This is easily the most important time of the year for many photographers.  "Booking Season."  This is the time of year when 80-90% of couples are getting engaged, and looking for photographers. For a lot of photographers, this time of year brings with it a roller coaster of both success and frustration.  The phone rings, and and the emails start coming in.  You work on booking consultations and getting signed contracts, and somewhere along the way the doubt starts to set in.

It only takes one of two "you're too expensive," responses to begin to wonder if anyone will ever pay you what you think you're worth.  Then, you start questioning whether you're really worth anything at all.  "All of these inquiries keep telling me that I'm out of their price range... what's wrong with me?!" 

One of the most common struggles that photographers face, is knowing whether or not they are charging the right price for their market.  This happens frequently at the beginning of the year, as so many photographers have just raised their prices, and aren't experiencing the same "results" as they had previously.  

There is a level of panic associated with the question "am I charging too much?!"  In our minds, we play out a scenario where, if we keep our current pricing, we'll never book another job!

It's natural as our businesses grow, that our prices will change based on our increased experience, quality of work, and overall experience we provide our clients.  I think that the "crisis" occurs when we fail to step up our game plan, when we step up our pricing.

This isn't going to be a post based on how you should price (contrary to what the title might have suggested).  My core belief is that you should be charging what you're worth.  You should be charging based on the value you add to your clients.  YOU have to figure that out.  

The truth is - you can charge almost anything you want, IF you're able to align yourself - and your value - with the right market (or demand).  But as we increase our value - and our price as a result - we often fail to re-align ourselves with the appropriate market.

Here's what I mean.  If you were charging $1500 to photograph a wedding last year - and your work was good - you probably attracted a lot of brides.  You probably were able to generate business through bridal shows, online advertising - even craigslist.  You were able to align yourself to that market pretty easily - because it's a LARGE market of consumers.

But let's say you now want to charge $2750 because you realized that you're worth much more than you were charging - AND you'd like to actually make money.  What are the chances that you'll continue to attract a new type of client (one that will see value in spending $2750 on you to photograph their wedding) if you don't change the market you're aligned with.  It's not likely that you'll attract the right clients without changing your approach to the market.

And what if you next year want to charge $4500.  Chances are, the strategy - and market - that worked for you at $1500, and then $2750, will be a failure as you try to elevate your value.  You have to ask yourself "where do couple's that spend this amount on wedding photography, find their photographer?"  

You have to find the right market - and then go after that.  For me, as we've grown, an increasing part of our business comes from our past clients, venues, and event designers (planners).  

As you increase your value - and what you charge clients - the reality is, you're going to need to find a new source of clients.  The things that worked at lower prices are no longer going to work.  We often spend a lot of time trying to find the right price for our market.  Who says that has to be your market?  If you want to charge higher prices - you have to find the right market for your price.


What's the point of having an audience?  Everyone has an audience - a circle of influence. Whether it's a father with his children, a teacher in a classroom, or a social-media guru with his twitter followers, we all have an audience.  Building a social media audience, or platform, takes energy and time - two highly valuable forms of capital.  Those who are good at it, work hard to cultivate a following.  They create meaningful content, and share it in an intentional way that adds value to their audience.  

An audience is a very valuable thing.  An audience gives you permission to share and engage with people who are passionate about what you're passionate about.  An audience helps you spread the story of your brand, and creates opportunities for you to engage with people you'd never be able to reach otherwise.  

The people in your audience have give you permission to be a part of their space.  They've invited you to tell your story - at a cost to them.  In order to be a part of your audience, they've given something up.  Perhaps they've simply given up the time it takes for them to read your "tweets," or comment on your Facebook post.  But just as likely, they've invested more.  

Here's the thing - your audience is a gift.  It's not a God-given right.  It's a privilege, and it can be revoked at any time.

This weekend, I replied to an uber-rockstar photographer on Twitter.  Well, at least that's what this particular photographer thinks about himself. He's someone with a very large audience, and he's pretty smart about leveraging it for his advantage. His audience is mostly photographers, and he writes about succeeding in photography and business.  He's written books and even hosts a podcast on the business of photography.

Over the weekend he posted something and I replied.  He posted something, and I called him out on it.  Apparently since my reply wasn't of the "kneel down and kiss your ring" kind of tweet, I was "blocked."  He even took the time to reply to my tweet to let me know I was blocked - as well as letting me know what he thought of me.  Ironically, he and I have met.  We've had face to face conversations, though I doubt he would remember me. 

Here's the thing, if someone who has been a part of your audience for years, someone that has continuously given their time to read and engage with your content, someone that has given you money, calls you out on something - it's not because they're a troll.  That doesn't make him or her a "hater."  It means that someone in your audience is noticing something.  It means they're giving you feedback that might be helpful.

Of course, if you're audience is only about helping yourself, then you probably don't care about what they think.  I'm sure it's easy, at some point, to stop thinking about your audience as a collection of individuals that have given you permission to share with them - and start thinking of them as some single entity that exists for your own benefit.  Here's the thing:

The moment you stop caring about your audience is the moment you stop deserving one.  

This is true for you - no matter what your audience.  As a photographer - your clients are your audience.  Your network of photographers are your audience.  Your peers in the wedding industry are your audience.  Sometimes it's easy to think that your audience exists for your benefit. That's when you remind yourself that without your audience, you're really just making a bunch of noise.



For many photographers, selling albums is something that can be a burden and a hassle.  Our clients are often more interested in simply having all of their images on a disc, and don't really see the value of an album.  In addition, it's common for photographers to struggle with the systems, pricing and process involved in selling albums that are profitable.  The result is that many photographers don't see albums as profitable - or worth their time.  Unfortunately, that often means that they are missing out on what can be a huge profit center for their business.  Here are 5 ways to make more money selling albums.


Wedding Album Sales, Keys To Selling Wedding Albums


1. Include an album, or a credit, before you give a disc.  

This is really about creating expectations (which is really the key to almost any sale).  The bottom line is that you should help clients understand that a wedding album IS the finished product - not just a collection of digital files.  You can help them see the value based on the way that you include an album.  In my studio, every client receives a credit that will get them a base album.  This communicates to them that I think the album is the most important thing - because everyone gets one.  

Even in our Associate Brand - where we offer varying packages - the album enters the packages before the disc of images.  That way, if a client wants a disc, they are already getting the album.  The album doesn't compete with the disc, and clients don't get the idea that the disc replaces the album.  In fact, the opposite is true - the disc is an add-on, where as the album is what's really important. 

2. Shoot for the album 

One of the biggest differences for me, was when I started changing my approach to photographing a wedding.  Instead of simply trying to catch every moment, or every detail, or everything that happened around me - I started to think about the story that I wanted to tell on behalf of my clients.  I started to think about the way the story would unfold in an album. 

Now, when I shoot, I'm thinking about the story, and how each moment fits.  As a result, I shoot much less, but I end up keeping - and using - far more shots.  By the time I'm finished with a wedding, I have a pretty good idea of what the album design is going to look like, which leads to... 

3. Pre-design your clients albums.
One of the things we tell clients upfront, is that we don't sell different sized albums. I don't sell a certain number of pages, or sides, or whatever - because I have no idea what kind of story we're going to tell until we shoot it. I make it clear to my clients that their wedding commission includes a credit for a base album, but that I will custom design their album to tell their story. I also tell what that usually means, so they know what to expect. For example, our album credit in a wedding commission would purchase a 10x10 album with 10 spreads, but most of our clients end up with somewhere between 25 and 35 spreads. 

Not only does a pre-design give me the freedom to create the album that best tells their story, it also helps move the process along. Often, clients biggest complaint about their wedding photographer is that it took forever (sometimes a year or more) to get their wedding album. This can be the result of many things, but I think one of the biggest is that the process of asking a client to pick an arbitrary number of images to fill some set number of pages, is just inviting delay and problems. Clients aren't album designers - you are. They aren't the expert here - you are. Provide them value and service by creating the album they've asked you to design when they hired you. 

4. Show the album first. 

Make it a goal to have your pre-design done in less than 2 weeks.  Yes, this means you have to keep up with your workflow, but this will allow you to make the album pre-design (which is the representation of the story) the first thing your client sees.  The result is that it's also the first thing they develop an emotional connection with.  You want the album to represent the way they remember their wedding day.  It's easy for clients to get lost in the hundreds (or thousands, in some cases) of images you post online.  Not only do they get lost, but so does their excitement and energy about their wedding photos. 

Instead, show them the album pre-design, and then let them see everything else.  I actually post a few teaser images online within a few days, then share the pre-design at 2 weeks.  It's at this point (at my studio) that they actually order their album.  Only then do I release the full gallery of images - after they've paid for their final album.

5. Sell the album in person.

There's no substitute for face-to-face sales. I bring my clients to my studio, where they watch their album design on a 55" plasma display.  We watch it together, and then talk about it.  We talk about what they like, and what they'd want to change.  We talk through their options, and then they make their final decision, and place their album order.  When they leave the studio, they've completed the album ordering process, and approved the final album design.

By meeting with them in person, I'm able to talk with them, understand how they feel about their album, and guide them through the process.  Instead of waiting weeks to order their album (or not ordering at all), clients make their order right then, and are making the purchase before they move on to other things in their life.  I'm also able to handle any objections, concerns, or questions they have - and make sure that they're clear on expectations.

I get that not everyone has a studio - or a space that is conducive to in-person viewing sessions.  If that's the case, I suggest looking into a solution like from KISS, or  These online presentation options are, in my opinion, the next best thing to in-person, if that's not practical for you.  In fact, I use them for all of our destination clients that are unable to come to our studio for a viewing session.

BONUS #6. Eliminate options.

One more thing, which may actually make more difference than the other five combined: If you want to sell more albums, offer less options.  We so often think that by giving people many choices, that everyone will find something they want - which means more sales right?  Wrong!  Instead, when faced with an overload of choices, clients are unable to choose - a situation known as analysis paralysis.  So they choose nothing.  As a result, you loose out on sales, simply because clients are overwhelmed by the number of choices they have to make.

For example: I used to offer a lot of different Album options.  I used to offer tons of different cover options, and sizes, shapes, etc. I'd ask clients up front to choose the type of album they wanted.  They had to pick the size and number of images before the wedding was even shot. When it came down to it, most of my clients asked me "what do you recommend?" or "what do most of your clients get?" The answer - a 10x10 or 12x12 book with black or brown leather.  That's what most of my clients ended up with.  Sure, there were a lot of options, but that's where most of them ended up.

So I made things simple. I offer two book types - Signature Books (flush mount) in 10x10 or 12x12, or Classic Books (matted) in 9x9 or 12x12. That's it.  Oh, and you get to pick black or brown leather. That's it. Really.  No one complains, and no asks for more options.

How about you?  Are you selling albums?  If so, what have you found to work well?  If not, what do you struggle with?

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