Nicely Denying Digital File Sales.......

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by OnTheFly7, Aug 4, 2017.

  1. OnTheFly7

    OnTheFly7 TPF Noob!

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    To quickly set the stage.......

    I cover rodeo events through out the year. I am hire by the "Association" and the "Producer" of the events. I am there on their behalf, to provide images for them. Then, anyone who may be interested in images of themselves, I am able to sell directly to them.

    That said.......

    As I am sure we all are getting, I had an inquiry about selling digital files. I provided my usual response which is something along the lines of: we very rarely sell our digital files. We would be happy to include social media sized files of purchase images of a certain size or larger. In the very rare instance where we have sold a digital file, the prices have started at $X and went up from there (price being determined by intended use of the image). Also, we do not ever sell or turn over our rights to an image.

    I then elaborate a bit on the above by mentioning the quality of the prints by utilizing "my" professional printer, as opposed to a Wal-Mart, Walgreens, etc.

    They reply saying: okay. So there is no way for me to purchase the digital file so I can have it and get a canvas print made?

    They asked this, after I had already sent them a current pricing sheet. The pricing sheet also clearly shows that we offer canvas prints. The sizes of the canvas prints are listed, along with their costs.

    In the end, this individual did not pay for my service and time of being at the event. Images of them were a product of me being there for someone else. Now, they want a canvas print, but do not want to purchase it from me.

    There is a part of me that says, sure, I will sell you the digital file. The cost will be 2/3 to 75% of the cost of a canvas if purchased from me. Which I am fairly certain they will not agree to. Then, part of me wants to simply say.......I'm sorry but I can not help you.

    What says the forum crowd?
     
  2. pixmedic

    pixmedic Critical Care Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    im always willing to sell the customer what they want...for the right price.
    they want a canvas print, but they feel they can get it done cheaper themselves.
    they didnt pay for your time or a sitting fee so really they just want to snag a picture off you cheap on someone elses dime.
    If they wont buy a print from you, I would absolutely make the digital file as expensive as the canvas print. if they ask why?
    tell them that a digital file is worth more because they can make many different prints with it, not just one.
    if they wont pay, dont give them the file.
    ultimately what that file is worth is up to you.
     
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  3. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Well, technically, you actually do. You have to. At least, in order to sell anything.

    If you sell a print, you are actually selling the actual print.... plus the right to own that one print. And if you sell the digital file, you are selling the right(s) to the customer to do what they declare they are intending to do with it (print, publish, display, etc). Those uses need to be included in the contract of sale.... if for no other reason than to protect you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2017
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  4. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    My answer to their question would be a nice "No".

    If you are hired to shoot the event for someone else ... depending on the terms of the contract ... the images could belong to the employer and they are merely giving you the rights to sell on the side.
     
  5. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you're offering canvas prints then they can buy from you, its as simple as that and I wouldn't be offering up any files at 75% as they could print dozens while selling them on for more than you're making out of the file. Too many want photography for nothing these days, I'd rather delete every file than give them away for peanuts.
     
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  6. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Not unless they intend to pull an armored truck full of cash up to my front door.


    It probably needs to be made clear that it's going to cost more, way more(a whole lot more) to buy a high priced digital file just to go have it printed cheap somewhere, than to buy a canvas print from you.
     
  7. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Looks like wall size canvas prints (54"x120") go for $700 - $800 a print. I would add 50% to that price for the Digital file.
     
  8. qmr55

    qmr55 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'd probably sell them the digital file. But it would cost them a lot more than 2/3 the cost of the canvas. Remember, they can in turn print it as many times as they'd like.
     
  9. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    That seems way too cheap. If the customer can print say three or four prints (i.e. for family members) from the digital file, they would most likely jump at it and feel as if they had gotten the better deal.
     
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  10. OnTheFly7

    OnTheFly7 TPF Noob!

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    I appreciate all of the answers.

    I forgot to mention, she flat out said she can get a discount on canvas somewhere else.

    Yeah, nope. I'm not selling this one.
     
  11. zombiesniper

    zombiesniper The camera takes the Pic. I just point the way. Supporting Member

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    Full rez raw file and the rights to do what ever you want with it. Price starts at $10k. Too rich? Here's my print pricing sheet.
     
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  12. Destin

    Destin No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm going to play devils advocate here, and I'm sure it won't make me very popular.

    Times are changing. EVERYBODY wants digital files. Most have no interest in getting any prints at all anymore. You'll see the day soon when photographers won't get hired if their packages don't include reasonable priced digital files. And there are plenty of other very skilled photographers waiting in the wings who will gladly take those clients and give them what they want if you aren't willing to.

    Ultimately, it's easier for me to sell digital files right off the bat. There is no product cost involved with selling a file, the price is pure profit. The majority of customers, especially from sporting events, will NEVER return to you for another print whether they have the file or not.

    Your circumstance is unique in that you're contracted and paid to be there by the company. But as a rule, sports/event coverage photos (when sold to the participants) are a high volume/low price market. I'm not saying you should be giving your work away, however people are only going to spend a set amount on photos from an event like this. It's all about perceived value, and the perceived value of sporting event photos is much lower than say, wedding or portrait work. Most professional photographers I see covering local sporting events are selling prints with prices ranging from $5 for a 4x6 to $20 for an 8x10, or $20-25 for a full resolution .jpg. Why? Because that's all the market will support. If you want to sell ANY photos and make money from the event, you can't charge higher.. at least not in my area of the country.

    Ultimately you can sell them the digital file and make pure profit on it, or you can make no money because they'll buy nothing from you.

    Me? I'll take the cash in my pocket every time. I see no value in letting cash walk away from me, as long as there isn't someone else in line that I could get to pay more for the same item.
     

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