Q. How do you educate your clients about Pictage and the process for ordering after their event?
After our initial meeting with potential wedding clients, we send them a link to a recently released wedding. Ideally, the wedding will have some commonality with the wedding they are planning whether it be venue, color scheme, or the couple’s personality. This gives our potential clients an idea of our process and specifically shows the detailed categories we employ for each event. It also clearly shows our pricing structure for reprints, enlargements, specialty products, etc.
Q. Do you release the Pictage event directly to clients or to both clients and guests?
We release to both clients and guests unless the client specifically requested it to remain private. While we realize this goes against the optimization guidelines from Pictage, we had too many confused clients when we released only to them. We would find out weeks later that they never released their images to family and friends. We have also started requesting email addresses of the wedding party and family prior to each event. Our intern loads these email addresses into Pictage and issues a $10 gift credit.
Q. What do you do after an event that helps you stay connected to your clients and generate more business?
We believe strongly that a wedding is just the first of many photo shoots we will do with our clients. Our goal is to create clients for life –throughout every major event, including work and nonprofit gala opportunities. Here are three big ideas we have employed over the last decade.
- Anniversary Shoots: Every wedding client by contract is entitled to a complimentary Anniversary Shoot each year. We select two open weekends in both Indianapolis and Chicago in the Spring. We offer half-hour sessions on a first-scheduled, first-served basis. The clients are welcome to include their children in their session. While we generate no revenue on the services-side of the photo shoot, we do generate reprint sales, and often custom-designed holiday cards. Most importantly, our photography studio remains at the top of our clients mind for other shoots. Many come back annually, some travel back for the shoots, while others we never see again but it is always communicated and made available to them. We have had so many other opportunities come our way simply by offering these sessions that it has been well worth the annual investment back into our clients.
- Newsletters: While social media is critical to keeping clients informed, we still specifically target each group (Wedding, Portrait, Senior, Commercial, and Industry) on a monthly basis. We send newsletters highlighting shoots, announcing exciting news, and sharing something personal. We always include links to our blog or web site, and email garnering particular interest in subjects they would like to learn more about!
For example, after the holiday season when many couples get engaged, we sent a newsletter to our entire distribution list which included all guests who had ever logged into a Pictage event. We love that we can create customized distribution lists from Pictage to target the most appropriate audiences for our newsletters. The “Engagement Newsletter” included a “Resource Kit” as a token of our congratulations, with no strings attached! By following an email link, everyone could gain access to:
- Social Media/Blog: We blog approximately 75% of our work. Each time we create a post, we include a link to the post on our Facebook page and tag the appropriate clients and vendors.
Q. What images are most popular when it comes to print and album orders? Do you shoot with these types of images in mind?
Honestly, our priority is to create amazing images of the bride and groom. Certainly the wedding party and family are significant factors as well. At each wedding, however, our goal is to surprise the wedding party with a few images that they will undoubtedly want to see once processed. Our assistant used to focus on taking “couples shots” during cocktail hour but we didn’t find that it increased our sales significantly.
We consider the professionals – wedding planner, florist, venue – our clients too. We capture details for the couple and for the professionals that we collaborate with during the event. We spend significant time post-wedding providing branded images to fellow professionals to use in their marketing and promotions. Our business is based on referrals from professionals because we openly share images of their work.
Q. What advice would you share with photographers hoping to increase profitability in post-event sales?
Here are important things we have employed to increase our profitability:
- For wedding clients who purchase a DVD of high-resolution images with their package, we do not release the DVD until their album has been printed and bound. It is our way of increasing sales, ensuring that clients follow our album design process, and limiting their ability to distribute images.
- For portrait clients who purchase a DVD of high-resolution images with their package, we do not release the DVD until their event has expired.
- We think like consumers, not just like photographers. We do not charge $25 per 5×7, but keep reprints reasonable. We do not want our clients to be discouraged from sharing images with their family and friends. More importantly, we want clients who purchase a DVD to purchase reprints and enlargements through Pictage first.
- We consider reprint orders an advertising cost for potential future clients.
- Keep images available on Pictage for three months. We only extend the event upon request. We also re-release during the holidays to take advantage of Pictage promotions.
- After each portrait session and wedding, we custom-design a holiday card (no matter the time of the year). Clients appreciate the added service as it is an easy solution when busy holiday season arrives. The most critical element to this service is that each client sends out their card with our name on the back to 200+ potential future clients. It’s free and direct advertising that pays off over the year.
Written by Tiffany Stoner and Nathaniel Edmunds
Tiffany and Nate have been best friends since they were born, although there was some hair pulling, wrestling and name calling involved. This brother-sister team are the owners of Nathaniel Edmunds Photography, focusing on weddings, portraits and commercial photography. A key to their success is maintaining a well-organized business with distinct areas of responsibility. In 2010, Tiffany and her husband Tim launched FamilyPrint, a non-profit and book featuring images Nate captured during Tim’s deployment to Iraq as a Blackhawk pilot on a Medevac mission. They’ve donated over $18K benefiting children with a deployed parent.