's two pixels left or right, you know, too much magenta not enough green like guys worry about stuff that actually matters that is not one of them that's the obsessive compulsive side of us being artist yeah, um correct me if I'm wrong, john, I think part of what the question was with the cost of goods sold and not our time is that since we don't have employees are time is through part of the work flow your equation so and maybe that discussion comes in a different segment, but how do you factor that? And then if it really is our time in the workflow process, yeah, so here's my mind set on it when you're asking a reasonable question here's been my mindset since day one because I was in the same place you were when we started out everything was me and taylor that we were doing, and then you look at yourself as a resource and you're clearly a limited resource I look at that is my sweat equity back into the business that's the only way I justified and again here's why when you are true cost of good so when you go to business school and you talk about cost a good soul it is literally everything that went in to producing that package, so gas to and from the wedding your time driving to and from a shoot it's your time is the ceo your time building the marketing, peace, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, and what ends up happening is you start spending more time calculating cost, then you do actually doing the work, and so from me, my mind set is a business owner was I needed to come up with a number, because if you talk to other people like maybe it's, pepe or somebody else who are doing number related stuff dot number is actually too low because they're factoring in your time so they'll say you're cost of goods should be around forty percent or somewhere in that range. I'm just saying if you can keep, you're hard cost to fifteen, twenty percent, the rest of the numbers work out, the electricity works out, marketing works out and on and on islamic sense. So all I've tried to do is kind of come up with a a rough guide of where I need to be when I'm putting my packages together so that it's easy so that I can be somewhere at a trade show. And I look at a new product and I go and they go, okay? It's five thousand dollars. Okay, well, that number doesn't work, doesn't plug into the formula. And so that's, how you got to get all of you. So these are good questions. I'm glad you're asking. Okay, so let's, go back into the packages, there's three packages, you're gonna have a base in middle of top on these airways of breaking them apart. Just real simplistic stuff. Your base packet should never have the digital negatives that's it if you don't want to sell the base package, they should not be there. That's your number one pull through item. Why are you looking at me confused? You have? Yeah ask why confuse question? So I so I was just looking over that and, um and it looks like it's packages based for, like, a bride booking her wedding, right? That's, right? Not where I'm coming from with family, family sessions, it wouldn't really be the same application, so I would just I'm jumping ahead, tio, no prints in the packages and kind of I'm doing these packages on the latter half at the sale session, so it was very a little bit right very a little bit, but the framework is a framework, so great question, right? So instead, what you would do and we're going to talk about like what goes into an engagement package and that's where it'll make more sense on what goes into like seniors and stuff like that so that we'll get answered but let's cover it just for the sake it came up in that scenario you're pull through would be small prints, medium prints, large prints, small prints, large prints canvas so you would never put a canvas in your base package you would never put a sixteen by twenty four in the base package you would never put the digital negatives in the base package so if you want to give digital negatives from an engagement, shoot a family shoot that's totally fine it just can't be in your base it would have to be in your top. Does that make more sense? Okay um and so in the spirit of that let's kind of look at it negatives or the pole through so in that middle package that's where the negatives kick in albums are also a pull through. So the size of albums start becoming really important. So in our base out package we have a press printed book from like a photo in the or zouk a book in our middle package we have a ten by ten leather cover metal cover black leather album that's it in our top package we've got eight by twenty so long skinny album a really unique aspect ratio we've got a twelve by eighteen just a monster album one of forty fifty leathers thatyou can put there you can get in acrylic cover you could get metallic paper, you can get art paper those options are not available in the middle of base package they're only available in the top one and so we're allowing that pull them through and I'll show you later on pictures of these products and how we're using them to get people to just wow them you gotta while your clients today um, no prints in the package albums I've already covered key differentiator force thirty pages no matter what do not I played games with the albums and so that's an old sales technique where you would put twenty pages in the base package and then try and upgrade them to thirty, forty, fifty, sixty pages. We don't pre design albums, I find that to be an antiquated sales tactic where your client buys twenty pages, they come in for their preview and you show them sixty and then you say to them, tell me what you don't want it's gonna leave a really bad taste in their mouth? We do not do pre design, we don't do design until after they've selected their images, and then again we have size and quality to drive the pricing discussion, right? That's what we're going to do that's the pole through there. So as you can imagine, we're doing this top down approach where we're putting the best package in their hand first then we come back around and we show them the middle package. Then we come back around, we show them the base package. Well, by the time they get to that base package they're looking at the lowest and products that we carry. People don't want that. Nobody wants to be in the bottom. They all want to be in the middle or the top. And that's. How you got that's, how you do it. This is really important. Is this making sense about packages, anything clicking? Anybody doing anything that you you caught wronger tweak in. What? What are you doing, robert? The thirty pages and every album. I actually had my middle package. I had twenty, twenty pages. Okay, so what was in your base? Twenty pages. But it was like a press printed book, same thing. Twenty, twenty and then thirty. Twenty, twenty? Yeah. Do do thirty across. All good. I'm glad we caught that. So it's thirty across all and there's there's a reason for it. I'm not looking to use pages as the pole through because I find that clients don't understand how many pages they need doesn't make any sense for him. And so what ends up happening is, do you really believe you can tell a story and twenty pages? I don't I think I need thirty pages to tell that story many times the way I shoot, I can't tell that story in thirty pages, so we go back to the slide I was talking about earlier, the consultation, the booking, the shooting, the posing, the editing, the sale is all interconnected, so let's go through. This is what I said the formula is the formula stop jacking with my recipe, I offer a thirty page album when they come in for the initial sales console there, seeing a thirty page album that's what they're looking at, they're looking at a thirty page album with what I'll call more of a loose design. They're not going to see an image and a half to two images per page, they're not going to see a designed album that has two hundred images, innit? So they're going to see a thirty page album with roughly an image and a half to two images per page so let's call it sixty to seventy images total in their album they're gonna open up some pages and there's going to be one image across two pages then they're going to go to others and its details from the reception okay, we'll throw five or six images in a little grouping there, right? That starts at the initial consultation when I'm sitting with that bride and I'm talking about what do you noticing? What do you what do you say? I really like the way everything's so clean yes that's my bride, she understands what she's looking at she may not use the right artistic terminology, the right design terminology but she knows what she's looking at then she'll ask me is every album come with this many pages? If I have to say no, she already gets the sense that I'm not her trusted advisor that I'm setting her up to be sold to I don't want that yes, every album comes with thirty pages no matter what package urine okay now when she comes to when it comes to the shooting off the whole thing I tend overshoot I tend to do a lot of big dramatic portrait that shooting of big dramatic portrait is gonna lend to the sales room after the wedding, them adding extra pages eighty percent ish of our brides after the wedding add more pages no hartsell they just can't pick doctors too many great images so if I didn't do the editing right or the shooting right, taylor doesn't have those images to add post if we set our clients up in the initial consultation and show them albums with hundreds of pictures in them during the initial console, they're going to expect just just jim pictures into a thirty page album we don't have that, um something cents all interconnected anybody else any kind of baja that you caught? Yeah I'm running prints and my top to your in your pocket wall sized prince full size prints wall science yeah you're killing yourself right? Because what's happening is is you are your creating an environment where they believe they've got everything they need so after the wedding you're gonna have a hell of a time selling them anything after the fact because they're gonna go no that's all we want let's take that and so my mind set is the philosophy the formula is every time you get in front of the camera is another opportunity for sale session, so if you do a glamour shoot if your bride and you do let's say your engagement you're gonna come back in you're gonna buy engagement pictures by they're not in the package let's say you then do a ah glamour boudoir shoot great you're going to come back in after that shoot, you're gonna buy pictures, then let's say after you, what do you do? A bridal session? You're going to come back in after that bridal session, you're going by pictures, and then after your wedding, you're going to come in and buy pictures so every time they get in front of the camera is another opportunity to sell and that's the key there. If not, you're leaving a tremendous amount of money on the table. So what's in your packages today in the bigger wall prints, um, I have a sixteen twenty um and then I have a canvas in the top in the top, and you're finding that you're running into any resistance whatsoever after the wedding and trying to get more cells? Yeah, that's sticking to the package, right? So that's, why I'm telling you, it's all psychological jack with my formula, so, no, I'm glad we're having this conversation, by the way. That's what I mean, so this makes me happy, but this is why I have pricing that we're talking about again, because it's not pricing, wanna one it's kind of ah, rehash of pricing. But then it's getting to your questions on where you guys were having trump pain points and that makes sense to me if that's in there you're going to find that clients don't want to spend more money and the reason is because mentally they already think they have everything they need when they come into our studio again. Here's my mindset when you come in for the initial consultation I want you focusing on one thing what you need me for on your wedding day I don't want you thinking about canvass see because let's say I follow that methodology and I put in my top package metal and then in the middle package I put yours to print the clients are not going to go well, we don't need metal let's just go with the middle package so they've talked himself out of the package because they're so consumed by the metal print, yet they haven't even seen a single picture from their wedding day. So why are you thinking about what's going on your walls? So I want when you come in contract to me just to think about what you need on your wedding day during the engagement, I'm not showing you anything for post wedding I just want you thinking about what's happening with your engagement pictures what are we doing with your engagement pictures? And then, of course, after the wedding you're thinking about pages to the album but so after the wedding I'm trying to upgrade their album maybe they went with the smaller album now is another opportunity to upgrading to a bigger album maybe they went with thirty pages now I want to get them to add fifteen pages to the atm or add twenty pages how does that make sense good any other ah ha moments for anybody I'm sure out there we got some ah ha moments but this this is what it's all about this is why we're attacking this again and so allah car here's another place I see tons of mistakes being made everything you do in your ala carte is gonna have a direct relation to what's in the package okay, so if you screw up your ala carte prices you're screwing up your your sales in the packages so everything in a package has to have a price associated with it it's the only way we're gonna establish value so even if you put ten save the date cards in your package which by the way I don't advocate you do but let's say you did if you got ten save the date cards in your package how much of those worth they have to be listed on the ala carte menu? Everything in a package has to be listed on the ala carte menu. However everything we sell is not on the ala carte menu when they contract me follow along when they contract me in january of twenty fourteen I'm not going to put if it's not listed in the package I'm not put it in their contract I'm just going to put the ala carte prices for eight by tens and maybe canvas in there because what I know in a year and a half if I'm still gonna offer medals, how don't I know it for a year and a half? I'm still gonna offer acrylics how do we know what those prices are going to be so they're not there there's no reason for them to be because they're not in any wedding package the wedding package comes with the album it comes with a website and on and on and on so I'm only gonna put those basic items zombie consents so a lot of heads turn when I said it so I want to make sure everybody's got that okay, so on ly the basics are there and that's why allah cart should be priced high the reason ala carte should be hi's because that's that's where we don't want them money's like water will follow the path of least resistance I don't want them in the ala carte I don't want someone coming in by the way they could they could absolutely come into my studio and spend and say I want to hire you for five hours and I want to see any of images they could totally do that on my ala carte menu time will see this in a second is four hundred dollars an hour so that would be two thousand dollars just for me to show up and the digital negatives or fifteen hundred dollars hey if you want to pay me for four five hours you want to pay me thirty five hundred dollars I'll take that job any day of the week any day of the week I will be the best paid shooting burner on the planet and that's how you have to do it but they won't they won't do it because they look at that and go there is no value there I'd rather be in a package so ala carte is meant to drive people into your package everybody clear on that this is where I see a lot of mistakes in the pricing of this negatives obviously have to be extremely high if people are buying just negatives in time from you that means you're not priced high enough that's your fault you're making the mistake keep it simple don't over complicate your pricing or packages there should be a logical thought out system in how you're pricing works how my getting from size to size in your package is how my getting from canvas to acrylic how my getting from print to canvass it should be logical meaning you can't have something that for ninety nine foreign eleven by sixteen and then it's five twenty seven fifty for sixteen by twenty four that pricing doesn't make sense has to make logical sense so allah card straight up all your gifts sizes should be the same price whatever your price is in your market it should be high enough to keep people away from that that's the key for me in st louis it's fifty dollars that's it it's high enough to keep people from just buying an eight by ten does that mean no one comes into my studio just buys two eight by tens no it happens all the time I scratch my head I don't understand why they came in but it happens on that's ok if I were to go any higher with that price would be offensive however when I'm in new york and I'm working with clients that are in new york or california that numbers one hundred dollars because fifty dollars just not that much money right it's its perspective on what part of the country or in has to be high enough to keep them away from there or so that if you do sell it you're still making money so if somebody comes in my studio and they've paid three hundred dollars for a session fee right and then bye for eight by tens hey I'm not happy but I've made five hundred bucks and so you just gotta look at it that way wall portrait ce to me these air anything that are larger than on eight by eight by ten right? So now if we look back at this for a second, we noticed I have eight by ten not eight by twelve the camera sizes now the sensors air pushing out eight by eight by twelve they're not pushing out eight by tens, not a four by five sensor right? We're not shooting medium format film eso we're in eventually the companies will start making eight by twelve frames you're starting to see more and more eight by twelve frames it stores like michael's and all those stores but until then clients are still requesting eight by ten if somebody requested eight by twelve just printed form it's it's fine doesn't really cost you any more money wall portrait sizes you're seeing there I don't want to review every single price that's not the goal here what I want you to learn is the framework that's the part where I'm seeing you guys struggle notice we don't have every size imaginable t mankind just because the lab offers it doesn't mean we should do it eleven by sixteen is to ninety five next jump in size one hundred dollars so there's one hundred dollar jumpin price every single size except when we get to the fifteen by thirty that's a half size so there's a fifty dollar price bomb there okay, that's the way we've got things priced and so it makes logical sense when the client looks at it, it makes sense to them they understand how to get from one price to another. Yeah, one thing I found in doing this that I know is wrong is I tend to be put habitually too many different options for sizing and I was wondering, do you did you arrive to that list based on aspect ratios or on what sells a little bit of balls? That's a great question again, every photographer I've ever worked with it's like you look at their pricing sheet it's just overwhelming what's they're the two most popular sizes the way we built our business in studio fifteen by thirty sixteen by twenty four that's it I don't have fish tales to sit here and tell you about how we sell you know the average client buys a thirty by forty campus no, the average client's buys a fifteen by thirty and a sixteen by twenty four. Those are our two most popular sizes on dso those air built in to all our packages in one form or fashion the fifteen by thirty you gotta shoot for that right? You can't just show I mean maybe you can, but for the most part you've got to shoot to get that panoramic style image you've got to start thinking that way back to that original slide where I was like what I do in the console to what we're showing in our studio how I shoot how I added how we present is all tied together and so taylor is going to jump my ass if in our top package it's got a fifteen by thirty but I come back from a job whether it's a senior or wedding and I don't have a shot that fits in there and so this has comets evolved from what our clients have demanded and then we tried to fill sizes around it that made sense so like twenty by thirty right that's fine that makes sense the square sizes we only off for two twenty, twenty, thirty, thirty we go bigger so if a client says hey, we want a forty forty that's fine we'll get that form but we keep it simple on the price list and I highly encourage all you guys do that as well. Also we print on two millimeter styrene so don't deliver flimsy prints. The styrene is very important it's kind of the cadillac of backing and so they've got like gator board and things like that and it's garbage airborne is just light, airy dense styrene is very, very high quality it's going to cost you a little bit more money but it's more than worth it and when the client gets it it feels like quality campus sizes same thing we don't have to cover everything here, but I'm not offering a ten by ten campus I'm not offering in eleven by fourteen campus to me campus is meant for artwork, and I'm not delivering smaller than sixteen by twenty four for that it's just not worth it. S o sixteen by twenty fours are first size noticed the price increments the same model full size jumps is one hundred dollars, so sixteen twenty four two, twenty, thirty is what I consider a full size. Anything else is a half size jump smaller than that so it's a fifty dollar jump and by the way, these prices the pricing I'm showing you is the same for seniors, families, babies, we don't have different ala carte prices for each of those categories, it would start pissing people off, so we keep that pricing consistent. Another area I've seen you guys make mistakes keep the price inconsistent when you raise prices. Raise it across the board custom sizes available bond request we offer an inch and a half campus and a two and a half inch cameras, but notice sixteen twenty four six, ninety five a wall portrait is three, ninety five, so the goal from a wall portrait to canvas if they're in a package is just the price difference between those two prices pricing that makes sense notice the twenty by twenty is for forty five, so in theory the canvas should follow. That same formula should be seven. Forty five, and it is right and so that's the way pricing should work. It's logical. That makes sense. You don't. The worst thing you could have happened is clients fall into this analysis. Paralysis. They're sitting there looking at the price sheet and they go, can we just call you tomorrow? I've ever had that happen in your sales process. That's your fault because you're making it too complicated somewhere in your sales process. There's there's a roadblock on objection in any objection not correctly addressed will stall the sale now. Sometimes you don't know what that objection is and it's hard to get to it. Sometimes clients don't feel comfortable telling you like because they feel stupid, that's also on us. We've got to make we've got to be that trusted advisor, so if they're not willing to tell you because they feel stupid, whether they say that or not, that means you have not become the trusted advisor. When you're the trusted advisor, a client will ask you anything, and taylor will have conversations where people are like. Now, if I do this, can I get this right? They they start coming up with all these wacky things. Taylor will be the first tone hey, you can absolutely do that, but you're gonna actually end up paying more money than if you just go to this package now, because with a trusted advisor, we're not looking to string our clients for every dime, right? Yeah, I couldn't let them do it their way, and I could have made one hundred dollars more or two hundred dollars more, but at the end of the day, my reputation is worth more than just making an extra hundred bucks or two hundred bucks doesn't make sense. You got to start thinking that way, and so when you find clients stumbling and telling you, they have to leave and go talk that's something you're doing wrong. I don't know what it is. I can't fix it in this this session, but that means something is going wrong. Here's some other products we offer remember everything we offer is covered here heirloom box album box so we offer these wooden boxes now, man, if you have not seen these boxes, these air handmade, I'm gonna have one on another segment, but they're handmade laser etched with your logo it could be laser ached with their name we have these out of bridal shows on a table like this bride's air like going crazy, right? I know you got one your clients went nuts for it on dh so it's one of those things where they never seen anything like that before, right? So you've got to keep next leveling stuff, so we'll have some of that to show but there's a price point to it for ninety nine two highly perceived value it comes in some of our bigger packages engagement sessions, client for life so I'm only gonna highlight a few things here. We don't have to go through everything here climb for life six, ninety nine every year once a year for the rest of my life right? Once I die, the party's over they get they get a free session can be whatever they want a family session baby session glamour session doesn't matter this is huge pull through force if you're not doing this today, you should consider adding this this's on lian are black label package think about it, you like us. You want to work with us, here's your opportunity to work with us once a year. Every year before I was wondering, do you have any verbal anywhere to define the client for life? So you have a client who lives in a fallon that now moves across the country what defines that because they come back he said you know you said you're going to his portrait session for us once a year now way don't have anything that it starts getting too two legalese if you will right where you're like ok sessions must take place between nine p m and five pm on you know in this session we just work with our clients I've never had a client called me and be like, hey, we're in new york you should be coming up you have to come up here and do our session I've never had that happen every fine who calls us in that situation where they've moved or relocated they call us up you know we just did it's a story I've told before we have ah client that had a family re union I was about two and a half hours to three hours away from where we were and they work their family re union around a trip that we were going on where we could go yeah I was out of our way but we made sure we got there on our way to someplace else and so you just gotta work with again you're the trusted advisor somebody who's buying into this climb for life is not looking to nickel and dime you right and to me that's what would be happening like you know you only this which is also why it's not in our base package it's only in our top package because I want clients have already committed ten plus thousand dollars to studio to get this you're not coming in my studio for three grand and then I'm stuck with you for the rest of my life I mean that would just be miserable for for all of us so suddenly consent something else to focus on additional coverage for four fifty an hour ok that's a number that just you have to find a price point that makes sense for you okay? It doesn't matter what that number is because honestly no one's coming in hiring me for four hundred fifty dollars an hour that defeats the entire purpose okay I'm not looking for them to hire me for four fifteen hour that it literally makes no sense it's to punish bad behavior I don't want you there so I'm gonna make that price high enough so you don't go there uh second shooter second however there's a price point for that no one comes in and just hired a second photographer it's got to be there though because in your package and has to establish value sixty day web gallery will you shoot proof? Not sure if anybody's using shoot proof probably one of the best proofing systems I've ever seen and those guys they're amazing to work with I'll show you what we use in how we prove we use sticky album so we have a custom iphone album right, I don't term it's sticky albums because our clients would be like, what the hell is that? So we just call it an iphone album will showcase that a cz well engagement guestbook digital negatives notice digital negatives say they're j peg images approximately twelve hundred by eighteen hundred pixels. We're not delivering raw files, we're not delivering full resolution. Uh, these are the things you've got to be clear on. I am not giving my clients twenty five to thirty meg jpeg file or raw file, for that matter, for them to go do things I'm definitely controlling what and where they're using it. I want them to print eight by twelve that's good enough to go eight by twelve they can really push it and go to eleven by sixteen, but anything bigger I want them coming to me for I want to control that artwork that ends up on the wall, okay? The album pricing album pricing is also in the package, so we have three albums in our packages. I've actually never shown this before, and I found that by not showing that I actually created more confusion for you guys and so in your packages you're gonna have an album here's the price point of all the albums the capri siri's is our base album, these air ala carte prices there to establish value in the package roma siri's that's our middle ten by ten notice there's also a price for the parent album in there okay, so we're already advertising trying to get them to think about what they're gonna do with parent album. And then there are sicilian siri's album that's, our big dog that's, the signature collection albums and then, of course, parent albums, quotes available upon request was depends on what they want, right? Our signature collection items, they got forty different kinds of leather, lots of different paper options, things like that, so we're gonna we're gonna control that, but this is in our initial contract with him, and it'll make sense in a second or as we go into the next segment, why their, uh, why their priced out this way is this making sense? So every we good? Okay, now you're gonna alter pricing for your market, you're going to do different things for where you are your brand, your market, not all of us. And hey, all of you here, all of you out there, I didn't start at ten thousand dollars a wedding. When I started out in two thousand seven, the framework was identical, okay, maybe tweaked a little bit, but framework is the framework my base package was nine ninety nine by middle package was nineteen, ninety nine and my top packages twenty nine ninety nine and I'll never forget the first day I saw my top package for twenty nine ninety nine taylor and I were giddy doing doing that you know, the happy dance all could be all of us our different levels in our career there's nothing wrong with where you are but the framework has to remain the same and so in order to take my framework and adapt it to wherever you are in your market what's your base package thirty two ninety nine what's your base package you don't want to talk about what's your base about fourteen, fourteen, ninety nine, thirty eight, ninety nine, thirty two, ninety nine fourteen, ninety two different completely levels yet the framework is a framework on wendy you're not even talking about what it is you don't even have a base package what's your base back fifteen, ninety nine fifteen, nineteen, nineteen, ninety nine all over the place okay john and I would not talk you're about to talk chief will do is he will murder you I have seen her get in your face so don't don't tell me the number yeah yeah murder lunch okay, so what you're seeing is this breath of numbers across the board right of where people are but they're all practicing the same framework and so that's the key and there's a natural progression to where you're going to be because the blueprint has been established, we started at nine, ninety nine today are based packages forty for ninety nine, maybe it's going to be thirty nine, ninety nine when I go into bridal show season, it'll move right depending on how busy I am. So if I find too many people booking made a certain price point that's when that's, when I'm gonna raise my prices on there, okay, so in the spirit of all that, we're all that different levels, but the framework is a framework pricing can be adjusted that's the one piece you can adjust, but do not jack with what's in those packages that's the part that's going to get you in trouble for you? You put that canvas in there and that's getting you into trouble in post sales, right there's, this ripple effect to things for you, you're putting twenty pages in one album that khun khun started giving clients just may be a bad taste in their mouth and affect you with referrals in ways you don't even realize it's going to affect you. But pricing, no matter where you are, we understand that the album cannot cost more than about ten percent of what's in that package, okay, so yeah, you're not gonna be able to offer the same albums I offer in my ten thousand package you're not gonna be able to offer that in your, uh, in your base package it's not gonna happen you're not even gonna be able to offer in your top package when we go back to when we were nine ninety nine wei had an eight by eight oh my gosh. So my base album when you go back to two thousand seven two thousand eight was an eight by eight press printed book it's all we can afford to put in there my top level album was a graph e studio ten by ten metal cover that was our top level well, I can't charge what I charge today and offer that kind of album it doesn't stand out from the crowd it's too commonplace now so that's where you'll start progressing raising your prices and then offering different products in there now when you move pricing we talked about this earlier I want to see it move by a number that makes sense we're gonna actually dig into packages later but I want to see it move by five hundred dollar increments so no matter where you are five hundred dollars is the right number for it to move not one hundred dollars, not two hundred dollars that's not enough money five hundred dollar blocks that's where I want to see it move by okay um packages should not be on your website however, it is ok to hand out packages in pricing on your at bridal shows. That is the one place it does make sense. Because you're there, you're talking to them, and you can explain everything to him. If you put it on your website, you're encouraging them to tire kicks.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Master the Business of Photography - Workbook
Master the Business of Photography Slides
5 Tips to Finding and Booking Your Client

Ratings and Reviews

Brandon D

Sal isn't disgruntled and angry like someone below said, and he doesn't have time for people constantly whining about why their business isn't going good. He's from Brooklyn, so he can come across as harsh at first, but after watching several of his classes and even getting to meet him in person and talk a bit I can tell you he is a really nice guy who truly does want you to succeed. He was very encouraging to me after I thanked him for helping me and my business get to where it is now. Growing up, I can remember photographers grabbing us and posing how they wished. They are often in a hurry to get things right, such as at a wedding, so I am not sure why one reviewer stated he would dismiss them. Sounds like he is just looking for a reason to feel powerful. Anyway, this is a great class to get you on track with your business. Yes, its a bit wedding heavy, but the concepts are the same no matter what. Just apply them to your niche and you are good to go.


Amazing course. Sal is such a great photography educator. Terrific course. I'm not usually big on watching business courses, but this course as taught by Sal was terrific. Down to earth, entertaining, packed with real life experiences do's, don'ts and lessons learned. This courses business A to Z and Sal is very entertaining to watch/listen to. Thanks CreativeLive for getting Sal.

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I have been a long time fan of Creative Live and have sat on the fence with all of Sal's classes because I already attend Shutterfest every year and get loaded with valuable information there, so it was hard to pull the trigger on a $300 course that was filmed 5 years ago. Also, in my earlier days of hearing about Sal, I'd heard a lot of negative opinions about how he comes across. Still, I'd heard he's a marketing guru, and my background is in marketing as well, so I really wanted to see what this class was all about. Now that I've finally gotten it, I'm completely blown away. There is just SO MUCH MATERIAL in this class that its actually difficult trying to decide what to implement first! It is good stuff too. It is all about marketing, sales, and workflow. If you're looking for a class teaching you how to take better photos, this one is not it. This is the class that teaches you how to get your work where everyone is seeing it and convincing people to book you and tell their friends about you! Now as far as others have already said... this class is definitely geared toward wedding photographers. Yes there are bits of information that work for other types of photography, but it is so heavily wedding oriented that there might be a better fit out there for another type of photographer. If you do weddings though, this is an amazing class! As far as Sal's personality goes.... he's a New Yorker transplanted to St. Louis. So expect that NYC no BS type of attitude. Susan Stripling is another one of my favorites and she is similar in attitude (and also extremely talented), so if you like her, you should like this. If you have a hard time with her, you might have a hard time with this. Regardless, its stuff y'all need to hear and implement to be successful. Obviously because the class is a bit older, you may have to make small tweaks to a few things (even though he says don't jack with the recipe), but the marketing principles are solid and timeless. Shoot this course is worth it for the SEO advice alone. Just buy it already!

Student Work