1. Business

Good, Better, Best & Oh My Goodness

by Mary Fisk-Taylor, M. Photog., Cr., CPP, ABI, API

I consider my photography clients savvy and smart, but I also know that they are the “average American consumer”.  One thing that I know about the “average American consumer” is that as a general rule we usually buy in the middle. We buy the medium drink, the mid-grade car, the average-size appliance.

As a consumer we tend to feel perfectly happy to buy in the middle.  We don’t necessarily want to buy the budget or small item and we do not feel the need to splurge on the highest-end  photography product, so we usually land in the middle.

With this in mind when we set up our photography studio product lines, we thought it would make sense to put the photography product we want our photography clients to buy the most in the middle. After determining our average portrait, photography package or wedding sale, if we put those products in the middle of our pricing structure, then our photography clients will migrate there organically.

For example, in our photography studio we practice the Good, Better, Best and Oh My Goodness philosophy. I offer portraits on paper with full retouching and optional mounting as our good
product. It is a solid but basic product. The next level for us is our Better product line and this includes a retouched portrait mounted on canvas Masonite. From there we move to our Best line, which includes fully, retouched canvas Masonite portraits with light brush oil work. For many years we only had those three options, and guess what, since our middle was the canvas line that is what we sold the most of. I really wanted to raise my average portrait sale and knew that if I could sell more brush oil portraits, we could make more money.

No matter what I did, my photography clients usually left the sales room purchasing a canvas portrait. What I finally realized was that our Best line or brush oil line was our ceiling. It was the highest-end product we offered and I know that “average American consumers” will not buy there.  So, that year I decided to add a “Whopper” or “Oh My Goodness” product to the price list. By doing this I not only created an incredibly high-end portrait line that I could advertise, donate to high-end auctions and hopefully sell, but more importantly I gave my clients a much bigger buying range, therefore pushing my middle much higher! That year I tripled my brush oil sales and BONUS
sold two of our high-end Masterpiece Oil Portraits!

I am encourage you to take a look at your photography product lines and make sure you have the different levels of pricing on your photography price list. Also, sit down and decide what you need your average portrait or wedding sale to be. After you have that crucial number, you can set up your pricing and photography products for successful sales. I always make sure there are several options available to the clients based on the good to best philosophy. If I do this I can almost project my sales to the penny. Some people will buy the basic and some will buy the whoppers, but they average each other out and leave the majority of my photography clients buying right in the middle.