This idea of, “I have no idea of what products to recommend because I’m not an expert,” let’s go ahead and make you an expert here in the next 10 minutes or so.
I have a bunch more really great interviews lined up for you over the next few weeks, but I wanted to take a step back from those for this week and address something, this idea of ‘faking it until you make it.’ If you feel like that explains you, especially if you are shoot and burn photographer who is considering or is in the process of switching over to selling prints, then you hear this term a lot and you probably feel it, “Fake it until you make it.” Today, I want to help you make it. I want to help you stop faking it.
One of the things that we hear a bunch is, “I don’t feel like an expert. When I’m trying to recommend products to clients, I don’t feel like an expert, and I know that I’m supposed to be the expert.”
- I’m going to tell you a bunch of this stuff that you need to know so that you do feel like an expert, but
- I want to make sure that you understand that even if you are not an expert on print products, you are more of an expert on print products than your clients are. And I can tell you that for a fact, 100% true, because you’re listening to this right now and your client is not, all right? You know more about this stuff than they do, regardless of how much you feel like you know, okay?
I want to encourage you there first before we dive into all of this stuff. That idea of ‘faking it until you make it’, well, guess what? You’ve already ‘made it’ compared to your clients. You’re not faking it. You are an expert compared to your clients. Now, let’s make you more of an expert, okay?
This idea of, “I have no idea what products to recommend because I’m not an expert,” let’s go ahead and make you an expert. We’re going to talk about a handful of different wall art products and where these products are appropriate, what makes some of them great, and what makes some of them not so great for specific situations, all right? We’re going to talk about canvases, framed prints, metal prints, acrylic print standouts, mounted prints, wood prints, gallery blocks, thin wraps and specialty prints. Let’s just dig in.
Oh, and I don’t know if I said this already, but don’t feel like you need to write all of this down. I’ve got a free download for you of all of the slides that I’m reading from to present this to you, okay?
We’re going to start with canvas prints.
- Canvas prints are the Honda Accord of all art products. They’re great. They last forever, but they’re everywhere, and are one of the most common and popular options. Your clients can get them basically anywhere at this point. But some of the things that you might want to consider with canvas prints is that they can be more forgiving with fuzzy focus, so if you have an image that is not exactly tack sharp, then canvases can be very forgiving about that because they have a texture to them, so it’s naturally not as sharp an image, right?
- Another thing to consider when we talk about wall art and this idea of fuzzy focus and all of this is you have to keep in mind the viewing distance. With larger pieces of artwork, like something that’s going on the wall, you’re not going to be standing right on top of it, right? You’re not going to be three inches away from it examining every pixel. You’re going to be standing a handful of feet away to see that entire image, which again, makes it more forgiving with fuzzier focused images.
- Now, one of the other things that make canvas prints so good is that they can be customized to match a bunch of different styles. You can add a float frame to them to make them a little bit more of a modern look, right, or a trendy look. You can buy thin wraps where it’s wrapped around a Masonite board or something like that and that’s going to give it more of a modern look than if you were to just do a traditional gallery-wrapped canvas. There are lots of things that you can do to make it match a bunch of different styles.
Let’s go ahead and move on now to framed prints.
- Framed prints are, in my opinion, the most versatile of wall art products, because you have a bunch of different styles for the frame and for the mat.
- You can do a bunch of different colors.
- You can make framed prints match pretty much any style. These are the workhorse of wall art products, okay? And I personally believe that every photographer listening right now should offer some sort of framed and matted prints, period, full stop, because they match every style. It’s so easy to get them to match any style out there, okay?
Now, let’s talk about metals and acrylics, because they’re bringing sexy back.
- And also, I probably just dated myself, but these two options are perfect for modern or edgy styles and session types. If you do any urban sessions, anything grungy down in the … you know the ones, down in the alleys downtown or whatever, then metal prints are perfect for that. Acrylic prints, as well.
- We’re also seeing metal and acrylics becoming very, very popular for commercial work, so you’ll probably notice this now if you haven’t already. Stores, hospitals are really big on metals and acrylics right now, so if you do any sort of commercial work, you should really be looking at metal and acrylic prints to offer to your commercial clients.
- And even if you’re not doing commercial work, if you have a client whose personal style matches that modern look, then these are products that are tailor made for those clients.
- Some of the things I really love about both metal and acrylic is that they have very vibrant colors. They have rich, deep darks and really punchy highlights. They also tend to be tack sharp. If you have an image that is just flawless in focus, it’s going to look amazing on metal or on acrylic. They just come out super, super sharp, all right?
- One word of warning though is that you want to be careful with the various options, specifically on metal prints, because they’re not great for every type of photo. Metal prints come in in typically two different flavors, right? You have metal prints that are printed on white and metal prints that are just printed straight onto the metal. The white ones, you’re going to get all of those benefits that I just talked about, tack sharp and those punchy colors and all of that. The ones that are printed on metal, though, you need to be careful when you choose your images for those, because that metal is going to show through in the highlights and maybe you want that, but you might not if it’s on somebody’s face or something like that. Just something to consider. I’m not saying that it looks bad. I’m saying that it’s something that you should choose to pay attention to so you can decide if it’s appropriate for the image that you want to put on it, okay?
All right. Now, that brings us to wood prints.
- When I talk about wood prints, I’m talking about either images printed directly onto wood or prints that are mounted onto a wood kind of backing or substrate or something like that, right? Both of these products are great for those earthy, airy, organic, natural styles. If your brand falls into those categories, then wood prints are perfect for you and for your clients.
- Also, if you position your brand as an eco-friendly brand, this is another one of those products that you can say, “Look, these are harvested from sustainable forests,” and stuff like that. Obviously look into your lab and make sure that you’re telling the truth. But if you go with a product or a lab like ProDPI who does these wood products, then I know for a fact that they’re sourcing sustainable products. Again, if you are more of an eco-friendly or position your business that way, this another great selling point for wood prints.
- Now, when the image is printed directly onto the wood, it’s not going to be as sharp as other options, right? Just something to keep in mind. Again, it may be appropriate for the style or for your image, but it’s something to keep in mind.
- Then, just like we talked about with metal prints, woods are particularly not appropriate for all images. Same exact idea. In the highlights, the woodgrain is going to show through. And this is where I’m going to say this is probably not going to look great on skin. It actually ends up kind of looking like an issue with the client’s skin if that woodgrain is showing through on the skin. Again, something to keep in mind, something to think about when you are looking into an image that’s printed directly onto wood, okay?
All right, standouts, gallery blocks, and thin wraps.
- These are all really good options for lower priced wall art items, okay? Now, when I talk about that, the reason that I suggest you have lower-priced wall art items is so that when you design something like a gallery wall for a client and it’s perfect for that space, it’s the perfect size, but let’s say you designed it as a canvas gallery, right? If that client can’t afford it, I would rather see you switch to a different type of product that costs less than switch to a smaller gallery, because if it fits that space perfectly, we want to try to use that design, right, because that’s what should be there. Let’s look at different product types instead of different sizes. That’s where these products come in there. Again, they’re all really great options, standouts, gallery blocks and thin wraps.
- In general, the standouts and gallery blocks carry the same benefits of a standard print because they are just standard prints just mounted onto either a standout or a gallery block. The thin wraps, if they’re canvas, obviously will then have the same benefits that we discussed for canvases. If they are prints that are thin-wrapped, then those will obviously also have the same benefits of prints. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about with a thin wrap, it’s basically a print or a canvas that is mounted onto something like Masonite or some sort of substrate, really thin kind of substrate, but then they typically will put a padding in there as well.
- A really good example of these is over at Bay Photo, so if you go there and look up their thin wraps, then you’ll see what I’m talking about.
That leaves us with specialty prints.
- These are things that are unique to a specific lab. That’s going to be Bay Photos, Xposure product, which is really great for people who do bridal shows or trade shows because they break down super compact and they can be just assembled onsite. Really great product for that kind of thing, or maybe Miller’s Collage Wall. These are the kinds of things that would fall into the specialty product category.
- The rabbit hole of specialty products though, is endless, so we’re not actually going to go down that today, but if you do have a product that you’re curious about that’s more one of these more specialty products, then definitely feel free to reach out. I would love to answer any questions that you have.
- From there, let’s talk about styles real quick, because I’ve talked about this a bit. If you have this style, then you might want these products. I want to give you some ideas of what a good product mix might be for you. I recommend having a four different wall art products to choose from or to offer to your clients.
Not five, not 23. Don’t go out and offer all of these things. Four, all right? You can make it work right now with four, and then you could circle back later to make it better with the 23 or whatever, right?
Finding Products to Match Your Signature Style
Here’s some ideas for different styles of what those four products might be for you:
- If you have more of a classic style, this is going to be just your more traditional style portraiture or something like that, then I would recommend something like framed prints, canvases, gallery blocks, and standouts, right? Framed prints, canvases, gallery blocks and standouts. These, I think, will work really well for more of a classic style. The only one that doesn’t feel perfect to me is the standouts. They just have more of a modern feel, but I think that they’re good as a last resort, kind of a fallback product for classic style, all right?
- Now, let’s move on to modern then, framed prints again, because like I said, they’re the work horse, right? Metal prints, obviously you’re going to want metal prints if you have a more modern style, acrylics and then again, standouts. And I think that that one, they actually fit really well in as a modern style product.
- If you have more of trendy style, like you’re always keeping up with the newest trends and you want to be offering the newest stuff that’s available, then I’m going to say framed prints and canvases, but also you should be looking at circle prints. Circle prints are huge right now. You can get them from labs like Simply Color, Simply Color Lab, especially their wood circle prints. In fact, I think maybe Musea just started offering circle prints as well, so you should look at Musea as well. And then gallery blocks, I think are also a really good option for that more trendy style.
- And then finally, that brings us to a style that we’ve talked about again already, which is natural. If you have this natural organic style, then I think you should be looking at, again, framed prints and canvases, but then also wood prints, whether that’s mounted on wood or printed on wood, and then those circle prints, specifically those would circle prints that you’d find at somewhere like Simply Color Lab. I think that those will be a really, really good option for you and for your brand.
So, I hope that this has been helpful for you. Oh, I told you that you could have a download of it. Just head to ThePrintmakerSystem.com/wallart to can download the full list of everything that I just talked about for free.
If you are interested in learning a ton more about this stuff, then you really should check out our Pick Price Profit course. It’s going to walk you through how to choose the right products for you and your business and your clients, and then how to price those products and we go all the way through, and cover:
- How much money do you need to be making?
- What does your average sale need to be?
- And then what mix of products can you offer to then hit that average sale consistently?
It’s a really, really cool course. I’m very proud of what we’ve put together there. And if you are just switching to print sales and you have no idea where to start, Pick Price Profit is where to start. Click on the link if you want to check out more details about that course.
Otherwise, thanks so much for being here, and I will be back soon!