Growing your photography business by printing and selling wall displays
Photographer Aly Kuler and his wife, Kathleen Gemma Kuler, who are based in New York’s Hudson Valley, have been shooting weddings together ever since meeting at WPPI in 2019. “Everything was going great until the coronavirus pandemic hit,” says Aly, channeling not just other wedding photographers thoughts but small business people everywhere. Most of their clients postponed the big day, leaving just a handful of backyard weddings on the Kulers’ schedule. Instead of being defeated, though, they brainstormed and came up with an expansion plan for their business: printing and selling wall displays. “We tried to upgrade ourselves and do the things we didn’t have time for when we were busy,” says Aly. “We’ve worked on our website and thought about how we can expand our business and offer more.” That’s when it struck them, to go beyond just the albums that they already offered clients and include big, beautiful wall art on canvas, acrylic and other premium media. Before the pandemic, Aly had started to notice that when past wedding clients called him back for maternity and family shoots, they often had photo prints of his work hanging on their walls—photo prints he hadn’t made. He often wasn’t thrilled with their quality but he recognized the opportunity to offer something much better, both for his clients and his business. It took some trial and error with different vendors to find the right print partner. “When I first tried to add wall art, it was really expensive, and I didn’t know how I would make a profit.” Aly says. “But CG Pro Prints has the quality and the prices you need to offer photo prints at a reasonable cost to your clients and still make a profit. I’m so confident in them that when I talk to my clients, I’m 100% sure of the quality I can offer.” The response from clients has been resoundingly positive. When the pandemic hit, the Kulers added a page about wall art to their website and started showing clients the photo prints hanging in their own home on Zoom calls. “We tried to reach out to past clients who hadn’t purchased albums or wall art,” says Aly. “From there we started to make sales.” Despite its own challenges as a small business during the pandemic, CG Pro Prints kept operations humming, and being able to sell photo prints of images they had shot at past events gave the Kulers a steady revenue stream during the period of lockdowns and postponements. Now that shooting dates are filling their calendar again, the Kulers are looking at studio spaces where they can both have portrait sessions and give clients an in-person look at high-quality wall art. Says Aly: “I tell my clients that when you have an album or wall art printed, it’s there for you all the time. You’re not sitting with your family and trying to find pictures on your phone or your computer. When you have the picture printed, it’s tangible. You can feel it. It takes you back to the moment.” The Kulers are also taking some time to pick out shots to submit for CG Pro Print’s Billboard Project, which will install billboards of selected images across the country to promote professional photographers. “I can’t wait to see how they’ll look,” says Aly. “Even if I’m not selected, it’s good for everyone. It’s a message that shows the power of photo prints, for clients and for us.” Enter WPPI The Annual to be eligible for one of three CG Pro Prints Billboard project awards. Three photographers will be showcased in a national billboard campaign.