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In-Person Sales Methods for Portrait Photographers

Be a Shepherd, not a Salesperson.

Don’t be shy, get to know your clients. Help them fall in love with you. Guide them gently.

Portraiture is a high-touch genre of photography that requires rapport. The more time you spend personalizing the photographic experience for your clients, the more you’ll sell. Rather than assume the role of salesperson, think of yourself as a guide, shepherding clients through an important acquisition. The photographs you create for them are significant milestones in their family history, so they deserve expert attention and customized care from a professional photographer like you.

Imagine you’re sensitively guiding your client through an important decision. Remain attentive to their unique needs. Ask strategic questions that paint a picture of possibility for their photographs. Show them how to display their photographs, don’t just tell them a list of print sizes. These personal interactions lead to monetary transactions.

Every point of contact you have with clients is a chance to solidify your relationship and lay a foundation for the in-person sales process. In addition, establishing yourself as a shepherd makes clients inherently trust you and follow your recommendations.

From pre-portrait consultations to projection sales, The Photo Life’s expert contributors such as Justine Ungaro and Paul Gero share practical advice about how to boost your portrait sales. To paraphrase Justine, a few simple changes can save your business and change your perception of what it means to truly serve your client.

the photo life managing editor rachel lacour niesen

Rachel LaCour Niesen
Vice President, Pictage Community
Co-Founder, ShootQ


  • Secrets of the Three Part Portrait Experience, Field Guide by The Photo Life
  • 10 Tips for Successful Selling, by The Photo Life
  • 6 Simple Rules for Selling Portrait Product, by Justine Ungaro
  • From Weddings to Portraits: How I Developed a Profitable Portrait Business, by Paul Gero
  • The New Direct Order Tool From Pictage, by The Photo Life


Unlike many wedding photography businesses, most successful portrait studios make the majority of their revenue in post-portrait sales, rather than an up-front shooting fee. Because so much of success is dependent on these post-portrait sales, it’s critical to have solid sales strategies in place to ensure that each job will be profitable.

If you want to increase the revenue from your portrait session sales, you should think of the ideal portrait experience as a series of three different sales meetings, with each of these meetings accomplishing a different purpose. If you follow this format, by the time the client is ready to place their order after the shoot, you’ll have laid the foundation so that making the sale is a breeze! Since portrait studios generally do more volume than a wedding photography studio, even small increases in the profit from each session will make a big difference over the course of multiple jobs.

Are you making the most of every portrait session? If you know you aren’t maximizing your post-portrait sales and want to make the most of the Three Part Portrait Experience, read on. We’ll explain the ins and outs of how to make the most of the complete sales process and boost your sales for each portrait session!


Continue to connect with Volume 4 of The Photo Life Dispatch by sharing your thoughts here on The Photo Life Blogand on Facebook and Twitter#ThePhotoLife.

  1. What are 3 concrete ways you could improve your in-person sales presentation based on some of these tips from successful photographers?
  2. What particular products would you like to focus on selling to your clients? How are you incentivizing clients to purchase these products?
  3. What part of the 3 part portrait experience do you feel like you currently struggle most in? What are some ways that you can focus on this particular area to create an ideal experience for your clients?

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Limitation of liability. Under no circumstances, including, but not limited to, negligence, shall Pictage, its subsidiary and parent companies or affiliates be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special or consequential damages that result from the use of, or the inability to use, any materials in this newsletter. If you are dissatisfied with any such material, or with any of Pictage’s terms and conditions, your sole and exclusive remedy is to discontinue receiving this newsletter.


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