Andrea Ou is the dog photographer of Paws and Play Studio, successfully based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her attentive relationship with her clients is a key element to the business, exemplified here as she discusses her sales strategies and how she sets herself apart by offering a customized photography experience.
What are some aspects of your business that sets you apart from other pet photographers?
I place a strong emphasis on fun during the session. The experience itself is just as important as the final product. With a positive reinforcement dog training background, I advocate strengthening the dog-owner bond through reward-based training, and apply the same philosophy during their session.
As such a unique niche, what drives people to book a pet photography session?
My clients treat their dogs as members of the family. They are more pet parents than pet owners. Just like people who hire photographers for family portraits, senior portraits and newborn portraits, my clients want to capture their furry best friends and immortalize them in the form of photographs.
How do you ensure the best client experience for your pet parents?
I try to make everything easy for my clients — booking, scheduling, payment, selection and delivery of products. I customize the experience by learning about the dog and the client during our consultation to ensure everything I produce is something that matches their style and personality. My clients also receive our Session Preparation Guide that addresses common questions and concerns that pet parents may have, which includes a detailed packing list so they feel prepared and can be relaxed at all times.
How does technology influence your sales?
Without it, my business would not even exist! My storefront is my website. I freeze beautiful moments with my powerful camera and fast lenses. My logo and marketing materials are designed in Illustrator, photographs are organized through Lightroom, and the final images are polished with Photoshop. I communicate with clients using my smartphone. I utilize tech services like Quickbooks and Jotform to run my studio.
In today's social media-crazed world, how do you encourage your clients to go beyond purchasing only digital files?
I am switching over to selling prints, albums and wall art soon, and cannot wait to offer my print products! I understand digital files are highly desirable, so I will continue to offer them, however, I've witnessed how a beautifully framed or printed piece can turn a photograph into a piece of art.
This article was written by Jessica Wasik for Small Business Pulse