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DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> Wedding photos, sell the high resolution files?
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07/14/2008 12:24:59 PM · #1
I know I'm a little late to the party but a few photographers around here sell the digital negatives on the one year anniversary. That way it gives them a chance to make some money in print sales too :0)

It's a great compromise I think...
07/12/2008 03:07:13 AM · #2
Originally posted by Maverick:

Originally posted by geoffb:

Originally posted by Maverick:

I'm not sure what kind of package my sister purchased but looking at $8 for a 4x6, $100+ for anything over 8x10 on the photog's website is frustrating, especially when I could have easily taken comparable quality images for free.

Sure, you could have probably done a similar thing for your sister for free, but how much did your equipment cost? How much time have you put into refining your photography skills, reading about technique and composition, and editing in Photoshop?


Quite a bit (the difference between our kits was a D300 vs. a D200 - the wedding was shot with a 17-55 f/2.8 exclusively) and as I said, I'm confident I could have gotten all of the shots that were taken. My kit was built around wedding shooting and I've put in plenty of time - I'm not an expert but consider myself capable and have a couple years experience shooting weddings & assisting other photogs


I think you misinterpreted what I said. I was saying you are probably more than capable of taking the images–as good as or better than the photographer she used, no doubt. What I was saying is that if you add up all the costs of equipment and time that you've invested in your photography, it would be unfair to yourself and your colleagues to completely undercut the market. Now, I'm not saying you can't give your sister some free prints every now and then; that's just something family members do. However, if your sister (or anyone else) leaves the wedding expecting all photographers to issue them prints at cost, then everyone suffers.

We pay doctors not just the costs to cover their equipment and time in the operating room, but also for the years they've invested in their craft. Same goes for pilots, teachers, etc., and it is important that the public understand the same condition for photography.

I'll reiterate my agreement that $100 per 8x10 is too much. However, it is important to point out that $0 is too little, by any standards.
07/11/2008 09:33:27 AM · #3
Like others have said, the first thing you should do is your homework. what are others in your local charging? every town and location is different as to what brides are looking for and what is being offered and for how much. this information will be far more usefull to you than the fractured oppinions of a bunch of photographers from all over the globe.

That said... much of what you offer is going to be based on what you're comfortable with as well. I, like some others, am wary or people taking my photos to wal mart or costco, and getting crappy prints... no one ver asks "ewe! who was your printer?" they will say "Man, the colours are all off!!! who was your photograher?". I do offer the DVD if they really want it, i charge a minimu of $1000 for it (about $1/photo), the price is also to make them concider hom many prints they could get for the same price...

Just my .02 hope this is all hlping you.

BTW: I too think our prices in general are low... researcing what others are chrging for packages and pricing your self similarly is a good thing.
07/11/2008 09:28:28 AM · #4
I got married 2 years ago and paid 5,000 for my wedding photographer, whom I chose after spending countless hours researching the best in my area. He had 3 packages at the time I went with the middle one, not the cheapest, not the most expensive. Here is what it included:
8 hours of coverage the day of
Engagement session
46 page top of the line album (and it was)
DVD slideshow
High resolution images on CD

It was absolutely worth every penny, even though I paid more in photography than any of my other vendors. I would have chose him even if he hadn't offered the high resolution images, but I sure was glad he did. I keep the cd in a safe deposti box.

And just to give him props, here is his site - //www.tpellowe.com/

Message edited by author 2008-07-11 09:29:24.
07/11/2008 09:27:08 AM · #5
Thanks everyone for the input, I really appreciate it. I think I am going to do it this time, but she can purchase them after paying for a package. I will be revising my prices and packages too. =) Thanks again!
07/11/2008 09:26:23 AM · #6
To whomever said they would have shot better/same photos for free. I have a line in my contract that says no other photographers during the ceremony and until im finished w/ formals. I tell the couple about it too in case they didn't read and understand it. Although I don't enforce it at the wedding, it usually deters some of the Uncle Bobs. Nothing more frustrating than trying to do your hired job that a couple is paying good money for and having another photographer in your way or in the background of your photos. Most people think they are staying out of the way and it is unintentional, Ive never had someone purposely trying to annoy me, but there is really only room for me and my second shooter.

I think your prices are fine for just starting to get your feet wet, you just offer too many prints. Offer half the prints you do now and sell additional prints if needed.

Selling High res CD is the way to go. Get top dollar for it and be done. Im finding MOST clients can't tell the difference between a walmart 8x10 and a Lightworks (best lab in VT) 8x10. I think that comes from them not being used to seeing themselves in a well composed, technically correct photographs. Put it in BW and they are always impressed regardless where its printed. The clients that can tell the difference are really fun to work w/ because they understand quality and usually don't get sticker shock from any of my prices. My point is who cares if they print their own at Walmart, if they are going to Walmart they won't notice the difference anyway.

I think that booking $500 weddings you are not going to get lots of post wedding sales. If you get $300+ for the CD do it. These are your learning weddings anyway. I essentially set up my first 10 weddings so that after the shoot and the CD and any up front prints, we were essentially done. These were fairly low budget and I didn't want these "cheap" weddings hanging over my head as now Im booking more pricey and involved weddings.

My thought is take the money and run. I never turn down cash now for a potential of cash in the future. I try to use my money to make more money...especially because Im still in the beginning stages of my photography business.
07/11/2008 08:52:07 AM · #7
Around here 2 or 3 years ago no professional gave out files - it was considered negatives and no one ever sold those. I had a father of a groom try to buy his negatives - he was married some 25 years ago, and the photog still wouldn't sell them - he's sell prints, but not the negatives.

The other extreme are the short sighted weekend warriors that do shoot and burn weddings - no albums, no prints, no profit.

The best compromise is one I got from Michele Celentano - the files are available for $1500. With an album purchase they are $300. You can pick your prices of course, but concept is she wants to sell albums for artistic and financial reasons, so those that want just the files will pay the same price as her average album sale. If they're buying an album and prints it's very unlikely they will ever come back for more prints, unless there is some tragedy such as a fire that wipes out their album and prints - in which case their CD is likely gone as well.

So I've kind of followed that theory - I offer 2 disks, low res (proofs kinda - for 'web, email, slideshows and digital picture frames' and hi-res for $395 to 595..the higher the price the less often it's bought. So one has to decide if they want the files or the money - $395 is a real nice add on sale. I've still got people complaining that's to high - but it' under $1/image - WAY too cheap IMO.

I have also offered it as an incentive to book now at bridal shows - my cost with a nice case is $6 and some time to organize and burn the disk so it's a cheap incentive.
07/11/2008 07:29:21 AM · #8
Originally posted by Simms:

I am surprised Prof Fate hasnt chipped in yet with his usual rhetoric.


me too...been waiting for it
07/11/2008 07:26:29 AM · #9
I am surprised Prof Fate hasnt chipped in yet with his usual rhetoric.
07/11/2008 06:44:44 AM · #10
Originally posted by geoffb:

Originally posted by Maverick:

I'm not sure what kind of package my sister purchased but looking at $8 for a 4x6, $100+ for anything over 8x10 on the photog's website is frustrating, especially when I could have easily taken comparable quality images for free.

Sure, you could have probably done a similar thing for your sister for free, but how much did your equipment cost? How much time have you put into refining your photography skills, reading about technique and composition, and editing in Photoshop? Quite a bit (the difference between our kits was a D300 vs. a D200 - the wedding was shot with a 17-55 f/2.8 exclusively) and as I said, I'm confident I could have gotten all of the shots that were taken. My kit was built around wedding shooting and I've put in plenty of time - I'm not an expert but consider myself capable and have a couple years experience shooting weddings & assisting other photogs Those are all costs that need to be covered, and the photographer should not be faulted for trying to make a living The cost for the photog to come in and shoot (prints aside) was high as well. Sure, I agree, that $100 for an 8x10 is too much. However, saying that you could have done it for free is no better than one of my clients going with someone cheaper shooting with their newly acquired photography kit, simply because they don't appreciate what goes into it all? My preference (and how I charge) is time for shooting & processing, not individualized print prices, that's just my humble opinion. I would have shot my sister's wedding for free, but not a non-family wedding. I don't fault them for making a living - again as I said I'm not making my living off of it.

Would you offer to do your day job for free? How would you feel if someone else offered to your boss to do your job for free? My overtime is unpaid so I end up doing lots of free work = P I'm not saying a photographer shouldn't charge to shoot a wedding. I was expressing my frustration over print prices for images that I could have comparably shot. As the customer and also the seller, I prefer buying/selling the photos in a CD/DVD vs. individual prints, but to each his/her own.

Originally posted by Maverick:

I would have preferred a package that gave her the original or edited hi-res files - it gives a lot more flexibility for sizes as well.

A CD full of edited files? Seriously? Again, this is what I offer, so yes.

Considering I take between 400-800 images at a wedding, I cannot imagine EVER having to edit them all I wouldn't edit them all either - they don't all come out great, but I would consider 200 reasonable. And certainly not for only $500 (my cost for the CD of proofs). The only way I would edit them all is if the client bought every print; luckily, I have factored editing time into my print costs (something your sister's photographer has undoubtedly done as well).

I have no issues charging $10 for a 4x6 print, and can easily justify the cost to my clients if they question why it's "so much".


Message edited by author 2008-07-11 07:12:17.
07/11/2008 02:34:28 AM · #11
Justin:

My vote is no. I don't sell the original images in digital format for many of the reasons stated already. Personally, I don't want to take the chance that my name will be associated with Wal-Mart prints that may or may not have been color corrected or resized appropriately. I do offer significant savings on multiple print orders, but I make money on the prints I sell.

I also agree that your prices are very low - especially based on your talent and skill. You may have only done two weddings so far, but geez... Give yourself some more credit. I'd pay a helluva lot more to have you shoot an event for me.

I live in a VERY rural small town (pop. 1200) in a poor county in southwestern Virginia. My wedding packages start around $1800 and I'm not having any problems getting bookings. I don't pretend to offer the "standard" Sears portrait studio shots (although I do include some traditional poses based on client requests), but I doubt people are coming to you for "stiff" poses either. You have an amazing gift for capturing "life" in a moment, so don't be afraid to charge for providing that service. It's not a common talent.

PM me if you want me to send you a complete copy of my wedding contract and price list. Good luck and I know you will be extremely successful in your photographic endeavors. :-)

Jimmy

07/11/2008 01:44:32 AM · #12
Originally posted by Maverick:

I'm not sure what kind of package my sister purchased but looking at $8 for a 4x6, $100+ for anything over 8x10 on the photog's website is frustrating, especially when I could have easily taken comparable quality images for free.

Sure, you could have probably done a similar thing for your sister for free, but how much did your equipment cost? How much time have you put into refining your photography skills, reading about technique and composition, and editing in Photoshop? Those are all costs that need to be covered, and the photographer should not be faulted for trying to make a living. Sure, I agree, that $100 for an 8x10 is too much. However, saying that you could have done it for free is no better than one of my clients going with someone cheaper shooting with their newly acquired photography kit, simply because they don't appreciate what goes into it all?

Would you offer to do your day job for free? How would you feel if someone else offered to your boss to do your job for free?

Originally posted by Maverick:

I would have preferred a package that gave her the original or edited hi-res files - it gives a lot more flexibility for sizes as well.

A CD full of edited files? Seriously?

Considering I take between 400-800 images at a wedding, I cannot imagine EVER having to edit them all. And certainly not for only $500 (my cost for the CD of proofs). The only way I would edit them all is if the client bought every print; luckily, I have factored editing time into my print costs (something your sister's photographer has undoubtedly done as well).

I have no issues charging $10 for a 4x6 print, and can easily justify the cost to my clients if they question why it's "so much".
07/11/2008 12:25:00 AM · #13
I dont do weddings either, but i think you are very cheap and give alot away in your packages. Ibet you she chooses the cheapest package and then wants teh files for 300 to print whatever she wants. You will be losing out.

I suggest that you pretend you are a groom and want info and phone the other photographers and find out what and how much they are selling them for and what their packages are. In fact this is what I would have done before I had even written out my package deals
07/11/2008 12:22:28 AM · #14
Around here, some do and some don't.

I was reading in a magazine the other day (rangefinder, maybe), and they interviewed several professionals.

The answer was clear -- some did and some didn't.

All for different reasons, and based on what met their needs.
07/11/2008 12:01:27 AM · #15
Originally posted by elsapo:

Originally posted by Simms:

Originally posted by elsapo:

She is offering me $300 on top of my package price. The only reason I'm thinking of saying yes, it's because she might go to another photographer.


Whats she getting with the package at the moment?


She hasnt chosen a package yet but I'll post mine here (BTW i've only done 2 wedding and I'm still not sure what should/shouldn't be included lol)

Package #1 - $500.00
60 4x6 prints
10 5x7 prints
3 8x10 prints
Regular 4x6 wedding album

Package #2 - $1,000.00
90 4x6 prints
15 5x7 prints
6 8x10 prints
10x10 leather album with 12 designed pages

Package #3 - $1,500.00
125 4x6 prints
20 5x7 prints
10 8x10 prints
1 16x20 Canvas Print
10x10 leather album with 16 designed pages

HOLY BABY JESUS, you're very inexpensive!!!! My mom paid $700 for 45 4x6's for my wedding and that was cheap for around here! As for your question, I don't shoot weddings, but I've had to help plan plenty of them and no one around here offers the files. I suppose if it started becoming the norm they would, but I think that would really cut into the money you earn from selling prints.
07/10/2008 11:19:28 PM · #16
For weddings, I charge by the print (no packages) I offer an option of the CD of the printable 4x6 files for a base price. That price is reduced by 10% if they order a minimum price of prints. If they want larger files or different crops (8x10 for instance) I will add the file onto the cd/dvd for an additional price per file added.
07/10/2008 11:14:34 PM · #17
My wedding is coming up pretty quick, and I really like the way our photog approaches this: her package is all the selects @ 1800 x 1200px (4x6 @ 300 dpi), and anything larger, we order through her. So for facebook, small prints for family, etc, I can take care of it, and for big enlargements, we pay extra. Great system, IMO.
07/10/2008 10:45:55 PM · #18
I see all this never sell the orig guff... For our wedding we got the same rah rah deal we keep the negs forever, come back anytime bs [I know it's hard to understand but this was pre digi when we used this plastic type stuff... and flash powder :)]... We go back 10 years later and no they flipping don't keep negs "forever".

I don't see why it's hard to understand why people want something they can use again later - usually when they have more $ :-). Find a decent price - and I don't meed 5K silly price - and add it to the package or have them wait 12 months or something.
07/10/2008 10:25:51 PM · #19
I believe it depends on if you want to be a print seller or not. There are a lot of photographers (myself included) who don't want the hassle of keeping wedding images forever and trying to upsell to get more money. My wedding shoots have included home use rights (that is print whatever you want, just no selling for profit). I charged more up front, but I'm done with the work immediately and don't have to worry about people coming back years later.

For some photographers they live on the repeat business, therefore they cannot sell the images. Me I'd rather get the money up front and move on. Selling the files is a growing trend.

BTW, I think you're very inexpensive to start with, so I'd price the digital copies at least at $500, probably $1000. I'd also include some reputable places to have the images turned into hard copy.

Good luck. I'm not a fan of the pressure weddings have. In a portrait sitting you can always take a second shot. weddings don't afford the chance.

L
07/10/2008 07:57:30 PM · #20
Originally posted by faidoi:

I had a friend that get married but were not offered the original files immediately but close to a year later. Not sure of the price, but they had already bought prints from the photographer after the wedding and I don't believe they printed up many more from the originals. It's just good to have files where they can print from if there was a need to.

I think this method works out well for both photographer and wedding party. Just don't let them know that you are going to sell it to them in about a years time so they buy as many prints as they need.


That is something I am planning to do.. for those couples who did not have the DVD, I will probably contact them in a year or so once any knock-on sales have died down and just offer it to them for half-price (£150). I don't even have to do it on the companies books if you know what I mean.. wink wink, say no more.

Message edited by author 2008-07-10 19:58:16.
07/10/2008 07:35:37 PM · #21
I had a friend that get married but were not offered the original files immediately but close to a year later. Not sure of the price, but they had already bought prints from the photographer after the wedding and I don't believe they printed up many more from the originals. It's just good to have files where they can print from if there was a need to.

I think this method works out well for both photographer and wedding party. Just don't let them know that you are going to sell it to them in about a years time so they buy as many prints as they need.

Message edited by author 2008-07-10 19:38:40.
07/10/2008 07:09:01 PM · #22
I dunno, my sister just got married and since I was in the wedding I couldn't take a lot of photos. I'm an advocate for selling the client the hi-res files but that's just me. Putting myself in their shoes that's how I'd want it. Then again, I'm not making my living from it.

I'm not sure what kind of package my sister purchased but looking at $8 for a 4x6, $100+ for anything over 8x10 on the photog's website is frustrating, especially when I could have easily taken comparable quality images for free. I would have preferred a package that gave her the original or edited hi-res files - it gives a lot more flexibility for sizes as well.
07/10/2008 07:04:20 PM · #23
Originally posted by Simms:

Originally posted by elsapo:

Originally posted by Simms:

Originally posted by elsapo:

She is offering me $300 on top of my package price. The only reason I'm thinking of saying yes, it's because she might go to another photographer.


Whats she getting with the package at the moment?


She hasnt chosen a package yet but I'll post mine here (BTW i've only done 2 wedding and I'm still not sure what should/shouldn't be included lol)

Package #1 - $500.00
60 4x6 prints
10 5x7 prints
3 8x10 prints
Regular 4x6 wedding album

Package #2 - $1,000.00
90 4x6 prints
15 5x7 prints
6 8x10 prints
10x10 leather album with 12 designed pages

Package #3 - $1,500.00
125 4x6 prints
20 5x7 prints
10 8x10 prints
1 16x20 Canvas Print
10x10 leather album with 16 designed pages


I say just go for it.. but would advise you to revise your packages, they look like they are stuffed to the gills just for the sake of it..

Decide on an album supplier, then base your packages around that.. With my packages I have tried to keep them as simple as possible.


I agree with keeping it simple. I have had so many brides tell me how confusing it has been to choose. Thats why I started a create your own system.. works fantastic!
07/10/2008 07:01:33 PM · #24
Originally posted by elsapo:

Originally posted by Simms:

Originally posted by elsapo:

She is offering me $300 on top of my package price. The only reason I'm thinking of saying yes, it's because she might go to another photographer.


Whats she getting with the package at the moment?


She hasnt chosen a package yet but I'll post mine here (BTW i've only done 2 wedding and I'm still not sure what should/shouldn't be included lol)

Package #1 - $500.00
60 4x6 prints
10 5x7 prints
3 8x10 prints
Regular 4x6 wedding album

Package #2 - $1,000.00
90 4x6 prints
15 5x7 prints
6 8x10 prints
10x10 leather album with 12 designed pages

Package #3 - $1,500.00
125 4x6 prints
20 5x7 prints
10 8x10 prints
1 16x20 Canvas Print
10x10 leather album with 16 designed pages


I say just go for it.. but would advise you to revise your packages, they look like they are stuffed to the gills just for the sake of it..

Decide on an album supplier, then base your packages around that.. With my packages I have tried to keep them as simple as possible.
07/10/2008 07:00:21 PM · #25
Some shooters offer the files, some don't.... do what you feel best about.... BUT $300 is paltry. I'd charge $1k for them. We're talking the original res file of what 1000 images? Yup, $1 each sounds right to me.
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