View Full Version : Giving CD to clients an ok thing??
5th of October 2006 (Thu), 00:32
I'm sure this has probably been covered, but I wasn't able to locate it with the search engine, so, how do most photographers feel about giving an edited CD to the client as the product, instead of prints, and therefore primarily charging for the shooting only. I have had a few people ask for a copy of all the prints, but have never wanted to do this. I do have a friend who does this though and doesn't mind at all.
I am not a professional photographer, just an amateur who sometimes takes pictures for aquaintances and such.
5th of October 2006 (Thu), 01:35
Here is my take on the subject of giving out a CD.
You have described yourself as only an amateur who sometimes takes pictures for aquaintances.
If this is truely all you are, and all you ever want to be, then you should be fine with giving out a CD with images. Its an easy way to share you photographs with others.
If you are interested in making money from your photographs doing this is not a good idea unless you plan to charge a good bit for the disc. Because once you give away your images the customer will never come to you for reprints.
I personally no longer give out CD with my images for the following reasons, and they have all happened to me before.
Many people do not know the difference in a high quality print, and a low quality print. I gave someone a CD of portraits I took for practice. She was soo excited about "getting them printed" after she had the pictures printed she showed them too me and bragged about how wonderful they looked. She had printed them on her own home document printer on regular document paper. They looked like total crap, and she was showing them off to everyone she knew and telling them what a great photographer I was.
"Yeah, a great photographer that makes crappy prints on regular document paper"...Is probably what they were thinking
Also with the disk it is very simple for anyone to open the photo in photoshop and go crazy with your images. The same person that make the horrible document paper prints also did her own edits to my photos, then posted them all over her myspace profile and several other blog sites- and made sure to give me plenty of credit for making the images. This time she had recropped every image, and tried to make her teeth more white (they looked like pieces of chalk when she was finished), and tried to turn her brown eyes into blue eyes. Needless to say her photoshop skills were HORRIBLE and the pictures looked HORRIBLE. I did not do any of these crazy edits to the pictures but I got plenty of credit for making the images.
I am not saying that every person will do this. I am sure that most people would probably just use it for printing purposes especially if you tell them that is all the CD can be used for, but crazy stuff can happen, like in my case.
5th of October 2006 (Thu), 01:39
I wouldn't consider this, as it isn't a sound business practice unless you charge accordingly. Check the prevailing market rate in your area for pricing.
5th of October 2006 (Thu), 02:06
I work part time with a wedding photographer he gives out a CD with ever package. He does charge quit a bit thou for each one. So I dont see a problem with it, I give cds out but they also have to buy some prints thru me first thou. I would rather make them happy then make them feel like they have to come back to me for the printing. That is my 2 cents. :D But again I dont rely on this as my main income, that makes a difference.
5th of October 2006 (Thu), 12:05
I don't 'give away' any of the digital images, however they are for sale. If you are selling a unique event, (wedding) then the digital files should be priced considerably higher than if it's a weekend event (e.g. motorsports). In this day and age, holding onto the digital image because you are afraid of lost sales or, as indicated above, someone will 'mess with your photos' is dillusional. :)
Your images will be stolen off your website, bad prints will be made, some people won't like your pricing no matter what it is, some won't like your photography, and people will write checks that bounce. Accept these as events that will occur to you if you are in the photography business and go on. Hording your digital images will neither get you fame, fortune, or the acclaim of others. :)
5th of October 2006 (Thu), 13:12
One of the concerns for the client is whether they can even get prints later. Photographers go out of business, move away, die, have a fire and lose originals. If you're paying for some sort of service to hold onto copies of your images so a client can get them in the event you disappear, great. At the very least, you need to make backups of everything you shoot and keep them off-site so your clients don't lose all their memories in a fire. And if all of this is expensive and complicated, just give them a disc with high-quality images so they know that they can always get prints.
Besides, the people who are going to make cheap prints are just going to slap your nice print onto the scanner and make even crappier copies than if you'd just let them print a crappy version from the original :)
5th of October 2006 (Thu), 14:03
You could use a watermark to protect your images so they can not print them. I would only do this if it was a professional client though.
5th of October 2006 (Thu), 14:27
Thinking like a consumer: my mother would only hire pro-photogs that she could buy the negatives from. She couldn't stand the thought that the photog was only going to put her pictures in some file, in her mind she just couldn't handle it - she didn't understand why someone would want to keep her pictures. We all know the business, $$$ bottom-line reason they would keep them....
I grew up listening to her and this mindset which is why every single one of my customers has the option of getting all of thier images on a CD. They love it and some people have chosen me over others for this very reason alone. Yes, they do come back and have me do the enlargements or canvas prints.
And, as people have stated, they can pull them off of the website (I only do online proofing) or make color scans/copies - so why not let them buy them? They sign a contract that they have a personal use license and that I own the commercial copyright.
What someone does with the product you sell them is pretty much mostly out of your control. You could be the photo police, but why worry about it? In a world of digital pro-photography, figure out a way to change and evolve with the market. They said radio would cease to exist after the invention of the TV, but it still has it's place. No matter what happens, there will always be a need for a pro-photographer, but the "prints only" variety is becoming a thing of the past.
5th of October 2006 (Thu), 16:22
Personally (and I do have a wedding booking next year), my take on the situation is this:
People that want CDs - no problem. Charge a reasonable rate for them - say $50 but make it a vCD with full sized images also onboard. You need to be charging for services not for prints/CDs as it's so easy to pop a photo onto a scanner, scan it and print a few dozen for yourself. Everybody does it - mostly for email purposes.
Once a wedding has been and gone, people will want photos. Some will want prints and some will want CDs. I see no problem. Weddings are one-shot affairs. You get sales for that event one time only then it'll be very rare to get further photo orders. If you give out the CD then you can archive your master copy and forget about it.
Charge for being there and for taking photos. Don't charge too much for anything else and be upfront about it.
5th of October 2006 (Thu), 17:13
I sell CDs of high res images to my wedding customers. It's a business decision you make.
5th of October 2006 (Thu), 17:26
I sell CDs of high res images to my wedding customers. It's a business decision you make.
I do the same with my concert clients...
5th of October 2006 (Thu), 19:16
Though I'm not a pro photographer, I do know business, and in the global economy, it all comes down to value added. (Yes, you *can* loose a local advertising client to a firm halfway around the globe. I know pros who have)
It's all a matter of the key service you offer (the value you are adding). You should charge for the service you do best, offer other services as you can, and only keep the keys on the part that is distinctly 'you.' The rest of it can be done by another and shouldn't matter.
If you make, edit and print awesome images, and do all of the above better than anyone - by all means, keep it all in your control! Otherwise you may want to consider being clear about what you offer and selling that primary service, with related services bundled in to make an attractive package, but with the focus on the key service you offer. This way you still offer what the client wants all in one place, but with the flexibility to adapt to claim other business that uses your unique skills.
5th of October 2006 (Thu), 22:26
I prefer to use the business model of being paid up front for the value of my work. Then give the the cd, with a printed disclaimer that you have no control over nor responsiblity for the quality of prints unless they buy them from you.
13th of October 2006 (Fri), 19:59
Thank you everyone for your excellent advice. I was ready to agree with the first response that by giving the CD the person can do anything to your pictures. In my case, I had done pictures for free for a co-worker of my husband's and I barely got a thank you (after printing @10 5x7's of the best) from him, so I didn't really feel in the mood to give him the CD. I think he told my husband he wanted to "play" with them, and that didn't sit well either.
Ok, I digress, but I do agree with many that in this digital/scanner/copy world, there is no real way to keep people from doing what they may be determined to do with their picture. And I suppose you can control it to some extent by editing out some of the pictures before giving it to them. I guess I just get this emotional attachements to my pictures and I don't like setting them free, so to speak.
I think offerring a diversity of services is probably the best option and let it depend on the type of sitting (or person).
Thank you all.
14th of October 2006 (Sat), 10:05
"Yeah, a great photographer that makes crappy prints on regular document paper"...Is probably what they were thinking I agree. I once had a guy tell me he made a "GREAT!" 8X10" print on his home printer from one of my 70KB web images. I asked him to tell people that I hadn't printed it. Thing is, whenever someone sees a crappy print, it's still your crappy work, right?
An alternative to giving them a CD would be to put the images online & let them have a very cheap price to print them. A possible bonus for them would be that they could also have them matted & framed at the same time.
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