How to Sell Portrait Albums

Albums and portraits are a perfect match in this digital world.  Far more images, and good images, are created in an average session than ever before.  That means more images your client wants.  And often that “want” turns into, “I want the digital negatives.”

Include this with a session and kiss your money goodbye.  It’s that simple.  You might want to sell them for a high dollar and offer a “discount” with a certain size purchase.  Perhaps you want to sell only a few select files from a session, again, after the client’s order has been taken.  But, listen carefully:

You will not make a living or build a sustainable business if your end product is files.

Files on a disc don’t speak to the quality of what you can do.  And they don’t leave your clients feeling that they got something for the money they spent.  Imagine how you would feel if your favorite outfit was only in a picture and not in your closet.  What if you came home from shopping and looked at your purchases on a computer screen instead of decorating your home with them, or your child’s images were lost to a hard drive crash?

We think albums are a great way to see that your clients get the images that are most important to them while making sure your sale (i.e. profit) stays at a comfortable level.  Children, families, and pets are all sessions where your goal is to sell a wall image or grouping.  I’m making an assumption here that you will be projecting the images as part of the sales process.  This is imperative, ‘nough said. The album is an add-on sale that adds extra profits on images that have already been taken.

Let’s start our client conversation:

“Before we begin looking at your images, and I’m so excited to show them to you, I want to warn you that we have a lot, I mean a lot, of great poses and expressions.  We have to try to find the ones you like the very best that will hang in your home.  So I know that means we might be “giving up” some pretty great ones along the way.  But don’t worry; you’re really not giving up anything.  I have a great, inexpensive idea that will help you have exactly what you want even when everything won’t fit on the wall.  Ok, let’s get started…..”

As you begin projecting the images, you will need to guide your client.  You know which images will be great options for wall portraits or groupings.  You also know there will may other beloved images.  The client will move forward with a decision when she doesn’t feel that an image will be “lost” to her.  You can quell that fear by saying:  “Ok, let’s compare.  The one on the right has some great expressions but the one on the left combines the expressions with a more striking composition.  Let’s put the right one in the album folder.”

Your client is now moving along, making decisions and the album folder is starting to grow.  You are continuing on your goal of thinking walls; canvases, framed portraits, and great groupings.  When all the images have been viewed, there will probably be a need for some additional editing.  Remember, she’s not giving up anything just by moving an image to a different category.  Your goal is to focus on your primary sale.  Nothing happens with the album folder until the primary goal has been met.

When everything is done and the main order is set in stone, return to the album folder, “I see we have xx images here, just the right amount to make a great little album, like this” (show playBOOK sample).

Finao playBOOK: Cover image by Jason Groupp.
Finao playBOOK in “Crave”. Cover image by Jason Groupp.

Time-out for some background info.

Yes, some people might be able to sell a flush mount ONE album, but I would much rather you sold something and made a nice profit than sell nothing and make nothing.  The playBOOK is very inexpensive; a 20 side 8×8 is $75.00.  If your client has anywhere from 15 to 40 images, 20 sides will do.  This means you can fix your cost at $75.00.   To price, consider how much you charge for an 8×8 print and multiply that by 20, then add $200.00 for the album.  This is your regular retail price.  Now decide what you can sell the book for.  I suggest the size of the discount should be related to the amount of the portrait sale.  The more your client has spent, the greater the discount.  Bear in mind, wall portraits don’t travel well and cell phones/iPads/Facebook are not going to show the quality of your work.  Small albums travel very well and act as little billboards wherever they go. (Don’t forget to include your studio logo inside the cover)

Now back to our conversation,

“….the regular price of this book would be $XXX, but I know you have pretty well taxed your budget and I love the images you have selected for your home.  I’ll tell you what, I really want you to have these images as I know you will have so much fun showing off your beautiful family, (kid, dog).  How about if we make the book half price?  It’s just my way of thanking you for being our client.  I loved working with you and I know how much enjoyment you will be getting from both your home décor images and your show-off book filled with the extra memories you loved.”


Another way to have this conversation is to start with the price of the album: “There are so many great images here that I know you’re going to want, so let me just tell you what we can do.  These beautiful albums (present sample playBOOK) are regularly priced at $XXX, but with the purchase of a 20×24 we offer them at $XXX AND, if you decide on a 24×30 the price drops even further to $XXX.  Ok, let’s not worry about that now, let’s get started.  I can’t wait for you to see these ‘cuz I know you’re gonna luv ‘em.”

Moving along, you show and select exactly as in the first example with the client putting loved, but not right for the wall, images in the album folder.  Don’t worry, every time she adds an image to that album folder she will be thinking “wall portrait” so she can get the discount.

I hope these suggestions help.  The real key to the success of adding albums to your sale is planning ahead and making sure the album presentation becomes a part of your thinking and your process.  Buyers don’t add what they don’t think is expected, or is something that others don’t do.  Remind your client that everyone loves their albums.  Treat this add-on sale as an expectation, an “I want you to have this because it’s way cool and you’re going to love it“ feature. AND, think profits. A $300 album sale with a very simple layout is $225 profit that you would not have gotten otherwise.  It might not be you’re biggest sale, but wealth comes a little at a time.

Something added to every client’s order adds-up to increase your bottom line.

Peace out,

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