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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 11 Aug 2008 (Monday) 05:54
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Charging for Wedding High Res.

 
symbolphoto
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Aug 11, 2008 05:54 |  #1

Now i'm not the smartest man out there...

But help me out here. Why do i want to charge people for the full resolution images? Unless i want them for my portfolio, i don't want them anymore. They aren't costing me anything to give away, unless i could sell them to stock photography site. :rolleyes: Why do i care?

I've shot several weddings now and i have no troubles giving them the high-resolution images on a CD/DVD when done processing them. If they want to print them out, that's great. I don't make my bulk in printing... if anything, printing is a pain in the butt. As long as i clause in my contract that they can't pimp out the photos to some service or use them on any other photographers site, why do i care? I function off of word of mouth and web advertising not print sales or having my watermark planted everywhere.

I just feel that the nickel and diming on print sales and watermarking everything is counter-productive on some level.




  
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tim
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Aug 11, 2008 07:25 |  #2

You're charging for your time. It takes time to color correct every image and burn it to CD. If people don't want the high res disk I don't have to do detailed correction for every image, just the ones that go in the album, and very quick color correction for the proofs. Another way to look at it is you're charging for the loss of print sales, which traditionally have been a big earned for wedding photographers, less so now CDs are popular. Even though I sell the CD to the B&G the family still often buys prints through my online ordering system, and even the B&G buy prints from me, sometimes just enlargements, sometimes a whole lot of them in addition to the album. I get the occasional $1000 print order. If I didn't offer the CD i'd get bigger print orders, but then again i'd get less work because just about every customer wants it. You could include the high res CD charge in your prices, but that raises your base price.


Professional wedding photographer, solution architect and general technical guy with multiple Amazon Web Services certifications.
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amfoto1
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Aug 11, 2008 19:18 |  #3

What we have here is simply a clash of "Old" and "New School" wedding photography.

Old School shot film and made prints. There was a charge for going to shoot, and then ongoing, residual sales of prints made from the negs over the following years. Cameras weren't cheap, and film and processing were a major, ongoing expense (especially at pro quality level). You stayed in touch with your customers and sent them an anniversary card, as a reminder.

They called you to take photos of their first born, their 5th anniversary party, etc. You built a relationship with your customers. You controlled the images and the quality of the prints made from them.

New School has come about due to digital photography. "Hey!", some bride or groom exclaimed, "Why don't you just give us the images on a CD at the end of the ceremony and well look at them on our honeymoon and pick out the ones we want printed."

New School was happy to oblige, while Old School was tripping over excuses not to hand over their files. New School thinks "digital images are free... there are no film or processing costs". Old School points to the fact that their cameras will wear out 4X as fast, since everyone is shooting 4X as many exposures, that pro quality equipment is still very pricey, and that the hours spent in post processing are worth something, too.

As more and more places started to offer printing from digital images at low, low prices, it was just a short leap for B&G to realize they could just take the images to Walmart or wherever and get their own prints a whole lot cheaper. Crappy though they may be. "Lousy photographer charges us $1500 to shoot these!" they tell their friends, at least according to Old School.

New School sees this as a cool way to do business... Shoot the shots, burn the disk and hand it to them, then walk away. Job over. Doesn't value or even recognize the residual business, always looking for a new job rather than maintaining already established relationships, Old School might point out.

Old School seesthis as a nightmare scenario, losing control of the images and the quality of the prints, losing all the residual income for years to come, losing all that potential follow up business.

New School says they get more jobs, although each might be for considerably less money, because more people can afford to hire photographers to shoot their weddings.

Old School says if you want to work with those Craigslist referrals, hey, go for it. They're the most demanding and difficult clients you can imagine, for the least pay.

Who's right?

Well, time will tell.

For now, both arguments have their strong points and weak points.

In the end, the new "business model" right now is pretty much "anything goes".

There are New School who gradually figure out that they want to be a bit more like Old School for a variety of reasons, and change their method of operation. And, there are Old School who are having to - very grudgingly - learn to burn CDs and hand them over - very reluctantly - to customers.

All the while there are fresh "newbie" New School entering the market every day, kit cameras clutched in their little hands and bright stars in their eyes, who want to give it all away practically free "for the experience".

Online galleries, ultra high ISO cameras, online album services, a world wide web of vendors competing to give us the very best deal on shiny new equipment...

Hey, what's not to like about this "brave new world"...

Except for the need to keep up with the competition and buy the latest and greatest D-SLR upgrade every year or two... the fact that the photographer is now the photo lab, sitting for hours in front of his or her computer after every shoot... and $200 wedding shoots putting pressure on a lot of people to lower their prices to unprofitable levels... the need to back up all your files constantly... and giving away all your images on CD.


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flyingwolf
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Aug 11, 2008 22:41 |  #4

Mr. Myers,

Those are some of the truest words spoken.


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Aaagogo
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Aug 12, 2008 01:53 |  #5

give them a low res CD, enough for them to print 4x6 to a 8x10

give them the reason why you don't give out full res images. stating some of the reasons above.


https://photography-on-the.net …p?p=4655753&pos​tcount=953 Your 1st 10,000 images are your worst
One photo out of focus is a mistake, ten photo out of focus are an experimentation, one hundred photo out of focus are a style

  
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tim
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Aug 12, 2008 02:20 |  #6

If you give someone a CD that can print a good 8x10 it can be blown up to 50". 10" @ 300ppi is 3000 pixels, not a lot less than than the 30D resolution, for enlargements you can get away with 75ppi or more.


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symbolphoto
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Aug 12, 2008 05:21 |  #7

THank you AmFoto1. That was a great history/perspective.




  
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smorter
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Aug 12, 2008 09:33 |  #8

If you give someone low res, they'll print large anyway and then the prints turn out to be a pos and your reputation suffers :(

Always a catch 22 with this issue


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stathunter
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Aug 12, 2008 09:41 |  #9

I typically sell the disc as an add on option. 9 out of 10 brides purchase the disc option.
I change them enough in the package to make up for what I consider print loss. Plus I make it easy for them to purchase prints from me.


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Aaagogo
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Aug 13, 2008 03:31 |  #10

well, give them about a 1000x1600 dpi image saved at about 7 in photoshop.

let the clients know that they are only good for prints up to 4x6.

Include that in your website when displaying your wedding package.


https://photography-on-the.net …p?p=4655753&pos​tcount=953 Your 1st 10,000 images are your worst
One photo out of focus is a mistake, ten photo out of focus are an experimentation, one hundred photo out of focus are a style

  
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Gordon ­ S.
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Aug 17, 2008 19:02 |  #11

Wow, amfoto1. Thats the most sane thing I've ever seen written on this forum. I come from a pseudo 'new school' of thought and I'm set up for jobs where people expect digital copies. Yes there's a certain amount of nightmares around fair-use and rights management but this is the way things are headed.


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cdifoto
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Aug 17, 2008 19:06 |  #12

I have no problems including a disk of medium resolution images with packages that cost enough to make it worth my while, or as an add-on at moderate cost. I even encourage the purchase of the disk when it's not part of the package, with the emphasis on the fact that they can print their own everyday size images without going through me. I recommend a few online labs on the release insert as well. I explain that they can simply purchase the images they wish to frame and hang through me because I can specially process the original file to make it look its best at larger size.

I don't "give away" anything because it doesn't make good business sense.


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jenniferdcp23
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Nov 02, 2008 16:50 |  #13

I am a 'new school' photographer... we are in our 1st year of full blown biz... we are really struggling to find that "sweet spot" in pricing. At first we did "give it away" to build a client base and get the word of mouth out there.... then we started raising prices a little each quarter. We are fairly competitive with alot of the "lower end" market. We are starting to get in the bottom of the middle range though. I too am not wanting to make my money from prints, but did have to build a package as we had more clients asking for them.
Every time I think we have our prices at a 'good' place, where we can make a decent profit but still offer enough 'meat' with the session, we find something else that eats at our profit.... up goes the price AGAIN!
How do you find your pricing? I scoured other local competitors, I read a ton of articles in the PPA newsletters, asked mentors, but just seem to be lacking solid pricing.




  
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form
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Nov 02, 2008 20:32 |  #14

Seeing as how I'm the new school budget photographer, not quite doing it just for the experience but certainly not focusing on prints to make money (I charge hourly for the photography, nothing for the CD), I'm apparently part of the problem. Oh well. And all this time I thought I was filling a niche for those people who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford a real photographer and would have to be satisfied with Uncle Bob's shots...


Las Vegas Wedding Photographer: http://www.joeyallenph​oto.com (external link)

  
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Peacefield
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Nov 03, 2008 07:50 |  #15

I've done wedding photograhpy on and off for 20+ years, only recently making the transition from film to digital. Like Form, I am part of the problem, and willingly so. I've always taken the approach of selling only my time.

In my film days, it was understood by the couple that they were buying nothing more than my exposed rolls of film. At their choosing and cost, I would bring them to be developed and printed at a studio and deliver them when they returned from their wedding. I've always done nothing more than charge for my time and continue to do so today.

Though there's money in holding negatives or the digital files, I candidly don't want to be bothered with the hassle of managing negative (or digitial file) records, collect $100 here, $40 there, etc. I didn't get into this business because I enjoy that; I got into it because I enjoy the art of photography. Once the day was over and I hand them their negatives or DVD, we're done with each other. I and they are probably happier that way.

I don't give it away, though, or at least not in my mind. I willing to say that I charge $1,150 for an all day event; $150 for my assistant (one of my sons), and $1k for me. The B&G understand that there will only be basic and minor corrections made in PP, so not bad money for what ends up being a day and half of doing something that I enjoy.

The big deal that makes it work, though, is photography has never been my primary occupation or source of income; it's something that I do on the side. I have a business career that feeds the kids and turns the light on. The dollars I bring in through weddings is money that I get to spend on photograhpy gear or other toys without "spousal permission". I also deliberately keep this business small so it never becomes burdensome or that it diminishes my passion to do it; maybe only 6-7 weddings/year.

Though the digital transformation of photograhpy has certainly introduced a lot of hacks into the space, there are a lot of capable photographers from an artistic and technical perspective who do this work part time out of their home, ulitmately syphoning off business that would have otherwise found its way to traditional full time studio photographers. Compared to them, we obviously have a very different cost structure and much less urgent need to manage our top line.


Robert Wayne Photography (external link)

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