Pricing my prints ... Round II

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by epp_b, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    OK, so last time I came here asking for advice on pricing a print, I ended up with a figure of $50 for an 8x10. While everyone thought that was low, the person interested in the print basically said, "Fifty bucks? Forget it".

    Someone else is now asking me for three copies of three 4x6 photos of a local recreation event. They're not what I'd call "fine art"; I think (assume) they're for a family album.

    It will cost me $15 total to make these high quality prints at the local print shop; I thinking of charging $30 total. Yes, I know, if I consider my shooting time, processing time, equipment costs, time and effort put into building my skill and talent ... I'm basically making no money. But who's going to pay more than that for a few 4x6's?
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2010
  2. williambarry

    williambarry TPF Noob!

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    Negotiate with the consumer. Offer at 45, and work around. I know it isn't the best practice to start at a higher price then work to what you really wanted for something, but you have to make profit (if you are in it for the benjamins)
     
  3. hkbphoto

    hkbphoto TPF Noob!

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    You are probably basically right since you are not a professional - yet. Let me suggest something to you. There are a bunch sites like this - but, go to SmugMug Photo & Video Sharing. You look better here., registter and get you a site (free or pay), set it up and establish a web presence. You can then set your prices based on what you think you product is worth. As your knowledge grows so will your prices. Be sure to keyword and caption. I recomend SmugMug because they have answered my e-mails in record time. And, they worked with me when paying my professional site yearly fees. They have a forum that you will want (DGrin) to join. There are others out there, but I am happy here. By-the-way, I am not a pro yet either. I just joined this site to get some critiques. I want to know if I am waisting my time with this stuff, when I could be relaxing with a guitar and a beer.
     
  4. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Will you deliver the print in folders? Make sure you consider all of your costs.

    I recently dropped my pricing for candids (weddings). I was still using prices I set when film was the standard and labs had different pricing for custom hand enlarger prints, multi-printer machine prints, and individual candid prints.

    All my prints are delivered in folders.

    But now.... I'm using a lab called Meridian and pay just 29¢ for a 4x6 (plus shipping). The folders cost more! Of course, I do all the processing before I send the files.

    So now, I'll add 4x6 prints to my wedding package for $8. It used to be $24.

    For portraits, I charge the same for any print 5x7 and smaller.

    -Pete
     
  5. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    They come in some nice, plasticized packaging from the print shop.

    hkbphoto, I don't really have much interest in a Smugmug site. I am a website designer and programmer by trade, so I prefer to run my own site on my own server from scratch. It's mostly a "control" thing for me ;)
     
  6. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The problem is that, if I consider all of my costs -- these include shooting time, processing time, pickup and delivery, equipment, supplies, and so on -- I'm actually losing money at $30. If I priced it so that I charged for everything including a reasonable net profit, chances are I would stand to lose even more money by not selling at all. It seems like I can only undercharge or overcharge, and, either way, I lose money.

    Let me just clarify that I am not in business of photography at the moment, but I may be some day. What I don't want to do at this point is set myself up to fail by undercharging nor alienate people by overcharging.

    I guess I would sum it up with this question...

    Would it be an accurate assessment to say that I should just eat some costs for now to get my foot in the door to where I can gradually raise prices later?

    OK, but this also assumes that you've already made a tidy sum from the contract or sitting fee, right?
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2010
  7. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes... that's correct.

    Now, how is it that you came to shoot this "local recreation event?" Just what is a "local recreation event?" That's so vague.

    Anyway, did you go and shoot this speculating you might get a sale? Were you there anyway shooting family or friends?

    Either way, is it you're worried about setting a precedent?

    If you're doing the processing, do you still need to get the $5 prints on a job like this?

    Sorry to ask so many questions. I'm willing to help you think this through. We just need some more information.

    -Pete
     
  8. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Haha, vague statement is vague ;)

    It was an outdoor winter festival put on by the town, mostly free and fun recreational stuff (cardboard tobogganing, skating competitions, etc.) for local people to do on a cold day; a chance for me to practice photojournalistic or documentary photography and possibly make a few bucks.

    More or less. I'm still in the obsessed-with-photography-and-will-do-my-very best-no-matter-what stage (heck, I hope I'm always in that stage ;)); so I'd have been there whether I was hopeful of making some sales or guaranteed to generate no interest at all.

    No, there was nobody there for whom I was specifically shooting, other than myself.

    Yeah, that's a pretty good way of summing up my last post.

    Er... the prints are $1.44 plus (Canadian) taxes. She wants three sets of three photos (nine prints). Sorry, I should have been more clear about that.

    No need to apologize, I appreciate your willingness to help.
     
  9. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My first thought is no worries about figuring in any cost of shooting because nobody hired you to go and do the shoot. I don't think you can compare this situation to future ones when you're hired to turn up. If you were in fact hired to do the shoot, you should expect there would be more sales to more people, thus sharing the cost of the shoot and keeping the price reasonable.

    For instance, I'll shoot some 1st Communions this spring. For argument's sake, lets say the cost of the shoot is $300. I have the benefit of having done this in previous years and have a good idea of the percentage of people buying. This along with the total number participating is helpful. So, if there are 40 kids and typically 75% buy a package, I can safely divide the cost of the shoot by 30 and add $10 to my package price.

    Now, if I just turned up that day, made a series of photos over a period of 2 hours and snagged one order from one family, I certain can't expect that one customer to pay $308 for one print.

    So what I would do is ask a price that can be reasoned out. These days, people know the can buy a print for 19 cents. They can also understand that a pro will charge more. Then there's the assurance of getting a photo they know they like... they've seen it. If it's presented nicely, they will perceive the cost to be substantially more than 19 cents. So, I would settle on something like $12 for the first print of each file and $6 for each additional print. For nine prints from 3 files, that's $72 for a $14 investment. They may balk even at that price (remember... they're thinking 19 cents each), but personally, I wouldn't go much lower. In fact, I won't do anything for less the $25, so it would take a minimum order of 3 prints.

    But back to your original question.... You can't expect to consider the cost of shooting on a order of a few prints when you work on pure speculation. But when you are hired, nobody will expect you to sell prints at the same price without first paying an hourly rate, so... no worries.

    -Pete
     
  10. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm almost certain she won't just balk at $72, she'll just forget about it altogether.

    But, then again -- and correct me if I'm wrong as this is just the impression I've inferred -- you're a working professional with a known reputation, so are you are able to command a higher price. I'm "the local kid who shoots things around town".

    Also, what exactly is a "print folder"?
     
  11. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    OK, so what I think I've decided to do is take your recommended process and halve the costs: $6 for the first print of each photo and $3 for each additional print, resulting in $36 total.

    As I said, your the pro, I'm the hobbyist doing this on the side, so I think that's probably a fair amount.
     
  12. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes, I am a photographer. But I doubt it would figure in on an unsolicited sale like this. It would be more about my ego and what I'm willing to do.

    I remember when I was "the local kid who shoots things around town." It's a good thing to be, at least for a while. Everybody LOVED what I did and I found it all very gratifying. It wasn't until I began charging close to market prices when everybody suddenly became a critic.



    Print folders are simply that... folders for prints. Search "photo mounts." Taprell Loomis is one of the largest manufacturers and sells through dealers.

    -Pete
     

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