Experienced Wedding Photographers - How Much Did You Make on Prints?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by astrostu, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. astrostu

    astrostu I shoot for the stars

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    I've been hanging out here for a few years now and have read all the threads arguing whether or not to give clients the digital files, how much to charge, the pros and cons of the business model, how to adjust the business model (like charging more up-front), etc.

    This thread is related to that, but not directly addressing it: Before digital got going, how much would you typically make on prints? I was going to ask this as a poll, but that may be difficult. If you can't answer with a dollar amount, what about as a percentage of your "package" cost? That latter version may be more relevant due to inflation.
     
  2. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have only done a few weddings on my own (outside of the people I worked for) but I have to think now that prints are a tough sell. I would imagine you really can't trust peiople to do the right thing with such high quality scanners available to anyone it is too easy to go the cheap way. I guess it depends on your clientele but I think if you are just starting or independent just setting up a package that includes an initial set of prints is the way to go but do not go cheap initially with the hopes of selling a million prints after the fact.
     
  3. astrostu

    astrostu I shoot for the stars

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    Well, I am working on setting up my own pricing structure, and I am including print credit in a package, but I really do mean this in a more general sense so that when the inevitable thread pops up in a few months (like the one that did today) asking if you should give the client digital copies, I can send 'em to this. I'm also just generally curious.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2009
  4. rub

    rub TPF Noob!

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    I am in my first year as well, so not really the person you were asking to respond, but I will jump in anyways.

    I really try and push the prints, but some people will only book with a disk available, so I have made it an option.

    To try limit my disk sales, I do the following:

    1) Show the Quality
    When I meet with a client I show them lots of samples of prints, albums, papers, press printed products, and I show them some cheap prints as well. They are usually amazed at the difference. I know I was when I first started working with a pro lab.

    2) Save them $$
    I have a photocart ordering system on my website. This allows them to invite whoever they like to view, and purchase, pictures. Maybe Aunt Sally wants 3 prints, and maybe Mom and Dad want 8, or 18, or 80! That way the Bride and Groom dont have to order prints for everyone. Each person can order what they want and I keep it organized, delivered etc.

    3) Limit the Options
    I only provide "proof" style shots on disk. That means that the images are all color corrected, maybe some creative adjustments are made, but I do no go in and retouch every single shot. I explain that the cost would be prohibitive to them. I charge $10 for image retouching (say, if I client took a picture and needs soem adjustments) so if I charged that for 600 files? No gonna happen around here. The client can pick 50 images to be fully retouched, but not the whole lot.

    As for provding prints ina package, I did that, and it sucked. They always wanted to make changes. So now my packages come with a print credit. They can use that credit towards anything, albums, prints, etc.

    Looks like from the orders I have coming in or have discused with my clients I will average about $800 in print sales. Thats not much, but its also my first year. I am also the ONLY person in my city that does not offer the images on disk as a part of the package, and I am def not the cheapest either.

    Make of that what you will.
     
  5. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    I used to charge for three different packages to shoot the day, they then got hard copy 6x4 in a proof album to show round and select from, average make on the sales to family +friends £2000.
    Portraits, shoot the whole family, singly, together, combinations, 1 roll of 36 shots, all proofs and 1 enlargement 14 x11 free, sitting cost, minimal, £35, orders averaged £300 per family, special deal, 10 families a day at least, do the math, orders would come sporadically forever. H

    ps. dried up when everyone got a crappy scanner with a pc from pc world and digital divs handing over cd's
     
  6. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I pulled out my notes from 1993. I was much more organized back then.

    I would total all costs of materials related to shooting the wedding (film, proofing, proof album) then add 50% to that number to get A.

    Next I decided on the "labor" of shooting the wedding (my assistant and myself) to come up with B.

    Then I estimated the cost of labor in studio to number negs, prepare proof book, take final order and place final order with lab to find C.

    A+B+C = BASE COST (At that time it was $1025.00)

    Once I had that number, I could now put together packages.

    That would be cost of prints x4
    plus cost of album x2.35

    Finally, I added the price of the prints, the price of the album and the base cost to find my package price.

    With digital, I don't know what to do because the processing time is so hard to nail down. Does anyone have some thoughts on that?

    My wedding mark up was less than portraits... sort of a quantity pricing deal.

    -Pete
     
  7. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    I worked in the mid to late 80s. At the end, my shooting fee was $1000 for 8 hours (and most weddings did not go over) and my gross take was between $2-4000.

    Prints were 6 to 10x cost depending on size. But most of the money came making wonderful albums. They were stories with a large number of prints of different sizes rather than a collection of 12-20 prints. I also offered hand-made albums created by a bookmaker friend of mine which ranged in cost from $300 to $600 and I charged x2.

    Hope that helps.
     
  8. amandamariephoto

    amandamariephoto TPF Noob!

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    HI, I am new to this site but I couldn't resist putting in my 2 cents.
    I am an artist and a photographer and I don't want to see my work in a 5x7 frame on someones desk.
    I do some elementary school pics in the fall and in that case, okay, I know I am selling wallets and 8x10's. That is easy money. For example the small package is $16 for a sheet of wallets and a sheet of 4x5's. My cost is $2. Very little editing so the 2 minutes I spent with that child made me at least $14.
    Wedding and portrait sessions are another story. I NEVER give the CD. I have a few reasons. #1 the idea of them taking my beautiful pictures to Rite Aid or Walgreens to print makes me wanna find a dark corner and cry and #2 if I give them all the pictures what reason do they have to come back to buy more..... I just handed them any future profits for that shoot.
    I also do not sell "prints". I specialize in albums and wall art (canvases and collections etc). All my packages are based on those. I will throw in "gift prints" as I call them for free. My cost is so low to produce them I can add them free of charge so they get the 5x7's and 8x10's ect for grandma but they can't nickle and dime me. And they think they are getting this cool free offer.
    I mark up all canvas/album/collection product 50%.
     
  9. CCericola

    CCericola Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    30 - 40% margin seems to be the norm
     
  10. CCericola

    CCericola Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    But yeah, I'm more in line with Amanda Marie. You sell them a package that is all inclusive instead of crossing your fingers and hoping they buy a lot of prints later. They can have a CD of the high res pictures and a form saying they have permission to print them for a price. I still retain copyright though.

    [​IMG]
     

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