The Long Con

This is for Matt’s fiancée – she is wanting to get into photography – but she does not want to do IPS (In Person Sales) because she believes it is a con – and we should just give the clients all of the pictures.




Why do people believe that IPS is a con?

So as a long time con artists (I have, after all, been doing IPS for almost two years) – here is why Matt’s fiancée is wrong.

I know where the idea that this is a con comes from. Many people have heard of it: someone going to the photographer – paying something for the session, and then ending up with a sticker shock when they had to get their pictures.

They ended up with fewer portraits in a smaller size than they expected – and a bigger investment than they expected. It’s is a loose-loose situation.

However, I do not think (in most cases) the photographers in those cases intended to con the client.

They were just not getting the real idea of IPS / they have heard about selling prints, and are not sure on how to go about this.

I have also made this mistake.

In the very beginning of my IPS journey, I too fumbled with this issue. I did a discounted session and got lots of clients!

I did write on my webpage “no portraits included, prints can be bought from xx$”  (and added a link to the complete price list)

… and then thought “I did my part, I notified the client about the price and what they can buy and the price of it”

oh my god was I wrong! And here is why:

People do not read!

This is the most important part; PEOPLE.DO.NOT.READ – so most people just saw “discounted session” and booked.

They had no clue they were expected to spend more after the session. They thought all the pictures were included.

And sure, I did write it – so they had no reason to expect it – but people do not read! (Did you get it? People do not read!)

People do not know what they want!

So if they read the rest, they looked at the price list – and then they thought “Oh, I can get five portraits for xxx$ (5 times your cheapest print)”.

So they expect to spend xxx$. In reality, they will often have to add a zero to that to get what they really want.

So I ended up with some people feeling conned because they expected everything to be included (because they didn’t read).

And other people feeling conned because they had to invest a lot more than they expected to get what they really wanted (because they didn’t know what they wanted).

…and all in all: low sales – and unhappy clients.

Make sure to get guidance before starting with IPS.

Had I read (!) – I would have known this method was wrong. But I didn’t read, I just looked at the highlights and skipped the rest “I can figure this out on my own” … and no, I couldn’t. Had I read or looked for a mentor, I wouldn’t have made mistakes like this in the beginning.

Mandatory pre-sessions

So to get rid of the unhappy clients (and the low sales) I started out with optional pre-sessions – they are now mandatory!

You cannot book a session in my studio before all decision-makers have been in my studio. Talked to me, told me about their dreams and wishes for their portraits, and I have told them what to expect to invest.

The pre-sessions are complementary and no-strings-attached. Worst case scenario, they get a free cup of coffee.

100% of all of my clients today know EXACTLY what is included in their price – and they know what to expect to invest. Because I tell them, in person, face to face.

…because IPS (In Person Sales), starts way before they book you for their portraiture.

So this gives me happy clients and bigger sales!

It’s a service from beginning to end. 

To sum it up – for Matt’s fiancée (or anyone else how have made it this far, even though people do not read 😉 ).

It is not a con if you do it right.  It’s a service from beginning to end.

You help clients put words on what they really want. You help them figure out what is possible, and what kind of investment they would have to make. And then you help them get their dreams come true – and they love you for it!

Just giving them all their files is a huge disservice. There is no help in choosing the favourites, how to hang them on their walls, how to create a gorgeous album, which kind of print is best for their portraits. Or how to crop them to fit their wishes or wall collections. You are just leaving them to fend for themselves…

90+% of all of those gorgeous portraits would never make it out of the disc!

Is that really what you want from your clients (or your artwork)?

Small disclaimer:  English is not my first language – so here and there I do fudge up the grammar and spelling. Sorry!