Offer "keepsake" CD of images?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by NicholsonPhotography, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. NicholsonPhotography
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    NicholsonPhotography New Member

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    Just about every one of my clients has asked me if I offer a CD of the images from the session. Most just want it for keepsake purposes (they say), and to share via e-mail, myspace, etc. I feel like my print prices are low enough that using the CD for printing elsewhere is not the issue.

    I feel like it's time for me to offer this...Against my will, but I want to keep my clients happy.

    So, I have no idea what to charge, or how to keep it restricted. I know I will only offer after a minimum print purchase. I also know I will only include a minimum number of images (or different quantities for different prices??).

    I also need to find a good size for the jpeg files, large enough to share online, but not large enough to print.

    What are your thoughts?
  2. Battou
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    Battou New Member

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    well as for anti printing, format your images to a 3:2 Aspect ratio and low rezolution and do your your prints from a letterbox styled higher rezolution file to match what is on the disk in appearence. This way if they try printing enlargements from the CD from an in store customer accessable printing station, the printer will literally destroy the image on them by cropping off the ends as all of those print stations I have seen will max out at 8x10.

    As for the rest I am sorry I can't help you....
  3. NicholsonPhotography
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    NicholsonPhotography New Member

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    Thanks for the input...Can you explain the "letterbox styled..."
  4. NateWagner
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    NateWagner New Member

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    one thing I do is that when I give a low res cd, I put a somewhat large watermark on the photo. That way, although they can crop it out, they will lose a large portion of the photo, and if they do share it that way it helps bring my name out (have gotten some business from people sharing my photos on facebook and the like).

    The problem with sizes is that many customers don't necessarily understand photosizes and will try to print them larger anyway, also many are indiscriminate enough to thing that a 250pix by 200pix photo looks good as an 8x10.

    For most of them I would say I wouldn't give anything over say 500pix (or 800) in any direction. That way, although they could probably get a 4x6 out of it, they will be losing a lot in quality by going any larger. Also, when they view the image on their computer it should only take up part of the screen so they should know it's quite small.
  5. Big Mike
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    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member

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    I wouldn't bother trying to give them small images, they will try to print them anyway, even if you tell them not to. The prints will look bad and that will reflect poorly on you. If you are going to give/sell the files, give them good ones.
    As for the price, make it high or make them spend a lot on prints first.
  6. Battou
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    Battou New Member

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    Simply put it's white or black bars at the top and bottom ot the image that you can use to control what gets cropped by the printer.

    Letterbox - 1

    letterbox - 2

    If you use a pro lab or print yourself a 4:3 should be doable without modification, but if you use lesser printing stations or labs, most low to mid level print labs print at a 4:3 aspect ratio and a 3:2 image will get trimmed at the long end by the printer for anthing larger than 4X6.

    Also I forgot to mention pillarbox format (the same as letterbox but to the left or right of the image), this is slightly more complicated but necessary to know for coaxing a 4:3 image out of a 3:2 printer with out clipping of the image at hand. Basically you add additional space to the left and right of the image, print it out with the additional space and then cut it off your self for the print they get from you wile the copy on the disk does not have the additional space.

    ...Sorry, I'm going to have to look at my photos and find one to use as a illustration for letterbox and pillarbox printing, most of my printed images are at a 4:3 and the one 3:2 I tried useing a minuet ago the 4:3 crop resulted in a better crop for the photo at hand :lol: So I have to do some digging.

    Anywho when I replied before I had forgotten about a post I made quite some time ago here, it is not the most informitive post but it should give a little insight. I'll re do it here when I get an oppertunity as I have learned a lot since I made that post.
  7. Battou
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    Battou New Member

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    Look poorly or not, photographers have every right to defend themselves. Unautherized printing is taking food off the table of professional photographers and is unacceptable.

    When the client comes running and screeming about how the prints they did from the CD came out looking like **** it's actually not out of line to tell them "it's a countermeasure against unautherized printing and far more appropriate than taking you to court for copyright violation and theft. Those prints sold from my services put food on my table, I can't afford to just give them away"
  8. aprileve
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    aprileve New Member

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    I second Big Mike. They're going to reprint them anyways and will probably be just fine with crappy fuzzy 4x6's sitting around the house. Which totally erks me knowing my images will be reprinted with crappy quality. I'd just sell I high res cd so they can make prints...and good ones at that, but jack up the price for the exact reason that you said, "Those prints sold from my services put food on my table, I can't afford to just give them away."
    I almost exclusively do cd rights (which I know is a no-no on the Photo Forum...but whatever) and rarely do prints because it's been my experience as a mom, bride, etc...that I'd rather have the high-res cd and be able to print pics 5 years from now rather than only have this one precious 5x7 from you and chance not ever getting any more.
  9. Big Mike
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    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member

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    I agree with you...but the problem is that they won't come running back to you...they probably know that they are doing something wrong by making those prints and they know that you will just ask for more money for better files (remember, a lot of people are cheap).
    They will print them and they may not even know that their prints aren't great quality. That's all well and good until someone comes to their house and asks who took those photos. They sure aren't going to tell people that it's their fault the prints aren't great.

    My initial point was that if the photographer sells the files, they should charge enough to make up for the lack of print sales...and sell the high quality files so that the client still gets a good product.
  10. digitaldetours
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    digitaldetours New Member

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    I sell the edited images on a cd for a flat rate. I do still have people order prints from me. I size them all to about 1mb so they don't eat up hard drive space or cd space.
  11. Battou
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    Battou New Member

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    I do understand what you are getting at, and yes You do have a sound point with charging enough to compensate for lost print sales, but this too can proove to be a deturrant because a lot of people are cheap as you well know. They pay out the back side for this they are less likely to send their friends or return them selves, after all they tried to do this to save money.

    As I am confident you have more experience in this field than I do, I don't exactly have the right to argue business tactics with you ;) So I'll drop out of this one. Before I do, I want to say that my involvement here is based on an inncodent I literally stood and watched at rite aid a few months. A couple was getting prints of their baby photos where the photographer had done just what I had advised. They could not get a good print at all, finally they admitted defeat and left saying that they would just have to purchasse them form where they had them done.
  12. LarissaPhotography
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    LarissaPhotography New Member

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    We offer a cd with almost all our sessions. We've seen too many scans at Walmart where the photographer ends up looking like they don't know what they're doing. Plus if a customer is posting good quality work on myspace or wherever, it's good advertising for us.
    We don't charge extra for our cd, we just calculate how much we need to make per hour, and base the session cost on that. Obviously with this technique we aren't planning on making most of our money on print markup, but we'd rather not have to go through the extra effort for the sale anyway.
    Bottom line, you have to do what works out best for your studio.
  13. Big Mike
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    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member

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    :thumbsup:

    I used to offer the disc as my primary product...it was quite easy and the clients liked it. I still give/sell discs to most of my clients who are friends/family. However, I installed Photocart onto my web site and I'm trying to shift toward print sales...and hopefully premium products like custom albums & canvas prints/wraps etc.

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