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Written By Lori Generose / Owner and Photographer of LG Photography

Are you looking to finally tap into the world of upselling? Are you passionate about people printing your photos instead of them dying on their four-inch screens for the rest of eternity? Have you seen the pictures of other photographers’ in-person sales invoices in all the groups you’re in on Facebook and think “yeah right, I could never do that… I don’t have the time/energy/clientele/fill-in-the-blank excuse”? Well, what if I told you that you could get sales like that without ever having an in-person sales meeting and all from the comfort of your own home with your messy bun and stained flannel pajama bottoms?

Did you say, “Heck yeah, tell me more!”? I thought I heard that correctly!

Before you write me off and say that you’re not a salesperson, let me tell you something… remember the movie Tommy Boy? “He could sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves”! Don’t think of it as being salesy… honestly, you can sell anything. Let’s go back to 2008 to my serving days at Olive Garden… pretend you and the girls just sat down at my table, ok?

“HELLO everyone!!! Welcome to Olive Garden!!! How is everyone doing tonight? My name is Lori and it’s going to be my pleasure to take great care of you this evening! Is this girls’ night out tonight?? Awesome! I wish I could grab a chair and join you, too! First things first, can I interest anyone in a sample of our house white zinfandel? It’s sweet and refreshing and really pairs well with a lot of our seafood dishes like that shrimp and lobster alfredo that everyone seems to be ordering tonight! If you prefer red, I can get you a sample of any of the choices on the menu before you make a decision if you’d like!

Real quick, since we have someone here who has never dined with us before, I am going to give you a quick rundown of the menu! See this little colorful menu here? This is going to highlight any of our promotions that you would see on TV… you’ll see that shrimp and lobster alfredo I mentioned earlier and also the new braised beef and tortelloni, which pairs really well with our house cab sav. Us servers got to sample the tortelloni dish tonight and let me tell you, the beef melts in your mouth and the creamy sauce is the perfect mix of velvety goodness. All of our dinners come with your choice of unlimited soup or salad and breadsticks!

No girls’ night is complete without an appetizer to kick things off. I am obsessed with (and when I say ‘obsessed’ I mean I legit eat it every night after my shift) the bruschetta. Here’s the kicker, I don’t even generally like tomatoes, but mixed with the EVOO and a hint of basil… I can’t get enough! It comes with perfectly toasted crostini and it’s perfect to share with a group! The new lasagna fritta is also a fan favorite! Fried. Lasagna. Let that sink in for a second. It’s better than you can even imagine!

While you take a moment to look over the menu, I’d love to get you started with a glass of that wine and an appetizer while you wait! … Three glasses of white zin, a cola and the bruschetta to start?? Would you like me to make it a bottle of the zinfandel? There’ll be one glass left for the rest of you to share then? Yes? You got it! I’m going to grab those drinks and bring you out some fresh breadsticks to hold you over. Can I add a creamy alfredo dipping sauce to them for you? … Yes? Awesome, I’ll be right back to take your order!”

That entire spiel took me about 60-90 seconds and I did it with every table I walked up (unless they told me they were on a time constraint). My average add-on sales (anything outside of water and a meal) were roughly $10-12 consistently. Sometimes more. When I worked at Red Lobster (where I learned about the walk-up speech), they were even higher due to the cost of the menu items. The point of me telling you all of this is to say, even as a server in a restaurant, I consistently took not only my tip into my own hands, but I earned the respect of each table. Generally speaking, as the check rises, so does the tip! If each table buys an appetizer or dessert, my check goes up $10… at 20%, that’s $2 per table. If I serve 20 tables in my shift, that’s an extra $40 in my pocket for doing no more work than I would be doing if I didn’t offer them that app. What if instead of two glasses of wine, it’s a bottle? Or “just waters all around” become virgin daiquiris? Or “no room for dessert” becomes “alright, we’ll take three pumpkin cheesecakes to go!” You can see where I’m going with this. I became an expert in pasta, lobster, wine, mixed drinks and desserts because when you can paint a picture in someone’s mind that they can’t refuse… you can sell anything to anyone! Do you even know how many bruschettas I sold in my three years there? More than ANYONE, I can guarantee that. I rarely didn’t sell one! The line cooks would say, “Lori’s makin’ money tonight!” as they prepped my 10th appetizer for the evening! But I was passionate about what I was selling and my passion was rewarded.

Just as it is in my business all these years later! Would you rather make $350 on a first birthday session OR would you rather make $700+ on the session fees and printed products combined? If you answered $700… keep reading! 

No More Shoot and Burn (is this term still relevant?)

I could never forget the first month I signed up with Shootproof, my favorite gallery hosting and point of sales site. It was November of 2013. The day I signed up, I stopped being a “shoot and burn” photographer (which was to take the pictures and put them on a CD or flash drive and send the client on their merry way) and I became a selling machine.

My sessions at the time were dirt cheap but I figured instead of raising my baseline price drastically, I could charge a little more and then upsell the additional digital images. So now their cake smash that was $125 and included 20 digital images could turn into a $200 session if they bought their entire gallery for $75 more. In two months of 2013, I sold $476.70 just in after session sales!!! I literally remember losing my mind with excitement over that FREE money!!!

The following year in 2014, total add on sales were $13,741.21! That was HUGE! I found this picture I used to keep track of my sales on and I’d send it to my close photography friends to encourage them to stop shooting and burning!


Eventually, I believe in 2017, I implemented a print order promo where you could buy all of the digitals for $75.00 but if you wanted to place a print order for $150.00, you’d then get all of your digitals FOR FREE! I was still priced way too low. (many of you reading this right now might think I am still priced too low) But being able to build my business at a lower price point, no longer giving my digitals away for free and having a high volume of clients, was exactly the thing I needed to be doing at that time of growth.  I couldn’t believe that the first real year of me doing this hybrid sales method we now know it to be, bumped me past the $50k mark-ONLY PRINT AND DIGITAL SALES!  That was more than just a vacation, or school clothes for my kids… that was massive. And it only continued to grow from there. 

I’m going to add in some photos clients sent me of products on their wall throughout this blog. These people below are some of my best clients and they are expecting a new baby this summer. 

My session fees combined with my Shootproof sales quickly escalated me to the six-figure photographer mark and I was crazy proud! I was on track to hit six figures in sales alone. I continued to grow by about $20k per year in sales consistently.

In case you’re thinking… actually, I’m sure there are a lot of things you could be thinking about these numbers… but what I am getting at is… you might be thinking “I’m sure this couldn’t work for me” or “My circumstances are different for reasons XYZ”. Let me break down for you why if I can do this, you can too!

2018: I tore my ACL in February and lost about 12 weeks of work.

2019: I had the most horrific tragedy in my family where a fire claimed the life of my brother and his 10 year old son… I lost more than a month of work for that and worked through a year of intense grief and numbness.

2020: Shutdown for 10 weeks.

2021: Surprise!! We were asked to foster a 4 month old baby… needed to be home more with baby.

2022: Surprise again, little man’s mama had another baby and “It’s a girl!” on the last day of summer as I was entering fall craziness! 

2023: Economy takes a downturn.

2024: People are definitely cutting back so they can put food on the table.

Despite all of this, in 2020 in the middle of a pandemic, I had my highest sales month ever! $20K in November! Then in 2021, I made $50k in sales in the last quarter… not including session fees and while cutting way back on the amount of sessions due to babysitting restrictions! That’s a yearly salary for many hard-working Americans!

So why am I seemingly boasting about my numbers? I hope it doesn’t come off that way… I am trying to slap you in the face to wake you up to the potential you’re leaving on the table! I’m just a small-town girl (did I hear you just sing that?) with a passion for photography like most of you. To some, these numbers are chump change and you might be thinking “With IPS, I see $20k sales in one session, not a month’s worth of sales!” and I admire these peeps who can do IPS. My house is a zoo right now with four kids, all going in different directions, so IPS is definitely not in the cards for me right now. I aspire to be an IPS-er one day! 

Then there might also be people thinking they’re not capable of doing what I do… but I assure you that you can! It takes NO skills beyond what you already have inside of you creatively. You’ve already got the people in the door and they already are invested in you. They WANT your help to get them to the finish line of printed images on their walls and in their hands.

Don’t think of it as being salesy, you’re doing them a great service!! Imagine all the people who learned that bruschetta is pretty much the most amazing food ever because of me!

Here we are as photographers, sitting on this magical thing which is high-quality printed products in a digital world… It’s our duty to make sure our clients can get their hands on them, too!

During my foster care training, the one thing that stuck out to me very early on was when they talked about the importance of printing out family pictures and hanging them on the wall in your home. It gives the child a sense of identity. A sense of belonging. They even went so far as to say that a child that has printed family photos on their wall will think twice before running across the street at eight years old because their subconscious is constantly taking in (unbeknownst to them) that photo and before they cross the street they think “Whoa, I better make sure it’s safe because my mom/dad/grandma/etc. would be really sad if I got hit by a car!”

Ok, so I’ll get off of my soap box… we know how important it is to print the photos, we all have access to professional print labs… so how do we actually UPSELL??

Olive Garden Lori, you’re on deck!

First of all, after years of practice I can confidently upsell at every session. I’m going to give you our pre-session communication and then I’ll give you my actual spiel that I say at the session that gets people thinking until I get their proofs to them!

Pre-Session Communication 

1. We ask every client in a Google form for their session preferences and whether they would like us to share a social media post featuring them. We also discuss what their session includes as far as products. Then we say our current promotions and ask them to check the boxes that describe what they’re most likely going to do.
  • interested in digitals only
  • interested in metal prints, canvas, photo books, acrylic prints or regular printed photographs
  • most likely going to choose my included photos

Communication At The Session

2. So the client is coming to the session now knowing precisely what is included, how much it is to buy all digitals and what our current promotions are. So when they get there and get to physically see and touch my products, they then see the whole puzzle revealed.

 After they have watched me get these amazing shots of their precious child, they now want to learn more about how to get all of the digitals because choosing only a few favorites seems like torture.

Queue Olive Garden Lori again…

“Alright guys, before you leave I want to make sure you understand what happens next- so as you’re packing up baby I’ll just give you a little run down. Everything I’m about to tell you will be in the emails you get after the session and also in your proof gallery email. So don’t feel like you have to remember everything I am about to say.

So as you know, included with your session today is 20 digital images. Now I know you just watched me take all of these photos of your precious newborn and you’re thinking “How in the world will we choose only 20?”… Don’t worry! There are options!

If you have your favorites narrowed down to the absolute must haves and let’s say it’s 21 instead of 20. That’s fine, you can purchase the one extra digital for $45.

If you want all of the digitals in your gallery because there is no way you can choose, the cost is $300.

The best “bang for your buck” though is to do the print promo! If you place an order for $325 or more before taxes and shipping, you then get ALL OF YOUR DIGITALS INCLUDED IN THAT! And that’s not only your order, you can send the link out to family and friends as well and they can help you hit that print order total to get all of the digitals! So when Gram places an order for $100 and Auntie places an order for $50, you’re halfway there! 

Remember, too: Mother’s Day/Father’s Day/Christmas/Easter/someone’s birthday is right around the corner and I can promise you, a photo book for grandma will be way more treasured than pretty much any other gift you can give her!

Here is a sample of the photo books I offer… This is actually my nephew Evan on his first birthday and he’s now SEVEN so you can see how well it’s held up here even with everyone touching it all the time. It’s a lay flat page so it won’t matter if you place a photo over the middle of the page if you really wanted to!

That family photo over there is my metal print. It’s a real statement piece and looks so great on the side of a window in indirect sunlight as you see here but it’ll give it an almost “3D” effect and will stop everyone in their tracks.

Here’s my little one at her first birthday in one of our framed prints. This color is maple and I offer black, white and walnut as well. Touch it, it’s a great quality and comes ready to hang with easy to use hardware.

You can see my kiddos there on an acrylic print. Similar to the metal with its glossy effect but at a lower price point… great for any room!

Of course my canvases are the most popular and you’ll see I have them all over the studio. It’s a timeless choice that will never go out of style! A lot of people will do a group of three or six over the baby’s crib as a statement and accent to the room!

I know that’s a lot of information, so just remember it’ll be in the email for you to read it as well. Also, as I’m sure you have already experienced through the booking process, my assistant Tanya is amazing and is great at helping you through the process of ordering and answering questions on cropping and products. If you are feeling overwhelmed or are confused about anything, just shoot us an email or phone call and we can walk you through it or even do it for you over the phone! We are both so passionate about getting your photos into your hands and we are here to help! 

You’ll see your proofs within a week, from there you’ll let us know if you want to do that print order promo or if you’ve chosen your favorites and we will get them sent out to my editor.”

AND THAT’S IT! Very conversational, very low pressure and very effective!

After Communication

3. Those emails I mentioned to the clients in step two?  Everything is outlined in my gallery emails for them with their options to buy single additional digital images, the full gallery of digitals and the print promo as well as other specials and cart discounts offered for larger orders. They order directly from their final edited gallery and the products are delivered right to their door! 

So tell me Lori… How can I begin to implement this?

1. STOP GIVING AWAY ALL OF YOUR DIGITALS! Begin to charge for the extras. I started in 2012 and I think I was charging $5! In 2014, my promo changed that with every $100 in orders placed, an additional 5 digitals would be included. For many years after that, I charged $75 to purchase all the digitals. In 2016, it was $125 and I then started the print promotion that I still use today, raising the price over the years to accommodate my growth and inflation. REMEMBER-every business is different and don’t compare your numbers to mine. Your numbers need to make sense for you! 

2. Sign up with a gallery hosting site like Shootproof (here’s my link: which will get you a free trial) and find a print lab you’re proud of! I love Miller’s!!

3. Get some samples for people to touch.

4. Begin educating and upselling.

5. Watch your sales go through the roof!

For many years I watched my print sales continue to rise and I kept thinking “I can’t believe I used to give this all away!” That first year with really only one month of upselling when I brought in over $400? That was basically Christmas for my kiddos! Then I had months where I’d say, “wow, that just paid for our annual beach trip!” or we were able to fund impromptu trips to Disney because my business was growing and I was doing NO MORE WORK than I always had before!

I am incredibly passionate about this topic because upselling at my sessions has been the biggest game changer in my business. I was able to hire a full-time assistant, Tanya (she comes with the tagline that “Everyone needs a Tanya”) and I’ve not only been able to scale my business with her on board but I’ve also been able to focus on doing what I do best… TAKING PICTURES! Before Tanya, I was drowning in every form of the word! The benefits of having an assistant are legitimately endless but my favorite thing is that my business, through upselling, has been able to bless and help support another family. It’s really a win-win all around! 

“Work smarter not harder” as the saying goes. Clients are happy to have physically printed images of their precious ones and you’re really doing not much more work than you’ve always done! 

I have attended The Reset Conference since 2018 and began bringing Tanya along since 2020. I’m on the left and Tanya is the green-eyed goddess on the right in the photo below. We hope to see you in Panama City Beach next March — we would love to chat with you!

Truly, I am an open book and just want all of us to succeed! I hope this blog inspires you to step outside of your comfort zone and begin to implement these things and watch your business grow!!!

Be blessed. See you at Reset! 


PS. Next time you’re at Olive Garden, think of me! Anyone else hungry for bruschetta right now?!?! 

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