The MCP photo editing challenges give you a chance to edit other photographer’s images, share them for critique, and see how others edit the same photograph. By participating you get to practice editing, learn how to give constructive criticism, and watch what steps or Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets are used in various edits.
This week’s photo editing challenge features a tender Father/daughter moment, captured by Maria Arcement.
Several of our members submitted creative edits of this heartfelt photo. Here are some of our favorites:
Submitted by Amy MagnetGirl
Submitted by Ashley Crerend
Submitted by Jane Anne
Submitted by Tracy Anthony
If you have an idea on how you’d edit the image below, or want to see and learn what others did, JOIN US HERE.
Thank you to Maria Arcement for allowing us to use this photo. The current challenges are linked at the top of the group. Remember, you can also ask for critique on your edit.
Thank you to everyone who participated; we enjoyed seeing your take on the challenge. Didn’t get a chance to edit this week? You still have an additional week to add your edit to the Facebook photo album.
This week the Photography Challenge continued with more then and now comparisons. The photo challenge is a great way to focus your camera in new ways. Once you click and submit, you gain the support of a large group of photographers who can assist by offering feedback as you work on specific themes and skills. We loved seeing so many great photos. Here are a few additional shots we wanted to feature, but make sure to check the album on the group page for more.
Submitted by Danielle Potts
Submitted by Jane Anne
Submitted by Sarah Kay McMullin
The team would like to thank everyone who submitted a photo for the challenge. Visit the the Facebook Group on Monday for a new Photography Challenge.
1. Relate to your clients
To be a really successful senior portrait photographer, you’ve got to be able to relate to your clients. If your clients don’t feel comfortable around you then their pictures won’t turn out well. Most of us can easily relate to adults, but may have trouble relating to high school students. “Kids theses days!”
I intentionally begin to build a relationship with my prospective clients at their initial contact. I primarily receive e-mail inquiries. I respond with enthusiasm at the prospect of working with them and interest in their desires and opinions, and I do so in language that is familiar to them. Here’s a sample of a reply e-mail I might send:
2. Ask questions
Sending a questionnaire to seniors allows me to gather essential information about the client for my records as well as ask them questions about their hobbies, interests and style. The pre-session meeting is also very important. In the last year, 100% of clients who met for a pre-session meeting with me ended up booking their senior pictures with me. Being upfront with your pricing is also critical because you’ll be wasting your time and theirs if you set up an in-person meeting just to find out that you’re outside of their budget.
3. Learn about your client
At the pre-session meeting, I do the same things. I ask the seniors more questions about themselves, their style and their interests. I ask what their plans are for next year and some of their goals for the future. All of this helps them relax around me and helps me get to know them. I give them a folder with pricing information, my contract/liability release form, an FAQ page and a couple business cards. I take some small samples of products I offer, including my favorite product, the custom-designed session album. I offer to buy them a coffee or treat while they look over my sample album.
4. Explain how your sessions work
Next, I explain what a typical session is like and ask if they have any questions for me. I encourage them to consider bringing a friend or parent with them to the session. I suggest locations based on what I’ve learned about them and we look at our calendars and finalize the booking. I encourage them to call, text, or e-mail me if they think of any questions.
5. Social networking with high school seniors
After the pre-session, I “friend request” them on Facebook and “follow” them on Twitter and Instagram. Sometimes I tweet about how excited I am to work with them. Usually the students “retweet” my tweets (free advertising). If you’re a high school senior photographer, you’ve got to get in the habit of using Twitter.
6. The photo shoot
During the session, I continue to make them feel as comfortable as possible with small talk. Since I already know their hobbies, I’ll ask more about them. For example, if a student is a soccer player, I’ll ask how her games are going, how their team is doing this year, if she plans to play in college, etc. I try to continue the conversation while shooting to help them be as relaxed and as natural as possible. I’ll suggest poses and make jokes and we usually laugh and have a good time.
7. After the session
After the session, I tell them how much I enjoyed working with them and that I can’t wait to show them their pictures. Within a few days I try to post a “teaser” on Facebook and Instagram to get them excited about their pictures. I text them to tell them that I’ve posted a teaser for them and that I hope they like it. They usually respond with enthusiasm and say they love it and that they can’t wait to see more.
8. In person ordering
When they come back for their viewing and ordering session about two weeks later, I set out snacks and drinks. I have music playing (music I know they like, because I know them pretty well now) and sample products set out.
(Let me pause for a second here and say that I know some people don’t have a studio or a home they can open up to their clients for viewing and ordering. But at the very least, I recommend doing in-person ordering at a coffee shop or even at the client’s home. In person ordering will multiply your sales tremendously – but we’ll talk more about that in another post.)
Once they’ve narrowed down their photos and decided on an order, I let them know that I will deliver the prints when they are ready. In the meantime, I try to do a blog post of their session using their favorite pictures and share it on social media sites so that they can show their friends (I say “try” because sometimes I get really behind on blogging).
When the prints come in, I text or e-mail them to arrange a time for delivery. After delivery, I write a thank-you note and try to mail it within a couple of days along with some kind of gift card. Sometimes I try get a gift card that I know they will like based on their interests, but if I can’t think of anything Starbucks is my default.
10. Relate to your customers to stand out
Relating to clients and giving them a memorable experience is key in order to offer a premium service and to stand out above your competition. The most important thing to remember is that high school students are very social and most of them interact using social media and technology daily. In general, they prefer text messages and e-mails to phone calls. Get to know each client and be willing to be flexible on how you interact and communicate based on their needs and preferences.
The above information is just an example of things that I do. I encourage you to come up with your own ideas on how to better relate to your clients. If you have any suggestions that I didn’t mention, feel free to talk about those in the comments section!
Up next: Specializing within the Senior Market
All images in this post were edited using MCP Enlighten Presets for Lightroom 4
About the Author: Ann Bennett is the owner of Ann Bennett Photography in Tulsa, OK. She specializes in high school senior pictures and lifestyle family photography. For more information about Ann, visit her website or Facebook page.
9 Surefire Tips to Pricing Photography Packages that Sell
Whether you are just starting a photography business or are transitioning from selling digital files to tangible goods, we’ll be teaching you all about “packages.” Learn how to determine what products to include, how to price your packages, how many packages to create, and other details to consider when creating packages. When making the switch from a providing only digital copies of images to a full service studio, the most daunting task is how to construct packages. If you are in this position, you may never have sold prints let alone known how to price them.
1. Keep your Cost of Goods Below 20-25%
The first tip I learned when creating your packages is to make sure you keep your cost of goods below 20-25%. Cost of goods is what you as the photographer pay for the product. This prevents you from spending too much on the actual product for the client and allows you to pay yourself and reinvest in your business. For example, if I have a package and it includes $30 worth of prints or products, this is my cost, and then the package would have to sell for a minimum of $150. Now you can include your packaging cost and credit card fees in your cost of goods if you wish and then the price of the package would need to go up to keep your cost of goods below 20%.
2. Include Credit Card and Processing Fees in Your Cost of Doing Business
Include credit card fees in your cost of doing business. When determining your cost of goods I like to include the processing fees associated with using credit cards in my cost of goods. The reason I do this is because I do not want to deter clients from spending more money with my studio. Lets say a client is interested in purchasing your top or middle packages and they want to pay by card and then you state that there is a fee on their purchase to use credit cards this may deter them from purchasing a higher package and buy the package with which they can pay cash for at that given moment. In this day and age credit cards are more widely used than cash so make sure you accommodate your clients’ needs and make the buying process run more smoothly by accepting credit cards and calculate the cost in your cost of goods or cost of doing business.
3. Determine How Many Packages to Create
Decide how many packages to create. When constructing my packages I did a lot of research on how many packages to create. I ended up sticking with four packages as I read that clients are then forced to make a choice between a top or bottom package. Either one of the top two or one of the two bottom packages while still giving them a choice. I read that when you give a client four choices your sales will most likely look like this:
Package A 10% buy
Package B 40% buy
Package C 40% buy
Package D 10% buy
Now this may hold true for some and maybe it was the fact that I just included too many items in my packages but I found 4 packages to be super confusing to my clients. My clients spent so much time bouncing between the differences in packages despite me walking them through it and showing them the product in person. They also spent much time trying to figure out which product was in available in one package that wasn’t available in the other as well as comparing prices between the four packages and my a la carte menu. The frustration often set in and they would often just purchase my bottom package. I have since switched from four packages to three. My logic behind this is this; think about any restaurant or coffee shop you go to, how many sizes do they offer and which one do you most often buy? The most common answer is the middle package, as we feel most comfortable and content with purchasing in the middle. We don’t feel like we paid too much or got too little.
4. List your Packages in Descending Order
Ordering of the packages is also extremely important. You want to list your highest priced package first and then list the rest in descending order. The reason for this is because clients have an easier time going down in price than going up in price.
5. Keep Your Bottom Package Simple and Basic
Keep the bottom package simple and basic. I originally had mini accordions, an 11×14 print mounted on styrene, and a few smaller prints in my bottom package. I since have switched the package to only contain simple prints sized at 8×10 or smaller. I found that clients love those mini accordions and with it holding several images and having an 11×14 they were content with the bottom package. The more basic your bottom package the more appealing the others will seem.
6. Have Pull Through Items
Have pull through items. Pull through items are items available in one package that are not available in another to make the higher package more appealing and to draw clients to want to purchase that package. Pull through items are things like albums, digital files, prints mounted on styrene, canvases, or any item you know clients love and want. Another reason I pulled the mini accordions out of my bottom package is to use it as a pull through item and have more incentive for clients to purchase my middle package. My pull through items for my bottom package to my middle package is the thin wrap, mini accordions, dvd slideshow, and the 5 digital negatives. It is not necessary to have this many pull through items one or two should do just fine. If you have four photography packages rather than three one or two pull through items should be sufficient and help prevent confusion between the differences in packages.
7. Keep the Choices Minimal
Just because your printing company offers a product does not mean you have to carry it. Choose a few items that you would like to carry in addition to prints and offer those to your clients. Too many choices can confuse and frustrate clients. You do not need to offer every finish and size in prints choose your favorites and offer those to clients. You also want to only offer items that you know you can upsell enough to keep your cost of goods below 20-25%. For example, I love the different shaped frames offered by Organic Bloom and other companies but I do not offer them to my clients because I do not yet feel I have the right clientele to sell these to or that I would be able to sell them at a high enough mark up to make money off of them. Especially if you are just switching from being a shoot and burner to a full service studio you want to give yourself and opportunity to get familiar with your products so keep it simple.
8. If It’s In Your Photography Packages, Make Sure It’s In the A La Carte Menu
Whatever is in your packages should be in your a la carte menu too. The reason you want to have your items in your packages listed in the a la carte menu is so clients can compare the prices in you’re a la carte menu to your packages so they can know they are getting a better deal when purchasing your packages. Your a la carte pricing should also be relatively higher than the pricing in your packages so your clients are not compelled to order single items off of the a la carte menu because they shouldn’t be cheaper. It is also good to have the value of the package listed next to the price. For example, say my bottom package is $600 I then want to have the price of what it would cost to get everything in the package from the a la carte menu listed next to it. This saves the time of clients trying to add up what it would cost to get a single item a la carte compared to the package pricing.
Ex: Package D $600 ($850 value) the value is the price of the items at a la carte prices
9. List Prices by x99 Instead of x00
Instead of listing your prices at the even numbers such as $600 or $650 list is as $599. Mentally we are more attracted to the $599 price than the $600. Although it is only a dollar difference the price seems a lot lower because it begins with that five rather than the six.
Packages Before Changes
Packages After Changes
This post was written by Taren Terrill. Taren is a mother, full-time student, military wife, and photographer. She specializes in newborn portraiture and has been successful in running her studio while traveling the world. She has been trained by leading newborn photographers in the industry and currently provides photography tips to fellow photographers through guest blogging and q&a’s on her site. She has loved photography since she was a little girl but didn’t decide to pursue her dream until after her son was born. He inspired her to be everything she has ever wanted to be. Check out her work here or connect with her on Facebook here.