Selling Portrait Photography as Artwork

If you’re looking for ways to build your portrait photography business, serve your clients, AND make more money, you’ve probably tried one of the following:

Booking More Shoots


Offering Mini Sessions

newborn photography

These are the most common beginner strategies I see photographers use when they’re trying to get a boost in their business, and you know what? All of them can work! But the kicker is, every single one of those methods takes up a lot of your time and your money (and they don’t even always give extra benefits to your clients). Enter: sustainable ways to build your photography business. As I explored new options, one path became the clear winner – artwork!

Offering artwork in your portrait photography business not only increases your sales exponentially, it also provides something authentic, long-lasting, and beneficial to your clients. 

Think about this scenario for a second: Lets say your clients have just had a baby and their whole world has turned upside-down; they want to enjoy the new chapter in their lives and celebrate it – which is why they are coming to you to document it – but at this point in their lives, things need to be simple. Why not make it EASY for them to display this exciting new chapter rather than leaving it up to them to find their own printing and framing?  When you start seeing artwork offerings as a valuable option for busy parents, it becomes a no-brainer!

So, how the heck do you sell your portrait photography as artwork?  Here are the four simple steps.

Discuss artwork before the shoot even happens.

Hop on a planning call and ask your clients where they want to display their photos and what colors and styles would compliment the room. Give them simple instructions for taking photos of their home so that you can offer recommendations on what might look best in which room. Get them thinking about color palettes early on and help them pick a wardrobe that will not only look great at the shoot, but that will stand the test of time as artwork. If you set up the sale from the very beginning, taking the step to purchase artwork is a natural path!

Plant seeds during the session.

At the shoot, mention the potential artwork as you capture shots. Commenting on your work by saying, ‘this would be a beautiful canvas in your house’, or ‘I could totally see this as your framed print’, will get your clients excited about the end result.  When they go home after the shoot, they’ll be able to begin visualizing where the beautiful photos will go and what things are going to look like in their home.  

Show off room views with your beautiful portrait photography framed on the walls.

After the session, you’ll want to put together some artwork options based on what you shot and what your clients are interested in.  You can put room views together with pictures of their house or a template house with their photos; if they want a gallery wall, put together some collage options or mix and match frames and canvases to show off different product options. I also like to set aside photos that would look great in an album and ask if they want to see a simple layout to get the wheels turning.

Don’t overwhelm your clients.

The last (but not least!!) important detail for selling your photos as artwork is to use your expert eye and limit the number of options they have to purchase. Too many decisions will make your clients feel confused and indecisive – and as new parents, they’re probably overwhelmed already! I’ve found that sticking to the classics, like frames, canvases or albums, helps make that decisions easy. You can also pre-pick a few frame styles you know they’ll love (since your planning call helped determine their style!) instead of showing off dozens of options, and give them easy “yes” or “no” choices.

I’m SO passionate about selling portrait photography artwork that I recently hosting a Facebook Live JUST to talk about it! If you missed it, check out the discussion below.

If you’ve never sold artwork in your photography biz, it can feel kind of daunting.  The best thing you can do is to get into the right mindset: this isn’t a grab for more money, it’s a service you’re giving clients so that they can have something beautiful in their home. When you feel good about what you’re offering, your clients can feel it, too! 

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How to sell your photography as artwork


  1. […] CALCULATE YOUR SERVICE GOALS IN RELATION TO PROFIT.  Now that you’ve busted through some of the fear you might have around creating profit goals, it’s time to look at all the ways you can make the goal actionable. I recommend making a list of all your services and offerings and calculating how many of each you’d have to do each month (or week) to reach your yearly profit goal. Now, this is where you’ll get into the nitty-gritty of your business. Will you have to shoot WAY more sessions than you thought to hit your goals? Are you leaving any space for the back-end work or rest? Remember, there’s TONS of different ways to run your business, but if you’re like me, artwork sales are the number-one way to work less while still meeting your profit goals. Revisit your session pricing or expand your product offerings to achieve a little more balance in your year (and if you want to read my top tips for selling artwork and SKYROCKET your sales, click HERE!) […]

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