Category Archives: Blog

Use the “Concept of Three” in Your Package Strategy

3 package strategy

Three is a very powerful concept in our everyday lives. “One” symbolizes simplicity and unity, “two” symbolizes imbalance and tension, win or lose, while “three” symbolizes compromise and harmony. This post will take a look at the power the number three has, then offer some thought into how to capitalize on the power of three when creating your photography packages

Concept of Three

“Three” is a very powerful concept. Three represents balance. A stool with three legs will never rock. Three ideas are very easy to comprehend.

Three shows up over and over:

  • In movies and literature: The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Musketeers,  Three Blind Mice, The Three Stooges, three wishes
  • In religion: Christianity’s Holy Trilogy and the Three Kings, the Hindu Trimurti and Tridevi, the Three Jewels of Buddhism, the three holy cities of Islam
  • Past, Present, and Future
  • Three dimensional
  • Three primary colors
  • Photography’s Rule of Thirds
3 package strategy

There are always three parts to a well written essay or speech: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. A trick I learned in middle school is to have three main topics in a paper, and have three points to each topic. Each topic is a paragraph, each point is a sentence. This formula got me through college.

Three is so powerful because it is balanced. Three concepts are easy to remember. Phone numbers and social security numbers are easier to remember because they are broken into groups of three. A choice between three alternatives can be much easier to make than two alternatives as it allows compromise.

Decision Making Logic

For most people decision making is a stressful process. The conflict between the right brain emotional “I want” decision and the left brain “I should only spend” logical decision can cause much emotional angst. When you are dealing with a couple the stress can be multiplied.

During your sales process try to keep the stress from degenerating into conflict where one person takes a strong emotional right brain position and the other person takes the logical left brain position. If one of your clients is starting to take a strong logical position, such as “we don’t want to spend that much”, use logic instead of emotion. Of course everyone would agree that a 48” wide print is way more awesome than a smaller one, instead, show what a 20” print would look like on a 10 foot wall, and then what a 48” print looks like. Logic will dictate that the larger print really is needed.

Notice something here? Two items, “right brain” and “left brain”, are out of balance. Your goal during the sales process is to do the balancing act for the couple. One major way you can do this is to have the right number number of packages to facilitate the decision making process.

Three Packages for each Service You Offer

If you regularly market a variety of services, such as seniors, weddings, and family portraits, offer three packages for each.

  1. High End  There are certain people in this world that want, and

    can afford, the best. These people have enough money that the “I can only afford” logical decision just is not an issue. These people are predispositioned to buy the best. If you don’t have a high end package they may perceive you as less talented than one who does. A higher priced package gives you credibility (even if nobody ever buys it) and makes clients more comfortable buying your mid range package. Don’t price your high end package with the hope that most people will buy it. Ok, you can hope, but don’t expect it. If you’re selling a lot of your high end packages it’s probably time to move up the food chain and make it your mid range package. (Yeah!)

  2. Mid Range  Your mid range package is what you expect people to buy. This is the package that puts food on the table. “Most people buy…” is a very powerful phrase during the initial consultation.
  3. Low End  Your low end package gets people in the door. Don’t put enough in this package to make it attractive. If this is what most people are buying your business is probably in trouble. If you find yourself in this position you should take a hard look at your sales and marketing techniques, people need to value your work more.

The order you present your packages is important. During initial consultations lead with your top package, you just might have a buyer that will take it. More often than not, you’ll move on to “Most people buy the mid-range package.”

I’ve seen photographers recommend four packages, with the idea that the clients will choose between the middle two. This idea throws more stress into the decision process. Keep it simple instead. Let your clients customize their package.  Make the hard “which package?” decision as easy as possible, smaller upgrade or a la cart decisions are much easier.

As you think about your three packages you will realize how useful the “concept of three” really is in everyday life. You’ll notice how frequent marketing messages have three main points, you’ll find yourself having three bullet points in your elevator speech, and writing three main ideas in each blog post.

Commercial Quality Photo Books

SharedInk has always had a reputation for excellent personal customer service to professional photographers & designers, but how does that service compare to the project management & service seen in large-run, commercial print shops? It’s just as good, if not better!

In recent years, SharedInk has had the pleasure of working through numerous high-quantity , special order, or otherwise detail-intensive jobs for marketing professionals, Fortune-500 corporations, and acclaimed universities. Not every project is conducive to an automated, online process, and we’re flexible enough to provide just the service you may need for you next specialized project.

One such project was a recent book we produced for Coates Kokes, a full-service and fully-integrated marketing agency in Portland, OR. The project involved several copies of a book created to highlight the contribution of a colleague’s work over 30 years of membership to a marketing association. SharedInk’s customer service was key to the success of this project. According to Jeanie Coates, Founder & CEO at Coates Kokes,  “The personal support was fantastic. Being new to the process, we had to call a number of times to ask questions. Everyone was incredibly patient in walking us through the process. The personal delivery was very much appreciated.”

Customers of commercial printing companies are used to seeing proofs before giving a final approval to a job. With SharedInk’s ability to efficiently make a one-off book, customers wanting a proof before ordering multiple books can order one book that goes through the exact same production process as the remainder of the order. On this project some minor design changes were made after the first book was delivered to the client.

The book served as a memorandum to be presented during his recognition party, and according to Jeanie, the book was “a highlight of the party”. The 75 page, 12” square photo cover book broke the SharedInk mold with custom printed endsheets. The photo cover featured a minimal design image wrap cover with a QR code on the back cover that pointed to the association’s website .

SharedInk’s all in-house production, service, and quality assurance setup allows unparalleled access to your project as it moves through our bindery. We’ve been able to accommodate last minute changes, custom workflows, and even piece-of-mind quality checks in the middle of expedited production runs.

Whether you have a project you’re ready to green-light, or a far-fetched concept brewing on the horizon, we’re always here to answer your questions, entertain your ideas, and turn your project into a top-quality presentation book.

Bashing the Page Barrier

We don’t like to limit the creativity or capability of our customers. Unlike some competitors, we’ve never asked you to add pages in certain multiples. In the past however, we have had some limitation with our book thickness Our standard stitch binding technique can handle a stack of pages up to about 0.6″ (15 mm) thick, which equates to 72 pages of our heavy cover weight papers and 220 pages of our lighter text weight papers. While this is usually more than plenty for guest books, wedding albums, and most other projects, sometimes it’s not enough.

Our text weight paper is not a lightweight paper, so most customers find no issue switching from cover weight paper to 100# text weight (150 gsm) paper when they want standard, magazine style, binding.

However, some customers found they wanted to use our layflat papers on books with more than 72 pages.  Since we were getting requests for layflat books with 80 to 120 pages, and we hate saying “no” to customers, our bindery craftsman came up with an awesome solution that allows our customers to make layflat books with over 100 pages.

This technique allows us to make layflat books with 130 or more.

A typical 42 page wedding album with layflat paper.


A proof book with large images with 150 pages of 100# text (150 gsm). This book would hold 900 image proofs. With custom binding this book could hold 2,000 or more images.


A custom bound book with 130 pages of 110# cover (300 gsm) layflat paper.


Contact SharedInk customer service to learn about pricing and how to place an order for extra page books.

5 Tips on Getting Published to Grow Your Business

In our Tips for Wedding Success blog post, SharedInk customer Tracy Kreck stated that it is easier to grow her business by getting published than it is to pay expensive advertising costs. Another SharedInk customer, Caroline Tien-Spalding from Sphynge Photography, was published 31 times last year using services from Two Bright Lights, a company that makes it easy for photographers to submit content to hundreds of blogs and magazines.

We’re excited to share this guest blog post from Shalyn Hockey from Two Bright Lights.

The photography market has surely changed in the last few years. 40% of couples now find one or more of their suppliers through a blog or website editorial feature. This means that getting featured is a crucial part of growing a photography business.  In the past few years there has also been an exponential growth in blog, e-zine and magazines, so  it’s no wonder that photographers who get published earn 73% more on average than photographers who don’t.

But the submission process can often feel daunting.  Here are 5 tips and tricks that will help get your submission get published in a jiffy:

  1. Do your homework.   Publications are all unique so time spent researching is well worth it. When you decide on a potential publication make sure your submission fits their editorial style and meets all of their consideration requirements.
  2. Details, Details, Details! Blogs and magazines’ goal is to inspire their readers. That means they want to showcase the details – the flowers, the venue, the jewelry, the invitations, etc. They do love beautiful shots of your clients and their friends and family, but keep those to just a few of your best and fill the rest of the submission with detail shots.
  3. Provide context. Include a short story of the day to help place your beautiful images in context. Write a paragraph or two about the special details, about what it was like to photograph the event, and include any extra information you have about what made the day special. These details will help them tell a story to their readers. The more help you can give editors the more likely they are to feature your work!
  4. Add all of the vendors. Editors of course want to credit you for your awesome work, but they also want to credit everyone else who made the day fantastic. So make sure to add all of the vendors and include their website and contact details. The vendors will greatly appreciate the publicity and they will be more likely to refer you to their clients.
  5. Use a company like Two Bright Lights. Two Bright Lights makes the whole submission process simple. It is one of the easiest and most effective ways to get published. With Two Bright Lights, photographers have access to a streamlined submission process. Photographers simply upload an album, add vendors and information, and select from hundreds of blogs and magazines for submission. Resubmitting is as easy as picking a new editor and clicking “submit”.  Two Bright Lights also comes with a plethora of tools and resources that help photographers succeed, including free guides on what editors look for, webinars on how to create successful submissions, and marketing tips on how to make the most of published features.

Take advantage Two Bright Lights’ free 30 day trial and start using these tips help catapult your business! Visit for more information and to get started submitting your work today.

SharedInk at the WPPI Roadshow- Portland

Attention all Pacific Northwest friends!

We’re very excited to be involved in this years WPPI University, a traveling roadshow that is making a stop in our home of Portland, OR. The event is September 5-6 at the Sheraton Portland Airport and we’ll be there with a booth and some great books.

There are some great speakers lined up to cover everything from managing lighting to improving your business.

We hope to see you there!

Read more at WPPI Online.

Photo Books 101: Book Terminology

In our interactions with various photography & design communities, we’ve noticed that not everyone is on the same page (book joke intended!) regarding the various parts of press book. Watch this video to see the standard teminology we use regarding end sheets, fly sheets, and how to count a page vs. a sheet or spread.

As always, let us know if you have any questions or if you have a video you’d like to see next!