Projection sales for wall portraits

The portrait session is over, you’ve edited the photographs and retouched the portraits Now it’s time to present the finished images to the client for the all important sale. Are you making the most of it, and doing your photography and your client justice?

Presentation is everything

Traditionally, presentation has revolved around paper proofs. The photographer either sits with the client in the studio for a viewing or the clients take the photos home to peruse at their leisure.

However even during the days of film, some smart photographers learned a very simple but powerful fact: the first impression is the lasting impression.

In other words, the way the client sees the photographs for the first time will determine the lasting impression. Therefore, the presentation of the images is paramount to ensuring you make a sale. It makes sense that the best way to sell is to present images in their finished size, projected onto a framed canvas.

Projection selling is proven to be the most successful method of portrait sales. Many photographers who have switched to projection sales claim that their first sale more than paid for the set up, and I can attest to that myself.

The benefits of projection

Projection selling portrays a more professional image of your business, and sets the tone for the sale of wall portraiture as home décor. But there are other benefits too:

  • The clients see their images at full size
  • They can visualize how the finished portrait would look in their home
  • You are in full control of the sale
  • You can display the images at any size
  • Projection allows you to sell from largest to smallest

The last point is very important. The first thing the clients see should be at least a 30 x 40. If that’s too large, then you can always reduce the size slowly until they finds one they’re comfortable with. Don’t start by showing an 8 x 10 and expecting to sell larger afterward; it’s next to impossible. Always start with the largest size, even if the client has already said they only want an 8 x 10.

Useful tips:

Use a large white canvas with a nice frame. A 40 x 60 is recommended, but any size 30 x 40 or larger should suffice. You can mount the canvas on a Lazy Susan to rotate it or, as I’ve done, use a square canvas.

The fixed frame size is important as a constant reminder of the original, larger size, and makes even a 20 x 24 look small by comparison. This isn’t meant to manipulate the client into a larger purchase, by the way, but simply to keep things in proper perspective.

Nigel Merrick

Picture: Nigel Merrick Nigel Merrick is a full-time professional photographer and founder of the Zenologue Blog, dedicated to helping other photographers improve their businesses and to the preservation of the professional photography industry as a whole. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Written by

Kain is a co-founder, creative and marketing director at Fotomerchant. You've probably seen his template designs, blog posts and video content. His photography website is home to a collection of lomography, instagram and experimental photography.

  • Rodhunter911

    what projection equipment do you use?

  • thank you. I am newer in photography and not ready for this size of a plunge, but it comes close to the top of the list. Any recommendations on equipment specifications are very appreciated. thanks!