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Wide Angle Mind Your Own Business Print pricing - do clients question your markup for SmugMug?

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Old Sep-21-2008, 05:36 PM
DianaPricePhoto is offline DianaPricePhoto OP
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Print pricing - do clients question your markup for SmugMug?
I was reading on the forums about the lack of an option to remove the SmugMug references on print deliveries, and it occurred to me, that as SmugMug is pretty common for consumers to use on the amateur level, won't many customers know or find out how much you're marking up prints if you ship directly to them? Or do most people have the prints sent to them first for quality control, then mail them to clients themselves? I would hate the extra incovenience and expense of doing it that way, but not sure how damaging a large markup would be if clients find out the real base price.

Old Sep-21-2008, 05:46 PM
Andy is offline Andy
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My thoughts (and yeah, I'm biased, but I'm also a working pro and I walk in your shoes!... people aren't dumb, they know exactly how much a 4x6, 8x10 print costs them at (walmart, costco, shutterfly, kodak, etc etc etc).

Tell your customers: "you are paying for what I put on that paper, you're paying for my talent, my time, my energy and my creativity."
Old Sep-21-2008, 07:04 PM
savannahga is offline savannahga
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Do people question Walmart, Target, or the local corner store for their markup!?
Old Sep-21-2008, 08:41 PM
Art Scott is offline Art Scott
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Originally Posted by Andy
My thoughts (and yeah, I'm biased, but I'm also a working pro and I walk in your shoes!... people aren't dumb, they know exactly how much a 4x6, 8x10 print costs them at (walmart, costco, shutterfly, kodak, etc etc etc).

Tell your customers: "you are paying for what I put on that paper, you're paying for my talent, my time, my energy and my creativity."
Also in this part of the country...all the Wally worlds are losing their portrait studios......to get back on track........I am pretty blunt about that subject in that I will ask .....Oh did you want Wal-Mart quality?.....I am sorry you may need to find another photographer.
Even my local Pro Printer has his prices on line....as most do so normally I just tell people that either I get the Master Prints or I have them done out of town for better quality.........
It seems that once you ask people if they want Wal-Mart quality....they step back........I have prints done of my children that were shot and processed thru Wal-Mart and also K-Mart.....both by traveling photogs.....they started turning magenta in just over a year.....I have photos I have processed myself taht is still the same as it was 25yrs ago and I have prints done by another Pro here that have not changed either.....this has been a great item to show whiners.........
I also used them when someone would schedule a sitting and then complain that they could not get the 4-8x10, 3-5x7 and 50 wallets for 4.95.....I quickly hand them their money back and tell them to scoot off to Wallys world and getthat fantastic special.........the looks people give you when you just hand their money back like that...especially if you add something like if you leave right now I can still hit the lake for a little fishing tonight.........
I have never had anyone say OK and leave.....a couple I thought just to keep me from going fishing but that was the intention anyway......
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Old Sep-22-2008, 11:56 AM
Sam is offline Sam
San Jose CA
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Mark-up....what mark-up? The term mark-up suggests you bought something, then added money on top of your purchase price to cover inventory, handling, profit, etc.

Did you buy the image? No, I didn't think so. You (insert the term you like best here) captured, created, the image. It is art, and art cannot be priced like a commodity.

They are purchasing the right to have the image (your image) they liked so well in there hands to hang on the wall.

The printing costs are a very small part of the actual costs, to get your image in their hands.

Do you think Picasso (or any painter / artist) marked up the cost of ink, and canvas?

The other thing to consider is value versus cost. Value is an individually perceived judgment. IE: Is it more valuable / desirable to have the hundred dollars in their wallet, or is it more valuable to have the image hung on their wall?

Another thought is if a potential client were to say (I have had this happen, awhile ago. This seems to happen with co-workers, or casual acquaintances. Doesn't happen when professionally packaged, and presented.) "What!! I can get that printed at Costco for $3.00!"

I told them that was a great deal and while I didn't believe it was possible, but they should go ahead and get it. Then of course they start asking for the file. This is when they begin to get the idea that the real value is in the image, not the paper.

Old Sep-22-2008, 04:46 PM
dogwood is offline dogwood
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Yeah, and here's my two-cents. Once Wal*Mart goes out and finds a location, lights it properly, gets a signed release, shoots the images, downloads them and sorts them, then does the post-production work AND makes sure the images are safely stored and backed up... once they do all that and still can charge 50 cents for a 5x7, well, then I'll throw in the towel!

But of course they don't offer any of that. Except the 50 cent print.
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Last edited by dogwood; Sep-25-2008 at 08:43 PM.
Old Sep-24-2008, 11:41 PM
bham is offline bham
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I explain that if they want to buy at wholesale prices they can buy a personal use license for all the images at $XXX.00 They usually decide that the print price is reasonable or pay the license fee.

Sometimes I explain I make money from 2 sources, shooting fees and print sales. If they want super inexpensive print prices, would you be willing to pay about double in shoot fees?

Cars could be made to last a lot longer and have minimal maintenance, but they would sure be a great deal more expensive.
"A photo is like a hamburger. You can get one from McDonalds for $1, one from Chili's for $5, or one from Ruth's Chris for $15. You usually get what you pay for, but don't expect a Ruth's Chris burger at a McDonalds price, if you want that, go cook it yourself." - me
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