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Selling Framed Portraits: Make Your Photography Business More Profitable


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How can you overcome the obstacle of people who just want digital images? You can sell framed portraits for a more profitable business.

I just want the digital images.”

How often as a professional photographer in the digital age do we hear that from a customer?  Handing over a digital image left me feeling empty.  When I sold my first large custom framed portrait to a client, I knew that was the direction I wanted for my business.  It has at times been a painful learning experience, however, every year I am closer to bridging the gap between what clients request and what fulfills me as an artist.

I don’t know why I want digital images….I just want them.”

It did not take long to realize that when I asked clients what their plans were for the digital files that they didn’t generally have a reason why they wanted them.   And although I disliked the old time photography studios’ practice of printing out “proofs” that were tossed out if not purchased, essentially the digital images are viewed by clients the same as those proofs. By packaging the digital images with framed wall pieces, I have added value to the digital images. More importantly it established a purpose to the images for my client.  All while adding to the profit of my business.

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My favorite image greets me every time I walk in my front door.”

For every viewing appointment, I use my software package (Preevu) to design wall pieces.  This software allows me to size the images, insert matting and select the molding that best compliments the image.  In addition, I can virtually hang the wall pieces in sample rooms.  I start every viewing appointment showcasing these beautiful wall galleries. By showing the client what a 24×30 looks like paired with two 20×20 pieces for example, the client starts out excited about their images and visualizes them hanging in their home.  Adjusting my sales presentations to start with wall pieces, I have noticed that clients appreciate larger pieces and begin adjusting their budgets to accommodate wall portraits.

2 Selling Framed Portraits: Make Your Photography Business More Profitable Business Tips Guest Bloggers

I love my framed pieces more every day.”

Clients end up treasuring these framed pieces.  I suggest to my clients to take the time to write a personal note and attach it to the back of the framed image.  As a child grows, seeing the image everyday throughout their childhood, it begins to absorb memories. How more precious are those memories when years later a hand written note is opened.

3 Selling Framed Portraits: Make Your Photography Business More Profitable Business Tips Guest Bloggers

I was just at my friend’s home (office) and saw the beautiful wall pieces you did for them.  Can you do something for me?”

My business gets referrals from clients wanting wall pieces.  Many have had pictures done by other photographers, but haven’t done anything with the digital images and they want something designed specifically for them.  Now I spend time making money doing what I love.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

Amy Harnish is a fine art newborn photographer located in Fishers, Indiana.  Her studio is located in the historic Eller House.  Amy a graduate of Indiana University’s Herron school of art specializes in designing custom wall portraits for her clients.  Visit her website or Facebook page to view more of her work.


No Comments

  1. Kristen Perschon on November 23, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    I’m sorry but I have to say that I would never get pictures taken from a Photographer that didn’t allow me to get the disc. I don’t ever get prints and don’t want to, I use the pictures on my blog, Christmas cards, etc. I have taken photography classes and everything, but I think it is a mistake to not provide the disc.

  2. Erin on November 24, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Please keep more of these posts coming! I love them, and I’m learning a lot from Laura. Thank you:D

  3. J Lawson on March 27, 2014 at 7:42 am

    You are 100% right on with the portraits and digital copies, I have had to increase my prices for the sitting fee to offset the lower sales of hard images/framed images – they only want digital files, I have also worked more towards packaging them with framed images and thanks for the Preevu app! California Portrait Photographer

    • Amy Harnish on March 29, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      Give the preevu program a try. Jeff does a lot in the program. I personally only use it for the framing portion, but one day I may incorporate all the other features. Just sold a wall gallery to a client that originally thought they only wanted digital images. I love designing wall art!

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