How Do You Sell Products When Everyone Wants Digital Files?


Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute


We know clients ask for them, so how can you sell products when your clients are asking for digital files?

This is one of the most common questions I get asked by photographers. In this 6 minute video, I’ll tackle this controversial question and give you reasons why it’s better to avoid the ‘shoot-and-burn’ model and go for a boutique business model like we do here at Sarah Petty Photography.


Video Transcript

What I want to talk to you about today is the thought that.. GOSH, why would people buy products when all they want are digital files?

Are you scared to go from selling digital files to selling physical products?

Because this is a broken model over here where you’re just giving people digital files for money. We call that ‘SHOOT-and-BURN’. It’s kind of the Walmart of the industry.

Shoot-and Burn vs. Boutique

Compare the shoot-and-burn model to being a boutique photography business where you’re spending time with your clients – you’re high touch and you’re creating an amazing personal experience. And you’re sitting with them in person to talk about the beautiful portraits for their home. Whether it’s of their pets, a boudoir photo, their grand kid, their baby or their wedding. Whatever it is: what we’re offering our clients if we’re going to be boutique is… BEAUTIFUL ARTWORK for their home.

You’ll notice I won’t say picture or prints, I talk about artwork so we’re talking about home decorating. 

What does that mean? What we’re talking about is artwork that give you chills when you walk into your home and the same when your clients walk into their homes.

Look, when I first started I was very broken. I was giving people proofs because I was pre-digital, which was pretty equivalent to giving digital files today. I was simply hoping that they would buy wall portraits from me, It was then that I realized that my model was broken and I went into a system where I’m selling in-person,

It’s Not All About Selling Digital Files

And you know what? I’ve taught my clients and I’ve taught my market that it’s not all about buying and selling digital files.

Look, if you’re saying.. “Oh my gosh, there is so much competition”. Guys look up. We all have competition.

OK, If you want to make yourself irrelevant from competition then start talking about beautiful wall portraits; about books and albums. We do custom books for our clients that they can’t get anywhere else. That’s what makes us worth more. Just because clients ask for digital files doesn’t mean they’re saying, “I’m not coming to you if you don’t give me the high res. digital files”. Lets face it we’re in a social media filled world.

People want to be able to gush about their kids, or their life, or their experiences on Facebook, on Instagram, on social media. So my answer when people ask if I give or offer sell media files. You know what, yes! I give you a digital file of everything you purchase for social media. Once they own it, it’s going to go out there on Facebook or social media,

So why not give them a small but high quality version that represents your brand?

Then we can get down to the conversation of “What do you want for your home, to decorate your house and your walls?”

The thing is… I see a lot of photographers getting really scared of objections

“What if they say I’m too expensive?” or “what if they only want digital files?”

Most of the time they’re just questions. They’re just simply asking,

“Do I get digital files? Because I saw my neighbor got digital files”.

And once you learn how to explain what you do and why you’re priced the way you are, they will understand why you don’t sell high res. digital files.

Look, it’s not helping your brand or them to give them those files to try and go manage exposure or color balance at the lab. Your clients are not going to print them as well as you can…..or that CD of high res. images is going to sit buried in a drawer full of junk somewhere and lost to time.

Alright so, I don’t want you to be afraid anymore of the digital file question.

It’s About Creating Artwork

For 20 years, I’ve been creating artwork for people, in the middle of a cornfield in central Illinois. I went from getting $75 per client to fixing my sales process and stopping my fear or being pushy or salesy because I created a really awesome system that serves my clients. My orders immediately jump to $1500 and kept going, And then I started to creating this system and I started teaching it to photographers and their sales started hitting $1500 and higher and higher.

Imagine what that would feel like to actually sit with a client and have them love the images…

Order them and put them on their walls. Or create books, albums or memories that last forever. Would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

Defeat Your Phone Phobia

If you want to know the EXACT 7 steps I follow for a 15 minute client phone call…so I don’t book the wrong clients AND The #1 thing you need to bring up on the phone to make sure a client doesn’t focus ONLY on your prices, then download my free guide: Defeat Phone Fright: 7 Steps to Answering the Phone….So You Get Booked.




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