Driving Incremental Volume Photography Revenue Through Seasonal Strategies

Written by
October 31, 2023

Maximizing revenue from a picture day at a school, youth sports league, or dance studio is vital to growing your volume photography business. Traditionally, these money-making opportunities have been viewed as a one-time, short-term chance to market pictures and products to families and encourage them to purchase as much as possible in one order.

This strategy works well during your busiest times of the season when your calendar is filled with school pictures and sports sessions. But what happens when the shoots spread out a little more, and your usual selling opportunities start slowing down?

It’s time to get creative and look to the seasons for inspiration! 

Take advantage of late-year celebrations to promote holiday gifting, or consider individual or family portrait sessions with Santa to create a whole new revenue stream. Last-minute group photos and the unique keepsake products available through your lab make excellent holiday gifts.

How Can I Use Seasons to Sell More?

The basic idea is to reuse pictures you’ve already taken and update them to give customers a new reason to buy based on the time of year or an upcoming holiday. You can do this in many ways, but three of the most obvious are changing digital background options, offering special promos, and switching up your price sheets and packages to include calendar-specific products. This is also the perfect time and opportunity to upsell products like photo calendars, photo mugs, framed photos, and other relevant products your lab offers.

Seasonal Backgrounds

If you’re already adding digital background options and making multiple graphics available in your galleries, why not utilize holiday-specific graphics to drive sales? The busy season for school pictures usually ends around November—just before prime gift-giving time. 

Update your galleries with winter, Christmas, and Hanukkah backgrounds to give your images a fresh look that offers parents and grandparents another reason to buy. PhotoDay Knockouts combined with holiday graphics can make changing backgrounds a breeze! Since you’ve already knocked out images and uploaded PNGs to your galleries, all you have to do is change the graphic set in your gallery to take advantage of this seasonal opportunity.

Offering Promos

Special promos are a great way to get back in front of customers a second time. Whether they’ve already placed an order or not—why not provide a second chance to buy?

Creating a holiday-specific promotion provides even more motivation for family members to buy. Imagine Mother’s Day is coming up, and you send a text message reminding customers that the holiday is approaching with a link to the spring pictures you took just a few months ago. You have their gift-giving covered without them ever leaving the house!

Show them a new photo product they haven’t seen before and make your promotion time-sensitive to drive buyer urgency. You can offer discounts, but be very careful about undercutting your standard pricing. If buyers notice this pattern, you may inadvertently teach them that they don’t need to purchase pictures in the initial offering because a considerable discount is coming.

PhotoDay provides a turn-key marketing solution to ensure you maximize profits on a special sale through special gallery offers and custom promos. We have pre-built SMS campaigns you can request to send to anyone who opted-in to any gallery you’ve created in the last year. You can also design your own campaign to send through PhotoDay’s built-in email flyers.

Holiday-Specific Products

After you’ve updated your galleries and while planning your holiday promotion, think about photo gifts that make sense for the time of year. Christmas and Hanukkah are the perfect time to promote custom gifts like ornaments, calendars, and canvas prints. Don’t forget stocking stuffers like keychains and photo magnets, too!

The holiday gifting season is an excellent opportunity to review all of the products your print lab offers and see if they fit into the promo you are preparing to run or would be a strong seller in the future.

Getting Organizations Involved

Since you likely have a revenue-sharing agreement with the schools, sports leagues, and dance studios where you photograph, they should all be excited to support your seasonal sales as an additional fundraising opportunity. Build even more enthusiasm by showing them examples of specific products, like a custom Christmas ornament, to help them understand how your holiday promotion differs from a “normal” picture sale.

Be transparent with your organizations about your intent to remarket galleries at specific times during the year and clearly explain how it also benefits them. Ask about in-person opportunities to set up a table displaying photo products at an open house, during recitals, or on a special game day, where you can show some of the unique products your studio offers. Letting customers see the quality of your products could spark the perfect gift idea and encourage additional sales.

Propose New Ideas

Spring pictures are an exciting time to try something fresh and new! Brainstorm ways to evolve spring sessions from your standard picture day flow to create unique images and develop a new revenue stream for your studio and the school.

Why only take class pictures in the fall? Classes change, kids develop new friendships, and some parents may have skipped ordering due to devoting their fall budgets to holiday gifts and back-to-school shopping. Giving them another chance to order is a bonus revenue opportunity for you.

Look for new events or themes to explore. Consider suggesting graduation-style pictures for kindergartners and students in their last year of elementary school or dual photoshoots for siblings or friends if the school allows.  

With alternate spring photo opportunities, you should provide a customized price sheet. Maybe your fall price sheet emphasized gifts due to the approaching holiday season, while your spring price sheet might focus more on packages offering multiple poses, backgrounds, and sizes. 

PhotoDay makes it easy to customize price sheets, share multiple products and options in your galleries, and upsell to maximize revenue. It’s as easy as clicking a button to edit or swap price sheets for a gallery!

Using Mini Sessions to Drive Seasonal Revenue

After the busy season wraps and your studio’s calendar has more space between picture days, it may be an excellent time to set up some seasonal mini sessions.

Mini sessions are themed shoots you set up outside your typical organizational structure, book slots, and then sell pictures and gifts as usual. If your studio doesn’t have a physical location, you could consider renting a studio space or shooting outdoors in a public place if it’s profitable.

With mini sessions, the only limit is your imagination! You could design a fall set with hay bales and pumpkins or hire Santa to sit in for a Christmas session. You could use fun props like beach balls, shovels, and pails for summer. Maybe you could plan a spring shoot with a live bunny. You also have the option to keep it simple and shoot on a plain background and incorporate PhotoDay Custom Backgrounds.

Seasonal mini sessions also offer a new revenue opportunity because you can involve the whole family instead of the individual portraits you usually take with your organizations. Family pictures make great holiday gifts for loved ones. Ensure you allow plenty of time per session and charge appropriately if working outside your normal parameters.

However simple or complex you choose to go with your sessions, you can use PhotoDay’s wealth of available automated marketing tools to encourage participation from your customer base.

Promoting Seasonal Sales Opportunities

You should promote your seasonal offers and mini sessions with the same resources and enthusiasm you use to advertise regular picture days. 

Recent studies show SMS (text) message marketing to be the most effective, and PhotoDay has you covered with free Smart Text Marketing features. From automated reminder series to custom promo requests, PhotoDay is committed to helping you get the word out about picture day, published galleries, and special sales. Custom promos allow you to request pre-made campaigns with your specific gallery and the included offer. Each series is crafted with well-researched timing and frequency allotments as well.

All messages must communicate what is being sold, who is selling it, when it will happen, and why the customer should act. Succinctly sharing this information will improve your conversion percentage—and PhotoDay takes care of this for you! 

Promoting a Seasonal Gallery and Gifts

Promotions should run for a limited time to build urgency and encourage quick decision-making. Here is a sample message for PhotoDay’s “Flash Sale” custom promo campaign:

FLASH SALE: SmileJoy Studios via PhotoDay: Today only! Get free shipping on orders of $35 or more with offer code HAPPYHOLIDAYS. Order now: https://my.photoday.com/g/LMDEMO23 | STOP to cancel

When requesting a custom promo through PhotoDay’s smart messaging tools, you can customize who will receive the messages. Studios can request that the text message promo be sent only to gallery opt-ins who haven’t placed an order yet or to all gallery opt-ins regardless of whether they have purchased. After ordering, they can receive order confirmation messages and shipping updates.

If you’re publishing a gallery for the first time, our automatic text message campaign is perfect for spreading the word! The reminder campaign automatically sends for all jobs in PhotoDay. Customers subscribed to receive SMS communication receive a notification when the gallery is first published and reminders to order on days 3, 5, 7, 14, and 30; the reminder series stops as soon as a customer purchases.

Promoting a Mini Session

Mini sessions require more planning and advanced notice, making an extended email campaign more appropriate. Ensure customers understand your plan, who you are, what they need to do to participate, and why it will be valuable. 

Offering an incentive like free high-resolution downloads with purchases over a certain amount is a valuable way to generate interest. Everyone wants to share their photos on Instagram or Facebook!

PhotoDay’s integrated marketing kit contains a series of email templates with modifiable text that you can send to gallery contacts who would be most interested in your session. Customers who already have a relationship with you and have seen your great work are much more likely to register for your event.

Include a sample or inspirational image in your email when possible, and be sure to attach your special offer.

To continually grow your volume photography business, you must find creative ways to drive revenue year-round. Picture days at schools, dance studios, and sports leagues will always be your bread and butter, but when these fixed events become sparse on your calendar, seasonal strategies can help you fill in the gaps.

PhotoDay is the ideal partner to help your studio thrive. We’ve loaded our platform with all the tools and features you need to engage customers and sell unique photographs and gifts at any time of the year.

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