In Person Sales or Design Consultations for Family Portrait Photographers

IPS – In person Sales or what I like to call Design Consultations.

Call it what you like, it’s all I have ever known.

The word sales never sounds good to your customer, they don’t want to be sold to, no-one wants to be sold to! You know when you walk into a shop and straightaway the sales assistant comes over and says hello and can they help, are you looking for anything in particular?” Sometimes you actually might need their help but most of the time you want to browse quietly, uninterrupted and if they come up straightaway you can get that uughhh feeling in your tummy, oh here we go, I’ll be polite and then they hopefully will leave me alone.

Sales is like a dirty word really, which is why I have always called it a Design Consultation. It still explains what we are doing , its an appointment and we will be designing for your home.

IPS: Be clear with your customers

When you book your customer in for their design consultation with you be sure to be clear about what they can expect at this appointment. I ‘will talk to my customer and suggest that if they are really good decision makers they might do in an hour, however I allow 2 hours! This way the pressure is off the customer to feel rushed and they know I will give them all the time they need. I want them to feel I care about them and this is not a “sales”job , this is us taking our time, really getting clear on what they love and what they would love to see on their walls. It is a joint effort, they are very much making the decisions, my job is to guide and suggest.

Your customer will not know what’s possible unless you tell them, don’t be afraid to speak up , show them ALL the possibilities, all the finishes, singles or a series.

Do not assume they can’t afford to buy

DO NOT I repeat DO NOT go into an appointment assuming what your customer can or can’t afford.

A) you should have educated them enough on your pricing and products so they don’t get a nasty surprise.

B) and it doesn’t matter, it’s up to them what they want to spend, they may have a budget in mind or not.

We are the experts , it is up to us in this In Person Sales appointment or Design Consultation to get creative.

The photography itself is the very first creative aspect which is my true love and the next creative step that I love is the Design Consultation.

These 2 appointments with your customer are SO MUCH FUN. This is my happy Place!

Hire a sales person if you’re afraid of IPS & sales

If you are afraid of “sales” then don’t do them!!! People can spot it a mile away

Have someone else do them for you, employ someone full-time or casually or per appointment . Work out what works best for you .

And if you can’t afford to pay someone then you are going to have to put your big girl pants on and learn quickly.


You get your head around the fact that paying for an amazing sales person will be absolutely worth every penny. What if your sale was $1000 but the right person could get $3000.

Wouldn’t that be worth it. Do the math!

Many many years ago I actually overheard one of my staff saying that they hated sales, I walked straight over and said “omg why didn’t you tell me?” this is not the right position for you then because your lack of love for showing people their photos and helping them design wall pieces etc will SHOW …. 100%

If you are scared of In Person Sales / Photography Sales it will never work.

Now you can overcome this if you are committed but if it scares you then walk away , do something else that makes you happy because you tend to be really good at doing a job that makes you happy.

At Uni, I hated the science part and really struggled, give me practical and design and I excelled without even trying because I was so  in my happy place.

I literally put a design together 5 minutes before I had to hand it in and my lecturer pulled it up and spoke at length about the design concept and how a lot of thought and effort had gone into it, I received a high distinction.

Now one of my Uni mates had seen what I had done and in the time frame and was not impressed.

My first thought Wow you aren’t happy I got an amazing mark, probs will spend less time with you  and my second thought was that it all came so naturally and that the time frame was completely irrelevant. I naturally loved this area and excelled in it.

Little did I know how beneficial that would become later in my portrait photography business.

How I started with IPS

I’ll tell you a little story about how I started.

After a family photo shoot I would drive to my lab in Fortitude valley and drop my film/ films off for processing and printing, the proofs were printed out at 3.5 x 5 inches and they would be ready next day for collection.

Now back then I would only shoot a roll of 36 or maybe 2 rolls if the family was bigger or included grandparents o you can see you had to get it right, you couldn’t afford to overshoot because the cost could blow out. The roll of file and processing and printing was approx $35 ‘so I was shooting smart.

I would go through them and toss any that weren’t sharp or had blinks or really funny faces, this wasn’t many because as I said I’m shooting super smart, I am not shooting if they are talking I am waiting for that moment, I can’t afford to waste any shots, I am working on 36 opportunities to capture everything.

I calculated that if I was photographing a family with 3 kids, how many photos would I take of each combination and here’s what I did.

Family  8

Mum and kids 4

Dad and kids 4

Kids together 6

Kids separately 4 each and 2 of mum and dad together

= 36

So as you can see not much room for error.

I’m shooting film so you can’t just look at the back of the camera to check your exposure and because this was my area of expertise I was spot on. I had to be !

Get it right in camera

GET IT RIGHT IN CAMERA! This was something I said regularly to my photographers.

The next step in the process was to invite my family in for a Design Consultation. Now this is where even I can’t believe I did this and for many years.

I purchased a little machine that would project my proof  up onto a white screen. This meant that it was projected nice and big however it also meant I had to manually place one proof at a  time, so opening and closing the lid 36 times. How hilarious does that sound now….. but let me tell you it worked and it was seriously the BEST option at the time.

2005 I moved over to digital and bought my first digital camera and of course never looked back, around the same time I won a cd of Proselect at an AIPP – Australian Institute of Professional Photography  event here in Brisbane and again never looked back.

I have been using Proselect as my selling tool ever since and its phenomenal . I love it, I am in design heaven , I have my music that I love to go with my slideshow and even now after 25+ years I can still come up with new designs.

Module 5 is the BIG CAHUNA , THE MACDADDY. The best way for you to learn and upscale quickly.

In here you will see first hand how I use Proselect, at the moment I have 12 actual Design Consultation appointments in there so you watch and learn.

As visuals this will be the most amazing way for you to learn quickly , learn how to do what I do ,watch what I am doing, watch how I design and sell with love and ease.

You will see all my prices, products and processes.

I will continue to adding to this. I am still photographing families and will as long as I can, as I said this is my happy place and I believe this will be more powerful and helpful to you because I still walk the walk.

A natural born story teller

I am a teacher and a natural born story teller. I am sharer……. probably an oversharer in fact and this is a huge benefit to you!

If you only doing online sales I urge you to change and start doing In Person Sales.

It’s about connection, your ability to get great sales is directly related to how you can connect with people.

Learn how to connect genuinely here in my High End Photography Academy. I am here for you, I am fixated on your success.

There is room for us all by the way, there is room for everyone to be successful, and the ones that will be, are the ones who are open to learning and taking on board all that we have to offer.

I have always employed experts in areas that I am not, eg accounting, website creation, legal advice , life coaches, .

I am the expert in this area, I make this claim with absolute confidence and the figures to back it up.

It’s called INVESTING, invest in yourself, invest in your business!