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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 11 Mar 2009 (Wednesday) 11:30
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Contact sheets and customer previews...

 
Walczak ­ Photo
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Mar 11, 2009 11:30 |  #1

Hey you professionals!
Alrighty, I'm gearing up to do some advertising and I have a few issues that have been bothering me. On several occasions where I've done a shoot I've had people ask me for .jpg copies of the images. At the risk of sounding paranoid here, I know that in most cases people want the jpgs so they can "print their own" and won't have to actually buy my prints...and for me, the prints are a big part of the money I make. Now clearly I do want to be able to offer my customers "previews" of what I've shot so they can choose which images they want printed but I'm not really sure how to address the jpg issue with them. Clearly I don't want to offend a customer but then I also don't want to loose money from them just printing their own either.

Also along these same general lines, I'm looking to do something new (new to me at least) to help generate some business...I'm looking to move into "band photography" where I can offer my services to local bands. Something that I've noticed is that with a great many local bands, when I look at their websites (or Myspace pages), often their pictures....well...suc​k. A lot of times they look like they were taken on someone's camera phone (and probably were). I think there is some "market potential" here...it seems like there would be at least some folks who would be willing to pay for some decent images to promote their band. With the internet and websites being such a big part of this promotion, I'm sure that people will want jpgs to put on the website...and as with the issue above, I certainly don't want to just give these away! Now in the case of prints, I have a good idea of how to establish my prices...factoring in my cost of the prints based on what the lab charges me, my time, travel, the size of the print, etc.. Since jpgs are "virtual" though...how exactly does one decide how much to charge for a jpg?

To cut to the chase here, the question is...how the devil should I approach this? It seems like this was a lot easier in the "old days" of film...you just printed out a contact sheet of the proofs, let the customer choose which images they wanted, then did the prints (I would charge a 50% deposit -before- going to the lab with the rest due on delivery). Digital is obviously a very different game in this regards though...for stuff going on a website for example, prints may not even be involved. I could of course just provide very low quality jpgs to customers, but even there people could still do 4x6 prints on their own and even use them on their websites (hey...if they've been happy with camera phone shots, even a low res of an otherwise good image is an improvement!). I could of course just do it the old fashion way and print out contact sheets to let the customer choose...but somehow this seems a bit impractical any more if not a bit primitive. I could also just raise my prices for shooting time and let the jpgs or prints go for free...but that doesn't seem too smart either and I also certainly don't want to turn away business because my prices are just too high. I would really like to keep my rates affordable (at least in regards to the music/band stuff) as being a working musician myself...let's just say I understand the mentality.

Clearly I don't have a lot of business experience from this end of things. Up till now I've mostly done "fine art" work and sold framed prints of my work at exhibitions and such. Actually doing shoots for a specific customer though...this is a bit new to me. I am working on putting together some contracts and some "package deals" but I would like to get a clearer idea of how to approach this, particularly from a pricing stand point as well as how to deal with people who would otherwise try to leach my images...preferably without p!ssing them off too much.

I am doing research into all of these issues but I'd like to hear some actual experience here... Any thoughts or suggestions on how I should approach this? I hope all that babble made some sense and as always, I'm grateful for your comments!

Peace,
Jim


"It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. " - Ansel Adams
Walczak Photography - www.walczakphoto.izfre​e.com (external link)
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tim
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Mar 11, 2009 16:24 |  #2

Bands are notoriously cheap. Find an existing band photographer like Bobster and ask him about it.


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Walczak ­ Photo
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Mar 13, 2009 09:22 |  #3

tim wrote in post #7504171 (external link)
Bands are notoriously cheap.

I'm not sure that "cheap" is really the word I would use here. Again being a musician myself, I do understand the mentality very well. Here on the North Coast for example, your average band who doesn't have much of a following will typically only make around $400 for a show. When you split that between 4 to 6 people, it don't usually come out to a lot at all (for some people it doesn't even cover their bar tab! LOL!!!). More over, it's becoming more and more common for a smaller, unknown group to not get payed at all and in some places such as NYC I know that bands actually have to pay the club owners to play. Also for your average working musician, the amount of money that would be spent compared with say, a wedding photographer (easily $1000 or more) can easily be spent in other ways. Personally between spending a grand on someone to take pictures and spending a grand on a new guitar, I'd probably go for the guitar every time! LOL!!! I don't really think it's a matter of being cheap as much as simply a matter of priorities and/or opportunity. There's a very old joke about this..."What's the difference between a guitar player and a 14" pizza? A 14" pizza can feed a family of 4!" LOL!!!

Of course that's also why I want to keep my pricing for this affordable. I'm not looking to rake people the way other "pros" might. While I consider my photography work to be very good, I'm certainly no Annie Leibovitz and I'm certainly not looking to shoot Springsteen or the Stones (although if the opportunity were to present itself.....). Now before someone blasts me here, I do understand that shooting a wedding is -very- different from shooting a band...I shot a wedding once and it was such as hassle I swore I would -NEVER- shoot another! I can't blame folks for charging $1000 or more for shooting a wedding. Shooting a band isn't nearly as stressful though so I don't really feel the need to charge "combat pay" as it were. I think I can offer my services to local musicians at a reasonable rate...I'm just really not sure how to approach the whole jpg issue when trying to figure my rates.

Again this also doesn't apply only to the band stuff either. I've shot stuff at local dog parks for example (and other places as well) and had people who wanted some of the pictures but they don't want to pay me for prints...they want me to give them the jpgs so they can print their own. Obviously this is not going to happen but I also don't want to alienate a potential customer either. I'm just wondering how others deal with this...see my point?


"It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. " - Ansel Adams
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sspellman
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Mar 13, 2009 09:56 |  #4

Jim-

In my experience, there is very little money that bands are willing to spend on photography. I have alot of experience in that area and bands are just not solid customers.

On the proofing and delivery side, I price my photoshoots by photography services only and provide proofing and prints through an online SmugMug gallery. I focus my time on making pictures, price my services by the hour, and let the customer use the images or make prints however they want. The SmugMug gallery provides a critical tool to provide complete proofing and product delivery while minimizing your time. For prepaid clients it provides proofing and image downloads. For potential clients it provides automatic watermarks, custom pricing, sales tracking, electronic image downloading only when and if they pay.

To my customers, the days of high priced prints are gone. When everyone knows you can get an 8 by 10 at Walgreens for $3, nobody will pay $30 for it. Sell your photographic services and minimize your post shoot delivery effort.

-Scott


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Walczak ­ Photo
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Mar 15, 2009 07:44 |  #5

sspellman wrote in post #7515652 (external link)
Jim-

In my experience, there is very little money that bands are willing to spend on photography. I have alot of experience in that area and bands are just not solid customers.

On the proofing and delivery side, I price my photoshoots by photography services only and provide proofing and prints through an online SmugMug gallery. I focus my time on making pictures, price my services by the hour, and let the customer use the images or make prints however they want. The SmugMug gallery provides a critical tool to provide complete proofing and product delivery while minimizing your time. For prepaid clients it provides proofing and image downloads. For potential clients it provides automatic watermarks, custom pricing, sales tracking, electronic image downloading only when and if they pay.

To my customers, the days of high priced prints are gone. When everyone knows you can get an 8 by 10 at Walgreens for $3, nobody will pay $30 for it. Sell your photographic services and minimize your post shoot delivery effort.

-Scott


Hey Scott,
Thank you...that was pretty much the conclusion I had came to as well. I took a look around at some other area photographers and of those who put prices on their website, that's what they seem to do. I'm still trying to decide how to structure my pricing for this but that does seem to be the way to go with professional prints/enlargements as an "extra".

Peace,
Jim


"It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. " - Ansel Adams
Walczak Photography - www.walczakphoto.izfre​e.com (external link)
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Contact sheets and customer previews...
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