075: Steve Saporito and Matt Ebenezer Photography Business Q&A Session

In this episode of the photography business podcast, returning and super poplar guests Matt Ebenezer from Matt and Katie Photographers plus Steve Saporito, the portrait doctor are back for a photography business Q&A session to answer specific questions from you the listener. The questions are wide and varied and the answers specific and involved and each with a different slant from the guys.

Here's some more of what we cover:

Mike from Biblino Images: For the photographers that don't have a dedicated space to show of their products to prospective clients. How many products do you need to bring to the clients house?

Keeping in mind you sell what you show. Do you bring everything or just the high ticket items?

Andrew Szopory: What's the best way to sell albums and maximise sales without having to wait 3-9 months to hear back from your couple up cash flow?

This is based on already having sold a basic 20 sided album in their package. I have a case now where I'm waiting on a bride from last September to get back to me with her list of images. But I can see this will turn into an issue next year when I'm shoot 30 plus weddings.

Lee Jones from the UK: Pricing Formula – should I work to a sliding scale with my products and albums considering the cost of larger items can start running away? After all, a slight encouragement to buy the bigger products is good as it still results in more profit and even better advertising for your business?

Do you think there is a good number of basic products to have on offer for startup photography busines? There are so many fantastic products on offer from so many suppliers that it can be daunting.

Discounts or offers from suppliers – should I pass on those discounts to encourage more sales? An example is multiple of the same album or run out specials?

What do you do as a follow up strategy 6-12 months after the shoot? Should I simply be making contact, make more offers for follow up sales, offer the digital files at a reduced rate etc?
Effectively if you've already made your money and they're not likely to come back for big wall art – can more money be made for minimal cost here?

Tony Gay from Australia: As corporate photographer with 28 years experience, all of which has been as an employee, I feel my technical knowledge is pretty good, I'm wanting to move into business for myself and building it up alongside my “9-5” job, what are the main things I should work on and what are the gotchas I need to be ready for?

Andrew Szopory: I'm a one man band and have no studio or sitting area to interview people, I take albums and usually meet at a local coffee shop. What is the best way to interview people in this circumstance in regard to locations?

I just don't want this part of the sales process to be loosing me business.

Anais Chaine: What would you recommend until I have all the products from my range ready to show?

At this stage I don't have a sample of everything I want to sell because I can't invest that much money at once. It will be done within 6 months. Until then but by then what should I do to encourage products that I can't show?

What's on Offer for Premium Members

If you're a premium member, you'll hear an extra hour of fantastic content where Matt and Steve continue to answer questions.

Here are the extra questions you'll hear answered:

Deb Smith Deb Smith: After portfolio building from home for the past year, I'm about to sign a sub-lease for a studio space of about 3.5m x 2.5m (located inside a local hairdressers salon). I will have my own waiting area which I plan to use to display print product.

I'll be focusing on beauty portraits but hope to still attract wedding, maternity and baby clients. After portfolio building from home for the past year, I'm about to sign a sub-lease for a studio space of about 3.5m x 2.5m (located inside a local hairdressers salon).

I will have my own waiting area which I plan to use to display print product. I'll be focusing on beauty portraits but hope to still attract wedding, maternity and baby clients.

What are your ideas for marketing to this genre? I want everyone in town to know about me. I'm up for face-to-face networking and themed mini sessions to start and I hope to blog at least once a week. What are your ideas for marketing to this genre? I want everyone in town to know about me. I'm up for face-to-face networking and themed mini sessions to start and I hope to blog at least once a week.

Emily Szilveszter from Living Lens: How can I provide great personal service and connection when I often can't meet prospective clients in person before their ig day? We travel a lot and it's not often possible – I would love some ideas to better connect.

 Chris Anderson from Shot by CA in Canada: I found a local ad for someone looking for a photographer to PAY THEM to shoot their wedding in exchange for using the photos in their portfolio.

Basically they're looking for someone to pay them to have the privilege of shooting their wedding, and then there is a possibility that they'll buy back some of the photos afterwards. My favourite line from the email? “you're not special no one is… You are just another photographer..”

What is your big takeaway?

Following this interview, I'd love to know what your biggest takeaway is – what is the one thing that you'd like to implement or learnt from what was shared? Let me know by leaving your thoughts in the comments below.

If you have any questions that I missed, a specific question you'd like to ask or if you just want to say thanks for coming on the show, feel free to add them below.

If you'd like an easy way to show Steve and Matt your thanks, and support for the show at the same time, click the link to create a tweet and automatically let him know you're listening: https://photobizx.com/tweet

Get in Touch or Leave a Voicemail Message

If you'd like to get in touch, ask a question or make a suggestion for the show, you can email me andrew@photobizx.com, find me on Twitter https://twitter.com/andrewhellmich or on Facebook at https://photobizx.com/facebook – I'd love to hear from you!

That's it for me this week, hope everything is going well for you in life and business!

If you've been enjoying the podcast, I'd love for you to tell another photographer about it – it could be in a Facebook Group you're a part of, a photography forum, with a photographer friend or on twitter.

If you do have a twitter account, simply click here: https://photobizx.com/tweet or use the share buttons below.

Thanks and speak soon Andrew

By | 2017-02-13T17:45:09+00:00 July 17th, 2014|Podcast|18 Comments
  • Oh how I wish I knew…. I would have asked a question I have been wanting to know…..how do you deal with,,,,,,,,,,,, “the mother in law” or psycho bride.

    Cathy and I did a wedding, it was going to be outside, well it poured down rain so me and Cathy ,im talking we ran to out studio grabbed everything we could and transformed the reception hall to a chapel. Rerouted the guest and was ready only a half hour late. Well psycho bride was sitting in her dress on the bathroom floor kicking her feet screaming I want an outside wedding. Well after about an hour of this,,, Cathy walked in and politely told the bride,,, “ there are 100 guest out there waiting for a wedding, we got the hall set up, then drove like mad to get it set up as a chapel, all your guest drove 20 miles, you get your princess F*#@+% A$$ out there and you get married” LOL some times you have to adapt. It was a favor wedding (friends daughter) shoot and its funny,,,,, the mirage only lasted 3 months…lol

    • Great story Joe and isn’t funny how the “favour weddings” are always the most drama!

      I’m not sure if I’d have handled it the same way as Cathy 🙂 or just documented her “fantastic” attitude. Either way, it sounds like it wouldn’t have mattered what approach was taken.

  • Oh and wow loved this podcast. you constantly give us awesome info. Thanks brother.

  • Thanks Jo – it was a fun session. Given that this was a friend – you guys have no excuse for subjecting yourselves to this psycho – LOL
    Sounds like you handled it with grace and dignity and had the client in mind the whole time.

  • A “love” session? Really, Steve? That sounds so creepy man! I’m seriously laughing out loud at my desk right now.
    I can just picture the couple looking at each other like “WTF did he just say?”
    Totally not trying to be rude, but I can’t stop laughing.
    Ah, that was funny.
    Anyway, I have 50 more minutes of the interview left, but I had to leave a comment on the “love session” idea.
    Queue the porn music!
    Ok, I’ll stop.
    But really, I like you (Steve) and Matt. Great people to listen to. However I’m not digging this back and forth format. I sort of wish it was all Steve and then all Matt, back-to-back. Just being honest.
    Andrew, glad you’re back from France. I loved following your Instagram feed. Such a fabulous place!
    Take care guys!
    Joey Joiner

    • Hey Joey – LOL – there is no stopping your imagination – not sure it was intended to take it as far as your imagination can take it. I am still hearing porn music – what the???
      Enjoy the rest of the podcast

  • I am so happy to have 2 of my favorites back on for a Q&A! I am just now listening. I have a question, not sure if its going to be answered in the podcast or not but having to jump back and forth from the premium site to here to comment is kindda annoying. SO, Ill go ahead and ask here then finish listening.
    Okay, so I myself have talked to Steve by email when I first decided to go off in my own direction and really be myself instead of trying to please everyone. Thats awesome and Ive been working on it, I was inspired by Nikki Mcauthor and Matt and Katie’s blog/website and decided to switch over to Prophoto and really customize and get myself a great site, so that is in the process right now. But my question is I need NEW PHOTOS, and not of my own kids lol. I don’t want to seem desperate because well, no one does. Here is the thing. In my studio I am low volume, HIGH sales. So as of right now I do not have anyone booked, thats totally fine by me as I home school and God always provides me a session when we need it. But, I need to get new images like I just said, so how can I go about doing that and getting fresh faces in here and to shoot without giving it away for free? I have a new style and I want it to show. Any tips? Note: there is a photog here in town that so many go to because she does , not joking here $30 mini sessions every month, then endless facebook ‘games’ for like 10% off of THAT, its sad. I dont want to go that low, and I dont want to do it for FREE either but I do need the images…..
    Second question is this. Do you have any advice for transitioning from having a fully professional studio made for newborns and children, everything under the sun for them literally (worked for 2 background companies the past 3 years and many many vendors and designers so I have hundreds of backgrounds, floor mats, and props, outfits) BUT I want to switch more to a ‘lifestyle’ or documentary approach because I want my home back pretty much. I want my office to be our school room only, not a consult room for clients, I want to be able to take a projector to their homes. This is unheard of in this area however, Im worried how clients will perceive this and also the lack of a studio. I would like to make my studio into a nursery because we are trying to have a new baby. SO, is there a right or wrong way to go about this?
    Last question: I started and wanted to make a name for myself in this town as THE newborn photographer. And I have. I was talking on the phone with the mayor the other day and he said ‘Oh yea, I know you, your the baby photographer! Ive seen your work and its very good”. The MAYOR! That being said, I feel like yes I have successfully accomplished what I set out to do, BUT I want to be doing more stuff now. I really want to be known as more of ‘You take those amazing children photos!”, so how can I go back and change this small towns view of me I guess? Is there a way or am I forever stuck as the ‘baby’ photographer? I know what to do to brand and niche myself apparently very well, but how do I go about CHANGING that to something else? Sorry this was long! Thank you if you answer! Be Blessed and Be Inspired

    • Hi Tara – great to hear from you again.

      There are loads of ways that you can get people to come into your business to build a portfolio. The list is endless and you just need to brainstorm some with a couple of friends.
      Here are a couple that might work for you. Check your database and select people that you have photographed – I am sure that you would have already kept in contact with them over the years given that you are low volume and high service/sales. Invite them back in and let them know that you have an exciting new project that you want to launch and you immediately thought that they would be perfect for them.

      No one does anything for nothing and I think it is wrong for it all to go your way – so shouting them a couple of hundred dollars (you are high end – so that should be a start for their artwork) toward their artwork – really is not going to cost you a lot. If you excite them using the excitement calls and do a great job they will always spend heaps of money. And like you said – God will provide when you need it – perhaps you just need to make it high we on the priority list and it is amazing what opportunities arise.

      Question 2. I would listen to my latest podcast on another network – it should answer your question on this one on Specialising and changing your Speciality http://www.bmnet.us/qam024/. On the projector in people homes – I am not seeing why you see this as a negative – it is actually offering a more personal service where you can add so much more to a clients experience. The fact that you are in their home allows you to help them decide where and what will work – many clients are just scared of making the wrong decision.e

      Seems like you are doing well with low volume and high sales – perhaps taking your business to the next level would be to move it to a retail environment or another location – you can hove your home back – and when you are at work, yo are at work with no one interrupting. It is amazing that when we add a bill we suddenly are sent more opportunities – or perhaps we see more because we need more. I would definitely not be afraid to do this Tara.

      Question 3. Is really in essence the same as question 2 – but I will add that this change needs to be organic and you need to add this new focus to what you are already doing. As it gains traction your focus on Babies will organically lessen and you can run a business and switch with minimal interruption and a fair amount of certainty – lowering risk

  • Andrew Szopory

    Hi guys, another great interview. The information that is shared has made such a huge difference to my business thanks Andrew and Steve. I just need to figure out these excitement calls Steve do the videos on your new site break down the process in its entirety. I’m not after a script just a structure and some ideas on what might work to get me going.


    • Hey Andrew – there is a substantial amount of information in our membership in relation to Excitement Calls. The Phycology behind it – why it is important and then a practical mind map of the journey you need to take with a client.
      There are also examples of leading questions that will get the conversation started as well as some live call critiques for you to listen to.
      They will have you exciting your clients in no time. There is so much information jammed into these that you will need to listen to each video at least four times.
      PS – I do not write scripts for people – they just do not work.

  • Hi Steve and Matt,

    What a magnificent Q&A Session!
    I found the ideas on selling your artwork on canvases, prints etc brilliant and practical. The whole discussion on how to present sizes (i.e. large, medium etc.) without dimensions attached and the corresponding pricing schemes are indeed invaluable! Thank you all *very much* for that!

    Based on the information, I will be doing my 4th iteration of my (already very simple!) presentations to the clients for the new season. Before that, I will have to re-listen this whole Q&A podcast once more, jotting down actionable things this time in even more detail!

    Andrew this Q&A by itself, is fully worth the annual price of the subscription. I am just absolutely thrilled by the premium content.

    Thank you all very much.

    Kind regards,

    Yannis Larios
    Wedding Photographer, Greece

    • Fantastic to read your comments Yannis – love your positivity and enthusiasm. I’m sure Matt and Steve will also be rapt to read your comments too!


  • This was a brilliant episode Andrew, Matt and Steve. I think the format worked really well Andrew. I think Matt and Steve’s answers complimented each other really well. I was amazed that they would often provide a different answer, but both were equally useful. I can’t rate this episode highly enough.

    My big takeaways …
    – make short videos of my products (thanks Matt)
    – I need to ‘educate’ my clients (thanks Steve :))
    – I will introduce a crazy third pricing option
    – I will discuss meeting clients at a local cafe with the owner

    Great work all. I loved this.

  • Hey Andrew, and Steve and Matt

    Thanks so much for an excellent Q&A format, and such thoughtful answers. I was so thrilled to hear the response to my question about moving into the hairdressing salon and I wanted to leave my takeaways:

    – create a video of my display album and product
    – samples needed for sales: an aluminium, an acrylic, a canvas sized 20×30
    – run information nights as a way of giving back to the community
    – go out and meet local business owners. Offer vouchers and gift certificates for their rewards program
    – Give vouchers to the salon owner

    Also, a follow up to let you know i do have a lawyer drawing up a sub-lease for me. The salon owner and I have built a great repoire and I am confident the salon (while not the most high end) complements my brand well. The environment is exactly right, offering professional service while remaining very relaxed and friendly. The salon owner goes out of his way (yeah he’s a he, not a she *giggle*) to spruik my services so its a great match I think.

    Great stuff!
    Deb x

    • Hey Deb – glad you heard this episode and picked up a few good points from Matt and Steve. Your question and circumstance seemed to get them both thinking long and hard about some great ideas for you.

      Sounds like you’re definitely on the right track with the actions you’ve taken and the takeaways from this episode.

      Love that the she is a he 🙂

      You’ll have to let me know how you go – maybe an update in 12 months time?