How To Make More Money With Your Photos Using ShootProof
October 25, 2021
Items purchased through links help us. By doing so, we make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn More.
When running a business, there isn't much else more important than maximizing your time and efforts while offering your clients the best experience possible.
Giving your clients a great experience is one thing (very important) - but learning how to increase profits off of every shoot can be incredibly tricky.
That's why we have created this article for you. We will touch on a few aspects of why this method works - along with step-by-step instructions on how to execute it exactly how we do. We will finish with examples of the emails we send our clients along with other tips to make your clients experience as smooth as possible.
By the end of this article - you'll learn exactly how you can make 30% or more from each photoshoot using ShootProof, while not pressuring your clients, sounding 'salesy', or putting in that much more work.
Before we get started, there are a few disclaimers I need to share with you about this method.
We are not affiliated or partnered with ShootProof in any way. We have created this post with its sole purpose being to help others.
This method can work for any niche that involves the delivery of multiple images to a client.
The prices we set (and you'll see in the examples) and the overall 'success of this method is based on our location and brand. You could very well charge more and be more successful or not. Adjust various factors (pricing) within the method according to your location and clientele.
Photography that doesn't involve clients or photo delivery does notbenefit from this method (landscapes, abstracts, etc.)
We've compared 2018 and 2019 numbers to 2021 with a 30% overall increase in net profit. Unfortunately, we did not reach 2020 because of the COVID19 pandemic.
We will continue to update this article as we tweak our method and changes to ShootProof are made.
Our ShootProof Method (In A Nutshell)
For quite some time, I had wondered if there was a service that allowed you to upload images to a gallery, create a subdomain of that gallery (so that my business URL was visible), protect the gallery by hiding it and password protecting it... all while allowing my client to choose the photos they wanted.
We all have known about proofing since the dawn of photography and the internet - but I hadn't found a service that allowed my clients to choose their photos, offer a flat rate discount code, and process payments all in the same program/screen.
That's when I stumbled across ShootProof and was able to tweak it a bit to work exactly how I wanted.
The method is pretty simple. It involves:
Taking the number of photos your client ordered into account...
Edit double (or more) images than they ordered
Upload all edited photos to ShootProof
Set the price you deem fit for each photo
Create a discount code that equates to the amount of photos they ordered
Any photos [they purchase] above the amount they originally ordered (in their package) - Is more money in your pocket and more photos for your client
It's a win-win for both you as the photographer and them as a client.
I'll walk you step-by-step through the entire process of setting up a gallery the correct way and what I do/say when sending them their delivery email.
But first, let's talk about the psychological aspect of how this method works and why it will outsell your packages almost every time.
A Short Overview Of ShootProof (For Those Who Don't Know Already)
Simply put - ShootProof is a photo hosting/delivery service that allows you to set various parameters around the delivery of those photos.
It uses the 'number of hosted photos' as its pricing model (instead of how large the files are).
You can upload and delete galleries as often as you want - as long as you don't go over the number of photos within your plan.
ShootProof can process all credit card payments with payouts set at your discretion. These are ACH/direct payment/direct deposit payouts.
The biggest plus to ShootProof (and unlike other similar companies), they do not take a cut on your sales/commissions. These are three areas that they charge fees:
ShootProof Pay: There's a 2.9% +$.30 fee for every transaction. It's safe to say that the $.30 is a credit card fee. This is the standard method of payment for anything digital through ShootProof (example above). The 2.9% covers the cost of running their service (similar to the same fees you see when using Square or Stripe in person).
Archive: This is where you can archive galleries and albums. There is a fee for this.
Processing: When selling prints - there is a fee for this service.
You can find out more information about ShootProof Pay here and the other fees here.
With other companies charging large percentages (sometimes as high as 20%) for each of your sales (with no monthly membership costs) - ShootProofs method of a monthly/yearly plan along with a static 2.9% +$.30 per transaction remains a much better option.
These 'free' sites/companies sound great since you don't have to pay for hosting your clients' images - but as you grow to scale - these hefty percentage fees for those companies quickly add up.
Our Beliefs On Why This Method Works Vs Selling A Package With More Photos
While these beliefs are our own after reviewing data (from both new and returning clients) and hours of discussion about our ideal clients - there is truth to it regardless of how you look at it.
First, let me ask you why someone would purchase a package from you, to begin with.
They've seen your work or heard about you from someone, am I right? This could be through social media, a google search, family member, friend, previous client, whatever the case, they found you and are reaching out for your services.
Now, I'm assuming your pricing is based on 'packages.' Each package is structured with times, locations, and the number of photos based on its price (if not, don't worry, we have a strategy you can use and will discuss it later on in the article).
So, out of all of the sessions you have booked - how many of them purchased your package with the most photos included? 20%? Lower?... 10%? - it may even be 0.
Why do you think that is? Money? Maybe they don't value your work and believe that it's worth that much. But they've seen your work and heard about you through word of mouth...right?
Well, the latter may be true - but the former (money only) is hardly ever the case.
The Reason Your Clients Aren't Spending More On Your Services Upfront.
After researching our ideal client, we found that there are two reasons why they purchase a lower-tiered package instead of the highest regardless of the person.
While the client has seen your work - they haven't seen themselves in your career. Whether you or the client knows it - they don't entirely trust you. They love what they have seen, but they don't know if you can make them look the same way they've seen your photos (or whatever the subject, maybe). So they're giving you a shot by purchasing a package. This gets them in the door to try you out.
The most common reason (from what we've seen) is your client doesn't know how many photos are the 'right amount. They don't want to overpay for photos they won't 'need.' They work hard for their money; they don't want to waste it.
The last reason (and the first to an extent) is where this method thrives - and is the very reason why this method will win over straight packages every time.
Once your client sees your work, there isn't any guessing or wondering - the final edited images are there. At that point, if they value them, they won't have a problem paying extra for them.
Don't be fooled by thinking (or hearing) someone doesn't have the money for something. Nine times out of ten, if they want something bad enough they will find the money to purchase it.
This isn't the case for everyone. There are those who legitimately can't afford any more than they paid for, and that's completely fine.
That leads us to the other benefit - the benefits to the clients themselves.
The Client Benefits Greatly Too!
Think about it - you're ultimately giving your clients the power of choice.
They aren't paying you for 10 images and you send them 10. They're paying your for 10 and you're sending them 20 or even 30 - and they have the power to choose the ones they like best.
They will really appreciate this. All the while, you have the potential to make more money while making a customer happier than they would have been if you hadn't offered them this.
I would like to explain this in detail at the end of my sessions. I am emphasizing that they have the power to choose and that it's better than me sending them pictures that I think are the best. No, you can select the ones you like most.
They tell us they appreciate it and that they've never been able to do that before, which is fantastic.
It benefits the ones who can't afford extra too because, while they may not be able to afford them now, they will choose the amount they paid for and come back at a later date to purchase the rest (we will get to how long you should host your client's photos later in the article).
This is an awesome method all the way around.
Step-By-Step Instructions Using ShootProof
This next section is the step-by-step instructions on using ShootProof.
These instructions start after you have signed up, paid for a membership ($10 a month), and input all of your banking and business info.
This is as if you were sending your first ShootProof gallery to your client.
There are screenshots of each step with 16 steps total.
If you're reading text - the image abovethe text is the visual step for it.
Let's get started.
After you have signed up and taken care of the setup process - the first thing you'll see is your dashboard. It's empty right now - but after a few sales, it'll start to populate with useful data.
To upload your first gallery, start by:
Hovering over photos and clicking galleries (1)
Then in the upper right corner click New Gallery (2)
You'll then choose the photos you want to upload for your client (this step is not included visually as it's just picking photos).
Next, you'll see this popup asking if you want to use your watermark on your images as they're choosing/proofing their album.
Always toggle this on. (unless you're giving your images to someone for free). If you haven't uploaded your watermark you can do so in this step.
This is critical to prevent theft. While they're not able to right-click an image and save it - they can take a screenshot and save that - alleviating all need to pay for anything else.
Set the custom URL for their gallery (if you're able to set up your subdomain with your hosting/through DNS records). If you're not sure if you can (or don't know how) - here are instructions you can follow. It's pretty straightforward. This will allow your actual domain name to show instead of ShootProof. It only strengthens your brand - and many clients won't even know they're using a third-party service. (1)
After that, click on Access and Privacy (2)
I do a couple of things in this step:
Change the gallery from public to private (1)
I then toggle their email being required - then set the password they will use to access their gallery. Keep this handy - you will need to provide them with this information upon delivery, of course. (2)
You're now done with this section. You can navigate back to the galleries page (the back arrow next to your gallery title in the upper right of the page)
Moving on to pricing:
Hover over Commerce and click on Pricing. This area will allow you to create a price sheet, set the price of each photo and the whole album, along with creating a discount code for your client.
From this screen click on Create Price Sheet in the upper right area of the page.
Next, don't worry about the other options just yet - focus and click on the Blank Price Sheet for now. Later on you'll be able to duplicate various price sheets to make it easier and faster to price and deliver galleries.
This step is combined with two degrees (visually) to make it easier to understand.
If you look at step 1 and step 2 - they are separate windows. I have combined them into the same image - but they will be one popup after another. It will not look like this when you do it yourself.
The first is to choose any of the printing labs you see on the screen. This won't matter to us since we are offering digital delivery only. But this option can be changed in the future if you decide you want to sell prints.
The next step is to name the price sheet. I usually put the client's name/last name,/company name here.
Once you get here, there are four steps:
The first is to click on digitals on the left of the page.
Once there, toggle Individual images and the entire gallery.
Step three is to move to the right and set the price of each photo and the entire album. This is where you'll have to use your judgment on this. We charge $15-$25 per additional image, depending on the client and the type of work. Yours could be more or less - it's entirely up to you and what your current and future clientele feel your images are worth. Keep this number handy - you will need it in a couple of steps.As for the price of the entire album - I knock off 35% of all images after the amount they already paid for. This is also entirely up to you.
The final step is to click on discounts near the top of the page. This is where we will add the discount code we've talked about.
On this screen, you'll want to click the option at the very bottom. This allows you to create a code that gives the client a flat rate dollar amount discount, regardless of any other parameters.
Set the promo code. This is the code your client will use to absorb their discount. Keep this handy - you'll need this in your delivery email as well.
Then, set the quantity/number of uses amount (I usually set it to 1)
Lastly, click Next in the upper right of the popup window
This part is essential. Remember when I was saying you needed to figure out how much each of your images would cost? This is where it matters.
You'll now calculate how much your clients have already paid for their photos. Example: If they paid for 5 (in the package they already purchased) - and you set each image at $15 each - their discount amount would be $75 (as in the example above). 5x$15 = $75. When they add the photos they like to their cart - the discount code will deduct $75 off of the invoice - anything left over they have to pay with a card (this is where you profit).
Once you have that, click Save.
Then - navigate back to the main Price Sheet Page (hitting the back arrow on the upper left of the page).
You'll now assign this price sheet to the gallery you created. Do this by clicking the Assign to Gallery button on the upper right of the page.
This is a very crucial step. Out of all of the issues I've had with this method - this was the reason for 90% of them. Forgetting this step will not allow your client to add their photos to their cart (picking or purchasing them). Forgetting this breaks the entire method/system. You'll then get an email or message from your client wondering what's wrong, how to fix it, basically confused... Do Not Forget This Step.
The final step is this popup window where you assign the price sheet to your client's gallery.
It's usually the one at the very top.
You Now Have The Gallery Created And Need To Deliver It To Them!
Now that you have all of the technical stuff out of the way - you can now deliver the gallery to your client.
Let's go over what you'll need to include in the email - along with some suggestions and a couple of examples to help you ensure that the process is as smooth as possible for your client.
Information Your Email Must Have
If you recall - throughout the steps, I recommended that you retain or write down different stages or information you'll need to have when you deliver them to the client.
These are the different pieces of information that you must deliver to the client to access, choose, and receive their images.
The custom URL you created (4th step/image)
The gallery password (5th step/image)
The discount code (12th step/image)
If your email contained that and nothing more - technically, they would have all they need. But, you don't want to do that - you want to give them instructions on how to navigate, access, choose, and receive their images, right?
Let's discuss that now.
Our Email Template (Feel Free To Use It Yourself, Tweaking It Where You Need To)
If you look at the image of the email we sent one of our clients - you'll notice that it's very detailed.
The good thing is that it's a template - there are only a few things for each email.
The changes that are made include:
Introduction/thank you paragraph at the beginning of the email
The image values (number of images/discount code values)
Conclusion/Thanking them again
To make things even easier - we have started to make our clients' discount codes and passwords to their gallery, the same. This alleviates the chance of mixing them up or getting them wrong altogether.
Feel free to 'steal' or tweak the vocabulary to work for yourself.
You'll also notice that I included two videos in the email. One is for accessing their gallery on a desktop - the other is for mobile.
I'll include those in the next section.
The Videos That We Include
I will stack the two videos on top of each other below. The one on top will be the desktop version - the bottom one will be for mobile.
It's no more than walking your client through the process of obtaining their images.
This will also help you as the photographer - you'll understand the steps involved. You'll be able to walk your clients through issues they aren't having - and you'll also pick up on problems that you may have caused during the uploading/publishing process.
Be aware that not all clients will watch your videos. For those that do - you'll have ones that still can't grasp the process. Be extra patient with these clients. It's normal. 1/10 clients can't seem to grasp the process - we now expect it from time to time.
The Negatives To This Method
As much as I praise this method - nothing is perfect. This method is no different. I would like to share two negatives to this method - this is compared to just sending them a download link or attaching them in an email.
Some Clients Will Never Grasp The Process
As much of a benefit you (and other clients) see this method being, some clients will find it a nightmare.
We haven't figured out the 'type' of person this is - but they can't wrap their head around the process of accessing, picking, and obtaining their photos.
No matter how detailed you are in your instructions or that you've included step-by-step videos - they still won't understand it.
You then need to work with them to get them their photos the way they request.
Then, you'll also have the type that can't figure it out - but never ask you for help. You'll notice this in the backend of ShootProof. It will show that they viewed the album but only 'favorited' photos but never actually downloaded them.
I reach out to these folks as much as I can - ultimately sending them to their email.
You might find your clients have used your images on their social media from time to time - with the GIANT watermark across it. They downloaded them without going through the process. I reach out to them as well - ultimately sending them their photos through email or social media.
You're Taking A Risk By Using This Method
Using the same image pulled from the previous section:
Again, we pulled 15 consecutive sessions in a 1-month timeframe.
Out of 15 sessions - 8 of them did not purchase extra photos
That leaves seven that did - resulting in a 47% success rate.
Out of that 47%, we made an additional $625
This method adds (on average) 1 hour of additional editing/culling time - totaling 15 hours of extra work for these 15 clients.
Dividing the amount we made ($625) to the additional time spent (15 hours) equates to an additional $41.67 per hour.
Again, these are averages. But we've been able to use these numbers to predict the following months - and they only change if we change the price of each image. So $15 per image is the sweet spot for our market.
So, as you can see - yes, you take a risk. Some will purchase more - and others won't. But, if you go into it with mindset, this can be a great avenue to make additional income off of the images you've already taken. Your work and how much they love it will speak for themselves!
When We Say 30%...
We're using this number as a yearly average.
You can easily make double or triple the cost of the initial session. Your $150 20 minutes 5 photo session can quickly turn into a $600 20 minute session when it's all said and done (we've had sessions like this and even more)
When you use the ShootProof method and perfect it to work for you - there's no reason you can't expect to make 30% more year over year. You made $10,000 last year from your photography business - there's no reason you shouldn't make $13,000 this year using it. $50,000? You're looking at $65,000 this year. $100,000? - You're looking at $130,000... but if you're making six figures from your business... you've tried or known of this method already...
We made an additional 33% from this method from January 1st through September 30th. This may equate to be much higher within the next month, with Day of the Dead and Christmas/New Years' photos right around the corner.
That About Does It For This One!
That was a long one, yeah? But was it worth it?! Well, if it helped you in any way, it was worth it for me.
You now know our entire ShootProof delivery method and how we've been able to maximize every session.
You know the method, how it works, your client's mindset, the step-by-step process, the emails and videos we send, along with the negatives and things to look out for.
If there is anything you can think of or questions, concerns, or requests - drop me a line at [email protected] I will get back to you as soon as possible!
Also, feel free to check out our other informative articles, including: