September 6, 2013#

‘The Reveal Wall’

During the movie ‘September Issue’ I saw Vogue September Issue up there on the light box the whole publication and I thought wow. What if I had a beautiful big light box in the studio.

For many years my clients have said “can you put them all up together at once” which of course you do with digital viewing software. Then I thought no not a light box a wall of mounted images. So there they are all up there. I want to sell prints AND a CD. I believe in this day “We haven’t become a digital society we’ve become a give it to me now society.” So I’ve made the images for viewing so they can be taken on the day of viewing.

I retouch for viewing so essentially my images are print ready at the time of viewing. I like to sell/view within 10 days of my shoot. I have spent years in a portrait studio and seen many other studios, how they shoot and how they sell and the one thing I have seen and experienced is this – at the time of viewing when money is exchanged most studios including my own fall down in the turn around and delivery of their finished product. A simple fact that significantly changes your business.

You see when money has changed hands clients can start their demands, and rightly so. Money makes people funny sometimes. Photographers are not that good at the follow through, all of your business reputation is at stake in this final process and the faster you turn around your product and service the more referrals you get. That means potentially more than 50 percent of your future business is made here. So why do we avoid making this the most important part of the sales process?

My truth. After 24 years the most consistently I have failed my clients is in this final process.

Okay let’s look at the Cons.
What is the cost?
For me it is 25 times the cost of a 7×10. The Matts can be recycled the images can be used in a studio album. I will experiment with in house printing over the next six months to measure cost effectiveness. But I do not really want to print my own work I love having a pro lab that I can upload to and receive a package within four days. In Australia I use The Edge in the U.S I use WHCC any where else in the world I print and ship.

What if they want more retouching?
Then certain images may need more work that is a risk I will take, it hasn’t come up yet but I’m sure it will. I am sure that if this happens the majority of the images will still be ready to take on the sale day images paid for. A digital correction can be emailed before the reprints are finalised and then shipped or delivered asap. THis will take practise and there will be some bumps in the road but I believe I can refine this process and have clients paying me and walking away with an instant beautifully packaged service.

Will it hinder larger images being purchased?
If your goal is to sell large images then you may consider asking at the preconsult what would they like a wall print an album etc you see for me My best package is a 20 – 25 mount Seldex/Finao box. 11×14 matts 7×10 print with an enlargement of your choice 16×20 and a CD of everything you buy (high res no water mark) $3300 it is my goal to show 25 and sell 25. So this is perfect for my business model. So if you are going for larger wall studies then no this will not work for you I will let them sit with their Folio box and take there time to choose their wall portrait.

and yes the most asked question What if they don’t buy anything?
Well this is my experience. If you fail to sell a shoot you failed in the first half of the process, I ask these questions.
Did I connect with my client pre shoot (meaning did I set up most of this shoot via email) Were they connected to me as their photographer and were they committed to the process. (So easy to let this slide the pre consultation is one of the most vital points of contact in the process the more time you take here the more committed your clients are the more connected they are to you and the shoot process)
Did I ask my client how they wanted to be photographed? And listen and Did I deliver the service and images they wanted? I truly feel that most of the sales is done in the What can I do for you stage the rest is just living up to the promises you’ve made.
Did I educate my client on what we were creating and how much the finish product will be (So many people avoid this too)
Yes there is always an exception to the rule. But 99% of the time if I fail in one of these areas it is reflected instantly in my sales.

Finally if I connect/educate/deliver and then they pay me and I fail in the delivery then all that work was for nothing. If nothing else let this blog be a reminder to you to turn around fast and turn around with as much care and customer service as you can and watch your referrals double.

I am always trying to deliver in what I promise this makes me successful in business it is constant turning of the wheel and a process that I try always to refine, improve and succeed at. Your business reputation in the age of sharing social media is one of the most important marketing tools you can have. Strive to be better for your clients. So I forge ahead I entice I connect I ask I deliver and then I sell beautiful portraits. It is a game of averages, of consistency but mostly it’s a game of SERVICE. Worth a try?

Sue Bryce Kathleen 1

Sue Bryce Kathleen 2

Sue Bryce Kathleen 4

Sue Bryce Kathleen 3


  1. Love this, Sue. As you know, I tried this with a family – showed about 28 images, picked by favourite 20 and had them printed and mounted in a boxed collection, ready to linger over when they had seen their slideshow.
    The clients went nuts, loved it all, ordered the full collection for just under $3K in about 30 minutes, and walked away thrilled. Even better, this has proven the process my wife and I plan to use on our round-Australia trip where we can print/assemble in our bus, and deliver to clients the day after their portrait sitting, before we drive on to the next town! Thanks again. I owe you a few cocktails next time you’re in Sydney :) xo

  2. Sue: This is the information that I have been very much anticipating. I love everything about this way of revealing images to our customers. I’m working diligently to be in a dedicated studio space, and I really do believe that I will be including a Reveal Wall in the design. I can think of absolutely no reason not to. I most greatly appreciate your update on in-house printing…and the editing needed for the print reveal rather than the computer/TV presentation. The deeper and deeper I get into this business model, the more I believe that the most important time is spent in the preparation with the client…then the extra time spent in the detailed edit will pay off in spades.

    Thanks for being real, being helpful, being SUE!

  3. Suuuuuueeeee!!!
    I totally love this idea!!! And just about every time I fall down in the process department. Like you I show my images 7-10 days after the shoot but at times it has taken me 4 weeks to produce the product AND I even carry stock of folio boxes and mats, why is that???? Also I love getting my images printed at a pro lab as I have a background in photo lab work but lately, just after conference, I am beginning to think about printing my own work. There are so many beautiful art papers available but I am still a one man band so maybe that is something to think about for the future!! In the mean time I wanna do THIS!!! Now…just gotta find a wall big enough wall. :)
    Thanks Sue, your giving is EPIC!!!


  5. I love this idea Sue, totally makes sense.
    A question regarding payment plans, assuming you have done the education with your clients, they know how much you cost……..what can I do to put payment plans in place to make this ” super attractive “?
    I’m in Australia, what other options are out there …….Aussies

  6. Oh Sue! How fun to see my face on your blog! From a client’s perspective, it was just amazing to turn around and view my portraits on the Reveal Wall! To see them all together was an emotional and powerful experience that took my breath away, one that I will remember always. You give so much to your clients! The reason that you are able to bring out the beauty of women is that there is so much true beauty inside you, your work is a reflection of your heart.

    With admiration and heartfelt thanks,

  7. My only concern is that you make this look too easy. Sometimes when I have a client in the studio and they would like to see an image in b&w, I hesitate to do this in 30 seconds. Because, they do not realize the countless articles I have read on the best way to do this or the actions I have purchased, etc.
    Will they value the final product as much, if they receive it immediately?

  8. Lots of good information in this post. I don’t do portrait photography, however, I’m a huge fan of your work Sue and have followed for a long time. The principals you teach here apply to most any business or type of photography is you are a professional. This post was extra special as I happen to know the woman in the pictures. Fun to see her here and she looks fantastic! I love the comment she shared on Facebook where she said her husband said something like “now the world gets to she her has I do”. Isn’t that great! But more importantly, it speaks to your ability to to just that… reveal the true inner self of the person you are photographing. Bravo and well done.

  9. Sue this is such a good suggestion. I have one of your vidio’s from creative live and it has changed how I shoot. This gives me such confidence. I even pose people in the park or on the street that are trying to do a family picture. Its funny but when I start directing they know right away I do this for real. Thanks again. I am going to print this and add it to what you have already taught me

  10. Your advice is sound. Thank you for sharing.

  11. SUE! I totally love this! But then again I love everything you do! I’m so excited for your success and love your creativity! When I’m culling my images I usually think to myself “Sue worthy or not sue worthy!” Keep the ideas coming!


  12. Great idea, I love it!

  13. Sue, you are simply the best. I’ve always loved the “grid” photo wall – so impactful – but never would’ve thought to use it as a presentation tool. Can’t wait to try it. Thanks for everything!

  14. What if you don’t have the room to post these? I wonder if it would be the same if they were all laid out on a table or something?

  15. I just had my first sales session using the photo wall. YAY I loved it. The package my client originally ordered came with 10 small prints. I sold 6 extra images off the wall…. It works. I hate sales, but I love this. Thank you for the great idea.

  16. Sue!

    Thank you so much for being such an inspiration and model for my business. I tried the reveal wall and it worked however where do you buy bulk folio boxes large enough to fit 25 11×14 mats with 8×10 images in them?

    Thank you!

Leave a Comment