Finaon and accomplished photographer Bryan Caporicci is no stranger to selling albums in his photography business. He is the creator of “Sprouting Photographer“, an educational site dedicated to teaching photographers the business of of photography. We wanted to share one of his articles from that site that touches on a subject that’s obviously near and dear to us =)
Why sample wedding albums are important for photographers
The process of buying a car is one that is not very enjoyable by many, but it’s something that we have to do from time to time. Imagine that you are in the market for a new car, and you happen to have your heart set on a Volkswagen – you love what they stand for, you appreciate the German engineering and you picture yourself feeling proud driving a VW. In hopes to look at the different options, you schedule some time in your busy schedule drive to the local Volkswagen dealership to look at their line-up and see what’s involved. You aren’t sure exactly which model you’d like to buy, but you know that you definitely are leaning towards an SUV because they have more space.
When you walk into the Volkswagen dealership, you are treated like royalty. These guys are pros. You’re greeted by a friendly receptionist, she offers to take your coat, you are offered coffee and there is comfortable seating. You meet with a no-pressure salesperson who is extremely knowledgeable about their products and he educates you about your options in their SUV lineup – the Volkswagen Tiguan and the Volkswagen Toureg.
They’re doing everything perfect. Textbook sales routine. You feel good about making a buying decision.
After hearing about the Tiguan vs the Toureg, you are leaning towards the more expensive Toureg because the salesperson explained to you how it has more trunkspace, more room all around and is built on a more robust frame and therefore drives much smoother. It’s a fair bit of a price jump to go from the Tiguan to the Toureg, but so long as you feel it’s worth it, you are thinking that that might be the best decision for you and your family.
“Great”, you say, “the Toureg seems like the perfect option for me. Can I take a look at one and take it for a test drive?”. You’re practically sold. You’re excited to get in this sweet German machine and feel the smooth ride that you’ve sold. You want to see that your son’s hockey bag will fit in the trunk and check out the built-in DVD player that will keep your kids entertained on long road trips.
“Oh no”, the salesperson tells you. “We don’t have the Toureg here. I can show you a Tiguan though, and then I can show you some pictures of the larger and more luxurious Toureg. Sound good?”.
Hang on right there. This wouldn’t happen. Never. No way. A car dealership would never try and sell a product that they can’t show you. They wouldn’t expect you to invest the extra money without letting you sit in the car or take it for a drive. That sounds crazy, right?
You’re right, it is crazy, and it’s why car dealerships have most of their products in-stock. That’s why a car salesperson is able to successfully sell on emotion – they can show you the product, let you sit in it, let you take a drive in it and let you fall in love with it.
Showing all your products
As professional photographers, the same principles apply. Many photographers will offer a range of products, but only actually show one or two of them. Or they’ll have to explain one of the upgrades when asked about it instead of being able to show it. How can you explain the benefits of a fine-art print vs a regular print if you only have the regular print to show? How can someone fall in love with your albums with photo covers if all you have are leather-bound albums? This would be the exact same as the salesperson in the example above trying to sell you the Toureg when all he could show you was the Tiguan. In that context, it does seem a little bit crazy, doesn’t it?
Showing specific examples
Taking this idea another way, you can see how there is huge benefit to being able to show a potential bride and groom a specific album from a wedding you photographed at their venue as opposed to showing an album from another venue. When the bride and groom can see your work at their wedding location, they can connect with your work so much more. They feel that you “get” them and they can picture you photographing their wedding.
To be able to show a variety of product options as well as a wide array of wedding locations, it is my belief that you need to have many studio sample albums when meeting with a bride and groom. The more studio sample albums you have, the more you can be specific to their wedding when showing off your work. The more studio sample albums you have, the more options you can present to them and potentially offer them an upgraded finished product.
My actionable lesson for today’s article is simple – order more sample albums! To be more specific, go back to your weddings from the last 2-3 years and pick out three weddings you photographed at venues that you’d like to photograph at again. Either order yourself a duplicate of that couple’s wedding album, or design a new album from that wedding to order as a sample. Be sure that every one of these albums is a different size, and has a different cover and page type. Moving forward, for every wedding you photograph this year at a venue you’d like to photograph at again, make it a part of your standard workflow to design and order a sample album within the month following the wedding. Again, make every one of these albums is a different size, and has a different cover and page type.
This will give you a good head-start on your studio sample album collection and give you two benefits:
- You will be able to talk and show images that you created specifically from a potential couple’s wedding location when showing them a wedding album.
- You will be able to show many options to potential couples when meeting with them, showing your diversity and the many product options (and upgrades) they can invest in.