Ah, December. A time to reflect (if you can find the time, of course) and also time to plan. Or at the very least plan to plan - business plans tend to gain clarity in the New Year ;)
Part of my December checklist includes reviewing and releasing my 2014 price lists. I have portrait prices ready and am still working on the wedding collections. Some things have gone up a bit, others stayed the same, and a couple of small changes made.
Why do I sell digital files?
In professional photography business and marketing seminars you are basically told (for portrait / families) not to sacrifice your artwork as digital files, as you are relinquishing quality control over the final product. It has your name on it, whether literally or implied, and it may not be up to your standard of printing and production.
Let's just point out that a canvas from Snapfish is not going to compare to the stunning quality of professional suppliers. Prints from Harvey Norman will not come out with the colour and contrast intended by the photographer. It's just the way it is. I have carefully chosen high quality suppliers and I love their products for that reason. Many of these products are not even available to regular consumers, which is the major reason why I recommend the products I offer.
Which isn't answering the question at all, lol. I want to strike a balance between educating my clients on the true, tangible value of my photography and providing a user-friendly comfort zone. I am at neither of the extremes you often find in the industry - I am not a cheap photographer by any means, but nor am I very expensive. I put considerable time, money and energy into education, reflection and refinement of my skills. As a predominately creative person, this isn't always easy! I am at a place where I value my work. I enjoy working with clients who value it too.
That said, if you want to pick out one favourite photo from your session and give a copy to each of your 50 favourite people, I realise that you may not need superior quality prints for every single person. With the digital copy for just that one image that you need, you can run off a hundred copies at Kmart if you will. That said, I hope you keep the professional print for yourself ;)
Why do I give away digital files?
When a client has purchased a collection of products, perhaps a fine art photo book and some canvases, I do give them all of their digital images on a beautifully printed wooden USB stick in a cute little wooden box. This is mainly because I understand the urge to preserve that we in the digital age have developed, and knowing that the photos are 'out there' on a professional photographer's server somewhere just isn't quite the same as holding them in our hands. It's a kind of emotional security, and if you value the images enough to display them in your home, which I hope you do, then I want you to be able to preserve them and share them as well.
Why don't I just shoot and burn?
Shoot and burn is a term that refers to taking pictures and then providing a disc with them all, rather than any physically printed images. Often this comes with an unspoken addendum that the photography is of a lower quality, though this is not always the case, and perhaps receives less editing attention. Again, these are generalizations that come with the umbrella term 'shoot and burn', not rules! A 'shoot and burn' photographer is usually referring to someone who ONLY offers this service, and usually at a low price.
As I mentioned earlier, I have put a lot into being the artist that I am. I always feel that I have further to go, and I love exploring and expanding on my creative talents as time goes on, but I do value my work. I have to fight my overly-generous instincts on this one, all the time! But the truth is, if I gave you all of my many hours of hard work, made possible through years of development and growth (and financial investment), for little or nothing, then that is what you will believe it is worth. Little or nothing. My work is worth more than that, I am worth more than that, and I hold to that.
That said, I am not on either side of the debate entirely! I do sell digital files, and consider them an essential part of my wedding photography services, but there is no 'just' about the time and effort that I put in.
If someone has their heart set on a shoot and burn package, outside of my established price list, then I am more than happy for them to find a photographer who offers that, and I really hope they find someone whose work they love. It just may not be me.
What about Facebook profile pictures, etc?
Well, if you have a digital copy of an image then you can obviously use them for social media. But if you purchase a range of prints, without digital copies, and want to use them for social media, then just ask me :) I am always happy to provide a 'social media file' at the best resolution and size for display on the web.
So where is this price list, anyway?
Lol, well I don't usually share the entire price list with just anyone! I don't want someone to choose me as their family or portrait photographer because I have the cheapest whatever, or just because they have a gift certificate. If you love what I do, I would love to work with you.
What I will tell you is this:
The session fee for 1-2 hours at your choice of location (or locations) is $150. You will receive an online slideshow, set to music, and an online gallery, as well as in-person or telephone consultations to help you figure it all out (or just because it's fun to chat!).
Print prices start at 6"x8" (plus mat) for $75. Individual files, with a print included, start at $150 (8"x12"). Canvases go from $280 for an 8"x12" up to 40"x60" (really really big) for $980. And if you sign up to the Curiouser newsletter, I will pop a link to the full information pdf in the December news ;)