Should I offer low-rez watermarked images on CDs?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by BekahAura, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. BekahAura

    BekahAura TPF Noob!

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    Ok, I'm finally done with my free photo session & CD portfolio building promotion. Of course now I'm rushing to figure out profitable prices and get them up on my website.

    I was thinking of offering high resolution images on CD for something like $20 per file. But I was wondering if I should include a free CD of lo-rez and watermarked images for internet use. I thought it might be good marketing to have my images go up on facebook and other social networking sites, because the watermark might bring people to my site. Then again I'm worried this will seriously jeopardize any print sales.

    I have one client who would still like to book a session ($75) with me although my free promotion is over, but of course she is asking for a CD instead of prints. Someone on this forum warned me that I would quickly establish myself as a freebie photographer if I went ahead with my portfolio building plan... he was right, but I am going to stand my ground until I unestablish this:lol:

    Any advice is greatly appreciated!
     
  2. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Just remember:

    Any print shop - Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Mpix or even pro labs only sell paper, and a little ink, they don't sell photographs. Someone else has to supply the photographs they print.

    Of course someplace like Wal-Mart may have a little "studio" that can take photos there at the store, but they don't do location shoots.

    Your client can't buy images made by you, at any of those stores. None of those stores will go out on location, and make photos of them. None of those stores will give them the personal attention you give your clients.

    So, the price you charge has nothing to do with if the images you make are printed on a piece of photographic paper or are a digital file on a CD.

    The value of the photos you make, is the experience of having YOU make those images.

    So when it comes to retail photography, what you are really selling is you, the photographer, not photographs.
     
  3. Aayria

    Aayria TPF Noob!

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    Social networking is AMAZING for getting your name out there. I offer all my clients a watermarked CD with *very* small resolution files for that reason, as a part of their session fee. You can do the math, and find a good size that wouldn't be printable as more than like a 2x4 print.. But still looks decent displayed on facebook or online.

    I second what KmH said as well.. It took me a while to get it, but he is 100% right on this.
     
  4. Jayce

    Jayce TPF Noob!

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    I post most, if not all, of my sessions on my Facebook business page, and allow my clients to tag themselves in the photos.
     
  5. BekahAura

    BekahAura TPF Noob!

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    I'm not sure if you are giving your approval of my ideas, or telling me I'm undervaluing myself, or just trying to get it through my head that I always have to keep the mindset of selling myself. Excuse me if I seem incredibly stupid right now... :blushing:

    You were the one who told me it's really hard to raise prices, from $0 to profit may seem tough. I'll take all this in as a pep talk to standing my ground and succeeding at this!


    Aayria,

    I'm curious, do you sell high resolution images on CD? And do you sell a good number of prints despite the free lo-rez disc?

    I actually checked out your website a few days ago and I saw how you watermark your images. I would do it the same way; with the watermark on the bottom so you can still enjoy the picture. Have you had any experience with people cropping out the watermark and posting the picture?

    Of course I would include a file that outlines internet usage rules, but that's not going to stop someone from doing what they want to do ya know?


    Jayce,

    That's a pretty good idea, and I'm sure that works great for you. Me, well I really HATE facebook. I have a personal facebook of course, but I usually avoid it until my e-mail is flooded with all those annoying notifications of messages and friend requests... not to mention all those pointless game, quiz, and group requests that I don't quite understand.

    I use my photo blog as a way for people to preview their photos before I've had a chance to sort through and edit all of them. I've gotten several comments from family members that I never met before, so I'm sure it'll be useful in getting some more traffic to my website.

    Thanks everyone :D
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    One issue is that there are a lot of ignorant (for lack of a better term) people out there. if you give them small, watermarked photos, they will still print them and hang them on their fridge etc. Unless you put the watermark over the whole image, they might try to crop it out. And even though it's a low resolution file, they will still try to print it. It might look like crap, but they will still put it on their fridge...and maybe blame you because it looks terrible.

    You can help this, by educating them, but there will always be those who just don't 'get it'. Or those who are just too cheap.

    That's why it's been my philosophy to only give clients high rez files. But of course, they have to pay for it. On a few occasions, I have also given them a set of files for web-email, but I put that right in the file name, and on the folder etc...so that hopefully they know which files are which.

    And yes, social media is a great way to spread the word about your business. Facebook is great because it only costs you time & effort. I know several photographers who use it extensively, with great success. Some use their own 'personal' profile, which does let clients know all about you, which has it's good and bad points. Others use a different profile for their business to keep it separate.

    And almost all photographers I know, have a blog. It's a great tool. Again, some are quite personal, intermixing client photos with personal stuff. If you're an interesting person/writer, this can really help to built a fan base of followers. And of course, many of them keep it strictly business. Just remember to keep it currant & update regularly.
    And of course, you can intertwine the whole thing and have your blog posts show up on Facebook (& twitter etc), along with the replies etc.
     
  7. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    So, how do you resolve that an 8x10 print costs $50 and a 20x30 print of the same images costs $300, but the client wants a digital file that can be printed at any size.

    If you sell hi-rez digital files that can be printed 20x30 for 8x10 prices, ypu're shooting yourself in the foot, from a financal perspective.

    Actually, the key here, is to qualify your clients.

    You lose print sales, and control of print quality if you sell a disc.

    The main point is the value of your photo, regardless the media on which it is sold to the client.

    CD sales should be all or nothing deals. No a-la-carte.

    In other words, if you expect an average sale of $1200 then the price of a CD plus your sitting fee needs to be $1200.
     
  8. Aayria

    Aayria TPF Noob!

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    I haven't had any issues yet.. but I've also been very fortunate to have great clients so far. I have a licence agreement attached to all of the small res and high res photo CD's as well to help. The high res "limited copyright release" specifics that any high res files purchased from me are for personal and immediate family use only, for printing only. No full res, non watermarked images are to be displayed online etc.... And I have all of my clients sign this if they purchase a full res file or CD.

    The small res CD's that I include in my session fee have been such a hit. And they also come with a limited copyright release, specifying that they are for internet/computer use only, and that the watermark is not to be taken off or altered in any way. I also have them sign this. There haven't been any issues so far...except for one minor issue with my sister in law.

    I did some pictures for her a while back before I'd even gone into buisiness, so I didn't let it bother me. (I obviously also didn't have contracts/paperwork about copyrights and such at the time.) I posted her session to facebook and gave her the full res a week later. At first, she tagged herself in all the watermarked pictures, but the minute she had that photo CD, she put up a non watermarked picture and cropped her face to make a profile picture. I wasn't in buisiness at the time..and it was my sister in law, so it didn't really bother me. But in the future..I really do not want clients chopping up pictures and displaying them as they please, kwim?

    As far as selling prints.... It does in some ways affect the number of prints my clients buy. But it's a trade off. Some people really only want pictures to put up online, and maybe just a handful of printed out versions to hang in their home or give to relatives. I raised my session fee substantially to account for this...and I think people appreciate feeling like they can, in some way, get ALL of their pictures. I take tons at every session, and I really want to be able to give them all their pictures in some way...rather than forcing them to choose a small handful they can't live without.

    But that's just me and how I've operated so far. If I get more difficult clients in the future, I think I will just offer the option of purchasing the full res files at full cost, rather than giving "freebie" small files. There are ups and downs to both approaches, it's just a matter of how you want to do buisiness.
     
  9. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Sitting fee, prints, other products = $1200
     
  10. BekahAura

    BekahAura TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for all the useful information =) The price of my high resolution files has just doubled... and I'm glad it did before I posted my prices! I'm still going to go ahead with including lo-rez files on disc with watermarks... I think I could really use the facebook marketing... and everyone posts pictures on facebook.

    I think I'm the only one in the world who doesn't. :er: I'll let everyone else do it for me, and hope that my big scary contract is enough to keep them from fiddling with my photos.
     

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