Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Super Fun Print Pricing

I'm happy to announce I'm changing my print pricing for 2008 weddings. The new prices are "at cost" to encourage guests to make as many prints as their hearts desire. :)

The inspiration for the change is the amount of fun I've had ordering prints of my little niece who lives in Seattle. I've loved being able to order all of the photos her mom posts and having the bill only be a few dollars plus shipping.

Professional photographers are encouraged to mark up print prices because it adds to perceived value of the services. (read this) I'm not buying into that strategy anymore!!! All of my brides own their digital negatives so their is nothing stopping them from posting all of the images in an online gallery for friends to order. I'm making it so they don't have to go through the trouble! This does mean I'm giving up a couple of thousand dollars of print profits annually, but I'd rather have my photos in the hands of potential future customers.

What's funny is my boyfriend has been telling me to do this for 2 years. Babbling on about scarcity and abundance and how the internet changes the economics of such things (here's an article he sent me that tells part of the story), but i haven't really listened until now. :)


Ed Verosky said...

Yes, I think there is something to this. My wedding photography is priced to include hi-res images on disc, with permission to the client to make reprints on their own.

When it comes to custom prints that require extra work and time to achieve a particular look, effect, or retouch level, I charge for those individually.

But I see no reason to charge ridiculous amounts for prints that require little to no extra work.

Now, in the case of photographers that charge a low fee on the front end, I can understand how they'd need to recover on the back end by charging higher print fees, not providing discs or reprint permission, etc.

It's all in the business model you choose. And pricing strategy can, and should, be adjusted according to product/service lines.

For example I don't believe in providing portrait prints that haven't been carefully edited (they are usually retouched to a certain extent, too). So, there is a charge for individual "images" which can be just the files, or files and prints (if a client orders an image from me, they get the 8x10 print free). But, when the client has paid for the image, they are free to make reprints at no extra charge.

Also, promotional or otherwise "licensed" work is always priced based on usage and real value to the client.


Mary said...

Ed. Yes I agree portraits should be edited carefully. :) And I agree about having people pay for licensing for commercial use.

I'm very excited about having the the wedding photo prices lower. I already edit ALL of my wedding images by hand so these aren't just rough files. I'd rather have people order prints through me so I have at least some control over things like print consistency. I don't know of any other photographers that are currently using this model so it will be very interesting to see how this goes.

Jenny said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I am very excited about this. My friends and family will really appreciate being able to buy inexpensive prints from our wedding. Thank you for being so awesome.

Mary said...

Jenny thank you for commenting. :)

I got a call in the studio today from a very unhappy fellow photographer, who shall remain unnamed, about my new pricing. This photographer made some very good points about why my idea is flawed, but the arguments weren't convincing enough to make me change my mind.

Ed Verosky said...

Other photographers may have very good reasons for not wanting you to do this (including, possibly, that it makes it harder for some to compete with you).

But, it's a good idea to try new strategies to see where they get you. And again, what works for you might not work for someone else. Or, you might develop this into a new strategy, etc.

Many photographers think it's crazy and harmful to the industry to provide any wedding photos on disc, too. But the reality of modern consumer expectations will persist. All anyone has to do is base their fees accordingly.

Jake Holt Photography said...

I think that it should be called "SUPER A+ #1 HAPPY FUN MONKEY BALL PRINT PRICING!!!"

it's saundra, event engineer said...

can i tell you that i think this is awesome? when i help a bride budget her wedding (in photography) i always add on more money to cover reprints. that assures my client of affording what they ultimately want and of course, wonderful wedding photographers getting their share.

i just wish that event planners would have this open of a dialogue....photographers rule.