Photos on Disc - how to price?


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Jan 23, 2008
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I have had a small portraiture business for the last four years. I have a client whom I've taken pictures of twice before, the first one being a fundraiser for her as she was battling breast cancer at the time. We had a huge shoot on the beach in December - 21 people, 6 different sets of families. Though it was huge, and I would normally charge more, because of our history, I charged her my standard fee for a 90 minute session. The family is having a hard time deciding on pictures - there were 286 proofs that came from this session! While normally I try to limit proofs, there were just so many different shots that I couldn't pare it down. She's asked me now what it would cost to just buy the CD of photos. I've been asked before, and I try to limit doing this - I can't seem to put a figure on that kind of thing, and I hate losing control of the cropping, finish, etc. When I shoot realtors, I charge them $75, which includes 15 minutes shoot time and one photo on disc. How much should I charge her for something like this? I am truly stuck on an amount - if it were a regular client, I was thinking $300-$400, given the size of the disc, but because it's her and we have history, I have no idea what to ask for, or if I should just say no and offer to help the families figure out what they want.

Thanks so much for any advice you can offer.

Worth Remembering
I would think 3-4 hundred for that many photos (are they all retouched?) is CHEAP!

I was way way underselling my digital files for the longest time and I totally regret it. I've since decided to sell them for $50 per file or $800 for the whole session on disc (my sessions have 24 photos). $50 is still cheap for one picture in my opinion, but since I charged so low before it's hard to go up in price as fast as I want to now.
I know the dilemma your in, sometimes the client makes you feel invested in their problems in order to get a good deal.

If you get $400 for the CD it works out to $1.40 per image, you will never sell these images again, it does seem too cheap.

Have you thought of putting the photos on one of the photosharing services, used by many pro wedding and event photographers. It's secured by password, all the people you photographed can log on and order prints, at a fair market price.
Hi Jennifer, welcome to the forum.

How much money (profit after cost of prints) do you think you would make on print sales? You should charge at least that that you are not loosing money.

Norm's idea of putting them on a web site, from which they can purchase prints, may be a good one.

Because of your history with the lady in question, maybe you could give her a print or two (or a full set of 4x6 prints etc.) This makes her feel like she is getting good value and it really doesn't cost you much more. Also, this gives her (and everyone else) a reference for what good prints will look like. You don't want them getting prints made at Wal-mart and having them look bad...only to blame you.
I paid $35 to get an unretouched photo on a CD during an equine event with my wife. It was one shot, one image, set at their setup. Took a total of 5 minutes in and out. They were making bank that day. Anyways, at that rate (assuming the 5 minutes of her time was worth 15-25 bucks) The image on CD was worth 10-20. At that rate, your files (because they aren't going to fit on one disc unless you compress the piss out of them) would be worth around $2860 - $5000...

I would tell them that the cost to do that would be astronomical and you don't like to have your name on a product that could potentially come out less than stellar if printed incorrectly. I am sure they will understand. Tell them you can not sell a digital image for less than $10 an image. They will get the point very quickly.

I would use SmugMug. From what I understand they are the best at what they do and offer your client supreme flexibility in ordering. Tell them that way they will ALWAYS have access to the photo's and can order prints at any time.
Thank you so much, everyone. Yes, they are all retouched - one of those mammoth jobs that took a week to process, but because it was her, I was happy to do it. I do post all of my digital proofs on photoherald with a password, which is part of why I don't understand the difficulty for everyone ordering. I gave her a 20% discount off my print prices, which I've been told are reasonable as it is - I know this isn't a unique problem, but pricing is the biggest problem for me!

Thank you, though, for the guidance - I knew I was going too low on the CD price, and I *hate* to have them out of my hands, so I'll just see if I can guide the rest of the family personally to get orders out of them.

Thank you again - I appreciate you all being so kind and informative to a noob! :)

Worth Remembering

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