Hey, how’s it going? I’m Andy Jones and this is episode 121 of the Photography Side Hustle podcast.

Okay, this week I’m going to introduce you to a totally different way of selling your work. Well totally different from selling the image files.

I’m talking about IPS, which stands for in-person sales. Now before you stop listening I’m going to show you a different way of selling your work which I call IPS Lite.

When you listen to interviews with photographers who say they make $5,000 per session, they are using in-person sales techniques.

That is they only sell wall art and they prepare the customer before the shoot so they know the costs. After the shoot, they meet with the customer either in the studio/office space or at the customer’s home.

Now, I don’t know about you but the thought of selling my work like this makes me feel very uncomfortable. If you have ever been at the other end with a salesperson trying to make you purchase something, you feel pressured. When I’m in that position I get annoyed and walk away from the situation.

The chances of getting a referral or getting the customer back the next year are pretty slim if they feel like they were pressured and pushed into the purchase.

So for me, the last thing I would want to do is upset my customer. 

Now there are people out there who have the skills to make this process silky smooth. They are the photographers making a pile of money.

So, for the non-sales people out there you need IPS Lite. 

That is you use online galleries to replace the final sales pitch. 

Will you make as much money? I think not, but you will be spending less of your precious time to get the sale, and if you set it up properly you will make a great profit.

The important part of the IPS system is preparing your customers so they know what you sell, what they need, and how much they will need to spend to get what they need.


Preparing the customer

This is where your website needs to do most of the heavy lifting. If you don’t get the website set up properly your system will not work.

So the first thing we need to address is what you sell.

So you either sell products and wall art or just the files. As I’ve said many times before, you need to sell products to earn lots of money. Selling just the files will limit your growth. There are exceptions out there, but selling wall art will bring in more money.


So how do you show customers what you sell? 

Well, the simple answer is, to only put images on your website of your framed prints on a wall. So they are photos of framed photos on a wall.

This instantly shows a website visitor that you sell wall art. 

Up to now, I have bought images of walls that I can photoshop my photos into. But now I have discovered an app for that. 

It’s called WallPicture2, and it is incredible. You can get it for iPhones and Android for free. There are in-app purchases for different backgrounds, and there are some free walls, but you can buy more if needed. I think there are over 200 walls available.

It turns the process of making these into a 2 or 3-minute job. I rank this app up there with PhotoPills my favorite photo app, it’s that good. 

What they need

Now most people don’t know what size print they need, so having a page helping them decide will make the sales process a lot easier. 

So let’s say they want a framed print to go on the living room wall behind the sofa. A three-seater sofa is approximately 90 inches long. So an 11×14 would look tiny in that space, but, a 40×60 would look perfect. To emphasize this you could show a sofa with a small print above it, and the same wall with a large print. 

Once they know what they need they can work out roughly how much it is going to cost them. This is going to reduce the amount of price shock your customers have. 

Giving your customers this information is pre-qualifying them. You are taking all the gray areas away.

Not knowing what size they need could lead to a customer not buying after the session. That’s not good for you or the customer. So prepare them as best you can.


Your pricing page will show different types of wall art with “Starting from $150” or whatever you charge. 

Place the most expensive products at the top of the page. Like a 40×60 framed print “Starting from $1600”. This is price anchoring, the customer sees the high price, and as they scroll down the lower prices will seem reasonable. Of course, there are customers that will look at the biggest most expensive product and will have to have it.

You could post your full price list for all sizes and options on your website, or you could send it to them after the initial contact.

As long as the customer is given all the information to get the wall art they need at the price they are happy with, everything will go smoothly.

Hit them with a higher price than they expected and you will have an unhappy customer.

So now your customer has visited your website, decided on the sizes of wall art they need, and is happy with the pricing. At this point, you need to talk to them about the shoot. Where will it take place, and what will they wear?

You need to show the customer you are looking after them. Be totally transparent, tell them why something is important, like shooting at a certain time of day.

By making the whole process smooth, and your customer well-informed, the sales part of IPS is pretty much already done. As long as your photos are good, the customer already knows what they want and how much it will cost. 

There’s also a good chance that they will spend more on wall art because the photos are so good.

Using online galleries will take the ickiness out of the IPS process. It’ll also take the sales pressure off you and the customer. 

One thing I would do is use the online galleries for selection only. I would place the orders for the prints myself to keep control of the process. If prints are sent directly from the photo lab to the customer, you won’t be able to check for mistakes.

So, you order the prints, get them sent to you, and mail them off to the customer. Better still, deliver the order in person. 

Now, some photographers offer free installation, which is a great idea. All you need is a step ladder, a hammer, a laser level, and a pair of white gloves. That might be a bit over the top but it’s something to consider.

IPS has been used in lots of industries and has a bad reputation as a pressure-selling method.

I heard a story a few years ago about a top photographer who would turn up at the sales meeting with all the prints available from the shoot. This was in the pre-digital film days.

He would hold the first print up and when the customer said no, he would tear the print up in front of them. Talk about putting the pressure on.

Selling your work shouldn’t be pressurized, or sleazy. Your aim should be to make it as smooth as possible. So your website needs to inform and educate your customers and put them on the same page as you.

Okay, that is IPS Lite. I hope you got some good ideas from it. 

If you need help with anything you can find me in the Facebook group. If you want me to give you some feedback on your photos or website use Facebook Messenger.

Right, I’ll be back next week. Talk to you soon, bye.