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Why Clients Always Want an 8×10, And What To Do About It | Part I

You’ve done it – created the perfect set of products for your clients.  Stunning albums.  Gaspworthy gallery wraps.  Split-image metal lustre images printed on recycled aluminum for heaven’s sake!  You shimmer with excitement when you send your product list to the client – only to receive the dreaded reply:  “Oh, I think we’ll just go with a few 8x10s this time.”


It’s not that there’s anything wrong with an 8×10 (well, maybe there is, but I’ll save it for another post).  It’s the outright dismissal of things that might suit their needs better that frustrates us.  Why does this happen?

First, let’s get this non-revelatory statement out of the way:

People prefer things they are familiar with, even if there is a better option. 

This principle is why you see so many lawn signs around election season.  If we don’t know much about one race in a particular election, we tend to just vote for the person whose name is most familiar.  If the person’s name is omnipresent, well then they must be popular, authoritative, and a great candidate to have so many supporters, right?!

Well, no.  Not really.  But that’s why candidates plaster the town as much as possible.

In the photography world, let’s just say that there are more lawn signs for an 8×10 than a 20×30.  I blame this on school photos and drugstores, but the default “large print” is an 8×10.  People are familiar with the 8×10.  They have them in their houses already.  Nevermind that Junior’s face is the size of a postage stamp, it’s bigger than a 4×6, right?

Do you have better options for your clients?  GREAT!  Please don’t just list them on your website.

Nothing will make a client scurry into the familiar arms of an 8×10 faster than an eye-glazing list of products and dimensions.  Get your products in their hands.  Meet with them in person and hand them a 20×30 canvas, let them hold it and imagine it in their everyday life.  Not one of my non-photographer friends knows what “flush mount” means, but boy do they love “those thick pages!”

Take the time to put up “lawn signs” for your other products.  Show photos of your gallery displays in real homes on your website.   Blog about your albums and let them see how they’ll be treasured rather than trashed.  With your clients’ permission, talk about what beautiful galleries they ordered when you blog their session.  Ask past clients to send you reviews of their products and post them.  Make it a regular part of your blog and website conversation.  Every lawn sign counts.

Okay, let’s say you already do all that.  Why aren’t they making the switch to higher-end photo offerings?

We’ll cover that in Part II….




Gaissmaier, W., & Marewski, J. N. (2011).  Forecasting elections with mere recognition from small, lousy samples: A comparison of collective recognition, wisdom of crowds, and representative polls. Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 6, no. 1, February 2011, pp. 73-88 

Sommer, B. (1979).  Front Yard Signs As Predictors of Election Outcome.  Political Methodology, Vol. 6, No. 2 (1979), pp. 237-240


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