Selling Online vs In-Person

Lenzart, photography, selling, selling online, selling in-person, proofing, sales tips, marketing

Turning Your Passion Into Profit

Let’s review some buying basics:

  • Selling is essential for success. To turn a profit, you need to convince buyers this product is something they want or need.
  • People make purchases based on their emotional connection to a product or service.
  • People love to buy, especially when they see a value to it.

However, there is no “one size fits all” recipe for selling, which means there is no right or wrong way to sell. Only ways that are more profitable and other ways that are less.

Possibly the biggest question every photographer is faced with is “Do I sell online or in-person?” Instead of viewing your sales platform as an “either-or” situation, look at it as an “and.”

Online And In-Person Proofing: A Match Made In Heaven

When selling you have to think like a customer and cater your sales pitch to fit their needs. (And your own.) Ideally, you want a blend of online and in-person sales to maximize your after-sale efforts because each has advantages and disadvantages that consumers find attractive:

Proofing In-Person: Shoot and Show

Not every photographer will feel comfortable with pushing a sale, but presenting your finished product in person leads to a more positive customer experience. Remember: your goal is not to pressure but reassure clients that their buying decision is a smart one.

Proofing in-person has the distinct advantage of increased client interaction. This allows you to sit down and share in the excitement. You have the freedom to offer suggestions on print products, sizes, groupings, and locations for displaying their new artwork. You can meet in your studio, at a client’s home, or even in a local café to present your work, to better accommodate your client’s schedule.

The greatest advantage of selling in-person is that it leads to higher portrait sales. You can offer a lower upfront fee for the session itself, then push larger after-sales packages and play off your client’s excitement to make a bigger profit. You will still want to follow up with clients down the road but selling in-person gives you greater control over the outcome.

Proofing Online: Shoot and Share

Some consumers may not have the extra time to sit down and review their photos with you,  or they may prefer to look through their images privately. This is where online proofing becomes a supplemental tool to aid with your sales.

In this modern digital world, the greatest advantage of selling online is convenience. You simply:

Book A Session ––> Photograph Your Client ––> Edit Your Photos –> Upload Your Photos ––> Hit Share & You’re Done!

Clients are then free to browse and buy at their leisure. One click and your client has a variety of images and print packages to choose from.

The biggest drawback to selling online is losing that personal touch with your clients.

The second is that selling online leads to lower portrait sales. By proofing online, you have the option to market your photo sessions at a larger upfront fee. This way you know that if nothing else, you will at least make that amount, but then any after-sales become a bonus. Without your input, suggestions, and knowledge of your products, a client could purchase a handful of 4″x6″ prints and nothing more. Online selling takes away your ability to influence the outcome and requires you to reevaluate your after-sales process. Are you engaging old customers? Have you sent a followup email? Did you try mailing a direct marketing piece? Were your clients made aware of any new products or services?

There are two advantages that make online selling appealing at times but even those have drawbacks. The first is instant gratification. You spend countless hours editing your photos, making subtle adjustments to lighting, color, and contrast to create the perfect final product. As soon as you finish, you upload your client’s images to an online gallery, hit share, and wait for the orders to roll in. However, this takes away the joy of witnessing their reactions first hand. You miss out on the emotional connection your clients make when reviewing their photos. Additionally, online galleries do not always showcase your work in the best light. The size of the screen, the age of the device, and the device’s specific calibrations may diminish the quality of how your images appear. For example, an older screen may give your images a yellowish tinge, turning those crisp whites into creams. While not always a major detraction, it can be disheartening.

The second advantage is better time management. Not every client will want to make a purchase decision right away. Some clients may prefer to sit and ponder what photos they like best, how many prints to order, what size prints, and debate whether they want any of the additional photo products your studio offers. Other clients may walk into your studio knowing exactly what they want before you ever pick up a camera. By selling online, you cut out the need to schedule a follow-up appointment to review the photos. This, in turn, frees up your work schedule to book additional sessions you otherwise may have missed out on. However, this can lead to delayed sales and a lower profit.


As always, Lenzart Photographic Lab is here to provide you with high-quality print products that showcase your photography. When you need a print lab that puts you first, choose Lenzart!