This site does an outstanding job and the prices I dont think can be beat. They print using Kodak Pro Paper which makes your work seem that much more presentable. Make the best images possible and your clients will be thrilled.
If you charge a big initial sitting fee, then you don't need to build a lot of price into the prints...but if, on the other hand, your sitting fee is lower, you will want to have a good margin on your prints.
I have done a large number of family portraits and have found Meridian Pro online to be excellent. I can honestly say in the hundreds of prints they have done for me I have yet to get a bad one back. They will do some initial prints for free for you to check them out. Their prices are very reasonable and they have many products to offer. They also do color correction which is really good if you don't have a professional monitor calibrator.
Yes, I'd say that is quite low...but it really depends on a lot of things. You are in So Cal...which probably has a greater range of incomes than anywhere else.
Also, you need to decide what will work for you as far as selling files, prints or both. If you include a CD of image files...they won't buy any more prints from you. So you should price that disc high enough so that it makes up for any print sales that you would expect. If you want to make money on print sales, then don't offer the disc or raise the price of it high enough that most people will buy the prints instead.
On one hand, it's much easier for you to just hand over a disc and be done with it. However, there are some downsides to that. Firstly, you take the finished product out of your hands. They might print the images on typewritter paper and hang them for everyone to see...which isn't good advertising for you. If you sell the prints, you can be sure they are top quality before you hand them to the client.
Also, while it's easy to just give them the disc, your contact with them might stop there. If you are going back and forth with them about reviewing images and choosing which prints they want...it takes up more of your time but it can also build a good relationship with them, which may lead to more work down the road.
As you can see...the simple question of 'How much should I charge for....." is a loaded question and should be part of your overall business plan.
One thing is for certainly; setting your prices too low can be very detrimental so thing long and hard about that.
Big Mike! Thanks you soooo much!! You've just given me a lot to think about! Some of these points you brought up I had never thought about. For example, them printing their own photos... do I want my name on that?
Thanks again! I will sit with my husband tonight and discuss it.
Mpix is hard to beat ... I've been using them for ages and their packaging / drop ship capabilities are very professional (individually shrink wrapped and packaged flat in a box). If you are in the business of selling portraits, then you will do yourself a huge favor by starting a Zenfolio.com site and link it to Mpix labs ... totally automated and the client could decide for themselves what packages they want (you can also control package types).
WHCC and others require you to register with them as a "professional" but its not that big of a deal, just enough to discourage non serious photographers from spending the time to register(at least this is the case with WHCC)
Mpix has very good quality and prices, and will sell to anyone. You can also have them email you about specials, recently they had 50% off 8x10s and the week before was 25% off large prints.
We've been using WHCC for a while now. Never had any problems. And they are FAST!!! I placed an order 2 weeks ago. 4:00pm on Tue. had the prints in my hand at 10:30am the next day. You can't beat that.:thumbup: