I am a Boulder, Colorado based Newborn & Family Photographer, passionate about documenting simple, natural photography for my clients. I graduated from photography school almost two decades ago (I know, I’m old..) and have been a professional photographer and photography mentor/coach since. I started my photography business fresh out of college in a teeny, tiny town in Vermont and later moved to Boulder to get a little more vitamin D (and neighbors) in my life ;)
I made the switch to IPS about eight years ago when I realized I was doing my clients a disservice (not to mention leaving a lot of money on the table). I only book a limited number of clients per month, offering a full-service, boutique experience. My business model is to pamper my clients from inquiry through delivery. I never want to leave my clients with the work of trying to figure out which images will display best together, where to hang them, which sizes they need, where to order, how to frame, etc. A lot of work goes into post-production and it’s my job to educate my client on these decisions and make it easy for her to walk away with a finished product that is ready to display in her home.
The first time I tried IPS, I quadrupled (yes, you heard that right) my average sales and they’ve only gone up from there.
That huge uptick in sales makes IPS crucial to the success of my business. When I offered online galleries I would sell a few hundred dollars in prints after the session. Now, by using IPS, my average sale is $1500 from every session.
I use a projector on a white wall in my studio paired with ProSelect software and my MacBook Pro. ProSelect software paid for itself the first time I used it for an IPS session. This software is super user-friendly and really helps my clients visualize what their finished products will look like on their walls before ever spending a dollar. My collections (packages) are built off of the frame collections offered by Design Aglow. By using Design Aglow's Show & Sell Wall Galleries for ProSelect I’ve been able to increase my sales by guiding clients towards my larger packages.
The key to IPS success is being prepared. Go over your pricing with your clients at least 3 times before your IPS session and, most importantly, before clients sign your contract. I also suggest incorporating your pricing and timeline into your contract, and again discuss pricing one last time when you email to confirm their IPS date (I always ask clients to also share the investment guide with their partner before their IPS appointment - you never want to be the “bad guy” or feel sales-y during an IPS session).
The number one thing I hear photographers say is, “I’m terrible at selling my work.” Don’t worry, most creative types are. But, IPS sessions shouldn’t be a hard sale situation. If you prepare your clients (by discussing pricing and answer any questions they may have at least 3 times before the IPS session), everyone should be on the same page and ready to invest. IPS sessions should simply be for your clients to choose their favorite images. You’re simply there to guide them towards the products and images that will display best in their homes.
I also hear photographers saying, “I can’t do IPS, I don’t have a studio.” Not true. When I first started IPS, I would connect my computer to a TV (with an actual cable?!) and use ProSelect software. IPS can be done anywhere. You don’t need a studio. You don’t need a projector. You simply need a computer, good selling software, and clients. You can host IPS sessions at your home, your client's home, the local cafe, coffee shop, etc.
If you’ve never tried an IPS session, I dare you to try just one. No one is saying you can’t go back to online galleries if you hate it. BUT, you never know … you may just quadruple your average sale that first time like I did and never look back. ;)
Jenni Maroney is a Colorado newborn photographer and workshop host addicted to strong coffee, stiff cocktails, traveling to tropical locations where umbrella drinks are served pool-side, and snuggling her husband and kids (not necessarily in that order). See her work here.