Before we get started, there are a few disclaimers I need to share with you about this method.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This next section is the step-by-step instructions on using ShootProof.
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:
Next, you'll see this popup asking if you want to use your watermark on your images as they're choosing/proofing their album.
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.
Your photos will then process. You'll see a very similar screen as you see above. You'll do two things here.
I do a couple of things in this step:
Moving on to pricing:
This step is combined with two degrees (visually) to make it easier to understand.
Once you get here, there are four steps:
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.
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.
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.
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.
*click on the image above for the full-res version*
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:
To make things even easier - we have started to make our clients' discount codes and passwords to their gallery. 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.
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.
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.
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.
This is why I state at the beginning of this article... this method only works for specific niches.
Even for niches that it should work for - it won't benefit you to use them if certain conditions aren't met.
An example of this is Real Estate Photography, and you're outsourcing your editing. Seeing as you're [most likely] paying per image - if your client doesn't purchase any extra photos, it becomes a financial loss. Over time - that loss can amount to a significant amount.
The same can be said about any other niche where you're editing the images. The only difference now is that it doesn't become a financial loss - it becomes a loss of your time and effort.
This is something you have to deal with. There isn't any getting around it. You aren't making anyone buy extra photos. But, you're giving them the option to. Regardless if they purchase - you've still put the extra time and effort into providing more images for them to purchase.
If this is something you can deal with - great. If not (or you aren't sure), it's best that you don't start.
With this in mind, let's look at some numbers that we pulled from our ShootProof account.
Using the same image pulled from the previous section:
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!
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 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@example.com. I will get back to you as soon as possible!
Also, feel free to check out our other informative articles, including:
Until next time, be safe out there in this crazy world - and keep learning and creating!