Prints only?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Christie Photo, Jul 7, 2009.

  1. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've done just one consumer job delivering files for printing. I've mostly decided that I won't do that again. This may because of my age. I've never released negatives to portrait/wedding clients.

    I think it hurts me more to deliver printable files than not. I have no way to measure if I've missed any work.

    Does anyone else here deliver only prints?

    Thanks.
    -Pete
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'm trying to work more toward selling prints but clients still want the files. I guess I need to raise the price of the files.

    This issues has been discussed back and forth (or maybe it's just me ;))

    As I see it, the issues are that when you give/sell the digital files, you are taking the final product out of your hands. The client could print the images on typewriter paper with a $30 printer (or worse, Wal-mart ;)) and when the prints look bad, it reflects badly on us...without us even knowing.
    Also, you could be loosing out on potential print sales because clients are making/ordering their own prints.

    When I do sell the files, I stress to the clients that not all labs are the same. I haven't yet, but I may make up a sample display with a good print and a bad one, just to scare the clients into using a good lab. Or even if they use a cheaper lab like Costco for example, I tell them that they can request that the lab reprint their photos if they don't look as good as they should.

    As for the lost potential...I guess you could try both and carefully analyze the numbers to see just where you stand...but my basic advice is to sell the files for enough to make up the profit for what you estimate the prints sales would have been. You may miss out on what might have been a huge print sale, but you also get paid for what might have been a small print sale....and if your selling of the files actually brings in clients who are specifically looking for that, then you are ahead of the game.

    For wedding and portraits (wedding especially), a lot of photographers I know are using custom products as something to sell the clients, even though they are selling the files. For example; high end custom designed wedding albums are selling for hundreds (and thousands) of dollars, which is often on top of the wedding price. Sure, clients could design and order an album with the files you give them, but some of these photographers are quite good at the design and most of the 'high end' album companies only sell to professionals so it's not something the average client could get anyway.
     
  3. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wow. So I'm the ONLY one here that doesn't sell printable files?

    -Pete
     
  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I prefer to deal only in files. If I ever get to the point where I can justify the ~$5000 for a proper print system, maybe I'll look at going back to selling prints, but until then, I don't really follow the logic of sending the files to a commercial printer and in turn, taking those to the client. I make sure that they understand the differences in the final product between a Wal-Mart style lab and one of the high-end "real" labs, but at the end of the day, if they want twenty-five 5x7s of a particular image to send to the whole family, it's going to be a whole lot cheaper for them to get them printed at Wal-mart than it is for me to print them and deliver them...
     
  5. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I understand. I always help the client find the lowest priced way to get all they need. I'll discount quantity prints of the same image.

    But this has always been the case, even when we shot film. I never felt compelled to give anyone a negative to save them money.

    Hmmmm...

    -Pete
     
  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    You don't give them a negative. Essentially, you give them a print (controlled resolution JPEG file) they can easily have copied.

    Selling a disc of images doesn't mean giving them the capability of obtaining wall size prints, just desk top size prints.

    $500 for a disc of 20-25 (all the proofs for a 1 hr. portrait session) edited, low resolution files (or 5x7 prints) is typical around here for photographers that sell 5x7 prints for about $30 a pose.
     
  7. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I NEVER give away negatives or .NEF/.TIF files; I work the same way that KmH is talking about; that is the final product the client gets is a CD/DVD with 'X' images in .jpg format, cropped to agreed upon sizes.
     
  8. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I suspect it's the same here too.

    Now when you say edited, do you mean general retouching too? You know... blemishes, shadows under the eyes, etc.... all that too?

    Thanks.

    -Pete
     
  9. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Yes, ready to print, but not to print big. Do you shoot tethered?

    The CD or DVD has an image of the use license/print release included and usually a statement recommending a particular quality consumer print lab like Mpix. The use license language normally includes a size restriction like no larger than 6x9 that the lab can't legally exceed, notwithstanding the fact that you've already controlled the resolution of the digital file.

    If they want wall prints they have come to you so you can control the quality of the final product, to protect your reputation, as well as then having the opportunity to upsale things like framing.
     
  10. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wow. I know I'm not willing to retouch 20–30 images unless I know they will be printed. If I spend just 15 minutes retouching each portrait, that adds up to more than half a day on artwork alone.


    I'm not sure what you're asking.

    Thanks!
    -Pete
     
  11. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    If so, the client see's unedited images.

    I almost hate to say it, but 15 minutes is a long time.

    I edit most of mine in under 3 minutes and many in less than 60 seconds.

    What do you use to edit? I use ACR and CS4. You can batch process all your global edits in ACR.
     
  12. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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