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Three years ago, portrait photographer Sue Bryce was hit with a career-changing idea. Bryce has nearly three decades of studio portraiture under her belt, and she’s known for her boutique studio that creates “Vanity Fair-style portraits” for women who want beautiful images of themselves. She’s also become an educator to help other photographers realize their potential. In recent years, she’s seen too many photographers struggling to sell digital packages to their clients.
“Everybody says we are a digital generation. But I believe we are a ‘now’ generation,” Bryce says. “What people really want is a product they don’t have to wait for.” Bryce has always been a firm advocate of printing, but her new idea upped the ante on print packages.
“I thought: ‘What if I printed my top package and had it finished, printed and ready to go at the sales session?’” she recalls. “I have not looked back—and now I am watching thousands of photographers do the same.” Bryce’s “Reveal Wall,” as its now coined, lives up to its name with dramatic effect: Bryce reveals the full impact of her printed images on a wall, right before her clients’ eyes. She’s able to do this with a Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer right in her studio. “The hardest headspace to get around is: ‘What if they don’t purchase?’” she says. “Yes, you will have printed images that they will reject. But they may purchase twice as many prints, and you have to be at a place where you feel confident in this process.”
Gaining confidence in the Reveal Wall model requires a commitment to every part of the shoot, and it all starts with the consultation. It’s during this first meeting where Bryce first begins visualizing the final prints. She gets to know her subject’s personal style by asking her to bring in clothing for the shoot. She also spends the time getting to know her on a personal level. “I want to spend the most precious time in the consultation educating, connecting and listening to how they want to be photographed,” Bryce explains. “I truly believe the sale is made here, in this first moment.”
Bryce says you must be comfortable with your selling process. “Have your price list set and your products dialed in,” Bryce suggests. “Lots of education around your prices and your products will help.”
Finally, Bryce makes sure she delivers exceptional prints. She has always printed her own work, and this year, she upgraded to the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000, a 17-inch professional-grade printer that matches her own obsessive precision. Part of the PRO Series, which includes printers ranging from 17 to 60 inches, the speedy PRO-1000 produces deep blacks; rich, accurate colors; enhanced details and outstanding image clarity on a range of papers. Thanks to two dedicated channels for Matte Black and Photo Black ink, Bryce can switch seamlessly between fine-art and glossy paper, ultimately giving her clients more options. “Nothing compares to seeing your photographs printed,” Bryce says of the final reveal. And closing the deal becomes easier when you’ve created tangible products a client can’t live without. “My job is to create a product everyone has to have.”