Episode 216 – When No One Wanted Prints, LA Photographer Catherine Made Changes. Here’s How She’s Landing $6,000 Client Orders

Episode 216 - When No One Wanted Prints, LA Photographer Catherine Made Changes. Here's How She's Landing $6,000 Client Orders

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Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

Sarah Petty: Most people who live in a big city don’t think it’s possible to find clients who want anything but digital files. But LA area photographer Catherine Della Ripa is proof it’s possible. Her boutique photography business is going so well even her husband can’t believe she’s making this kind of money. She went from $500 per client to $1,500 per client.

Tell us about your life, Catherine.

Catherine : I live in LA where there are lots of photographers that run a digital file model. My husband and I have two teenage kids that keep us on our toes. We’re really busy. We’re kind of a family that reaches for our goals and doesn’t stop.

Sarah Petty: How did photography fit into your life?

Catherine : I had always wanted to make it my full-time career, and make money that was a full-time salary. When I started 12 years ago, people bought the disk for $75 and I think I went up to $150. I slowly raised my prices. I started offering prints because that’s what I wanted my clients to have. I started incorporating working with ProSelect and having them come to a place where I could show them their images. I was guessing at pricing at that point and had no idea what I should be charging.

The biggest thing that was going on, I knew before I met you, were gaps in my system of trying to run a business. I didn’t know what they were, but the same thing kept happening where there was a big communication gap between my clients and me. They thought they just automatically got all the digitals. 

It wasn’t until I got into Boutique Breakthrough that I learned how to communicate to your client from the very first phone call. That was a total game changer.

Sarah Petty: So nobody was ordering. Did you just start giving them the digital files or what was happening?

Catherine : I started doubting my system. I decided to give my clients 3 8×10 prints and 5 digital images for $500. No one would ever want any more prints or products because it wasn’t the focus of my business.

Sarah Petty: Looking back on all of those clients that you gave digital files to, how does that make you feel that none of those images are big, gorgeous wall portraits?

Catherine : It’s just ungratifying. I could have really served them. Because going through this process with you and your team, I realized how to serve my clients and how important this artwork is to their family. I could have been doing so much more.

Sarah Petty: Was your marketing attracting the wrong people, or was it the wrong system?

Catherine : A lot of them were price sensitive clients. And those tend to be the most demanding ones .I think a lot of them were not the right fit clients.

I was fortunate to have some clients that transitioned with me. And I did that in Boutique Breakthrough with your step-by-step instruction and support. I actually was able to have my IPS critiqued by your team, which set me up for my first Julie, $1k or more sales order, in the program.

Sarah Petty: I love that. In the Boutique Breakthrough program, Andria on my team, who’s built my presentations for 15 years, takes your presentation before you give it to the client and critiques it. What was that like?

Catherine : I felt like I had this whole support system behind me going in. Having that and being prepared was amazing. It was amazing to have all that support and know that I don’t have to doubt myself.

Sarah Petty: Tell us about that client.

Catherine : That was one of my previous clients that I transitioned. I did all the steps you taught me and I handed her my price list at our consultation. I was so nervous. I told her that she got a digital file copy of whatever she purchased as wall art and she was okay with that.

They loved all the images I presented. It was very simple. She knew that she wanted to get an album, and a family portrait on her wall. I showed her what the image would look like on the wall and it was just so exciting. They were so excited to get something on the wall. They handed me their card and it was done. It was a $2,400 order.

Sarah Petty: Wow. And how much did you charge her prior to joining my program?

Catherine : $500. And the more comfortable I get with this process, the higher my sales have gotten. My highest sale to date has been close to $6,000.

Sarah Petty: WOW! Going from the trying trap to having the system. As far as marketing, how did that change for you?

Catherine : I wasn’t marketing prior to this. I was just hoping that someone would see my pictures on Facebook and book me. I learned how to put myself and my business out there in a way that shows I am a boutique photographer.

Sarah Petty: What are you most excited about moving forward with your business?

Catherine : I love that I’m making my own hours. Having control of my schedule and being able to spend time with my friends and my family and not be worried about how I’m going to make money or that sort of thing. And serving my clients in this way that builds relationships.

Sarah Petty: I love it. Catherine, thank you so much for sharing.

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