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Sell twice as many portraits

If I as a photographer can let my clients chose from more different portraits with more different backgrounds and styles, chances are big that they will buy more.

That has been my sales pitch the last few years, and it works. The more choices I give to my clients, the more portraits they will buy. And the best part is that they will pay me more money but at the same time they will be more satisfied.

Truth be told, if you are in need of a professional portrait, two or three will be a lot more useful than just one. In the long run, at least. Why buy just one carton of milk when you have walked all the way to the store? Especially if you could use two in a near future.

Two different portraits at the same time

This is from an assignment at a Swedish company I shot portraits for recently. They needed new business portraits of their management group, mostly for intranet and contact pages.

As I like to deliver more, I suggested that they might need publicity portraits as well. Something that is not just head and shoulders on white background, something that the press would want to use in an article if they would be featured there.

Lighting Setup for two different portraits

This was before I had the Profoto B10 (here is my review, by the way), so I packed two Profoto B1 and two A1, plus a couple of stands.

As we were indoors, I could use my most lightweight stands for this. The Profoto B1 needed something heavier, though.

Scouting their office, I found a white wall next to a curtain outside a conference room. Setting up my first, clean portrait to the right with one B1 plus Deep Umbrella Large White and diffusion as main light, I used a A1 as background light.

So close to the wall, it was hard to cover it all with light. But I think that if at least the background behind the hair is blown out, the rest is easy to fix in Lightroom or Photoshop.

Assign channels for easy workflow

That setup became my Channel 1. The two other lights, set up in a similar fashion, I put in Channel 2.

For a slightly different style, aside the background, I switched side for my main light and chose a Medium umbrella plus diffusion.

Duct tape all over the floor

I could have been slightly easier, I could have found a spot at the office where I didn’t need to move my camera. But not this time.

To make sure that I took all the portraits from the same position and angle, I marked the spots on the floor with small pieces of tape. Not just where the camera tripod should be, but also my light stands.

Plus two additional markings for where the models would stand. That way I could be sure that even if I moved the camera from station 1 to 2, all the portraits would have the same settings.

Each time a new person stepped into my makeshift photo studio, I started by switching to channel 1. Satisfied with the results, I asked them to move on to station 2 and changed channels on my remote.

Show more – sell more

Sometimes, the clients are very firm in their beliefs that they only need just one portrait per person. But more often, when suggested, they think that it is a great idea to make use of the time I am there better. And maybe more importantly, make better use of the small amount of time that the important persons have for things like a portrait session.

This is not something I do all the time, with two separate portrait stations and all. But I try to always suggest that maybe some of the people in key positions would really need more than on portrait.

And they often do.

If you have enough lights, I would very much recommend that you try this method. Or at least make a habit of asking if the client has a bit more time for a couple of more shots at a different location. Very often, just setting up your lights nearby will create something different enough for them to buy more.

And probably feel more satisfied that they got more for their money, as well as for their time spent.


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  • 601 Photo November 11, 2018, 21:18

    Brilliant! 🙂

    • Stefan Tell November 12, 2018, 10:13

      Maybe not brilliant, but a reasonably simple way of making your chances of selling more better. It works well for me, at least.

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