Until the end of time photographers will debate if selling prints versus digital files. Regardless of your viewpoint, I want to show you how you can increase your sales and make more money by selling prints and custom products.
What are custom photography products?
Custom photography products can range from gallery wrapped canvas prints, to proof boxes, to custom framing to custom cards. There are pros vs. cons of offering only digital prints or complete print packages and custom products. Both sides have very valid points. Here are some reasons I offer custom products to my clients, and why you may want to as well.
Full Service and Control
I like control. I have a Type A personality. I know that prints and images from my pro photo lab are going to be of the best quality, perfect in color, sharpness and in size. Clients may not realize that if they upload a digital file and print a 5×7 and someone may lose half their head because the crop ratio is different. Most clients need “help” with laying out wall displays and being creative. For most photographers, it’s second nature. It might take an extra hour of time or I might even go to their home to help. I sleep better knowing that my images are going to be displayed professionally.
It’s also a battle to sway a client from ordering one 8×10 print to hang above a 58 inch fireplace. The thought of a client taking a digital image and blowing it up to a 24×36 canvas from their local “superstore” makes my stomach hurt! WE know that it just won’t do, but theirs a little bit of education that I feel is necessary with each client. Offering custom products and of course MY time, helps alleviate so many possible “mishaps”.
What Custom Products are Best…
Although I offer just about every custom item there is there are two that I feel are a MUST (besides prints).
- Frames. I ordered my first seven custom Organic Bloom frame the day their website launched. I had just finished building my in home studio. All seven of those frames were immediately hung in the first room that clients enter when they come to my home for a session. I needed to show clients how to display the frames in their own home. Having the frames available to touch and feel makes all the difference, and it leads to print sales (gotta fill the frames). My frames stay exactly as they are, year round…BUT every fall (and sometimes in between) I change the images. I know after 4 years that I need to shoot for 2 vertical 16×20 shots, 4-5×7 horizontal images and 1 gigantic 30×40 vertical print. Those numbers stay in the back of my mind when I head out to capture my own children. I work with my clients to constantly change those images as their children grow (equals print sales!) as well. Once we build a custom wall display, we keep those in mind while we shoot (more guaranteed print sales).
- Birth Announcements. This should really be my number one! More than half of my business comes from newborn photography. I always knew that I wanted to offer birth announcements (as well holiday cards, even thank you cards) and I had two reasons for it. (1) Control. I like being able to help clients design and layout not just a birth announcement but a keepsake. Creating a card with colors that accent the EXACT soft pink rosette blanket the baby is laying on. Laying out multiple images in different variations without having to stick to a standard template, each client getting a truly custom design. (2) The most important reason I offer Birth Announcements specifically, more so than any other custom product, my signature. Adding my website and/or logo to a birth announcement has been, by far, my biggest means of advertising in my five years of business. I do not advertise ANYWHERE! I am 100% word of mouth. I can not even count the number of times a new mom has sat here in my studio and pulled out a town up, wrinkled birth announcement that she has carried in her purse for the last 8 months so that she wouldn’t forget my web address, or when I hear “My grandmothers, cousins, uncles best friend had this birth announcement hanging on their fridge.” It validates the time and cost of birth announcements for me every time.