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Selling Seniors....

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  • Selling Seniors....

    A response came up in the "Free" section regarding "Packages" for seniors. Someone thought that there were few here that actually did this. So I propose this poll.
    Sitting fee, plus A la carte
    Sitting fee, plus minimum purchase from A la CArte
    Sitting fee, plus package print options
    Multiple package options that include the sitting
    None of the above
    I have a better idea - see post below

  • #2
    I have 4 "packages", all including a sitting fee and a minimum purchase from an ala carte price list. The difference is in the length of time, and the total amount.


    • #3
      I charge a session fee that is essentially my profit. Then they order prints A La Carte at a price not too much higher than my actual costs, which helps pay for all of the related expenses for the session. I do this for a number of reasons: 1) I'm the only one around who does it this way, which makes me stand out; 2) It discourages copying, since for just a little more they can get a quality print; 3) I am putting a value on my time, experience, expertise and equipment; 4) They don't feel like they are getting overcharged on print prices. This is the way I do things and it has been working. Most local photographers will charge a session or sitting fee and then discount it to get customers in the door, knowing that they are going to make their real money on prints anyway. The problem I have with this is that most people know about what a print costs but also agree that your time and expertise are valuable. My way seems to be more honest and upfront to them. It would be like hiring a plumber of mechanic that offers to reduce his hourly rate to almost nothing to get you as a customer and then increases the price of parts to make up for it. Sure, it works out about the same in the end but doesn't seem quite as fair to the person paying $200 for a piice of pipe needed to fix their sink. With the increase in quality home scanners and printers and the copying stations springing up everywhere, it will only be a matter of time before almsot everyone has to go with a similar system. A minimum order is another way of getting around it but will still encourage copying if they want more prints for a relative they forgot about, especially if you keep your print prices too high. The basic thing with free aor discounted session fees, which can be a good selling point, is that it discounts the value of you, which is what you are really selling.


      • #4
        Shawn, I thought I pretty well had this part of Seniors under control but you have me rethinking the way I charge....

        Session fee (Reservation Fee)....Studio contemporary session....1 hour with up to 5 changes on up to 3 backgrounds..... $175

        1) (Current prices) Poses: $20 each 8x10 & smaller $35 each

        set of wallets $35

        Now, if I put your thinking into play my prices would be:
        A B
        2) Session fee: 175 Poses: $50 to 60 each 8x10 & smaller: $15 each.

        Here's a sample order: 12 poses and 15 prints:
        1) 175 + 240 + 525 = $ 940

        2A) 175 + 600 + 225 = $1000

        2B) 175 + 720 + 225 = $1120

        I like the way you think!!!! If I actually charge for what I do......And selling it would be really easy.....they would buy more prints and if they limited anything it would be the number of poses....which would actually save me time and be able to shoot more seniors. I'm gonna sleep on this but I think it could work.

        Let me know what you think 4umites! here or call 1-800-lactose.......

        Oh, and Shawn....for the get some Karma.....right back attcha, Buddy!!!!


        • #5
          I have found that my average has gone up a little since I have been doing this but my profit is even higher. The cheap prints seems to build some excitement and many clients tend to ask for more poses or time so they can take advantage of the low print prices. And when there is a little time left at the end of a session, I will allow as many clothing changes as they can squeeze in so we can get a few more shots. They when they look at the previews, they usually end up wanting some of those, which means they then end up paying for that extra time I spent initially. Like I said, it may not work for everyone but it works for me and I'm happy.


          • #6
            Let's not get carried away with handing out the karma - especially since I messed up your quote in another thread. Sometimes my brain works faster than my typing fingers. And I already found four typos after rereading this short post! I think it's time to go to bed.


            • #7
              Wowsie, Rick you get that much for a session fee? In my area I'm fighting cheap session fees everywhere. I was at $50 for my custom studio session fee with up to 4 outfits, different background on each, which sometimes takes 2 hours with changing backgrounds and lighting in my small studio. I feel like I'm giving them way too much of me though, just raised that to $75, but that's still much less than you. My 8x10's are $35 including retouching, looks like you are charging an additional $20 per pose to cover the retouching?


              • #8
                I usually give them half off as a special but collect it up front.....that's only at the very beginning of the season......after that thread over in the Expert area, I'm rethinking the whole session fee thing anyway.....however, if I do away with the session, there is no way I could lowre the print prices too....that would ruin the whole averages are running 1100 per senior....not including the session fees.....

                I have large fees but give them can look at that on my web site go to the graduate section and look at the sessions.....only have 3 and no one ever books the little one.....Also you may want to look at Kirk's, I don't think he has session fees just minimums......

                It's amazing how many theories there are about this one subject.....


                • #9
                  Sorry, Colleen....I didn't answer your last question....yes, that's what it's for and that's why I think it ought to go up.....they get the artist himself!....that should be worth something.....

                  And, I put those prices where I did to weed out all but the ones that see the value in my work!....I don't give them anything that looks like anyone else in the area.....If they see the value, they'll pay the price.......


                  • #10
                    Hey all..... here's an idea that just came to me thinking about this.....

                    find out what others are giving in their sessions.....if it's the chain studios...Lifetouch, etc. the kids only get a couple of can ask a couple of kids to bring their proofs in for you to look at....(don't copy them).....just do some poses just like them of your senior.....then, if you haven't done your regular session, do one....just like you usually do....

                    Now, in photoshop, make a composite/contact sheet of session A and one of put them on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet for comparison......I will try to do one of these tomorrow.....

                    But, under theirs you put "Their's" Under yours you put "Ours"

                    at the bottom you put: "Any Questions?"

                    This will show the difference and let the kids see the value of a higher session fee!......

                    The other thing you can do is get some client testimonials about the higher session fees and put them in your marketing pieces....address the objection before it comes up!

                    "I thought the session fees were pretty high, but knew it would be worth it to get the look I wanted -- (or to get stuff that didn't look like anyone else)." CK, XYHS You get the idea......

                    Just a couple of ideas.....


                    • #11
                      Good idea, Rick. I was just looking at some proofs that a contract photographer did and was wondering how I could use them to my advantage.


                      • #12
                        I am charging lower on the print prices than I was before. The reason why is I am no longer forcing people to buy retouched images. Retouching is all extra. Everything is extra. That way people get what they pay for and don't get sticker shock. Also I charge $20 for each pose change. Lets face it, the value is not in the prints but the poses. The prints can be copied so I try to maximize what I make off each one of them. I hate when people come in and order 1 5x7 of each pose and you know they are going to copy them. I could charge them alot more for the 5x7 but then 1 will be too high. I also will give them a discount on the pose changes once they reach a certain amount. That way a reward the spenders and not the scanners. I think the whole idea of charging a high price on prints to compensate for scanners is flawed. Charge for the image not the print.


                        • #13
                          For children and families sessions are one thing but for seniors I like the way some photographers have different types of sessions. Why charge the cap and gown only the same as someone who wants the works. Let them pay for what they want.


                          • #14
                            Brandon, not to disagree, but that may be their face on the print that goes out your door, but it's your name on the print.....unretouched images don't do your work justice and won't leave as good an impression as one that's had your handiwork applied....... IMHO......


                            • #15
                              Hey, gang, finally got a chance to look at the web site for the guy down the street that does a ton of seniors......some of his images look like he pulled the Bronco up to the camera room window and turned the brights on! Yes -- that bad.....I won't copy his stuff.....but I will shoot a couple with just a flash on camera and 125 sec to do the comparison....also, when you add it up, his sessions are higher than mine to get the Ultimate! Woo Hoo!!!

                              This is gonna be sooooo easy!!!!! Oh, and the stuff on his site looks like nothing has been wonder he can offer the prices he does......