Photography businesses selling directly to clients can do far more than trade their behind-the-lens expertise for an income. Charging for session time only and selling digital files is certain to limit earning potential. Like many other businesses, additional revenue streams come from add-on products.
Pro photographers make sales revenue from their services and two very different products, sometimes three. The photoshoot service, and for the products… print photos, digital files, and occasionally, the ability to have the print professionally framed.
It would be rare for any photographer to be a pro at shooting the photos, doing all of the pre-print image manipulations, and printing and framing them. That takes a team. Collaboration is the fast track to getting additional items into your product inventory and giving your customers a better ordering experience.
Any photographer offering photoshoots without the ability for customers to buy a printed copy is leaving money on the table, and quite possibly, doing the customer a disservice.
Photographers are hired to capture memories. Clients rarely want yet another digital photo album that will be locked away in a cloud storage service or on a hard drive. They want something tangible that looks gorgeous and stands the test of time. That is in print, but only when done professionally. Not on a home printer.
Before offering print services, you need to find a way to get the printing handled. For that, you have two options.
Buy a professional printer.
Partner with a professional print studio.
The first option of buying your own pro printer may sound like an affordable route. There are overheads though. Premium photo paper, professional-grade ink, printer setup and maintenance, technical expertise in troubleshooting the hardware, and continuously maintaining stock inventory to ensure the printer is ready to go when an order is placed.
For the above reasons, the vast majority of photographers partner with a print studio. That way, the photographer handles the photoshoots, then sends the digital file to the printer or upload it to their system for processing.
The advantage of collaboration between photographers and printers is the premium results for the customer. Both are professionals in their fields. By working together, the customer gets a better service. Terrific photos and their best picks printed in the size(s) they want, using commercial grade fade-resistant inks and printed on premium photo paper.
Framing services add-ons
Some clients are happy to buy a print and sort out the frame for it themselves. Much like some customers are content to buy the digital files only and handle printing themselves.
The additional extras are for convenience and likely better-quality prints. Given the multitude of options for printing photos online and some of the pre-editing processes that may be required, you may find customers eager to hand the entire process off to you to handle for them. You are the pro they hired. Give them your best.
Selling your services as a photographer can net a tidy income. The simplest way to supplement income from photography (asides from selling digital files) is to turn your digital photos into tangible products. Prints, and possibly framed prints.