BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Tara R. Swartzendruber

sales question

I am wondering if anyone has had a similar experience and what they did about it...
I had a client come to take photos. They ordered a collage (it comes on a hard backing, etc...). The mother of the family called to ask if I could send her the digital file of the collage because she hadn't wanted the hard backing on it. She wants to take the digital file to Walmart or somewhere and get it printed (without the backing). My inclination was to say "no" where her argument is that since they already paid for the item, what is the problem with me sending her the file? I'm not too keen on doing this, but I'm also not too keen on upsetting people ....I live in a small town and my business is word-of-mouth. Any advice????

To love this question, log in above
12/4/2008 6:08:34 PM

John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  What does your contract state? Does it require that you give your image files to the customer? Does it explicitly state that you retain rights to the original digital files? Does it state that you will provide prints ONLY to the customer?

This woman obviously wants more than one copy of the prints. If she wants digital image files, you have a couple of choices. You can embed a copyright in the image, and then Wal-Mart will NOT make copies of it. Or, you can offer to make her additional prints at a reduced price, without the backing. Or, you can politely but firmly inform her that, as per your contract you do not give out digital image files... or you can just charge her a little extra for producing the files for her on a CD (like $10 to $20, for your time).

Figure that she'll never come back to you for more prints of this particular image... and regardless of what you do she may not come back anyway. I'd probably sell her a CD with image file on it, sized to print as an 8x10 @ 300 dpi and saved as a JPEG, for $20, and call it a day.

In the future, I'd ensure that my contract indicated that the price I charged was for studio time and the cost of any prints that were to be delivered, and that I retained all rights to the images.

To love this comment, log in above
12/4/2008 8:08:21 PM

Susan M. Carter   The image does you no good just sitting in your portfolio but don't just give it away because she paid for one print. I'd offer reprints at a reduced rate without the backing, sell her the digital file or charge her a small fee to upload the image to Walmart and she can pick up the single print there.

I charge about 2.5 times the price of an 8x10 for a 300 dpi digital file (non-commercial use), less for a smaller web image (72 dpi). I don't put a copyright symbol on the digital image but I do sign it. I also offer a package of an 8x10 plus a web image for a few dollars extra so that people can post them on their web sites or e-mail to friends. Otherwise they will just scan and post them anyway and I don't want my name associated with some horrible looking scan job.

I suggest reviewing your pricing structure and coming up with a plan to sell digital files; it's what people want nowadays.

To love this comment, log in above
12/5/2008 5:36:59 AM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  "I live in a small town and my business is word-of-mouth. Any advice?"


I think you answered this yourself.

Though many photographers are often taken advantage of by consumers, we should practice a creed physicians swear to..."Do no harm"

If you feel denying the request may hurt future sales, then your path is clear.

Since a large part of your business model is word of mouth advertising, then customer satisfaction is everything to you.

all the best,


To love this comment, log in above
12/5/2008 5:55:23 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  It's planned that way. Want the pictures but looking for a way to get them for next to nothing, relative to how many they can get by having the files.
I say you can approach it two ways. To me the best thing to do is just get the collage printed into the same size it would've been, and sell that to her. If the place you planned on getting the printing done doesn't offer a without-backing print, there are plenty of places that will. Just look for another printer, like MPix. Or WalMart, since that's where she was going to take it.
If it's good enough for her to take your file to WalMart, it's good enough for you to take your own file to WalMart and sell her just the print.
Or, you can go ahead and sell the file, but price it in between you getting enough compensation for her making future prints, and not so high that she doesn't buy.
But really, anything much higher than the print price she's going to probably say is too high. People who ask for files are like that.

To love this comment, log in above
12/5/2008 3:53:54 PM

Log in to respond or ask your own question.