I'll get right to the point.
Our business is relatively new (7 months) and since it was new and we lacked a portfolio we started out using SmugMug and dirt cheap prices both for the session and for prints.
Our current method for portrait sessions and weddings has been to advertise up front that we require a session fee AND a minimum purchase order on prints through Smugmug before we release the digital files to the client. We started out doing this to cover hosting costs for Smugmug while providing clients with a very professional quality print (BayPhoto) so they can see the quality difference compared to getting prints from Walmart or a kiosk somewhere.
Most of our clients understand this immediately and have no problems whatsoever.
Some of our clients are utterly flabbergasted and feel cheated that there is an additional fee either before they book a session or even after the session is over, even though we've made the print quota very clear.
This makes me think several things are happening:
1) Those empty headed and/or penny pinching customers will always be present regardless of the way we advertise.
2) Because our prices are currently low ($80/hr + $25 print order before release of downloads) we are marketing to a client base that is used to always looking for a deal rather than being appreciative that professional quality prints are available at their own time and without print packages.
3) We need to advertise differently. Possibly by raising the price and saying downloads are included, which I don't want to do because it minimizes print sales and potentially displays our work on terrible quality prints.
We are currently at a crossroads with our pricing and advertising since we saw enough business last year that we're making a huge investment to upgrade our equipment in preparation for the weddings we've booked this year so we can create a stronger portfolio and start charging a lot more. With this investment, we'll be launching a blog/portfolio website as our primary website and changing our logo and image, so this would be a good chance to totally change the way we advertise.
How do you guys make the purchase of prints appealing to your clients? Do you charge enough upfront and always include downloads? Do you offer packages? Are clients more ready to accept print costs as additional once you get over the $100/hr mark?
Here is our current website: http://www.tesarphoto.com/
We'll soon be using ProPhoto4 to create a blog/portfolio as our main site and slashing SmugMug to only client galleries.
We've also been using a T3 and 50D until next week when two 5D3's and some L lenses show up, if that is any consideration in your replies.