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...suck. 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!