We’ve all been there before. The session was awesome, the family loves their photos, but they just won’t place their order. It’s something that I consistently see on the boards. I’m not going to talk about in person ordering because that’s a totally different, more in depth topic. I’m just going to talk about online galleries and how we can get our clients to order from them within the time frame provided.
Set expectations with your ordering process.
Making sure that you and your client are on the same page as to what will happen after the session is over is key. You can do this in a welcome packet, pre-session consult and as you are finishing up your session with them. If you think you’ve told them too many times, you haven’t. Making sure that your client knows exactly what comes next makes them feel prepared and more a part of the process. If you educate your clients on all the steps that take place after the session (even if it’s only a few) they are much more prepared to spend their money.
After your session, you’re talking to the parents. Which one sounds better to you?
“Your images will be ready in a few weeks in an online gallery. You can view them there and place your order.”
“The next step from here is, I’m going to go through and edit your images. Once I’m done I’ll let you know that your images are ready but I won’t send the link to the gallery just yet. Since the gallery is only live for 4 days, I want to make sure that you have enough time to look at your schedule to pick the best time for you to sit down and look at your images. Once you let me know, then I’ll release the gallery for the 4 days. I would really love to get on the phone with you if possible and discuss any questions you might have and go over your order. Do you have any questions?”
While the second one is wordier, it explains exactly what’s going to happen and how long the gallery will be ready. This is actually what I say to my clients (or something very similar).
Even though they know the gallery is only live for four days before they commit to booking me, I always say it at least once more if not more than that. People forget things and chances are they’ve forgotten since they booked you. It’s okay to remind them and just keep them in the loop as to what to expect.
My online gallery is live for four days. I’ve tried all different time frames and four days seems to work best for me. In all honesty I would like it to be one day but haven’t made that happen yet. I have it written on my site that it’s live for four days and it’s also in my portrait agreement so they see it twice before they even get to their session. After their session is done, you can tell them again.
You probably have a few questions by now, like “Does anyone ever ask you why your gallery is only live for four days?” and “Do they ask if they can extend their gallery after it expires?”
Let’s start with the first question “Does anyone ever ask you why your gallery is only live for four days?” The simple answer to this is NO. I’ve told them a few times before the session and at least once after that. You must be confident in your business practices to run a successful business. These are my rules for my business and I’ve told them multiple times, so there aren’t any questions. It is what it is.
Moving on to the second question “Do they ask if they can extend their gallery after it expires?” Occasionally I do get people ask. My answer is YES they can for a reactivation fee of $150. But, I remind them that they shouldn’t need to reactivate it because they will have plenty of time before their gallery is made live to look at their calendar to pick the time that works best for them.
The key to getting your clients to order before the gallery expiration is informing them ahead of time about what to expect. You want to make their experience with you as positive as possible, and keeping them in the loop helps with that.
Melissa, thank you for sharing your client gallery process with us! It’s always beneficial to see how others operate. What helps you to enforce your client galleries? We’d love to hear your methods in the comments below!
Melissa Koehler, California
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Melissa is a portrait photographer based out of San Diego where she lives with her husband and two sons. Her high school darkroom is where her photography journey began and it has continually evolved over the years, especially after becoming a mother and realizing “that time flies so quickly. She currently shoots with a Canon 5d mark ii and a variety of prime and zoom lenses. I strive to capture not only the big picture, but also the little things.” Her passion is clearly her family and photography but she loves comfy pants, coca cola, Bon Jovi, movie theater popcorn, and cheese-less pizza.