Interviews With Pro Photographers

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Interviews With Pro Photographers

Brian Chapman: Sustainable Portrait Sale

Brian and Kaylene Chapman’s photography workshops are not focused on camera technique or post-production, rather on how to make money and enjoy it in an ethically and sustainable way. It is not about making sales at any expense.

“There are a lot of marketing techniques in our profession that I don’t agree with”, explained Brian. “I don’t agree with most of the affiliate marketing techniques where you use third parties to introduce you to new clients, basically because the system relies on us to upsell our clients to make it profitable. I believe this approach has hurt our profession.

“We have lots of clients who have been to other studios because they won a competition or were given a free voucher when they purchased a product. The actual shoot might have been an enjoyable experience, but it was soured by a pushy sales process and they felt burnt by the studio.

“I cringe when I hear of some of the sales techniques that are used, such as the closing techniques that drag a client back into the sales room, while others start with a really high price for the extra prints and after the client falls over the first time, it’s a matter of dropping the price down bit by bit until the client eventually capitulates and spends much more than they originally planned.

“This is short term thinking. It might get you the sale today, but there is little hope of a referral or repeat business. Even worse, it hurts my business because a lot of these clients won’t ever go to a professional photographer again.

“Naturally I want clients to spend well with me. I tell them up front that they are likely to spend a few thousand with me, but they don’t have to if they don’t want to. My job is to create such an amazing experience and product that they want to buy it. And people book because they appreciate our honesty.”

“If I sense someone can’t afford us or there is a conflict, I just back off and move onto the next client. It all averages out. We have had some really high sales, but I’d rather each client just spent the average and came back the following year. We want repeat customers because they will be happy to spend again.

Brian and Kaylene Chapman have run several photography businesses successfully for over a decade. They hold business intensive workshops targeted at studio owners, turning over between 30K-250K and need help taking it to the next level. See www.thebusinessofphotography.com.au for more details.

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