I made a number of changes to my business coming into my third year of business.  I decided that 2013 would be the year that I took my business to the next level and focus on building a high-end, luxury boutique pet portrait photography business.  I raised my prices, refined my product offerings, and made several changes to my business practices that would allow me to move in this direction.  I’m looking forward to see what 2013 has in store for me + my pet photography business!

One of the first changes was re-naming my session fee.  Previously, I called it a Creative Fee, but now I call is a Pet Portrait Session Fee (or Session Fee).  I think this simple name change helps potential clients understand my fee structure a little better.  I also increased my fee this year from $200 to $250.  I wanted my session fee to be in line with industry standards and I also wanted my session fee to help pre-qualify my clients.  If someone is looking for a DVD of images or a few 5×7 prints, they will know pretty much right away that I am not the photographer for them.  My clients hire me to create wall art – big, beautiful, iconic images that are proudly displayed on their walls and coffee tables.  It is my hope that increasing my session fee will help me attract serious clients who are invested in the entire pet photography experience.

I also modified what is offered in my session fee.  The biggest change is that instead of having my clients order through an online gallery, I will be moving to in-person viewing + ordering sessions in 2013.  While online galleries are convenient, they also greatly diminish the impact + excitement of viewing your images over a long period of time.  Although I had a 14-day expiration date on my galleries in the past, I’ve had clients take upwards of 4-5 MONTHS to order anything.  By that point, the excitement is pretty much dead and the chances of making a large sale are slim to none.  With an in-person viewing + ordering session, clients will see their images for the very first time with me.  We’ll go through the gallery together, pick favorites, and talk about what they are looking for as far as product purchases go.  I’ll bring my iPad and wall art app that will allow us to see their images to scale on their wall electronically so we can make educated decisions about wall displays.  I’ll be there to answer questions, give suggestions, show them my samples, and guide my clients throughout the sales process so that it is done quickly and efficiently.  I’m hoping that this will be a fun + exciting change for my clients that will make their lives easier.  Of course, after our viewing + ordering session I will post the gallery online for my clients to share with family + friends.  Clients can also use this extra time to look over their images and make any additional purchases that they might have overlooked at the viewing + ordering session.  However, by the time the online gallery is posted, their big purchase decisions will have already been made and their order will be in production!

I also made a big change to my client loyalty program this year.  In an effort to retain pet photography clients year after year, I decided to waive the session fee for all sessions booked by returning clients after they’ve paid for their first session with me.  Check out the details here.

This year, I stopped offering gift prints + memory boxes, revamped my album offerings, and added some new products to the line up, including luxury session albums, metal print acrylics, acrylic float blocks, and a deluxe print set.  I also put together 4 new pre-designed collections for my clients that include my most popular products and combinations.  One of the big changes for 2013 was the addition of digital package upgrades.  Previously, I did not offer the option of purchasing digital files.  However, this year I decided to add that option for my clients.  Now, clients can opt for an all-digital package or they can add digital files onto their product order at a discount when they purchase a luxury session album or collection.  It’s the best of both worlds!

All of these changes are in an effort to provide a structured, easy process for my clients so that we can create the iconic types of images we both love.  I am dedicated to providing the highest level of client care and I want my clients to really get excited about working with me.  2013 promises to be a fun year, that’s for sure!