Three Ways to Increase Portrait Orders

Three Ways to Increase Portrait Orders

Intro by Skip Cohen

Sarah Petty’s blog, Joy of Marketing is packed solid with great ideas to help you build more sales, a stronger brand and increase awareness for your presence in the community. I pulled this one from her archives because the topic is so relevant this time of year. With the seasonality of the fourth quarter right around the corner, there’s no such thing as being too prepared to close the sale!

What I love most about the way Sarah shares marketing information is that she’s always so logical in her approach. None of this is rocket science, but so many photographers forget the basics of selling – ideas you’ve experienced yourself for years as a consumer buying other products! And nobody teaches this stuff better than Sarah Petty!


By Sarah Petty

Often it’s easier than you think to increase a client’s portrait order.

No, I’m not talking about selling clients a truckload full of images for their home. Instead, if you apply a little creativity in how you structure your product mix and pricing options, you can increase your portrait orders fairly easily (and really quickly).

Here are 3 of my favorite ways to structure your pricing and product mix to increase your portrait orders:

1) Be Selective: Certain products in my photography studio can’t be purchased individually.

A client can only get these products if they commit to a certain investment. These exclusive products are reserved as an incentive for my clients to invest more. You won’t even find these products on my price menu. By including these products ONLY at a certain investment level (or in packages that are over your average sale), your clients have a reason to stretch their budget a bit. If they want to have your coolest product, they’ll increase their portrait investment to get it.

Animoto videos of clients’ sessions are a GREAT product to use for selective availability.

They are flashy and make you look cool, yet only take you 15 minutes to create. And BONUS – you don’t need to shoot video during your session to make a video using the images you got in the session.

2) Use Incentives

Before going into the ordering appointment, you should always have a plan for what you want to sell so that you meet your financial goals. When you see that an order is getting close to your average but isn’t quite there, it’s fun to have a little something extra to bonus a client to increase your portrait order. As you’re wrapping up the appointment and running through the list of family members to buy gift prints for, it’s a good time to offer a special product reward they can earn once they reach a certain investment if they’re close.

You can mention it to your clients conversationally like this:

“By the way….if you invest an additional $150 I have a special promotion going this month where I’ll make a video of your favorite session images for you to share with all your family and on social media.”

3) Give Rewards: Giving a bonus 25 holiday cards at no charge when a session is booked is a great value-added incentive.

Everyone claims to be a photographer. You’ve probably heard me say that professional photographers don’t compete with cheap. We compete with FREE. Everyone has a camera and can take photos. And that’s OK! As professionals, we need to offer products and an experience that free or cheaper competitors can’t or won’t offer.

Instead of discounting your session fee or your product prices to get clients, offer value-added incentives.

  • During the fall to beat the holiday season rush you can offer a free set of 25 holiday cards with every family portrait session booked before a certain date.
  • To get new moms booked in the first month after their baby is born, you can offer 15 birth announcements at no charge.
  • And to increase your family bookings during your slow season, you can offer a video of their session images with a minimum investment.

Now go, get creative with your products and incentives to increase your portrait orders. Let me know below how these ideas worked for you.

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This article was written by
Sarah Petty

Sarah is a New York Times best-selling author, highly-acclaimed speaker, author, MBA and coach who started her own boutique photography studio after working for Coca Cola for 20 years and then meeting the marketing goals of a top regional advertising agency’s clients. She attributes the rapid growth of her boutique photography studio, which was named one of the most profitable in the country within just five years in business by PPA, to the creation of her own strong brand. Click on Sarah's photograph to visit her blog.

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