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07-29-2009, 10:25 AM   #1
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Offering pritnts vs high resolution photos on disc?

For those of you with a photography business, is it better to offer prints or photos on disc? I have just been offering the high resolution photos on disc with a copyright release giving the clients permission to print the photos.
It just seems easier that way, but I am wondering if it is a mistake. I just like it that way for three reasons:
- First, the clients have the options to print the photos they like whenever they like and at different times.
- Second I don't have to take the extra money or time in my already very busy schedule to get those photos ordered and out to them.
-Third, a lot of the people I have talked to like the idea of a disc better and would go to photographers who do that instead of those offering prints.

I don't even know what the process is to order prints for clients, nor the best companies to get those prints from.
But I would like to get feedback on the business stand point as to which one is best.


Anyway, I would appreciate your input on that.
Thanks!!


Last edited by creoleart; 07-29-2009 at 11:45 AM.
07-29-2009, 08:22 PM   #2
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As an alternative you could offer your customers prints through a fulfillment service like Pictage

Here's a good summary of these types of services.
07-29-2009, 09:34 PM   #3
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Here's about the only thing to consider when deciding what you will offer: How long lived does it have to be. If you want it to last as long as possible, make a print and stick it into an archival mount and frame.
This is great for that family heirloom picture you are creating that is going to sell half a dozen wall sized prints and will probably hang for 50 years before they get taken down.

OTOH, a lot of images have shorter life expectancies. The divorce rate in your country is around 46%. I don't know what the median life expectancy of a marriage is before it goes south, but certainly a fairly significant number of wedding photos aren't of much use for the long haul.

I really think that if the image is fairly disposable, then giving a CD is the better choice. Just make sure the files are profiled to the lowest common denominator (8 bit sRGB jpeg file).
In this digital era, there isn't much point in trying to enforce copyright, you may as well sell printable files and let the customer be happy.
07-30-2009, 12:44 PM   #4
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Thank you for your feedback!! Great link too, lots of good info on there! Thanks Jimby!

07-31-2009, 05:34 AM   #5
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Offering high-res photos on CD is an option. If you're going to do this, I would also clearly state in writing that under no circumstances do you guarantee the quality of the output, color accuracy, etc due to them not printing at a pro-lab with calibrated equipment.

Last thing you want is someone to cause you grief because the prints they made on their 12 yr old inkjet made everyone in them look like they had sunburn.

You also have to worry about compatibility issues with CDs and DVD media and whether the people even have monitors that can truly display the right colors on the screen.

Better off using an online service as suggested.
07-31-2009, 08:55 AM   #6
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I know what you mean, I had a client who printed at one photo center in town and the prints turned out much darker than the actual photos on the disc. So now I strongly suggest they don't go there for printing even if it is cheap!!
07-31-2009, 09:48 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by creoleart Quote
For those of you with a photography business, is it better to offer prints or photos on disc? (snip)

Amazing amount of advice considering the vagueness of your question. What type of photography business? Huge difference between advertising and portraits, for example. Who are your clients? Upscale or budget? Are you giving up all copyrights and have you considered the implications of that? What are you charging for prints versus disk? Have you thought about potential future sales and charging enough to compensate for the possible loss of that?

stewart
07-31-2009, 11:53 AM   #8
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Quick reply, because I only havea sec ... I recently joined zenfolio.com for fulfillment/ordering/etc. Check it out, and check out their forums, too for lots of information. I signed up for the $100 plan (they have a free one too) and it's the best thing I've done. Lots of options to charge for prints/downloads/etc and set my own prices/profit. I can give my customers coupons, and more.

Gotta run, but PM me if you need more info later.

07-31-2009, 12:38 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jimby Quote
As an alternative you could offer your customers prints through a fulfillment service like Pictage

Here's a good summary of these types of services.
Thanks for the links
08-01-2009, 02:34 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by stewart_photo Quote
Amazing amount of advice considering the vagueness of your question. What type of photography business? Huge difference between advertising and portraits, for example. Who are your clients? Upscale or budget? Are you giving up all copyrights and have you considered the implications of that? What are you charging for prints versus disk? Have you thought about potential future sales and charging enough to compensate for the possible loss of that?

stewart
I take mostly family, baby and children pictures, candids and portraits and I definitely have clients on a budget. My copyright release states that I am allowing them to print the photos anywhere they chose to. But I still own the copyright the photos right? I need to do some more research on it.
I am not offering prints at all at this time, only the disk and I am not charging them anything extra for the disc, it just comes with my session.
08-01-2009, 02:34 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by deludel Quote
Quick reply, because I only havea sec ... I recently joined zenfolio.com for fulfillment/ordering/etc. Check it out, and check out their forums, too for lots of information. I signed up for the $100 plan (they have a free one too) and it's the best thing I've done. Lots of options to charge for prints/downloads/etc and set my own prices/profit. I can give my customers coupons, and more.

Gotta run, but PM me if you need more info later.

Thank you Lori, I will check it out!
08-02-2009, 12:05 PM   #12
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I do mostly weddings, and it seems that most wedding photographers in my area are leaning towards the hi-res cd option. I have been asked for it so many times that it is simply a standard part of my package. Because they get the cd, I do not get as much profit from prints. Occasionally I still get print orders, but I consider that as a bonus. I price my packages to include the cd. I also show clients the type of prints they can expect from me and explain how it is different than printing at target/walmart/drugstores, etc.

I have seen a lot of portrait photographers going through the same thing, and this is why sitting fees have taken a jump. I would offer the client the option of having a low sitting fee, but you retain copyright and print pics for them or a higher sitting fee with the hi-res cd.
08-02-2009, 04:30 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by jimby Quote
As an alternative you could offer your customers prints through a fulfillment service like Pictage

Here's a good summary of these types of services.
Pictage now has quite a reputation for sales calls and emails (read: junkmail and telemarketing) to you once you sign up. Not only that, your CLIENTS will get bothered with it too.

I never signed with pictage because of the reputation, but I suggest you check that out first.

Mitch
08-02-2009, 04:36 PM   #14
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My packages include a couple of nice specialty prints i.e. a 16x20 canvas with a couple of 8x10 canvases, and a metal engraveable photo matte for the reception and an album.

The other print order..i dont even deal with. I build it into my package and charge the client 300 bucks for it. It's much cheaper than other photographers charge (sometimes up passed 1k fo the disk) and it gets me out of having to crop and adjust all of those pictures.

On the other hand, a service like pictage that doesnt cold call everybody and their mama for sales could be a god servie. I got lucky and my buddy grew up to build computers, and his brother designs software....I kind of have my own personal pictage. 8)
08-03-2009, 05:37 PM   #15
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Photos on CD
I would never provide anything to a customer that is not ready for print, so the thought of dumping images on a CD and letting someone else deal goes against everything I believe in regarding customer service and quality assurance. Everything I put on CD is ready to print.

I offer negatives on CD, but only in certain instances and for a price. For businesses it's a given - they need digital files and will get them. I am charging them for my time and the use of the images as specified in our contract, whether for a real estage agent's photo or a set of images for a business to use in advertising.

For weddings, i'ts slightly different - Basically I've figured out the amount I expect a couple to spend in prints, which obviously varies per wedding package and charge that amount.

Pictage
I looked into Pictage and requested their demo DVD and literature... all I got was a folder with some promo sheets inside followed by a barrage of phone calls and emails.

Mind you, their service is legitimate if you can afford it and I know of quite a few high-profile wedding photographers who use them (David Jay is/was one of many).

They do make their cut from the monthly fee as well as the sales you make, so it's definitely geared to the high volume very-busy photographer.

ZenFolio and SmugMug
These are two alternatives I'm seriously considering over my current, web-hosted Menalto Gallery. Although Menalto Gallery is very good, it's not really geared for commercial use and this is where it really makes it tough to keep. ZenFolio and SmugMug offer many features that it wasn't designed to do.


PickPic
This is WHCC's new service and have heard nothing but good things so far. It's a package you install on your own web server and can do everything a pro-photog would need, including online-proofing, ordering, and credit card sales and shipping. Sadly, I cannot justify the expense ($1250), even though it's a flat fee instead of a yearly/monthly expense.


Options there are a-plenty, if you can afford them.
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