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DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> Don't Offer What You Don't Want To Sell
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07/10/2007 02:19:12 AM · #1
Okay, so its basic business practice, bit I find we, photographers, don't adhere to this logic. If your 4X6 price is $5, and your 8X10 price is $40, and you want to sell the 8X10.... why offer the 4X6 as an option? Same with 5X7 or any other size you don't really want to sell.

Food for thought.
07/10/2007 02:27:15 AM · #2
Are you talking about on this site or in general?

btw, I'm selling 4x6's of this if you want one. ...4ft by 6ft, I should say.
07/10/2007 02:28:03 AM · #3
This is a very good point...

I did a family portrait a couple of weeks ago and the smallest size I gave a price for was 5x7. They came back and asked if I would do any in 6x4 and I told them I wouldn't normally but could sort them out a few as part of a package. They then came back asking for 12 of them in 6x4 and nothing else!!

I then had to try and explain to them how a loevely studio family portrait with their 12 week old baby would be a little wasted on 6x4, they're currently re-thinking
07/10/2007 02:32:10 AM · #4
Originally posted by Art Roflmao:

Are you talking about on this site or in general?

btw, I'm selling 4x6's of this if you want one. ...4ft by 6ft, I should say.


Well I meant in the REAL world, but honestly, that shot should only be offered as 60X60, anything else is a disjustice.
07/10/2007 02:51:43 AM · #5
I recently attended a seminar and one thing that really grabbed me was this. People buy in the middle---always offer a top end product. For example a super expensive fine art canvas with all the bells and whistles might be 200.00 but this makes your 60.00 11x14/8x10/whatever look like a bargain. I thought it was good advice.

This particular studio was offering 12,000$ hand painted oil portraits. But selling lots of $200-400 wall canvas prints.

Maybe the same principle but coming at it from another angle.
07/10/2007 03:09:13 AM · #6
Originally posted by Art Roflmao:

Are you talking about on this site or in general?

btw, I'm selling 4x6's of this if you want one. ...4ft by 6ft, I should say.


Put me down for one of them Art.
07/10/2007 03:16:28 AM · #7
Originally posted by wrobel:

Originally posted by Art Roflmao:

Are you talking about on this site or in general?

btw, I'm selling 4x6's of this if you want one. ...4ft by 6ft, I should say.


Put me down for one of them Art.

Unfortunately I sold out of them in the first 9 minutes. Can I interest you in a pink blazer with matching handbag?

edit to put back on topic...
Originally posted by mpeters:

People buy in the middle---always offer a top end product. For example a super expensive fine art canvas with all the bells and whistles might be 200.00 but this makes your 60.00 11x14/8x10/whatever look like a bargain.

Agreed - this is true in most businesses.

Message edited by author 2007-07-10 03:18:25.
07/10/2007 04:20:19 AM · #8
Originally posted by mpeters:

I recently attended a seminar and one thing that really grabbed me was this. People buy in the middle---always offer a top end product. For example a super expensive fine art canvas with all the bells and whistles might be 200.00 but this makes your 60.00 11x14/8x10/whatever look like a bargain. I thought it was good advice.

This particular studio was offering 12,000$ hand painted oil portraits. But selling lots of $200-400 wall canvas prints.

Maybe the same principle but coming at it from another angle.


I think is excellent advice and makes great rational thinking about it.
07/10/2007 06:12:13 AM · #9
Hi-ho,

I do offer 6x4's from portraits etc, but I make it clear at the outset that on the initial print purchase they are only available as part of a 'package' of prints, including some larger ones.

I state it up-front, and say I make almost nothing on them, and if I sell them a 6x4 that they scan and blow up on their $100 inkjet it reflects badly on my work. Most people seem to appreciate the straight-shooting approach I take to print sales, and I must manage to do it in a non-offensive way. :-).

I also load my initial vs reprint prices, and explain up front that the cost is to cover editing time, gear, power, college fund for the kids etc. I don't do a lot of portrait work, and it's all word-of-mount as I don't currently advertise that I will do sittings, but in the last 5 years I've only had one person decide not to go ahead after I explained how I price the sitting and prints.

However, I have done 6x4's in the past as single prints from sessions I did as a part of a fund-raiser. I could tell in my bones that some of the people who purchased a number of 6x4's were just going to scan and print them. Really gets my goat, but what what can you do?

BTW, I also offer a 'raw images on CD' option with a higher sitting fee, and make it clear in the contract that if they edit or modify the images using a 'stained glass' filter, I don't want them telling people I took the photos!
07/10/2007 08:09:35 AM · #10
Originally posted by idnic:

Okay, so its basic business practice, bit I find we, photographers, don't adhere to this logic. If your 4X6 price is $5, and your 8X10 price is $40, and you want to sell the 8X10.... why offer the 4X6 as an option? Same with 5X7 or any other size you don't really want to sell.

Food for thought.


Maybe a 4x6 or a 5x7 is what meets the customer's needs. Are you in business to meet your needs or those of your customer?

It's up to you to figure out how to make money while giving the customer what they want.

What about wallet size prints? I know that for my family, those are one of the sizes we use the most for portraits, especially of the kids. Mostly because they fit easily in a wallet, as the name would suggest. An 8x10 looks great on the wall, but it's kinda of awkward to take along on a business trip. OTOH, I have a whole stack of wallets in my wallet.

Message edited by author 2007-07-10 08:14:49.
07/10/2007 09:12:43 AM · #11
I had a miserable horrible terrible depressing stint as a copier salesman for 2 years, but the sales experience I took away from it is priceless.

It doesnt matter what you are selling really, its all the same, whether its high end copiers or prints.

People love to have options, if you only give them one choice, then they feel "bullied" or "forced" into it.

The secret (which is obvious) is to give them options that steer them in the direction you want them to go. If you want to sell them 8x10's for example, then price 4x6 a little closer to the price of an 8x10. If they see the difference between a 4x6 and an 8x10 is only a little bit, then they will go for the larger (CAUSE BIGGER ALWAYS MEANS BETTER, ITS THE AMERICAN WAY), and if they dont, well youve inflated the cost of your 4x6, so youll make more money anyway.

I think all of that makes sense. At least it does to me.
07/10/2007 11:19:10 AM · #12
Originally posted by mpeters:

I recently attended a seminar and one thing that really grabbed me was this. People buy in the middle---always offer a top end product. For example a super expensive fine art canvas with all the bells and whistles might be 200.00 but this makes your 60.00 11x14/8x10/whatever look like a bargain.

Except for the guy who buys one 4x6 and scans it. :(
07/10/2007 12:51:51 PM · #13
I think of 4x6 and 5x7 as glorified business cards. You don't make much on those, but someone may see it out there and decide they want a 30x40.
07/10/2007 01:06:37 PM · #14
I got asked to print one of mine and autograph it today. The folks where I work are easily impressed. :-) (I did have to tell her to please NOT print the DPC-sized version I sent her in email, as it would be kinda sucky at that quality.)
07/10/2007 01:14:42 PM · #15
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

I think of 4x6 and 5x7 as glorified business cards. You don't make much on those, but someone may see it out there and decide they want a 30x40.


Wouldn't that be nice.
Experience tells me that people don't generally buy what they don't see. A 4x6 or 5x7 doesn't really make a person go "ooh, I'd like that in a honkin big framed portrait!"
It would be nice if it did, but it doesn't seem to be human nature.

<ramble>
mpeters hit the nail on the head about offering the ridiculously priced image. I wouldn't even offer the 4x6. Price the 5x7 just a little under your 8x10 if you want to sell 8x10's. Our goal is to sell the 20+ inch framed prints.

There are certainly competing business practices on pricing. Charge a higher session fee, and sell prints for less. Charge a lower session fee and make more money on prints. It all depends on your local market, what other photographers are doing, and how you want to be percieved in your market.

Some people actually seek out the "more expensive" photographer in the belief that they are better. These people generally spend more on photography year in and year out. With that higher pricing, you'd better be able to deliver unique portraiture however.

As far as meeting my customers needs:
I would rather not have the customer who only wants a session and 1 4x6 photo. Walmart and Sears offer a very nice service for that for less than I would charge. That's just not our market, just like BMW doesn't really cater to the first time car buyer.
</ramble>
07/10/2007 01:17:23 PM · #16
It could be that the business of portrait photography is quite different from the business of landscape photography.
07/10/2007 01:20:10 PM · #17
I don't know the first thing about landscape photography.

No, that's not true. I can spell it.
07/10/2007 01:32:16 PM · #18
Originally posted by shanksware:


As far as meeting my customers needs:
I would rather not have the customer who only wants a session and 1 4x6 photo. Walmart and Sears offer a very nice service for that for less than I would charge. That's just not our market, just like BMW doesn't really cater to the first time car buyer.
</ramble>


Not even if they were willing to pay the same as what you'd charge for a full portrait session? What if they wanted a 4x6 added to their package, would you also tell them to go to Wal Mart?

BTW, I knew plenty of kids at my high school who got new BMW's or Mercedes as their first cars. These were not the "entry-level" models either.

BMW dealers, like any other car dealer will sell a car to anyone legally and financially able to purchase one of their cars. I've never heard of a car dealer chasing a customer from their showroom saying, "Come back after you've driven a Chevy for a while!"

07/10/2007 01:48:32 PM · #19
A 5x7 (1:1.4 aspect ratio) is a different crop from an 8x10 (1:1.25). Both are different from a 4x6 (1:1.5). For a customer who might want the same shot printed up in each size, does anyone know if there is a way to streamline post-processing? Is this why there is so much background in studio portraits?
07/10/2007 02:49:18 PM · #20
Originally posted by Spazmo99:



Not even if they were willing to pay the same as what you'd charge for a full portrait session? What if they wanted a 4x6 added to their package, would you also tell them to go to Wal Mart?

BTW, I knew plenty of kids at my high school who got new BMW's or Mercedes as their first cars. These were not the "entry-level" models either.

BMW dealers, like any other car dealer will sell a car to anyone legally and financially able to purchase one of their cars. I've never heard of a car dealer chasing a customer from their showroom saying, "Come back after you've driven a Chevy for a while!"


Someone who wants a single 4x6 doesn't really want us to come and do a full 1-2 hour on location shoot. They don't want to pay for that, and I don't blame them.

That's what we do. That's our "niche". We just aren't going to go after the <exaggeration> 2 poses in 5 minutes, here's your print, </exaggeration> market.

If the client only wants to spend another 10 dollars for a tiny 4x6 after spending 1-2 hours in a session, then we haven't done our jobs. We haven't spent time up front finding out what their needs were or we did a really lousy job with the images, and they are only buying the smallest thing they can to get out of our studio.

I would argue that the client who says they want a 4x6 would be happier with the 5x7.

I didn't say that BMW wouldn't sell a car to a first time car buyer. I said they "don't cater to the first time car buyer". Your right, it would be ludicrous for them to not sell them a car. Of course they are going to sell them the car. It's on the lot. It's in inventory, they need to sell it. I don't think that BMW would run over to the Chevy dealer and purchase one to sell to the customer who wanted to by it from them however.

I also don't think that a BMW dealer is going jump through hoops to source and sell cheesy steering wheel covers and fuzzy dice to hang from the rear view mirror. It's not their market, and I'm pretty sure that they would, in fact, refuse to sell the fuzzy dice to someone who walked in and wanted them to order and buy it.

If someone knows of a BMW dealer that sells fuzzy dice, please don't post. It was just an example. I really don't care who sells fuzzy dice.

Please don't point out the "plenty of kids who got new BMW's as their first cars". I'm sure there are plenty of people, it's just not the norm.

The hard part about having discussion in the forums is taking into account the varied experiences of people reading the posts. It is difficult to "generalize" without someone pointing out the exceptions to the generalization.

07/10/2007 03:08:41 PM · #21
Originally posted by shanksware:

Originally posted by Spazmo99:



Not even if they were willing to pay the same as what you'd charge for a full portrait session? What if they wanted a 4x6 added to their package, would you also tell them to go to Wal Mart?

BTW, I knew plenty of kids at my high school who got new BMW's or Mercedes as their first cars. These were not the "entry-level" models either.

BMW dealers, like any other car dealer will sell a car to anyone legally and financially able to purchase one of their cars. I've never heard of a car dealer chasing a customer from their showroom saying, "Come back after you've driven a Chevy for a while!"


Someone who wants a single 4x6 doesn't really want us to come and do a full 1-2 hour on location shoot. They don't want to pay for that, and I don't blame them.

That's what we do. That's our "niche". We just aren't going to go after the <exaggeration> 2 poses in 5 minutes, here's your print, </exaggeration> market.

If the client only wants to spend another 10 dollars for a tiny 4x6 after spending 1-2 hours in a session, then we haven't done our jobs. We haven't spent time up front finding out what their needs were or we did a really lousy job with the images, and they are only buying the smallest thing they can to get out of our studio.

I would argue that the client who says they want a 4x6 would be happier with the 5x7.

I didn't say that BMW wouldn't sell a car to a first time car buyer. I said they "don't cater to the first time car buyer". Your right, it would be ludicrous for them to not sell them a car. Of course they are going to sell them the car. It's on the lot. It's in inventory, they need to sell it. I don't think that BMW would run over to the Chevy dealer and purchase one to sell to the customer who wanted to by it from them however.

I also don't think that a BMW dealer is going jump through hoops to source and sell cheesy steering wheel covers and fuzzy dice to hang from the rear view mirror. It's not their market, and I'm pretty sure that they would, in fact, refuse to sell the fuzzy dice to someone who walked in and wanted them to order and buy it.

If someone knows of a BMW dealer that sells fuzzy dice, please don't post. It was just an example. I really don't care who sells fuzzy dice.

Please don't point out the "plenty of kids who got new BMW's as their first cars". I'm sure there are plenty of people, it's just not the norm.

The hard part about having discussion in the forums is taking into account the varied experiences of people reading the posts. It is difficult to "generalize" without someone pointing out the exceptions to the generalization.


I find it hard to believe that you'd send away a client who had money in their hand that was determined to get a 4x6, not a 5x7 or anything else and was willing to pay.

The problem with generalizing is that you are assuming that everyone's "norm" is the same as yours. It's not.

While kids getting expensive European cars as their first cars may not be the norm where you are, I can assure you it was quite common in my experience.
07/10/2007 03:09:36 PM · #22
I dont know a bmw dealer who sells fuzzy dice...so no worries.

But I do know a fuzzy dice salesmen who sells BMWs on the side.
07/10/2007 03:10:28 PM · #23
Originally posted by Spazmo99:


While kids getting expensive European cars as their first cars may not be the norm where you are, I can assure you it was quite common in my experience.


And this is also incredibly common in Europe. Wakka wakka.
07/10/2007 03:26:37 PM · #24
Originally posted by ajdelaware:

Originally posted by Spazmo99:


While kids getting expensive European cars as their first cars may not be the norm where you are, I can assure you it was quite common in my experience.


And this is also incredibly common in Europe. Wakka wakka.


As one might expect.

07/10/2007 03:31:07 PM · #25
Originally posted by pixelpig:

A 5x7 (1:1.4 aspect ratio) is a different crop from an 8x10 (1:1.25). Both are different from a 4x6 (1:1.5). For a customer who might want the same shot printed up in each size, does anyone know if there is a way to streamline post-processing? Is this why there is so much background in studio portraits?


write an action in photoshop. it's really easy, the help section gives good instructions, and once it's done, it's done. that really speeds things up. what i do is i geve all images a white border that's way too big, then crop as needed, so i can have the same inmage, without cropping it, for all ratios.
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