We’ve risen, we're shining, and now it’s time to get smart, professional pet photographers!
No, no need for the TV, Mr. Brooks and Mr. Henry. We’re talking about getting smart with your pet photography business.
We sat down with Nicole Begley of the esteemed professional pet photographer's international Facebook group, Hair of the Dog Academy, and she shared with us three top tips to get you more clients, more sales, and more money with your pet photography (and loving it!)
But before we get to that, and speaking of smart, don't miss out on our current offer specifically dedicated to you professional pet photographers to keep you inspired and your print product inventory up to date. Click the button below for your guide and special gift.
OK, now, with respect to the old adage (and, as our first dose of wisdom), time is money. Let’s get to it.
1) Build Value
Peer into any professional photography group, webinar, or workshop; of any genre, and you’ll soon hear the importance of ‘building a brand’. True, this is a key element to success as a pro photographer; however, a brand is nothing without value.
And, being stubborn about the value of your brand, reading your value is often half the battle when dealing with potential clientele. Nicole understands this:
“So here’s the challenge; it’s always been. You have potential clients coming to your website: they want information. We don’t want just to send them an email of information because there’s no value there, and [then] they price shop, and they’re like, ‘Why are you so expensive when Jane down the street has 50 images for 50 bucks?’
“And, even if you’re light years better, people don’t necessarily see that. They might like yours better, but they might think, ‘Oh, hers is fine. It’s good enough; they’re both digital files, and they’re both photographers. Surely they’re very equal.’
“So we need to find a way to build value.”
LESSON LEARNED – Make sure you build value through your brand. Don’t give everything away too easily too soon. Progress your potential clients through a process that ultimately leads to a phone call and/or in-person meeting, an encounter of real value. An encounter that, well, will….
2) Build a Connection
“People buy from people they know, like, and trust.”
What a gem of truth from Nicole. There isn’t a better way to articulate the necessity of building a connection to your audience and clientele with your business and brand.
Now how to do so?
It starts with something as simple as including your name and picture of yourself on your website.
“I’ve been to a lot of your websites, guys; there’s often not a picture of you. I have no idea who you are!
"Especially when you have a photography business, and it’s like, you know, ‘Fluffy Dog Photography,’ [yet] there’s no name about you. There’s no picture of you. Guy’s we’re a personal brand...we need to be on there.”
LESSON LEARNED – Put your name and picture on your website to build that personal connection with your clients and potential clients. We’ll take it a step further and suggest having a full-fledged ‘About’ page where you have a name and image and even a short bio.
But Nicole didn’t stop at just a website.
“We need to be on social media,” she continues, “...show your face every now and then. People want to make a connection with you.”
LESSON LEARNED – Not only is building a connection with your clientele base and potential clients essential for your business but also many will legitimately like to make a connection. This is a personal business; don’t be shy. Put yourself out there. And keep up with social media and where the new virtual ‘gathering places’ may be. Nicole believes this will only benefit you and your pet photography business in the long run.
BONUS TIP FROM NICOLE: Another way to help build connection and complement a phone call (NOT replace it) is to consider using video on your website, with the key being ‘getting them a little more to know you before you’re asking them to get on the phone. Because then they’ve bought into it a little more.”
3) Talk About Print
If you want people to buy it, you need to sell it.
This a mantra for any and all professional photographers who want to sell print products, especially if you want them to earn you big money (which they absolutely can).
You can’t expect much print product to move if you simply have it lying around your studio or ‘in your offer’. Instead, talk it about. A LOT. Early and often. Showcase it. Educate about it. Sell it. Put it front and center as the centerpiece of your business as it should be.
“I talk about wall art on my website,” Nicole states as she goes through her client process. “Like, every piece of my process is talking about how you wanna display your images? Most of my clients do this. I specialize in Wall Art. I have Wall Art for all décor from acrylic to framed prints to canvases...I’m always talking about that.
“And then once they book, we always have a pre-session consultation – where we’re talking about where we’re shooting when we’re shooting, what they’re creating again. This is a conversation that happens literally every time I talk to them, that says, ‘OK before we talked about wanting to do wall art for your living room, is that something you’re still thinking about? Have you given any thought to albums?’ I tell them you don’t have to make a final decision here, but having an idea of what we’re shooting for helps me create what you want in your session. So they’re happy to talk about that.
“Then we have the session. Then we have our sales session...and by that point, the sale’s been done. They know what they want.
“[But] at this point, we go through the images; ‘here are some of your favorites. Here’s what it would look like on your wall. Here are our different finishes. What finishes do you like? What size?’ It’s done. There are no sales.
“That’s my process, really. It’s just that the sales process starts at your first website visit.”
And for those concerned about Nicole’s heavy emphasis on wall art, fear not. She admits her “heart is on the wall,” but she also believes that “your pet photography clientele love the products you love.”
So whether you hope to sell wall art, albums, Folio Boxes, all the above, or some other print product, if you love it, work into your process, speak about it early, and often it should sell.
LESSON LEARNED – talk about your print products! Introduce them to your potential clients immediately. Then proceed to discuss them all throughout the process. Prepare your clients for print well before the formal ‘sales session’ so that by then, it’s anything but a stereotypical used-car type sales session.
Also, don’t forget to open the door to other possibilities for your clientele: ‘Have you thought about an album?’ Or, ‘You have a nice album. Have you thought about anything for your wall?’
If you want your clientele to buy print products, you need to sell it and, as Nicole does herself, start that sales process from the first website visit :)
(Consider it the ol' speak it into existence trick.)
Now that’s smart and making the most of your time.
Nicole Begley LIVE with nPhoto!
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Nicole Begley's Work and Hair of the Dog Academy
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/hairofthedogacademy/
Group Website: https://hairofthedogacademy.com/
Nicole's Photography Website: https://www.nicolebegleyphotography.com/
Nicole's Photography Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicolebegleypets/
Nicole's Photography Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicolebegleyphotography/