Steps to Break Into the Luxury Portrait Market - Brenna Heater

Steps to Break Into the Luxury Portrait Market

Business, Photography, Resources, Tips & Tricks

So you’re a photographer who wants to break into the luxury portrait market. Friend, I’ve been there, too! I knew when I began my business that I wanted to scale my business to an upscale client experience. One reason for this was I had the goal to make photography a full-time business that allowed me the flexibility to homeschool my kiddos.

Because I went into photography knowing this, I began researching all the ways that I could “break into” the market without spending thousands to promote myself as a “luxury photographer.”

Below I’m sharing six simple steps that helped me break into the luxury portrait market.

The great thing about the steps below are they are easy to put into action and are easy to work into a budget plan for your business.

Step One: Client Experience

Your client experience is one of the best ways to set your business apart from the other. From the very first email you send to delivering your client’s gallery… What does this process look like for you?

I’ve personally found, that using a CRM like 17 Hats helps me maintain a high-level of customer service without missing a beat. A CRM allows you to set emails to automatically be delivered to your clients throughout their time with you. And, often, most CRMs allow you to set invoices on the backend, too. This is nice because your clients can login to their portal at anytime and be updated with the latest information.

You can read more about why your business needs a CRM here.

When it comes to client experience, it’s not just about a well-rounded business system. It’s also about the journey that you take your clients on. The steps remaining below think of them as an add-on way to continue fine-tuning your overall luxurious experience. Think Ritz-Carlton service every step of the way.

Step Two: Client Gifting

Client gifting has become one of my favorite aspects of my business. I mean, who doesn’t love a little surprise?

A rule of thumb that I mention in my client gift idea blog, is to spend about 5% of what a client has paid you towards their gift. So, if their session with you was $500, a gift costing around $25 is perfect.

You can gift clients on the front-end with a little e-gift card to to one of their favorite restaurants, partner with a local small business and send a little happy to their physical address, or even provide a credit towards a print when you deliver their final gallery.

Client gifting doesn’t need to be stressful. Just be thoughtful with your gifts and I promise it’ll go along way with your clients.

Step Three: Client Closet

This step is one that does require your business to make an investment. Know that starting small with your client closet is a-okay! I didn’t build my client closet over night and to this day I still am adding to it.

One great way to build your client closet is to join photography groups on Facebook where people share items they are retiring from their closets. You can also go to your local upscale resale shops where you can find pieces for a fraction of the retail price. Now, every now and then you’ll come across a dress or other accessory that you just have to splurge on. Know this is okay, but don’t do too frequently or your client closet will cause your business to lose out on profits.

You can read more about how to start your client closet here.

P.S. Client closets are especially beneficial if you’ve already niched down photography wise. For example, since I’m a maternity and newborn photographer, many new moms have a hard time justifying buying an expensive dress for one-time use. This is where my client closet is a true selling point for my maternity sessions with potential clients. They know they will be not only saving money, but also lots of time and stress!

Step Four: Offer Albums

How many times have you had a photography session and then never actually print your images for display? Remember this: Your clients are busy! If you offer them the opportunity to invest in a prebuilt album designed by you, where they can customize the style and size of the album – they will love you! Especially, your busy high-end clients who know the value have having PRINTED images to display within their home.

I personally love creating client albums and offering client album credits with different packages that they can choose from when they book or add-on after their session. I use Kiss Books for my albums and LOVE them! Use this referral link to receive a $50 credit when you order $100+.

Step Five: Offer Prints + Products

Along with albums, you can also offer high-quality prints and other products such as canvases. I personally love using Pixieset when delivering client’s final galleries because Pixieset also allows my clients these items. In order to do this, I set up an account with WHCC, then linked it to my Pixieset Store and set it to auto-fulfill products when clients order them. It’s completely hands-off for me, I’ll get a commission from each sale, and clients get beautiful products from a professional print lab. It’s a win-win!

P.S. With offering albums, prints, and products, you can continue to market to your clients even after their session! How so? You can offer discounts during Black Friday or Small Business Saturday for clients who want to purchase Christmas gifts for loved ones, or just buy that canvas print they didn’t earlier but really wish they had.

Step Six: Offer Framed Art Installation

Anyone else have a difficult time trying to decide how to hang your framed pictures or canvases? Offering art installation or digital mockups for an additional cost to your clients is a way to showcase not only your design eye, but also a great way to continue the client experience.

The key with this step is to find a way to continue to help your client even after the delivery of their final gallery. After all, I want clients to enjoy their portraits every day of the year and on the walls of their homes, not just on their tech devices. Photographs should be printed and put on display and I want to help my clients get the full value from their session with me for years to come.

I hope you enjoyed this blog! If you have other steps that you think pair well with the luxury portrait market, share them below in the comments. I look forward to hearing all of your ideas and thoughts.

*This blog does contain affiliate links.

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