The Long Con

confidenceThis 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 believe it is a con – and we should just give the clients all of the pictures.


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 con comes from – because many people have heard of it, someone going to the photographer – paying something for the session, and then ended up with a sticker chock when they got 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.

And I do not think (in most cases) the photographers in those cases intended to con the client – they where 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

Ind the very beginning of my IPS journey, I too fumbled and did a discounted session and got lots of clients! I did on my webpage write “no portraits included, prints can be bought from xx$”  (and added a link to the complete pricelist) … 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 where expected to spend more after the session. They thought all pictures where 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 pricelist – and then they where “Oh, I can get five portraits for xxx$ (5 times your cheapest print) … so they expect to spend xxx$ – when in reality they will often have to add a zero to that too get what they really want.

So I ended up with some people feeling conned, because they expected everything too be included (because they didn’t read), and other people feeling conned because they had too invest a lot more than they expected to get what they wanted (because they didn’t know what they wanted) … and all in all: low sales – and unhappy clients.

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 now EXACTLY what in included in their price – and they know what to expect to invest, what most clients 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!

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 is a service from beginning to end, you help them 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 to get their dreams come true. 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 – their is no help on 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 them selves… 90+% of all of those gorgeous portraits would never make it of the disc! Is that really what you want from your clients (or your artwork)?

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