A little bit of background on David & Whitney
Whitney Scott Photography is based in Arkansas and started as a family hobby. Whitney has loved photography since high school, and David is the ultimate computer geek! A business in photography was the perfect blending of their talents that has gone from strength to strength since it began.
The Scott’s have photographed a little bit of everything, from the CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies, to magazine covers, to big rig truck calendars and once, a model in a ballgown they created out of trash. Most. Fun. Ever. The heart and soul of their business, however, is the everyday families whose relationships they photograph in ways that capture personality and connection. They are sought after educators in the professional photographic community and can frequently be found speaking at conferences and workshops across the US.
This year they've embarked on a new venture with fellow photographers, Tavis and Amy Guild, with Tribe of 5, a collection of coach-led mastermind groups designed to give photographers support, community and accountability. You can find out more about it here.
We very much want to live a balanced life. Our family and faith are our top priorities and so we've intentionally built our photography business to allow us to live our lives the way we want. We want to be able to spend time with our kids (who are growing up way too fast!), spend time with our extended families and we also want to be able to travel and take time out to have new experiences. That's why we work less than 20 hours per week and yet our business is among the top 5% income earners in the industry.
Our mission is to help other photographers do the same. We've been educating photographers for the last 10 years on a whole range of things from personality types to psychology in pricing and sales. We've taught thousands of photographers through educational platforms such as IPS Mastermind, WPPI, SYNC, After Dark, The Sandy Puc Tour, and this year we started Tribe of 5 with Amy and Tavis. The way we look at it is, if two dorks like us can do it, anyone can!
When we were in the process of growing our business, we got very technical with the idea of who our client was... creating that “ideal client” avatar and going out to “find” that elusive person who would be the perfect fit for us. What we have come to realize through much trial and error is that our client comes from a much broader base than we would have expected. Wealthy? Sometimes, but not always. Lives in a gorgeous house on the golf course? Sometimes, but it’s rare. Drives a nice car? On occasion.
So what do our clients have in common? They love their family and place a priority on capturing memories. They value what we do and see it as art. These are elusive qualities, so we no longer pre-judge or pre-qualify clients. Whether they are the president of a fortune 500 company or a public school teacher, we give them a beautiful portrait experience, show them our value, and usually, they choose to invest in artwork and products that help them hold these memories of their family in a lovely and lasting way.
Yes! If you've seen our work, you'll notice that everything we do seems to have a feeling attached to it. Our goal with every type of session we do is to capture the personality of those we are photographing, and the relationships between people. With families, there are likely to be lots of snuggles, with seniors you may see that we've captured one person more serious, and yet another with a quirky sense of humor. In commercial and editorial work, we're focusing on capturing our subjects in a way that is creative and not your typical posed shot. So, while our specialty isn't "just babies" or "just commercial work", there is a thread that connects them all that is unique to us... and that is capturing what is unique about the person we are photographing.
Yes! We've been doing it for 12 years now.
Tell us a little bit about your sales process
Our primary sales are wall art, so we project our client’s portraits large on the studio wall. The key for us selling groupings is using room views to give clients ideas of how best to showcase their images. Once we have used their favorite portraits for the wall, clients will typically have 20-30 remaining favorites, which we then sell to them in a folio box or album.
Since we started with in-person sales 12 years ago, we have always been challenged by the “album issue”. Clients would choose their wall art, and we would have many of their favorite images remaining, but they would tell us they weren’t really “album people”. The folio box has been a GAME CHANGER for us in this area! It’s the perfect solution for someone who wants all their images printed and loves to display, but just doesn’t have the wall space or just enjoys something smaller. Now we are able to sell an additional product after the wall art to almost every client who walks through our door.
By offering a folio box, has anything changed within your business and if so, what?
Um... it has made us more money. Isn’t that enough? ;)
While wall art, folio boxes and albums are the three physical products we sell, most of our clients end up with some or all of their edited digital files also. They have a high perceived value, and a low cost to us, so it makes them the perfect incentive to use as leverage in the sales room. When clients purchase both wall art and either a folio box or an album, they receive their digital files complimentary. This has resulted in us selling both at 90% of our sales sessions and giving us a sales average of $4000!
What are your Top 3 Tips for Photographers looking to improve their business?
- Begin with the end in mind.
Many photographers start out in photography because it’s a fun hobby, and charging even a little seems like they’ve hit the jackpot! However, when you are running a business, you need to know what you want your final results to be so you can know best how to get there. Want to bring in a gross of $4000/month? You’ll need two clients per week with a $500 average OR one client per week with a $1000 average. You must have a target or you won’t know where to aim. It’s really just that simple.
- Educate yourself! Sparingly.
Online education is a double-edged sword. It's so valuable to give you the skills you need in almost every area of photography, but unless paired with action - useless. I’ve seen so many photographers who have watched hundreds of hours of online education whose businesses are on the verge of failure, and others who have taken a couple marketing ideas and an imperfect price list, paired it with bravery and hustle and MADE their business profitable. Learning is great, but knowing when you’ve learned enough to move forward is even better.
- Surround yourself with the right people.
In growing our business, we’ve found two types of people KEY to our success. The first are positive peers, people who are “in the trenches” with us, other photographers encouraging us to keep moving when things get hard - the purchase is cancelled the next day, the calendar is empty... celebrating with us when the marketing campaign works or the big sale comes through. The second are inspirational mentors - those we watch whose work we admire, whose confidence we emulate, whose success makes our own seem possible. Entrepreneur life can be lonely. Find your people.