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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 31 Aug 2010 (Tuesday) 17:29
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Giving away unedited .JPGs, but selling PP prints

 
css7493
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Aug 31, 2010 17:29 |  #1

I finally caved. I got tired of hearing every single mom and bride emailing me asking 'Do I get the disc.' The flooded market changed potential clients expectations and if I can't find a way to make them happy without breaking my income, I lose them as customers. I came up with something that might be working . . . promise them a copy of all unedited photos on disc, then the shots that go online and are available for print are those that have finished through PP and have the style that made them consider me in the first place.

To be honest, I absolutely hate this. I hate that customers cannot understand a quality product and where it comes from (not the camera and memory card), but every time I explain to a client in my best sales pitch they do not get the disc, they go running to someone that has already sold out. I do have to admit, after explaining it all to one customer, about making a living, etc., she carried on to then ask if she would get a disc of the edited ones too . . . .

I've said before, I'll say again, I'm not a starving artist, regardless of how much I love what I do.


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bdpaco
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Aug 31, 2010 17:35 |  #2

I get the same thing around here...everyone wants a disc not prints...so I quit offering 4x6 prints and instead offer print packages that include x number of low res images on disc that are suitable to print out at 4x6. I know some of them will try to print larger, and if they are happy with pixelated 5x7's then whatever...but they also have to take some prints with it so I have at least some control of what other people see hanging on their walls. seems to be working out ok, but next year I am redoing my entire pricing, and I am going to include discs as a package option.


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spiralspirit
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Aug 31, 2010 17:58 |  #3

Completely irrespective of the questions of including a DVD and digital copies with the package, and the price of that DVD and the accompanyting license, I feel that you're making a mistake by giving away anything and making that anything unedited. As a photographer your pictures are your product. unedited jpegs are horrible. The family won't remember the beautiful edited pics, they'll remember they got a CD full of lousy pictures that they don't like, aren't framed nicely, weak colors/contrast, etc.

When they show other people those pictures it will look like crap, and they will in fact be your pictures. Other people will see it and your reputation will suffer.

Include within the package but for a price (ie no giving away anything), a CD or DVD with limited resolution photos, perhaps in the facebook range (720x480, or 600x400), with a license that grants them no rights to have the pictures printed. If they want higher resolution pictures, make them pay more. Perhaps if they have a certain minimum package (ie dollars spent over $1500) give them the default dvd for free, or offer a discount on the better DVD.

The photos in the 'default' package are not high enough in quality to make serious prints of and are just fine for facebook. They aren't unedited so it looks good. Customers will feel its a 'value added', and you position yourself to upsell by offering it for free with more expensive packages.


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timnosenzo
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Aug 31, 2010 18:03 |  #4

spiralspirit wrote in post #10825395 (external link)
Completely irrespective of the questions of including a DVD and digital copies with the package, and the price of that DVD and the accompanyting license, I feel that you're making a mistake by giving away anything and making that anything unedited. As a photographer your pictures are your product. unedited jpegs are horrible. The family won't remember the beautiful edited pics, they'll remember they got a CD full of lousy pictures that they don't like, aren't framed nicely, weak colors/contrast, etc.

When they show other people those pictures it will look like crap, and they will in fact be your pictures. Other people will see it and your reputation will suffer.

Agreed. I would never let a client see a photo I wouldn't want them to show their friends.


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css7493
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Aug 31, 2010 18:18 as a reply to  @ timnosenzo's post |  #5

The responses I'm getting here are verbatim to what I predicted. The fact at hand is losing work to cheaper photographers that give whatever their clients' heart desires. I'm in the $1200 base range for wedding photography packages and $80/hr on anything else, if that gives you any perspective to the clients I am working with. My quality is increasing every day and I do what I can to sell clients on my quality work rather than the 'WHAT DO I GET????' factor. Blame America and consumerism.

I'm looking for solutions that me or someone in my situation needs, not solutions that the high end shooters with established client bases and 6 figure incomes take.

On another note, I run the 'unedited' photos through lightroom, they're not the worst you've ever seen. Criticize me all you like, but end the post with a workable suggestion :-)


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john69az
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Aug 31, 2010 19:03 |  #6

I don't think anyone is criticizing you. I think they are offering good suggestions. I remember someone once told me to just show my best work and everyone will be amazed. It is kinda the same here. Just find a happy medium or let those not willing to pay your fee's find someone else. I have been asked to do a few weddings but just haven't wanted the pressure. I commend you for what you do. I think the lower res CD/DVD Idea is great. IMO :D


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css7493
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Aug 31, 2010 20:28 as a reply to  @ john69az's post |  #7

Thats exactly it, I just need to find a happy medium. Weddings are far too frustrating to be worth it . . . I have just been overly frustrated lately at the amount of potential clients who refuse to understand my (or any photographers) position.


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spiralspirit
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Aug 31, 2010 23:22 |  #8

css7493 wrote in post #10826271 (external link)
Thats exactly it, I just need to find a happy medium. Weddings are far too frustrating to be worth it . . . I have just been overly frustrated lately at the amount of potential clients who refuse to understand my (or any photographers) position.

its not that they refuse to understand your position, its that they don't want to spend that much money. they weren't really clients to begin with, because they simply weren't ready to give you enough money to make it worth your while.

Mcdonalds, Red Lobster, and big hotel restaurants all have different price points. someone who wants a meal and goes into mcdonalds is not necessarily a lost customer to red lobster, because he was never willing to spend enough money to make it red lobster's while. the same is true to the relationship between a big hotel restaurant and the red lobster - someone who spends $20 on a meal at red lobster is not necessarily a lost customer to the hotel that charges ~$50-100 per portion.

I sympathize with your frustration, but don't give people unedited photos, no matter what.


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BestVisuals
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Aug 31, 2010 23:28 as a reply to  @ spiralspirit's post |  #9

Never give unedited photos, ever. I'm one of those photogs that gave edited images on disk, and my average wedding price was $2,500 to $3,500. I sold the disk as a plus, not a giveaway. I made my money on printed albums, convincing brides that images only on CD stay in a drawer never to be seen again.

The fact is that the brides will make copies of whatever you give them, so give them the best. Full-res edited images! If you don't, they'll print a low-res image as a 20x24 and tell people that's the kind of photos you take.

It's a digital age, folks, and photographers need to change. Negatives don't exist anymore, scanners are cheap so charge for your time and give the images on disk.


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css7493
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Sep 01, 2010 07:37 |  #10

BestVisuals wrote in post #10827353 (external link)
Never give unedited photos, ever. I'm one of those photogs that gave edited images on disk, and my average wedding price was $2,500 to $3,500. I sold the disk as a plus, not a giveaway. I made my money on printed albums, convincing brides that images only on CD stay in a drawer never to be seen again.

The fact is that the brides will make copies of whatever you give them, so give them the best. Full-res edited images! If you don't, they'll print a low-res image as a 20x24 and tell people that's the kind of photos you take.

It's a digital age, folks, and photographers need to change. Negatives don't exist anymore, scanners are cheap so charge for your time and give the images on disk.

You said it best to what I was looking for. I usually try and keep emails less than long winded when responding to that dreaded question, however I will start explaining the reasoning behind all of it to see customers reactions. I just refuse to believe that so many people on POTN equally refuse to acknowledge how things have changed and it is becoming almost a necessity to give the disc. So it looks like I need to come up with a way to incorporate the disc into the package, or come up with an a la carte pricing for it that offsets my loss in prints. This helps, thanks.


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Sep 01, 2010 07:45 |  #11

I started wedding photography in the digital age and i dont have experience with film. i do give a CD of hi-res EDITED pics -- never unedited. I do, however, include the "inherent cost" of the images on the CD in the package price. I explain this to potential customers who ask why my rates are higher than others. just my .02.




  
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Shamir
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Sep 01, 2010 08:43 |  #12

Everytime I do an event, I always give out a cd with a 800x533 watermarked gallery.. Of course, I first make a contrast and coloring batch on lightroom.. just so that people dont see the sooc product haha!!

If they want the high resolution picture, fine, 30 dollars, and still it got my signature in some corner and in the jpeg information... Luckily for me, here in DR theres a photographers list in every printing place. If they see my name somewhere in the image, they wont print it and will call me..

I've received calls tons of times.. after that, Clients just comes to me asking for prints, and I sell them.. :)


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JMartel
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Sep 01, 2010 10:13 |  #13

Why not just offer prints as an add on? I'm getting married in April and that's what our photographer is doing. The package we selected is 6 hours coverage starting an hour before the ceremony and is basically just a DVD of full res images with all rights to print where/when/how we want. We're also doing an engagement session in a month with the same end product. He flat out told me that this is just the way the market is going now and he just hires someone else to manage printing anyways.


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css7493
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Sep 01, 2010 10:46 |  #14

JMartel wrote in post #10829607 (external link)
Why not just offer prints as an add on? I'm getting married in April and that's what our photographer is doing. The package we selected is 6 hours coverage starting an hour before the ceremony and is basically just a DVD of full res images with all rights to print where/when/how we want. We're also doing an engagement session in a month with the same end product. He flat out told me that this is just the way the market is going now and he just hires someone else to manage printing anyways.

If you pay him to edit and print photos for you rather than go print your own from the disc come back and let us know.

The issue at hand is not losing clients, all the while trying to stress just how much time goes into PP, and the price behind prints, and the justifiably high cost of selling the disc because the loss in profit from not likely being able to sell anymore prints.

Im at a standstill at what to do, because as soon as I say 'No disc' or include any sort of limitation 'up to 4x6"' or 'you can get the disc for $XXX' then they are out the proverbial door.


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RDKirk
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Sep 01, 2010 11:25 as a reply to  @ css7493's post |  #15

The issue at hand is not losing clients, all the while trying to stress just how much time goes into PP, and the price behind prints, and the justifiably high cost of selling the disc because the loss in profit from not likely being able to sell anymore prints.

Well, they don't care about your costs--there is no point in even broaching that topic with them. They care about the product they get and the price they have to pay.

The analogy of restaurant prices was made earlier, but two important points were not stressed: The high end restaurant provides a much higher quality of meal and service than MacDonalds and the customer cares about that. The customer is not willing to pay more in the high-end restaurant because their costs are higher, but because she's getting a clearly superior meal experience and she agrees that a superior meal experience is worth paying more for.

That's a different class of customer and a better class of photographer. The work you show must obviously be head and shoulders above what cheaper photographers are offering.


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