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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 12 May 2010 (Wednesday) 10:04
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Questions about online printing compaines.

 
ChrisMc73
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May 12, 2010 10:04 |  #1

So I'm just now starting to get people wanting me to take shots of their kids, my photography is starting to slowly roll and gain popularity among my friends who have kids and their friends etc, word of mouth, bla bla bla...and they are asking me about printing and prices etc...most being moms who print from all over the cheaper places, WalMart, Shutterfly, etc...so I'm needing to learn to deal with these situations.

So I created an account with MpixPro and I'm considering doing the same with some others, such as BayPhoto, Millers, WHCC etc...if I can at this point in my work?

One of my "clients" has chosen a handful of prints from the Flickr location where I put some low res photos up for her to view, from the shoot of her daughters and cousins photo shoot and birthday party.
She wrote me an email with a list of photos that were her favorite and said that she's used Shutterfly before and was happy with their products and that they had some specials going right now.

Here is what she wrote me:

I have a huge list of number of the photos I liked it changes each time I look at them, but this is what I came up with. If it is too many I can down size it. Let me know. I also have some prices for you on stuff I am buying. I can get an 8 x 8 photo book with 20 pages for 29.99 (it is on sale right now for 21.99) i have ordered one before and I was really happy with it. It is from sutterfly. I can get a 24 x 36 canvas wrap for 150.00 (it is on sale right now for 112.00)

Right now I have no issues with her using Shutterfly, if thats what she wants, I did the shoot for her as a favor, $50, and told her I would share with her the low res images on my Flickr, for her to proof and let me know what she likes and would get her the high res on an DVD to use to print using my resources or she could use her own, but I warned her that if she wanted to use Shutterly that the images might not look like what I created with my post processing and wouldn't represent the true art I created, as their colors are not calibrated with mine, etc...again, I don't have a hard set of rules that I have posted on a website somewhere, nor was I "hired" it was a favor, but I need to learn how to deal with this as I transition out of the "favor" mode and into a serious business mode. Right now I'm portfolio building, but I think I'm reaching the point where I have enough great shots to put up on my upcoming website, so the cheap/free favors are about over.

So some of my questions to deal with this particular situation right now are this, now that I have my MpixPro account, I have a price list and product list in PDF format, do you all who use MpixPro usually share these files with your clients, or just give them the prices off the list for the products they want? Or how do you handle it?

Do these online professional companies, MpixPro, Millers, BayPhoto, WHCC and their prices/products even compete with Shutterfly etc? Or are we talking about comparing two different levels of photo work?

Help me understand this new area I'm slowly getting into...




  
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pcj
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May 12, 2010 10:20 |  #2

You need to figure out if you will be selling them a DVD of their pictures and letting them print them under their own steam, or if you will be controlling the printing.

I've found most of my customers (Moms, friends etc) couldn't give a rats about color balancing - they are "happy" with Walmart - so what I did, was print a shot off from Walmart, print one off from my print provider (I use Exposure Manager), and at the end of my shoot, I offer them a DVD for $xxx, or they can buy their prints through me (and give them the price list) - then I show them the difference.

Some get it, some don't. Those who buy the DVD get fast, quick PP - if they don't see the difference in prints, then they won't notice if the picture is "fine tuned". Those who buy prints through me, get more / finer PP.

For a bench mark, I charge the same $ for a hi-res JPG as I do for an 8*10 - and price my DVDs accordingly - 20 JPGs will cost them the same as 20 8*10's.


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ChrisMc73
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May 12, 2010 10:26 |  #3

Yeah, see I live in Oklahoma, where I feel a lot of my clients will be these types of moms who don't see the difference in quality, its the money that counts, savings even if its a few dollars difference it means a lot to them. Not that I wouldn't find or eventually get a client who has a bigger budget, but my feeling is my market here is not as big budgeted as some of the others in the world, I could be majorly wrong though.

So basically what you are saying is they will pay the same amount for 20 JPGs on a disc as they would for 20 8x10's printed from your printing company? Thus if they want your pictures they will pay for them either way...and pay the same price?




  
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pcj
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May 12, 2010 10:38 |  #4

Yeah, see I live in Oklahoma, where I feel a lot of my clients will be these types of moms who don't see the difference in quality, its the money that counts, savings even if its a few dollars difference it means a lot to them. Not that I wouldn't find or eventually get a client who has a bigger budget, but my feeling is my market here is not as big budgeted as some of the others in the world, I could be majorly wrong though.

Thats similar to my market - I'm not near a big city, and I'm not an established name or full studio, so people consider it more budget

ChrisMc73 wrote in post #10167259 (external link)
So basically what you are saying is they will pay the same amount for 20 JPGs on a disc as they would for 20 8x10's printed from your printing company? Thus if they want your pictures they will pay for them either way...and pay the same price?

Correct, I looked at what people ordered through me in the past, and 8*10 seemed one of the most common items, so I based my JPG price on that. When they say they want to buy the DVD and take it to Walmart (or I guess thats what they want), I pull out the examples of my print vs. Walmart prints, show them the difference, explain how much more PP I can do when I am controlling the print quality, and that they would actually save money when buying through me (as they won't have to pay for printing on top of the DVD).

Sometimes I'll round up or down - some people just want the JPGs for online (Facebook etc) use and have no intention to print. Buying a full res JPG is also the only way to get a photo without a watermark (I'm quite free on low res JPGs *with* watermarks, as these help promote me in the community I shoot for).


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ChrisMc73
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May 12, 2010 10:54 |  #5

Excellent points, thanks for the feedback, I shall start to build my business now, gathering ideas!




  
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pcj
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May 12, 2010 10:59 as a reply to  @ ChrisMc73's post |  #6

Glad I could offer advice. Remember, it's only whats worked for me, and I know that it's counter to what a lot of more established photographers do. Charging less for JPGs seems to be contrary to the trend - but it's worked well for me, and I've made more money doing this than I did when I listed them at ten times their current cost (believing I was losing revenue if I sold the JPG - when in fact, they just didn't sell).


7D (gripped) | GoPro Hero HD | Canon 70-200mm f/4 L | Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 | 40mm f/2.8 | 85mm f/1.8 | 28mm f/1.8 | 3 * 600EX-RT - All gear
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scorpio_e
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May 12, 2010 11:50 |  #7

pcj wrote in post #10167226 (external link)
You need to figure out if you will be selling them a DVD of their pictures and letting them print them under their own steam, or if you will be controlling the printing.

I've found most of my customers (Moms, friends etc) couldn't give a rats about color balancing - they are "happy" with Walmart - so what I did, was print a shot off from Walmart, print one off from my print provider (I use Exposure Manager), and at the end of my shoot, I offer them a DVD for $xxx, or they can buy their prints through me (and give them the price list) - then I show them the difference.

Some get it, some don't. Those who buy the DVD get fast, quick PP - if they don't see the difference in prints, then they won't notice if the picture is "fine tuned". Those who buy prints through me, get more / finer PP.

For a bench mark, I charge the same $ for a hi-res JPG as I do for an 8*10 - and price my DVDs accordingly - 20 JPGs will cost them the same as 20 8*10's.



What for you charge for you 8X10's?


www.steelcityphotograp​hy.com (external link)

  
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pcj
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May 12, 2010 11:58 |  #8

scorpio_e wrote in post #10167746 (external link)
What for you charge for you 8X10's?

$12.99 currently - and yes, I'm aware some photogs out there charge a heck of a lot more, some a heck of a lot less.


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scorpio_e
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May 12, 2010 11:59 |  #9

It is an interesting idea. I like the idea of charging a JPG as the same cost of an 8X10. I think that you want to offer something different in paper that the customer does not have the ability to produce. Like the Metallic finish.. They may not be aware of the product anyway. Creating a DVD slide show might be another source of revenue.

Not to thread jack but I was at a concert over the weekend. Like any photographer,I snapped some images during the concert. The band manager and parents asked me for my business card. They loved my work and wanted to purchase images.

Both parents want the slide show and I e-mailed them print prices. I priced from 5X7 to 16X20.

So it will be interesting to see how this plays out...JPG vs prints... I had no intent of making money on this event *LOL*


www.steelcityphotograp​hy.com (external link)

  
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scorpio_e
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May 12, 2010 12:00 |  #10

pcj wrote in post #10167804 (external link)
$12.99 currently - and yes, I'm aware some photogs out there charge a heck of a lot more, some a heck of a lot less.


Thanks... I was pricing the concert images at $10 for an 8X10.


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ChrisMc73
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May 12, 2010 13:01 |  #11

Don't worry about the thread jack, we're all here discuss the same issues, so I don't worry much about that stuff.

So do you all use the exact same prices as your printing company gives you? Or do you mark them up?
Thats what I'm getting at, should I find out what sizes they want, and see what they cost me via MpixPro or whoever and then mark them up a little? If I do that I'm probably pricing myself out of the Shutterfly prices. How are the professional photographers who do this all the time, staying in business printing stuff using the pro places, but competing with the moms who want to print at Shutterfly?

Thats where I'm curious...




  
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pcj
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May 12, 2010 13:07 |  #12

ChrisMc73 wrote in post #10168169 (external link)
Don't worry about the thread jack, we're all here discuss the same issues, so I don't worry much about that stuff.

So do you all use the exact same prices as your printing company gives you? Or do you mark them up?
Thats what I'm getting at, should I find out what sizes they want, and see what they cost me via MpixPro or whoever and then mark them up a little? If I do that I'm probably pricing myself out of the Shutterfly prices. How are the professional photographers who do this all the time, staying in business printing stuff using the pro places, but competing with the moms who want to print at Shutterfly?

Thats where I'm curious...


It's about adding value - I mark up the prices Exposure Manager charges me - no one gets it at cost --- otherwise, I don't make money.

You need to show them why you are different to Walmart - which is why people buying a DVD get a quick, basic PP on their photos. I'll correct exposure, crop, white balance - things I can do quickly and sometimes automatically, burn the DVD and ship it out.

If they order a print, I'll fix blemishes, do some B&W or effects for them, and I'll make sure they see the difference in what they get from me, and what they get from Walmart.

One other thing - Walmart charges nothing for 6*4's, so I don't even try to compete, I don't sell them at all. I'll charge say, $8 for a 5*7, $12 for an 8*10 - and show how different mine are compared to what Walmart sells.

You may choose not to make money on prints, that works for some people too - you might decide to never sell prints individually, but bundle them (family packs with 5 6*4 and an 8*10 for example), or throw them in with their sitting fee ($200 to sit, inclusive of some prints), and never reveal your print prices at all, unless they ask specifically.


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scorpio_e
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May 12, 2010 13:14 |  #13

I look at the cost of the print and I mark it up. I know how much I would like to make on the print. I am still getting my business and portfolio together so my prices are cheap ..for now...*L*

If I am doing a portrait session then I will create a package of prints.


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ChrisMc73
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May 12, 2010 13:41 |  #14

I guess I need to look at how some are doing this and then talk it over with the CFO (my wife) and see what she thinks we should do, and use trial and error an see what becomes popular.




  
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Mike ­ R
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May 12, 2010 13:57 |  #15

pcj wrote in post #10168208 (external link)
It's about adding value - I mark up the prices Exposure Manager charges me - no one gets it at cost --- otherwise, I don't make money.

One other thing - Walmart charges nothing for 6*4's, so I don't even try to compete, I don't sell them at all. I'll charge say, $8 for a 5*7, $12 for an 8*10 - and show how different mine are compared to what Walmart sells.

You may choose not to make money on prints, that works for some people too - you might decide to never sell prints individually, but bundle them (family packs with 5 6*4 and an 8*10 for example), or throw them in with their sitting fee ($200 to sit, inclusive of some prints), and never reveal your print prices at all, unless they ask specifically.

They are paying for the shot that they cannot take themselves For sport action, I charge $5.00 for a 4x6 ($8.00 double print) Many times a parent will buy one 5x7 (or8x10) and several 4x6. Before I offered 4x6 prints the orders were smaller. A lot of mom's also want that size for scrapbooks.


Mike R
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