Tips and Tricks

Building Seasonal Revenue in Photography

By Skip Cohen

Imaging, whether you’re on the photography or video side, only has a couple of truly strong points of seasonality. While business is typically stronger in the spring and summer, especially with weddings, four significant opportunities exist to “open the floodgates.” It starts with Mother’s Day, then rolls into proms, graduations, and finishes with Father’s Day.

We’re in the first week of March, and yes, I’m about to hit some of the same ideas one more time. But the ideas have no value if you’re not actively planting those idea seeds with your target audience. That means you need to use every vehicle you’ve got to get the word out – email, direct mail, social media, your blog, press releases, phone calls, and community involvement, just to name a few.

I’ve shared the illustration on the right in the past – you need to weave a web around your target audience. Remember, you have the reach today that, years ago, only a newspaper might have had. Each spoke represents one more way for you to create top-of-mind awareness with your audience.

As far as actual products…

A New Family Portrait is the obvious choice, but you must plant the seed so Mom will think of it in time. You’ve got so many great options. For the family, especially grandparents – it’s time for a new family portrait. For Father’s Day, it’s as easy as a portrait of Mom and the kids for Dad or a full family sitting with Dad in the shot.  

Legacy Programs – Every artist in business today can record and produce a family video with older family members. It’s up to you to capture those stories that only the true seniors in a family can tell. And when they pass, those stories are lost forever. And while everybody with a phone can capture video stories like this, they don’t. That puts your skill set in the spotlight with all your clients, and it should be an addition to your Mother’s Day and Father’s Day packages!

It’s Not Just a Photograph – This is where a call to your lab comes into play. You’re not just planting the seed to get a new portrait done. Instead, find out what they’ve got that’s new. You’ve got metal prints, canvas wraps, and a long list of other materials, not to mention frames, multiple sizes, etc. Even novelty items like mouse pads, coffee mugs, and barbecue aprons can come into play with a great image.

What About an Album? Day in the Life session isn’t just about photographing kids. What about an album that’s a day in the life of a family? You’ve got an opportunity to plant an incredible seed with this one – spending a half day and documenting the life of a family, which is then presented in an album that tells their story. Whether for Mother’s Day or Father’s day – It’s a great idea to have in your product line, regardless of when it gets delivered.

Hybrid – Hybrid – Hybrid: Whether it’s called hybrid, fusion, or mixed media, it’s a classic gift – a 60-90 second video card of still images combined with short clips from the shoot with a “Happy Mother’s or Father’s Day” video message from the kids. It doesn’t get much better, and it’s a unique product.  

Date Night: I’ve written about this before, but here’s where you get a chance to remind Mom of how long it’s been since she and Dad got out to dinner without the kids! She’s got to get the sitter, but it’s another idea you’ve got to promote. It all starts with a portrait session for 15-30 minutes at the start of the evening, and then you’re going to send the couple off to dinner. Talk to the owner of a favorite romantic restaurant in your community and see if they’ll work with you on a discounted gift certificate. Build the cost of the certificate into your price for the sitting and print. Make it a package deal that essentially becomes a “no-brainer.”

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