Sunday, September 21, 2008

Growing Pains: Portrait Sales During Event A Big Hit

As I mentioned earlier, Jason and I came up with this plan to try to make some additional print sales from our last gig at Crystal and Jaime's wedding reception. You guys already know I hate taking "grip and grin photos" where everyone stands together, puts on a smile and says "CHEESE!" But I know full well that those are the kinds of shots everyone seems to want! So I asked Jason if he could set up an impromptu portrait session with some constant hot lights during the reception, giving people the option to go take single or group shots while I shot candids and reception highlights.

I think our first time doing this was a great success! Jason made about $150 in print sales that very night and would have made more if we would have had a printer on hand. He was able to quickly edit photos on his laptop with Lightroom, show the customers what the images looked like and take orders for print sizes all during the same event. I think having this service available gave the added dimension I was hoping for, and created the possibility of even more clients for us in the future. While I walked around the reception, I made sure I told everyone Jason was on hand to take portraits, and soon people started lining up. Because I couldn't afford to pay Jason for shooting this event, I told him he could have all the money from whatever print sales he made. He had his images edited and up on the web in three days, and I've already heard from clients at the reception say they couldn't wait for their photos to arrive in the mail. Nice job Jason!

One of the things we really need to do is get a compact printer to take with us on location. And Jason needs some quick and easy backdrops to set up because we can't always be certain the location will give us a good background to work with. I think I'm going to contribute a smaller gray backdrop that came with one of my lighting kits. It can be easily hung and taken down, plus the neutral color works well with just about all skin types and clothing colors.


Mark said...

You might want to consider some of those "flexible" backgrounds that fold up like reflectors. I've used a few and they aren't too bad and most look better than muslin after it's been in a bag a few days.

Something to consider instead of a printer - I used to use those at a few events for my former employer and they always fouled up if there was any real use. Take a page from how Pictage sets up their galleries.

When you know there's an event coming, create the gallery and password for it first thing. Then print up some wallet sizes that have the event name and date, URL to the gallery and password. Give that out to all the clients at the event. They don't have to go hunt for it, and you can password protect the gallery so people might feel better about it.

Sheba Wheeler said...

Great ideas! You are just filled with them today. I just finished watching a Wescott video where they explained how to work with those flexible backgrounds. Are they cheaper than the muslin?

And I love that idea of creating a gallery and password first off and then printing up wallet sizes to hand out to people at an event. Smugmug makes that very easy to do and I can print up the wallets at home and save more money.

Jason P. said...

Some good ideas Mark. Have to look into that. I had the images done and uploaded Tuesday night. I had them printed on Weds afternoon and mailed Thursday. Have not gotten any print requests from the bride/groom and immediate family. One of the ladies who wanted some prints, but didnt pay, never called me back either.

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