BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Kristi Eckberg
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/22/2003

Selling a cd of a photo shoot

I have a client who wants to buy a cd of her photo shoot so she can make prints herself later on.
I have never done this so I'am wondering what is the best way to save them? If she is going to want to make different size prints then what is the best size to save them at? I will change the dpi to 300 on all of them but what about the different sizes since cropping occurs on all different sizes?? Do any of you go through and save each pic at each standard size?

Please let me know what you all do when you sell a cd.

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5/10/2006 7:00:22 AM

Jerry Frazier   I don't sell CD's, or rather, negatives. But, since it seems to be the soup of the day, just give them as they are. Adjusting the DPI is meaningless.

Ok, , for the reasons you mentioned, this is why you don't sell negatives. Clients, most of them, can't handle the files, and your work will wind up printed on a home computer on crappy consumer kodak printer paper. Just offer the images for sale. And, get them done at a professional lab, sprayed, and printed and done as a professional.


I think I answered your questions, and then some. Just give them as they are and don't do anything to them. If clients want files, give them to them. they need to figure out how to make them look good. If a client is going to cut you out of making profit on reprints, I truly don't understand why you would help them. I can understand why photographers sell negatives, but I can't understand why they would go to any lengths at all to help the client with the files. Just burn 'em, and give them the files - the exact same files you would use to make prints and such, without your extra TLC, finishing touches, etc.

What a sad day in photography this is coming to. I hope more of you don't start this trend - this trend that is ruining the wedding business and starting to creep into the portrait business.

The negatives are your intellectual property. This is how you make money. this is how you survive. And, if you have another job which supports you, that's OK, but think about all those who live on their art.

No client has a right to a CD of images.

I'm sorry. I'm not jumping on you, specifically. This is a very touchy issue for me.

I can see, 20 years from now, no one being able to figure out who did original works of things, because the originator gave away the files, so some schmuck is claiming they are his. Now, because the work is valuable, it's this huge court battle on copyright. And, no one wins except the laywers.

Protect your rights as an artist.

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5/10/2006 8:13:45 AM

Kerry L. Walker   Amen, Joe.

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5/10/2006 8:33:21 AM

John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
Contact John
John's Gallery
  I agree Joe - but it today's world of the scanner . . .

I'd give a CD with all images reduced to a very low resolution or as a Powerpoint slide presentation. You canb make these with JPG images at low res. I've tried to make a print from the slide show - it's a NO-GO, but for viewing on a monitor it's OK.

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5/10/2006 9:01:52 AM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
  I'll second that Amen!

Besides intelectual property, your reputation is on the line. If they print on crappy printers and their friends see it .... well, it reflects on you.

I know you probably already commited to doing this so do as Joe mentioned and leave the files in original size. Tell them that they'll have to crop to size when they print. Of course, they won't crop it like you as the photographer would. When I give pictures to my mom on cd, I create different folders for 4x6's, 5x7's, etc. But it takes a while-- too long if you're doing a whole portrait session.

We didn't mean to rain on your parade ... but this is a mighty touchy subject for many of us.

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5/10/2006 9:53:54 AM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
  Oh, and you may have to sign some sort or release or something. I've heard of people not being to print their own pictures at Wal-mart because the pictures looked like they came from a professional. (I hope they don't plan to print at Wal-Mart) But, that may be the case somewhere else as well.

I haven't run into that problem because the guys at the different print shops know me by now. So I don't know how big of an issue it really is. Perhaps someone else can address that if necessary.

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5/10/2006 9:58:52 AM

Kristi Eckberg
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/22/2003
  If I price the cd at a high enough price and make a good profit and they are willing to pay then I have no problem selling them. Less work for me to do and I still make as much if not more then if they just order some prints through me. I have looked over tons and tons of portrait photographers websites and I see that ALOT of them do offer full res. cd's but at a big price. It's a matter of personal preference. I personally know a couple AMAZING portrait photographers who do release their negatives after a shoot and let their clients do what they want with them. If we make the profit we want right up front then what's the big deal?
I will be referring them to the labs I prefer and in this digital age they can get some pretty great looking prints for a great price. If they choose to go to walmart well, that is their choice but I doubt they would want crappy looking prints so I would hope they would take my advice and use some labs I suggest. I believe the people that can afford to fork out the money for cd will pay the extra money for good prints. The clientele that has walmart in mind, well I doubt they can afford the cd to begin with. It is not very often that people want a full cd to make their own prints so when it happens like I said if I'am going to make a good profit without the work then Great!!

So if my question could actually be answered as to how should I save them in order for them to be able to print different sizes that would be appreciated.

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5/10/2006 10:07:58 AM

Bob Fately   At the risk of ticking folks off, and with all due respect to all photographers, I tend to disagree with the legacy notion that one must hold the "negatives" hostage for future potential revenue, at least when it comes to event or portrait type work. Let me explain...

In days of yore, when photography involved a lot of techno-mumbo-jumbo (think wet plates or even film and darkroom work) just regular folk couldn't really handle things, and so the pro would hang onto the precious negatives. When the bride, say, wanted another 8x10 for grandma months after the wedding, the photographer provided it and charged accordingly. Of course, the quality that the photographer could offer was far better than people could do at home (who had color darkrooms back then?) so this made a lot of sense.

But, as it has in so many other venues, technology has changed things. WIth digital photography becoming more ubiquitous, and the improvements in technologies making it such that for relatively little investment one can buy the same equipment that pros use today, there is no longer a gap between what pros and "just civilians" can do. And the people out there know that; you can't snow them with some nonsensical stories about how the "original" digital file is more precious than the umpteenth copy (assuming lossless file saving formats).

That said, there's still the OBVIOUS point that not everyone's "Uncle Sid" can produce the same quality of output just because he's got that Epson 2400 or whatever. On the other hand, it may well be that "cousin Timmy" does in fact have the skill as well as the equipment to produce output comparable to the best any pro can make.

So, the point is that holding "digital negatives" (to use a stupid term) hostage in any way seem to me to be detrimental in the long run - it will only cause frustration to the client. The other point is that this means one must change the pricing model - rather than an hourly rate plus $X per 8x10 (with the expectation that the client will buy a bunch of prints), photographers need to charge a higher hourly rate and not expect/demand that they be the sole providors of the printed output.

To my mind, the shooters who insist on maintaining the way things were for the past decades are little different (and wil be as unsuccessful) as the RIAA trying to quash the spread of digital music.

So, perhaps the better approach going forward would be to explain to a client that you can offer the option of them taking the digital files and printing them at WalMart or A&I labs - and that the client will be paying you for your time (and requisite skillset in the taking of great photos in the first place!). I do not think it will serve you any long term purpose to tick off the client by giving her crippled files - for all you know her kid is a real expert and can make better pictures than you.

Now obviously, this thinking doesn't make sense for "artsy" shots, but for portraits and weddings/events, where the images are really only of value to the subjects themselves, it seems to me that more people will wise up to the old blackmail schemes.

Let the shouting begin...

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5/10/2006 10:09:58 AM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
  lol, you crack me up Bob

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5/10/2006 10:26:39 AM

Jerry Frazier   There two things here Bob.

First, the price of the CD or images, and second, the price of the shoot.

I'll start with the second. The price of the shoot is competitive. So, you can't just start charging more all of a sudden because now you include files. It's too competitive. The rate has to compete in order to even get inquiries. What has happened, is people are expecting the files as part of the same low fee you have always charged.

So, back to the first. I played with the concept of selling files, but it really pisses clients off because you make files available, but not really. So, I had a client who wanted all the files from a portrait sesison. She was bitchy about it, eventhough she knew that I don't provide them. So, as an experiment, I offered her the files for $100 each file. There were roughly around 65 files of the session. She wanted them all. So, in her mind, I was asking her for $6,500 for the files. She flew off the handle. I said that she didn't have to buy them all. She could just purchase a few that she liked. It didn't make her happy, it pissed her off and she accused me of holding HER images hostage, and on top of that, "ripping her off" with "outrageous" print prices. My print prices are extremely modest. I know where I sit in the market.

My conclusion is that it would have been better to just say no. It doesn't piss people off as much if they know you don't provide the files. If you sell them, you might piss them off.

The only thing you can do is provide them with the session fee. But, for me, the session fee would then price me out of the market.

Another way is to have two session fees. One with the files and one without. But, I think this just might breed contempt because people think all you have to do is burn a copy and give it to them.

I say it over and over again. THE REASON PEOPLE WANT THE FILES IS BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE THE VALUE IS. There is no other reason for it.

I realize that the world is moving and changing. And, as a group, we need to learn how to deal with this. But, just handing over your negatives is a bad idea.

I only want beautiful works of art hanging in my clients homes, not ink jet prints.

One option a friend of mine does, is they offer sizes at different price point. These files are color and density corrected and will be properly printed. They offer files at 4x6 at one price. 5x7 at a higher. 8x10 at a higher rate. but, she doesn't provide full res files.

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5/10/2006 12:53:27 PM

Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/8/2004
  Don't get me wrong. I am not being a jerk. I am just asking questions to learn this business further.

Am I missing something here? It appears you guys are arguing over something that should be spelled out in a contract and/or model release. Fist off, Kristi doesn't mention if the client is a "model" or if she has done a portrait of a client. If it is a model and she has a model release, her rights to those "negatives" are usually clearly spelled out in the release therefore wouldn't that require some kind of contract negotiation as to further use?

Secondly, if she has done a portrait of a client I would think the use for those photos would also be included in what ever type contract was signed and again, the use of the negatives would require further negotiation.

Also, I agree with the point about supplying the CD and the photos coming out crappy on your average everyday $50.00 printer.

Again, not be a jerk but simply asking questions. One of you may be able to enlighten me.



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5/10/2006 1:31:04 PM

Slim Brady 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/1/2006
  The best pro I know charges everything upfront and doesn't slowly dig into the customers pocket everytime they want a print. There have an agreement on what they will get in their package (files included)and then when he hands over the album, coffee table book, fineart photos,etc.. he hands over the negatives and also shows them a print made from the nearest lab to show them the difference if they decide to go to Walmart or Costco

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5/10/2006 1:48:23 PM

Bob Chance
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/19/2006
  Models and what-have-you put aside. In the everyday world of things, everybody wants something for nothing. Or close to it.
If you shoot weddings or portraits of just plain everyday folk, the only reason these people would want their files, assuming digital, is so they can take it to Walmart or where ever, and get cheap prints.
I've read the threads and see a lot of good points from both sides. I think it's going to be a matter of personal preference on the photographers part as to whether or not he/she wants her work left to the hands of some big Kodak yellow box at the grocery store.
I am scheduled to do a wedding in two weeks and have already agreed to do it all on a CD. The clients then will have the right to take that CD anywhere they choose. But just for comparisons sake, I will probably throw in a print or two of my own, so they will see the difference.
My own personal perference is to just give it to them on CD. It saves me a lot of time and headaches that way. When you take into the account how much time we spend at the computer adjusting and tweaking to make the best possible print, are we really making any money at it?
I think when you figure the time cost involved, plus paper and ink, it's a much better profit margin just burning the files to a disk and be done with it.
At least that way, if they come back and aren't satisfied with the prints they got Walgreens, you can always blame it on them. And having already given them a print or two of your own, maybe when they make a comparison and see the difference in quality, they may decide to order prints for you.
And there is always the loss factor. Suppose you don't give your client the files on CD. Now you are responsible for those files. Are you making any money for all those files taking up residence on your hard drive? Even if you burn every job on CD/DVD, to free up hard drive space, are you making money on those disk or the space needed to store them? And what if something happens lake a drive crash or your dog runs away with the CD and buries it somewhere? No disk. No files. That's usually about the time you hear from that client wanting to place a print order.
I say, if they want it, then let them have it. But make it clear that you are not repsonsible for the quality of the prints they are going to get at some Mom & Pop shop and that they are responsible for the files.
They don't need to know that you have kept files for yourself if you decide to.
And maybe hang a sign up like:
"You get what you pay for!"

Personally, I've had it with people who want everything for nothing. So, I agree to let them have their images and thier cheapy prints. If they're happy, then I'm happy.


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5/10/2006 2:07:06 PM

Bob Fately   Joe B - as to the comment

"I say it over and over again. THE REASON PEOPLE WANT THE FILES IS BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE THE VALUE IS. There is no other reason for it."...

I beg to differ - the value you add as the photographer is the skillset you bring to create the proper lighting, ambience, and use the appropriate lenses etc. to achieve a pleasing effect. At least, that is the hope - if the value is just in the CD then aunt Tillie's pictures with the heads cut off should have value too, no?

The fact that there is competition in pricing for getting the shoot just means that there are more folks out there who bought fancy cameras and fancy themselves to be "pros". And some of them may well be able to produce images as good or better than any pro in the neighborhood - making a living form something does not de facto make it such that the quality is better than "amateurs".

You need to decide what it is you bring to the table...if you are a fabulous craftsperson when it comes to printed output, then by all means stress that. On the other hand, don't dismiss the notion that there's a skill in getting subjects to relax in front of the camera, to making sure the lighting is complimentary, etc - and THAT is what some people are really paying for. That they can take those files and get 'em printed at MPix or Shutterfly or Costco really makes no difference - they wouldn't be getting the shots without those skills.

I think BobC (like your name there!) has already made most of the other points I was going to state; theer's no need for redundancy. But pining for the way things were isn't going to help matters - pro photographers are just another category of worker that are being nudged to the margins by technological advances.

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5/10/2006 3:26:03 PM

Jerry Frazier   Bob,

I agree with you that I can use my expertise to produce outstanding work. And, that work will show the care and craftsmanship that went into it. And, that my client will recognize that, and I will be known for that, and I can carve out a little area of my world in providing that. It's really no problem for me.

What you are saying is you are a craftsman, not an artist. You build to spec, so to speak. What I am saying is that I am an artist, not a craftsman, and I don't build to spec. There is much more than just making people relax and using good light. Way, way more. I can really make an image pop and look amazing. Clients don't know how to do that, most of them anyway. And, my files look pretty flat because of the way I shoot them. They are intentionally flat. I like to pop them in post production. As well as add other visual candy for the eyes. Again, clients just can't see it until I do it, and then they go, Ohhhhh. WOW!

So, if I give them the files, they are going to print out properly exposed images. That's it. they are not color balanced, they do not have any contrast (I turn contrast all the way down), they have no sharpening. They are just flat.

A pro lab will do some of that, but how many clients are going to go to a pro lab? I doubt many will go through the trouble. And, even pro labs don't do color or density or contrast the way I want it done. They also don't do vigenetting, or the proper sharpening to a portrait print.

It's just a thing with me. My post production is awesome.

A client will not be able to do this.

That's why I make the arguement. It's not only about the money and the copyright, and the old-style ways. It's about the integrity of what I do and how I want to be represented.

I am pressured all the time for files. I am sure that at $100 per file, I may break down one day and sell an entire set, or something. In my example above, $6,500 is alot of scratch, and I guess for that, I might let it go. But, I would also provide finished files, ready to print, and provide lab recommendations.

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5/10/2006 4:24:34 PM

Jodie  Potter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/15/2006
  This is a very interesting discussion! I am an amature tring to learn as much as possible (thank goodness for the internet). Everyone has made some great points on this subject and have really got me thinking. While I'm no where ready to go out and get a paid job (I have no delusions that great equipment equals great shots) I certainly hope to in the future. I have repeatedly read where people have said that you should not underestimate your value. This is especially tough when you are starting out because you are happy if someone just likes what you do let alone would pay you money for it. Even with all the new technology out there I think the fact is that people will always need photographers for their craft and ability.

If I was to sell the CD I think I would want to give the client the best resolution etc. After all it's still a reflection on your work.

While it has been brought up, where would you all consider going to get the best prints? I have taken some shots that I am pretty happy with and don't want to waste time and money on cheap prints. I want the best so when I try and build a portfolio I'll have something I can be proud of.

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5/10/2006 4:46:19 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Aaaah....alas poor Yore(ick) I knew him once and he really was a schmuck. LOL !!!

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5/10/2006 4:51:04 PM

Bob Fately   Not to pick nits, Joe, but I daresay that in truth YOU are the craftsman; by your own admission you spend lots of time and care on the finished product - the prints. And that is fine, we need more folks like you. And you should be able to charge whatever you want for the files - whatever the market will bear, at least.

And you effectively countered your own statement - it's not really the files on the CD that have the value - it's the loving care YOU provide to those files when you go into post - what the next schlub wouldn't spend the time to do. Your skills are the value add.

So your real issue is representing yourself that way and explaining to the unwashed masses why your prints are worth more then their going to WalMart for that 8x10. And for some customers, that will make sense - they will appreciate your work and talent. And others won't.

So if you come across a potential client who insists on just getting the files from you - price accordingly ($6500 for the 65 shots) and let them go elsewhere - they obviously wouldnt' apprecite your talents anyway.


PS: by the way, where do I send my check for $6500?

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5/10/2006 5:26:25 PM

Slim Brady 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/1/2006
1. How much an hour for Shooting?
2. " " PS?
3. How many photos on average
do they buy?

Those 3 combined with a percentage of all equipment used on the job wii give you a good hourly rate. It's better to get all the money up front (no hidden surprises) and special items are ala'carte.
Who knows the couple might break up the next week and you're out some serious money for a day you resreved just them.

"What kind of dressing would you like on those files" :)

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5/10/2006 5:29:36 PM

Jerry Frazier   Brady,

I wish it were that easy. But, it doesn't work like that. And, overtime, you will forget how much you used to make on prints. It's an irrelevant data point. My portrait price would be something like $6k. No one will pay that for a sitting.


You are partially right. You are detecting my back-and-forth swaying on this. But, I still stay true to the no-files model.

So, when I fix up a print, it is customized for that particular size. I can't really hand over files due to cropping. I try to crop in camera, but often, I find that I have to do additional cropping later on. This presents problems in final prints for clients. If it is possible at all, I can try to use a 2:3 ratio, but that's not always possible. And, let's say for fun, that I add a slight vigenetted edge around the image. Now, what happens when the client does an 8x10. They crop 2" off the long side. Now, the vigenetting is cropped out on two sides, and is there on the other two. Stupid.

This is a pretty simple problem of many that can occur when you hand over finished files.

So, now we get to how finished should the files be?

See my dilemma?

Cropping and finishing presents issues. But, I don't want to provide true negatives either.

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5/10/2006 7:13:16 PM

Slim Brady 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/1/2006
  if you ask for everything up front you get what you deserve and when they can't figure out how to make photos you can make a little extra helping them with that end of it(win,win). You can go the route of charging them a small sitting fee and then upsale them everything, but word of mouth moves fast and you'll be marked as the rip-off artist.

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5/11/2006 8:36:42 AM

Jerry Frazier   Brady,

I can't tell if you really know the market. All markets are different. In my market, there is a ceiling, and I live in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world. Not only that, the money here is incredible. If you go above a certain point for the sitting, no one will call. There's just a standard that people expect to pay for the sitting. As far as "ripping people off" there is no ripping. My prices are known ahead of time. The products and services I offer are very well explained in the initial planning session that we have. You see, I sit down with my clients, and explain my approach, and we determine together if I am even a match for them or not. I have a style and a way I do things, and not everyone who walks through my door is cool with it. So, we check eachother out and make sure we are cool. We talk abotu pricing, I tell them how much they can expect to spend, based on past clients and what most people tend to do. But, they buy because they love what I do, not because I rip them off or hold anything hostage. They actually appreciate my approach because it is a service that I offer.

You are equating selling prints with ripping clients off, and it is starting to really annoy me. It is anything but that. It's almost as if you ignore what I am saying about it. I am truly looking out for my clients and I am serving them best by showing them what can be done to an image and where their limitations are. Clients don't have much imagination. I do. They can't see the potential of an image. I can.

If you think shooting and handing over a CD is profitable, you still have a lot to learn about the business, because I will tell you that you are leaving about $2k on the table. I don't care what you charge or what you do, you are leaving alot of money on the table by not assisting clients with helping them and showing them how great the images can be.

Although, this is over-used, Ansel Adams spent enourmous amounts of time in the dark room creating a print. He didn't just hand over a negative and say, "here, you print it". I realize technology is really good, and for snapshots, a one-hour lab is OK. But, I don't take snapshots. My portraits are lifetime, beautifully crafted works of art that a family can cherish for a lifetime. They are not a 4x6 snapshot in a small frame from WalMart. In fact, I don't even sell 4x6's (well I do, but they are not on my price list). I sell them very rarely. Usually I sell 16x20's and above.

We all do things differently. If you want to give away your neg's, then go ahead. But, I truly think that you are doing yourself, your clients, and the photographic industry at large, a disservice.

It is not ripping people off to keep their negatives and make prints for them. It is recognizing that YOU are a professional and that's what you do. I think that by giving CD's to clients, you are commoditizing photography. I don't want to be commoditized. It's not an old way of thinking, it's smart. Sometimes, the old guys know a thing or two and the young guys are wrong.

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5/11/2006 9:03:41 AM

Slim Brady 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/1/2006
  "You are equating selling prints with ripping clients off, and it is starting to really annoy me."

That's your choice to feel that way.

The extra's are ala'carte, but my time is still paid for. If they fall off the edge of the earth tomorrow I still got what was due to me way before I pull my camera out. How many people did I turn down for that day, for what was reserved. If you have a ceiling price thats fine, but I think something artistic (unique) has no ceiling. If you shoot like everyone else then I understand.

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5/11/2006 9:24:12 AM

Jerry Frazier   Brady, how many portraits do you do? Your comments are not really explaining very much. You are losing money. I guess you don't care. you are allowing clients to hang crappy photos of your work on their walls. You are assuming that photography starts and stops with a shutter click. What I am trying to say is that it is so much deeper than that. A shutter click is only the beginning of a process of creating a print.

The sitting fee is defintely a sticker shock thing. You can't just charge $2k for a sitting, no matter how good you are. But, I can charge far less than that, and then they spend $2k anyway.

No one "gets their money upfront". No one. It just doesn't work like that. You get some money, yes. You might be happy with your rate. But, I am telling you that you are leaving alot on the table.

Portraits are not weddings. With weddings, you can charge enough where if you don't get another reprint sale, you could care less, and maybe you are happy, because who wants to deal with 1 4x6 for Aunt Martha. But, portraits are a whole 'nuther ball of was. The only likeness portraits and weddings have is that you are holding a camera. Other than that, everything about them is different.

Weddings: you get your money unfront.

Portraits: you get your money selling big prints and other products and services.

I know of no successful portrait studio that survives by getting their money upfront. In fact, I know a few that have free sittings (or almost free, like $25), and just charge for prints and albums afterwards. And, no, it's not a hard sell. It's how the portrait business works. If you shoot a new mom's baby for $25. She is going to buy everything you take. It's easy. But, it's not ripping people off if you consult with them and tell them what things cost ahead of time. They love the service we provide.

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5/11/2006 9:44:56 AM

Slim Brady 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/1/2006
  Weddings is what I was talking about. Now lets say I was shooting a family. Then I would charge $350 for the sitting fee 1-2hrs and everything else would be ala'carte. Then after a year I would ask them if they would like to purchase the files. For PS I charge $65.00 an hour. Everything else is done by my online lab.

The hot patatoe gets cold quick

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5/11/2006 10:10:30 AM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
  Brady, you wrote "lets say I was shooting a family [...] then after a year I would ask them if [...]." Have you done this much for business? I think we have some great photographers that don't know buch about business. I can't help but think that you are trunk slamming to some degree. But then, that is only my first gut instinct and ...

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5/11/2006 10:35:45 AM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
  anyhoo, one way or the other we are beating a dead horse. Can we just agree to disagree and then move on to doing what we love (hopefully photography) instead of all this mumbo jumbo argueing?

Happy shooting! (not shouting) lol

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5/11/2006 10:38:35 AM

Jerry Frazier   Cherylann,

I'll get off my high horse. It's not beating a dead horse, though. There are many new entrants into the business that are "selling their souls" I call it, by not fulling understanding the value of the negatives.

There are some situations where what people "think" they want, and what they actually want, are different. Photography is one of those things. We have to get away from this idea that we provide snapshots, and you go get a print. We should provide end-to-end service. That's what we do as artists. We make prints.

I am not a shutter clicker. That is just a means to an end. All the shutter clickers will get paid what they deserve. Most shutter clickers are not living off their portrait business.

Brady was talking about weddings, I wasn't. I am talking about the portrait business, which is night and day from weddings.

There are many new wedding photogrpahers to the business that are doing the same thing in portraits. But, it's not a sustainable business model for a portrait business.

I'm done for now.

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5/11/2006 10:46:16 AM

Loyce Hood
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/20/2000
  I have only one thing to add. When you sell the CD/negatives to the client and they have say, an 11x14 printed at Walmart, then they mat and frame it themselves, how do you think that not so good print looks on their wall? What if they get company that is also looking to book either a family portrait or a wedding will think of the photographer? Those cheap prints can kill your business. I know I certainly wouldn't want anyone telling their families and friends that I was the photographer who took that terrible print.

I would never sell a CD unretouched especially. It could ruin my reputation and kill any further business I might get from that print.

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5/11/2006 11:16:18 AM

Slim Brady 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/1/2006
  If they haven't bought all their photos within a year, they probably won't buy any more. So I sell the DVD accordingly (nothings free) to what they've already purchased.

"What if they get company that is also looking to book either a family portrait or a wedding will think of the photographer? Those cheap prints can kill your business. "

I would never just sell them the DVD negs alone. They wouldn't even think of putting up their walmart printed next to my custom shot with custom matting and frame. They would relize my worth definitely by then.

If you are so worried about the customer printing up their photos (which the lab can't do without the photographers permission)then just make low res for viewing only.

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5/11/2006 11:25:31 AM

Debbie Del Tejo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/30/2005
  Quite interestig reading for a rainy afternoon in Virginia!!!
Most every household here in my area has a scanner and a printer. Now what do you do when a client BUYS a print from you... scans it and sends copies to all the relatives???? You still have the cd and she DID pay for the what do you do?
It happens all the time. They keep the nice one you printed and print the copies on their printers at home and sent it to grandma.

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5/11/2006 12:40:31 PM

Bob Chance
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/19/2006
  The general rule of thumb in this business seems to be that most people want something for nothing.
If someone buys a print off of you and then scans/prints/e-mails copies of that photo to everybody and their uncles, I guess there isn't much you can do about that.
Some photographers and studios still use that pebble textured paper for thier prints that results in a really bad reproduction no matter how you scan or copy it. Even that doesn't seem to thwart most people from doing it anyway just so they don't have to pay extra for decent prints.
I think the real answer here is, that there is no real answer. It's a matter of personal preference as to whether or not the photographer wants to release negatives or digital files to a client.
I don't know that there is a right or wrong here. Just a matter of business.
Some resturaunts offer only Coke products. Some offer only Pepsi. But very few offer both.


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5/11/2006 1:08:19 PM

Dave    How can so many people contradict themselves in one forum and worse in their own posting. Wow, I'm speechless. Just reading this is mind numbing. Kristi didn't ask for a conversation on the effcts of her action on the market place. She not once asked you to diagnose the motives behind her customers request. She especially never asked what your business practices are and how you would suggest she runs hers.

Without any further information on the case that she is reffering to you guys are assuming that she is being bent over and taken for a ride. Why you would assume that she has no business sense I cannot begin to comprehend. Maybe it's because she is a women. Or worse because she asked a question. So obviously she knows nothing. The question was "what is the best way to save them?" . Referencing Todd B. from up at the top of this post, we simply lack the information to make any other informed decision about this case. No one in there right mind would give away an opportunity to make money and thats what it sounds like you are accusing her of. Or we could just compare her business to that of a Taco Bell or Dennys and say that she just serves her customers this way because thats what keeps them coming back. Thats asanine.

Kristi, there is no reason to have to defend your business practices to a bunch of Pro's that are so busy running there own successfull studios that they have time to argue mindlessly in the middle of the day on BP. Keeo uo the good work and keep Capitalism alive.

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5/11/2006 3:31:55 PM

Kristi Eckberg
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/22/2003
  THANK YOU DAVID!! I was just thinking how ridiculous this is getting and don't these people have anything better to do then to debate back n forth on what is right or wrong. In my opinion it is a matter of personal preference and how we each run our business is our choice and NO ONE has the right to tell is it is wrong or a bad way to do things. Everyone has their right to their opinions but I think it it nuts to keep going on and on about this. It will not change the way anyone does things.
In my area which is fairly small I know how much I usually make off each print order. SO, for me to be able to be able to sell a cd for more then I would probably make off just the print order and not have to do the work is awesome in my opinion. And what Debbie mention about the fact that they can buy only a select few and make their own prints is probably exactly true so CD or no CD people do have the option of doing whatever they want with our work in this day and age of digital. And yes they can go make cheap prints but my question is if they look that bad which everyone is claiming is going to happen and that our rep. is on the line then why in the world would they want to display crappy looking prints in their home?? It makes no sense that they would want crappy looking ones after paying the money that they already have.

ANYHOW,,, I think this debate needs to be done and over with b/c I didn't get the help I was looking for anyway.
If the two of you wish to debate some more then why not just email each other back n forth???

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5/11/2006 5:05:06 PM

Slim Brady 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/1/2006
  you tell'm girl

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5/11/2006 11:56:27 PM

Lauren R. Yackuboskey   Kristi,
I know you would like this discussion to be over, and judging by all the pointless arguing I can see why....
but just thought I'd let you know (and I'm not sure this will help) but I've sold a couple CD's to clients. First, I give them a cd with the images all the same size and ask them to choose the sizes they would like on each photo (8 x 10, 5 x 7, wallets, ect...)
I then size each accordingly on the cd and sell them the sized images. Of course I knew these clients very well and I may have gone the extra mile because I am still a beginner and trying to get a good name for myself. But anyway that's how I go about selling a cd. Hope that helps a little :)


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5/12/2006 7:21:18 AM

Jerry Frazier   Kristi,

Your comment is odd. I did answer your question.

You don't have to do anything. You just burn the JPEG's as they are. Adjusting the DPI on a high-res file is meaningless. Just leave it as is and burn the CD/DVD. It's really simple.

When the client takes that CD/DVD in to make prints, the lab will crop for them, so all they have to do is say they want an 8x10 or whatever, and the cropping will be done. Or, if they have a editing tool at home, they can do it. But, if you sell high-res files, don't worry about it. Just burn them, and your done.

To answer your other question of why people would put crappy looking prints in their home? Boy, it seems like no one reads here. The service I provide produces astounding prints. Unimaginable to a client, how I make them look so good. A client can't do that. They will take the very flat looking negative that I give them and just go print it. So, essentially, by my standards, it's crap. To the client, it's good enough. But, I don't want other potential clients seeing the print they had done at Costco, and thinking that is MY work. It's not, but they will say it is. It's only half of my work, it's not MY WORK. The negatives I provide are not finished. They can't be due to cropping and other factors that I have already talked about.

Again, I'm not preaching. I'm sorry everyone feels this is a stupid waste of time. I feel it's one of the most important significant changes in the history of this industry. It's only been very recent that everyone is so free to "sell" their negatives.

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5/12/2006 7:21:25 AM

Slim Brady 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/1/2006
  charge her $350 for the CD and make her an 8x10 of one of your favorites with a nice frame and matting and give to to her as a gift. She'll be back :)

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5/12/2006 7:54:58 AM

Kristi Eckberg
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/22/2003
  I guess I forgot to mention that they come out of my camera at 72dpi and 32x48 so I do have to go in a resize them. I did tell this gal that she will have to resize them herself or be sure she checks the print preview with the lab to see how they will be cropped and she is just going to pay me more to crop them all to size so good with me!

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5/12/2006 9:13:13 AM

Jerry Frazier   Kristi, you don't have to re-size them. It's meaningless on a full-res image. But, if it makes you feel better, go ahead. If you want to make them print-ready, go ahead and make them 300DPI.

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5/12/2006 10:06:16 AM

Kristi Eckberg
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/22/2003
  The cd I am burning for my client will need to be print ready. Maybe we are not on the same page here.. Tell me how it is possible to get a good print at 72 DPI?? I have always heard that 72 is good for computer viewing only and if you try to print something, especially an enlargment that it will be very pixelated? So why do you say that adjusting the DPI is meaningless?
I just opened one of my photoshop books and it says that 72 is good for computer viewing only and that it should be printed at 300dpi for true photo quality. So fill me in if there is something I'am missing. Thanks!

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5/12/2006 12:34:19 PM

Lauren R. Yackuboskey   Kristi,
The pics that come out of my camera are 96 dpi, and so far I have not had to change the dpi. When I have changed the dpi to 200-300 it doesn't seem to change the image resolution too much, at least not that the customer will be able to notice. I have ordered 8 X 10's from 96 dpi and they look great... I've never tried 72 dpi... but once you change the dpi to 300, just make sure that the JPEG's are being saved at maximum image quality which will make a huge difference.

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5/12/2006 1:09:13 PM

Jerry Frazier   Kristi,

You are not changing anything. When you change it from AxB @ 72DPI, all that will happen is the diminsions will change to XxY @ 300DPI.

The image size is exactly the same.

When your client takes the files to get them printed, the lab will know what to do with them. It's kind of a non-issue. Loks of consumer cameras provide files @ 72DPI, and they take those straight to the lab as is, download the cards, and the lab prints. No biggie.

Someone else could explain this better. I understand it, but have a hard time explaining.

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5/12/2006 1:50:47 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Build a 60x40 foot pen with 2400 goats. Internation members use a 60x40 meter pen with 2400 alpacas.
1 goat per square foot. To make a print of this goat pen, you need 4 goats per square foot. Pull the sides of the pen in on itself unitl pen measures 20x30 feet. The goats don't go anywhere, you still have 2400. The goat resolution changes because you screezed the goats together.
That's why you can keep your picture as is. The lab can pull the pen in tighter when you take it in to make your goat picture at 4 gpf.

Side bar:The point of view of holding negatives hostage, as has been described, is similar to the point of view of if it's a picture of you, it's your picture. Like the lady who wanted to get a copy neg made of her son's picture, taken at Sears or Olan Mills, but couldn't because of the copyright thing. Her view, it's my son, so my right to do anything. She didn't see it as the rights to reproduce someone's created image.
It's not an obsolete way of only providing prints. Music is done the same way. Books also. You don't sell the song, you sell copies of it. But you can sell a song, but you wouldn't make the price equal to what you would for all the individual cds you would sell.(end of side bar)

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5/12/2006 4:57:13 PM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
  good analogy. Like Gregory said, you still have 2400 goats.

If you need additional explanation I could draw something up or explain it on the phone. I've had it explained to me time and time and time again in my graphic design classes.

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5/12/2006 7:07:43 PM

Annette Leibovitz
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/31/2005
  Hello, I am very interested in this thread as I take pictures at parties of 150-200 people 1-4 times a month. Many clients want CD's with the photos. There main reason is to watch them on the computer (like a slideshow). They say they have the pictures from their events from the other aunts and uncles that took pictures but my pictures look better. I have been thinking about selling a CD with pictures at a lower res. for viewing only but have no idea what to charge.

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5/29/2006 9:27:42 AM

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