Business + Marketing

Can’t Provide In-Person Sales? Consider These Online Gallery Features

May 28, 2019

By Michelle Lange

© Michelle Lange Photography

Let’s talk online galleries and presenting finished products to your clients virtually.

When I first started my business, in-person sales were the route most photographers were taking. A photographer would invite a client to their home or studio to view their images. At the same time, the photographer would showcase their product offerings, hopefully resulting in a sale.

Here’s the main problem that I had with this sales method: While my permanent home was in New Jersey, where I also operated my business, I spent the majority of my winter in Germany. There was no way that I could present the finished product to each and every client, the majority of which didn’t even live in New Jersey.

I craved and wanted consistency in presenting my finished product, so I signed up with a popular e-commerce photography platform. It had all the bells and whistles for my business. I could upload my full galleries, send them off to my clients, and they could download and order print products directly from the gallery. It was easy, but I didn’t see a ton of sales after I delivered my galleries.

I have since upgraded to Pic-Time, which has definitely helped me enhance my presentation and better market my print products. Here are some features to look for when searching for the perfect e-commerce and online gallery platform.

1. Ease of Use

Courtesy of Pic-Time

Over the past seven years, I have tried four different e-commerce and online gallery platforms. When you can’t do in-person sales and need to opt to conduct them virtually, the software needs to be easy for your clients.

In three out of the four platforms, I was asked, “How do I download my images?” “How do I log in?” “How can I share this gallery with my aunt in Georgia?” Not everyone is an expert at navigating the World Wide Web—it needs to be as easy for the tech guru as it is for the grandmother that turns on her computer twice a year. Yes, you will still get questions, but it should eliminate the bulk of the user interface questions.

Test out the galleries before you send them to a real client. Upload a couple of sample galleries with your free trial, which most platforms offer, and send them off to a few family members. Send out a practice email with the gallery link that provides key details on how to access the gallery, how to share the gallery and where they can find more information on products. Keep it short and simple.

2. Marketing Features

Courtesy of Pic-Time

I didn’t know that I needed this feature until I started using Pic-Time. For those who are looking to enhance their product sales, marketing features will help you get there.

Have you ever received an email from a clothing company with a big flashing sign that says you can get 40% off for the next 24 hours? Have you ever purchased something because of that email? If you have managed to go your entire life without ordering something online because of a marketing email, then I shall gift you the golden computer mouse.

I can’t say selling products is my jam, but I know most people love taking advantage of sales. Sometimes, a simple email will give them just enough of an incentive to place an order.

Look for a feature that allows you to collect email addresses (with a user’s approval) when they log into a gallery. When you have a sale, you can easily send out a coupon to the users that opted into a gallery’s marketing emails. You can decide how often, how much to discount and when to send out the coupons.

3. Various Product Options

Photos © Michelle Lange Photography

This is one area that I feel like Pic-Time knocks it out of the park. They are constantly integrating photo labs from around the world and adding products that you can sell to your clients, all while keeping it simple for me and my clients. If you choose to offer framed prints from one of the integrated labs, clients can see what that image would look like in a framed print, pick the mat and place the order all by themselves.

Some specific things to look at when doing your research:

  1. Confirm that the integrated photo labs will ship to where you need your products to go.
  2. Make sure that the timeframe and cost of shipping are reasonable for you. (I learned this the hard way when I once used a platform based out of Australia—while the products were great, the cost and time to ship weren’t.)
  3. Order samples of products that you’re thinking of offering your clients. Just because something looks high-quality online, doesn’t mean it is.
  4. Test out the process of ordering products as a client would and confirm its ease of use.
  5. Find out what the e-commerce platform takes as a sales commission.

Michelle Lange is a wedding and newborn photographer and educator based in Albany, NY. She last wrote about how the right studio management software can save your sanity.


8 Tools to Help Up Your Game with In-Person Sales

Easy Upsells to Guide Your Couples Beyond the Basic Wedding Photography Package

Simple Ways to Strike a Healthier Balance Between Life and Your Photo Business