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Eliminating 4x6" prints

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    GlortGlort Registered Users Posts: 1,015 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2013
    I envy you in being able to be a photographer for the love of it rather than a business.
    You will get a lot more rewards out of it that way that trying to earn your living from it.
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    jmphotocraftjmphotocraft Registered Users Posts: 2,987 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2013
    AlliOOP wrote:
    Jack must find his motivation and then determine for himself why he is shooting and them make his decisions using that criteria. Without that motivational information, it is hard to give proper advice on any level.

    I thought I had partially explained this already but I'll wrap it up. A part of me stopped maturing at age 17. I would have loved magazine-quality action shots of myself and my friends playing sports, but the service either didn't exist or was out of reach. My parents couldn't do it themselves and neither could any of my friends' parents. I'm glad to have the opportunity to give that to my kids and their friends and peers now. However my family and I need some reward to make the time and effort worth it, and to pay for the equipment. I'm netting about $20/hr this year, and I think that's fair. If I won the lottery I would do this for my town for free.

    If I could wave a magic wand and make a lateral move from software engineer to full time pro photographer, I would do it tomorrow. But in reality it would be a massive pay cut at first, and I can't do that with young children.

    Alli, you've reminded me of a quote someone on a forum used to have as their signature. "Amateurs worry about sharpness. Professionals worry about sales. Photographers worry about light." Some truth to that for sure, but you can't be a very good pro without also being a photographer at heart. Glort must be something special if he is commanding the prices he describes.
    -Jack

    An "accurate" reproduction of a scene and a good photograph are often two different things.
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    GlortGlort Registered Users Posts: 1,015 Major grins
    edited June 12, 2013
    Glort must be something special if he is commanding the prices he describes.

    The only thing " Special" about me is I have put the time and effort into learning what I can about sales, marketing and advertising to try and maximise my returns from every job. Your priority is different. Mine is making the best living for my family I can.

    There is certainly nothing special or outstanding about my work. If I could get the quality of images you do I'd be very happy indeed.

    The prices I charge are commensurate with what other people are getting here.
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    AlliOOPAlliOOP Registered Users Posts: 72 Big grins
    edited June 12, 2013
    I hope my posts didn't come across as obnoxious. I have the utmost respect for Glort in both his advice and taking the time to post it the forums. Jack, I also find your work amazing in its detail and professionalism and your caring for your community.

    While this info is repetitive, I believe I should try and summarize my opinionated advice like this:

    1) We all have basic motivators - the need for air so we breath, heat when we are cold, cold when we are hot, food when we are hungry and water when we are thirsty.
    2) Then there are individual emotional motivators - money, vanity, love, kindness, parenthood, addictions, pride, good will, payback, and so on and so forth.
    3) Then there are group motivators that usually are a result of many like motivated individuals coming together in a group - political associations, LGBT, NRA, car buffs, sports groups, and so on and so forth.
    4) IMO, learn the motivator and don't confuse or project one individual and/or group motivation onto another and success will come.

    All of us should figure out the individual and groups motivation and use it to our advantages in photography.

    Here is my real life recent experience. We went to an event that as a family we'd paid a premium to get into. The number of people allowed at the event was limited so all of us that attended were there because we paid to be there. The last thing I would have paid a premium price for were the photos that had been taken by someone else. There was around 11 - 13 total photos offered including the promos, individual and group photos. Yet at the end of the day, we bought the most expensive photo package available. It was also the best selling package! It came out to +/- $20 per photo regardless of the print sizes offered. There was one single item that was offered in the best package that was not included in all the other offers. Within the 15 minutes we were standing and waiting for our package to be produced, the vendor sold 5 more of the same package with the same sales pitch. That coveted item: ALL the photos of us in digital format with a full print release.

    Discover the group motivation to maximize the group profits :)
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    AlliOOPAlliOOP Registered Users Posts: 72 Big grins
    edited June 12, 2013
    Glort wrote: »
    I envy you in being able to be a photographer for the love of it rather than a business.
    You will get a lot more rewards out of it that way that trying to earn your living from it.

    One of the benefits of a young retirement.
    One of the drawbacks is having poor functioning forcing me into retirement.

    Yes, the rewards have been and will continue to be endless -- the debt to still breathing will never be fully repaid.

    :feelgood
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    gbeargbear Registered Users Posts: 59 Big grins
    edited August 22, 2013
    Jack - I can't address the problem of living in the town, etc - but I have a quote from an old art teacher of mine ( at the time of the quote he was getting about $35K for a waist length portrait in oil or pastel (pastel, by the way, in the hands of an expert is a very vivid medium, like oil, not "pastelly" at all. Anyhow, we were discussing pricing ( of art) - and he said something that has stuck for over 30 years - "Bill, nobody is going to pay more than you ask."

    Why not make a good big print of one of your kids, put it on your wall (framed) and offer/show this as a sample. Incidentally a problem most photographers seem to have and none solve is that the US "customary " prints do not have a consistent format (height-width ratio) and none of them fit most sensor shapes. Of course the socalled full-frame sensor is an abomination. It is the original 35mm full frame size, which is totally illogical. It's history is that Oscar Barnack originated the Leica by developing a camera as a test bed for 35mm b/w film long before color film existed. The problem was you could only get off the shelf bw/35 mm movie film, and each batch developed differently. (there was no refrigeration then so you could not buy a big run and freeze it). So movie makers desperately needed an easy way to test a short length of a given stock of 35 mm film.

    So Barnack created a camera for this. Now the key part - he chose, for convenience, to use an image size which was the size of 2 standard 35mm images (from a movie camera) together - that the test size of each image in his new camera. Being a perfectionist, he made such a nice little camera that people kept buying the things for snapshooting - and the Leica was born. Also born was the totally unlike and illogical so-called 35mm full frame - the size of the image made by the first Leicas, which was simply copied by other camera makers of 35mm film cameras, and which became, in the fullness of time, the "full frame sensor" of digital camreras.

    A totally illogical and purely accidental size sensor. In addition the original offerings of Kodak paper (for many years the only US supplier b/w printing paper, were in fairly illogical sizes. As a result all of us inherit a mishmah of choices of sensor sizes, shapes, print sizes & shapes, etc etc. My personal best guess is you should limit the sizes you offer to what you want to sell. Its as simple as that. Best regards and wishes Bill Wilson
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    GlortGlort Registered Users Posts: 1,015 Major grins
    edited August 23, 2013
    Excellent Post Gbear!

    I'll remember and use that quote, it's inarguable.

    I'll also remember the thing about 35/ full frame sensors.
    I'm fed to the back teeth with the snobbery surrounding " Full Frame" camera's. I have personally avoided the things because I LOVE the crop factor that makes all my tele lenses longer than what I paid for.
    I have a 10mm lens that gives me the same width as what the FF guys can get to fit their cams so what in the hell is the big deal?
    The crop sensor cameras do more than what my work requires and I much rather have a couple of backup camera's in the bag beside what I'm holding than have all the eggs in one basket.

    Just like every other "Must have" with equipment, at the end of the day no shooter can identify from a bunch of pics which was taken on a FF or a crop and sure as hell, my paying clients can't not that they give a rats anyway. They like the pic and will pull the money from their pockets to own it or they won't. Camera, lens etc is totally and utterly irrelevant.

    The other thing is I have a REALLY Cheap supply of high quality inkjet paper which I use 000's of sheets a year of but only in A4 size. I call it 8x12 but people love it because they can get frames easily ( not so easy with 8x10 these days.) and the crop is just top and bottom and easy to allow for where need be.
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    mercphotomercphoto Registered Users Posts: 4,550 Major grins
    edited August 23, 2013
    gbear, nice rant. :) I'll admit it is frustrating here in the US that the standard progression of frame sizes here do not follow a consistent aspect ratio (2:3 for 4x6, not quite that for 5x7, way off by the time we get to 8x10, 11x14 and 16x20, and then, presto magico, back to 2:3 when we hit 20x30). And then throw in many P&S digital cameras, especially the early ones, with 4:3 aspect ratios because that was the prevailing ratio for computer screens.

    Its truly a mess.

    But I'm not sure why the 3:2 aspect ratio of 35mm film is "illogical" in your mind. All film sizes are arbitrary.
    Bill Jurasz - Mercury Photography - Cedar Park, TX
    A former sports shooter
    Follow me at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjurasz/
    My Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mercphoto?ref=hdr_shop_menu
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    chrisjohnsonchrisjohnson Registered Users Posts: 772 Major grins
    edited August 23, 2013
    Great thoughts here. I heard the one about nobody paying more than you ask thirty years ago when I was learning my trade. It stuck, and it is true.

    Rich people are people too, so motivated by the same basic drivers. Selling to rich people versus poorer people is all about delivery. They do not want the hassle of buying their own frame and hanging it on the wall. Too many photographers expect people to download their own image, have it printed, have it framed, and hang it themselves. Car parks full of Fords are indicative of a different socio-economic class not a different species.

    Glort is right about the FF hype (and much else). I have been looking at Smugmug galleries in recent days and I cannot tell which images are taken FF or crop, some great images turn out to be from an Iphone or a 30D when I look at the exif. Probably the next step in camera land is a sensor that is 1.5 times the size of FF - I suspect Sony/Nikon are paving the way.
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    chrisjohnsonchrisjohnson Registered Users Posts: 772 Major grins
    edited August 23, 2013
    Mercphoto, our posts crossed.

    I worked in the consumer electronics industry in the eighties and could tell you that a lot of thought went into 16:9 ratio. Today most displays are evolving to 16:9 and yet most photographers still aspire to work with 15:10 = 3x2 (35mm and most crops). The whole 4x3 standard is imo misconceived because it aspires to emulate a display standard that is now obsolete.

    Sooner or later the photo business will recognize that 16:9 is the new display standard for many good reasons and that the majority of photos are displayed not printed. The 3:2 (15:10) format is illogical because it derives from nostalgia and neither reflects technical possibilities or the realities of displays. When you can manufacture a 15:10 sensor then you can definitely make a 16:9 and sooner or later we will forget about 35mm format.

    Smugmug demonstrates that these differences do not show for the average viewer - although for a profession populated by pixel peepers I find it surprising that the subject is rarely discussed. It seems most people do not care that much as long as it fits in the frame.
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    GlortGlort Registered Users Posts: 1,015 Major grins
    edited August 23, 2013
    It seems most people do not care that much as long as it fits in the frame.

    I worked for an old Italian guy many years ago whom had a thriving Wedding studio... or 3 of them to be more accurate. 5 jobs a weekend was a quiet one for him. 10 was about average.

    He printed all his own work and had the easels and printers set up to produce Oddball sizes.
    His brother in law back in Italy owned a frame factory so the guy here had him make his frames and imported them.

    He had a lot of frames on display and pushed them with large print sales but many people would want to go get their own. Sooooo many would come back complaining they couldn't get a frame to fit or it had to be a custom frame at extra cost.

    He had the routine down to a fine art in expressing surprise and taking people into one of the large studios where he had the frame displays and samples. He'd pull a frame off the wall and showed it fit perfectly and then lay on the well practiced puzzled look when the people said they tried every frame place in a 20KM radius and couldn't find one.

    Of course they did what he wanted them to do in the first place and bought one of his not too cheap frames. As he supplied all the larger prints mounted and laminated, he had it framed for them while he made them a nice espresso cafe on his vintage machine.

    I have no idea what ratio he used but I never really framed the shots any different to what I would if I were shooting my own jobs.
    He sure used to pump the work through and sold a mountain of tacky gold with red velvet inlay frames. I was told they were very popular in Italy when he left there 50 years previously.
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    jmphotocraftjmphotocraft Registered Users Posts: 2,987 Major grins
    edited August 26, 2013
    Replying to a bunch of posts all at once:

    Thanks for the thoughts gbear. I had read that about Barnack. It reminds me of the story of how the size of the space shuttle rocket boosters was basically determined by the width of two horse butts.

    The quote about pricing is spot on. I think for next year I am going to offer 4x6s and 5x7s at the same price. People seem to loooove their 4x6s so I think it would be inadvisable to get rid of them.

    About your big print idea - I tried showing a picture on my website and in an email blast of a 16x20" print framed on a wall in my family room. The response was nil. I think most people just aren't into sports photos enough to want to do that. I think a better idea is to market winning photos as disposable posters that the kids can hang in their bedroom or on their bedroom door, without a frame. Something like this. And I think the best way to do that would be to just print them out and bring them to the fields and display some of them in/on the snack shack, and sell them on spec.

    I've been making posters like the one linked above for my kids' friends as birthday gifts. Based on the reaction I've also come to the realization that I need to be making all my sports photos more commemorative, like with a small team/league logo and the year in the corner. I sort of knew this all along, but just didn't want to go to the extra Photoshop effort. SmugMug can make this easy now with printmarks.

    As for 16:9 sensors... I just don't know. Maybe I am a dinosaur but I can't fathom it. I once read that 3:2 is roughly the same shape as a human's area of focus. I think for photos of a single person, 16:9 will leave a lot of empty, useless space. And 16:9 looks like crap in portrait orientation. It would be fine for landscapes, but I think that's about it. I think 3:2 works for everything.

    There are plenty of print sizes that match the "Full Frame" sensor - 4x6", 8x12", 10x15", 12x18", 16x24", 20x30". The problem in my area (at Michael's, A.C. Moore, Artist & Craftsman, Christmas Tree Shops, Wal-Mart, etc) is that frame selection is sorely lacking or non-existent in most of those sizes. Oh but there are plenty of 5x7", 8x10", 11x14", and 16x20" frames available! :bash I understand if this is a relic from the days when professionals used medium or large format, but it's frustrating.
    -Jack

    An "accurate" reproduction of a scene and a good photograph are often two different things.
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    chrisjohnsonchrisjohnson Registered Users Posts: 772 Major grins
    edited August 26, 2013
    Here the hot new thing is to print instagram photos - square. This is unexpected - take a 16:9 screen like iPhone 5 and show the photos square to allow space for other stuff. We are back to Kodak instamatic and Polaroid. What comes next? Facebook buys Kodak and starts selling Instagram cameras with square sensors.....
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    GlortGlort Registered Users Posts: 1,015 Major grins
    edited August 27, 2013
    Square is the best format of all!

    For those old and experienced enough to remember and have used Medium format Film, 6x6 was THE cool format.

    My first MFwas a twin lens Mamiya which I sill have.
    I went on to Bronica then blad. Had 6.45 backs but only used them when shooing for some studios that wanted to skimp on film. 30 frames on 220 Vs 24 on 6x6.
    Makes me laugh to think how he digital spray and pray shooters that do 1500 shots a wedding would cope if hey were limited to 30 shots a roll now and had to pay for processing them all! rolleyes1.gif
    I bet they would learn how to make the shots right when they took them and work on skill rather than numbers as so many do now!

    With 6x6 you could always hold the camera in the same orientation, it was an aesthetically pleasing format, no problems with paper as you printed on a roll easel and set it to suit and frames were available especially in 8, 10 and 12" sizes.

    Looked bloody awesome in wedding albums as well. Proofs were 5x5 or 7x7 and there was no shortage of square mat layouts for wedding albums. large portraits were no problem as they could be custom framed.

    I still have a modified Yashica range finder that shoots on 35mm but in 24x24. Ledgend camera and I used to use it all the time much to the amusement of people who wondered why I bothered with the thing till they saw the pics I got with it. The colourbalance and contrast of the lens that thing has is beter than any SLR lens I have seen and the colors always popped even when printed at a local minilab.

    I was printing some pics of my son the other week to put up at his 18th and I set the orentation wrong on the printer for a couple of images and they came out square and centered. Looked unreal and out of all the pics I did ( about 50 A4's) they were the ones most people commented on even though they weren't the strongest images of him.

    I was showing a client some glam images the other day on a 50" screen but because they were mostly verticle, so much of the image and impact was lost. I ended up standing the TV on i's end on the floor and rotating the pics which was a huge pain but he impressiveness of the extra size was worthwhile.... till I came to a horizontal shot and it was all arse up again.

    I'd love to see square come back in a digital format.
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    jmphotocraftjmphotocraft Registered Users Posts: 2,987 Major grins
    edited August 27, 2013
    Glort wrote: »
    Square is the best format of all!

    Who is this, Ken Rockwell? ;-)
    -Jack

    An "accurate" reproduction of a scene and a good photograph are often two different things.
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    puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul Registered Users Posts: 1,621 Major grins
    edited August 27, 2013
    Glort wrote: »
    ... // ...
    Makes me laugh to think how he digital spray and pray shooters that do 1500 shots a wedding would cope if hey were limited to 30 shots a roll now and had to pay for processing them all! rolleyes1.gif
    I bet they would learn how to make the shots right when they took them and work on skill rather than numbers as so many do now! ... // ...

    Yep ... couldn't agree more - and 1500 seems low compared to some of the numbers I see bandied around here and elsewhere.

    Sometimes I wonder if the B+G (or parents?) are hoping that the length of the marriage is going to be proportional to the razamataz / money spent / bling etc of the day ... and No of pics expected has grown to be part of the whole gig.

    All this at a time when (for many couples) the money could be spent in far more useful (imo) ways.


    I quite like 16:9 format for some of my usual pics, btw - as that shape seems to work well with low / water level horizons.

    jmp - pricing 6x4 and 5x7 the same'll be interesting - maybe you'll update us?

    pp
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    mercphotomercphoto Registered Users Posts: 4,550 Major grins
    edited August 27, 2013
    I'm waiting for an album vendor to produce a book in a 16:9 format. :)
    Bill Jurasz - Mercury Photography - Cedar Park, TX
    A former sports shooter
    Follow me at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjurasz/
    My Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mercphoto?ref=hdr_shop_menu
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    GlortGlort Registered Users Posts: 1,015 Major grins
    edited August 27, 2013
    Yep ... couldn't agree more - and 1500 seems low compared to some of the numbers I see bandied around here and elsewhere. I remember telling an old time and well known Shooter that I averaged about 350 shots at a wedding including the line up guest shots as was Customary then and the guy told me I was over shooting! He managed to do it in a lot less pics and he was a master photographer and his work was revered. He was booked years ahead despite charging the same as a small new car at the time.
    Sometimes I wonder if the B+G (or parents?) are hoping that the length of the marriage is going to be proportional to the razamataz / money spent / bling etc of the day ... and No of pics expected has grown to be part of the whole gig.

    In my well over 20 years of doing weddings without doubt, many of the best have been relatively low buck, simple, intimate, meaningful affairs where the Bullchit was at a minimum or non existent and the people were closer and more switched on to one another than 90% of the rest of them.

    Over the years I had 4 Couples that didn't stay together as long as it took me to get the wedding album done and that is the absolute truth. Thank god I was smart enough to get full payment up front before I started on albums because 2 of those albums were never collected.
    All this at a time when (for many couples) the money could be spent in far more useful (imo) ways.

    Yeah! Like on photos in the album and wall prints! rolleyes1.gif
    I used to tell every couple at the the pre wedding confirmation not to spend all their money on their honey moon because we were going to get some great pics and they would be upset if they couldn't afford them. I'd tell them several times on the day as well.

    My best ever order came back and told me they picked the cheapest, dress that fitted, cake, cars and reasonable reception so they could spend the money on the pics.... and boy, spend on the pics they did.



    In all the years I have been doing weddings, I have never put 6x4's in an album.
    Very rarely I did 5x4's but other than that, 5x5, 5x7 or larger. Nothing to me screams " Amateur" and degrades a pros standing faster than putting the same postcard size prints in an album that are exactly the same as they get from the minilab of their own pics or print at home.

    I think 16:9 might work well. I'm offering Slideshow Wedding coverages and they are well taken up.
    Things seems to be going more and more to Video and electronic display proportions so the ability to put uncropped pics in an album ( for the one out of 100, 000 pics that are printed these days) would be good.
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    DonFischerDonFischer Registered Users Posts: 128 Major grins
    edited August 29, 2013
    I fool around with photo's at pointing dog field trials. I have an enclosed trailer with a computer and 13" printer in it. I put out 4x6's for $2 but the one's I really like end up as 13x19's framed and hanging on the wall of my trailer. If the photo is good enough and the owner see's it, it pretty much sells itself. My though when I started doing that was the guy and his wife will get the 4x6 but not necessarily think of an enlargement. But they take the 4x6 home and next time out see the same photo blown up big and the wife see's it, it's sold. If just the guy's dog is in it and he will buy it!

    I had a guy notice a 13x19 framed of his dog hanging on the door to the trailer. He walked across the campground and first words out of his mouth was he wanted it. I don't think he cared how much it was. As an extra, he finished out that dog's field championship and got the certificates from AKC and he called me to frame them for him just like his dog. Don't know how well it would work at school and little league, ect events. You'd need someone to print while your shooting but then the people have a photo before they even leave the grounds. More likely they'll but the photo of their kid right after it happened rather than two weeks down the road.

    Kind of a heartless thing to do, but who's wife is not going to buy this framed? Turned out the guy was single and had come up from Cal to help out the club and went back. Not long after that a club officer saw it framed in my trailer and the club bought it as a gift for the guy! Who say's ya need a wife?

    DSC_0027.JPGa-L.jpg

    Have you ever passed many photography studio's that don't have enlargement out where people can see them? There's a reason for that!
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    GlortGlort Registered Users Posts: 1,015 Major grins
    edited August 30, 2013
    DonFischer wrote: »
    I put out 4x6's for $2

    Why on earth would you do that?

    I don't mean to be rude but that makes no sense to me at all.
    You are selling yourself way short and just making it hard for other photographers and undermining the industry. Yes, in the free world we can charge what we like but this sort of pricing structure has on going effects. It might be handy pocket money for you but there are a lot of other people out there trying to actually make a decent hourly return. This sort of thing just shoots them in the foot from the get go and is exactly why it's becoming not worth the time and effort doing these things.

    If the people you are working with are your friends or whatever, just give them the pics outright. You'll probably find many of them will offer you more for your trouble than you are offering now.
    I think my dislike of 6x4's has been well made blindingly apparent in this thread but even so, If you are going to sell the things, $2 just makes no sense at all.

    If you pics are worth $2 they are worth a realistic amount. I am not trying to be a smart arse but $2 is basically insulting yourself. I understand there would have to be other reasons that you do this over money ( obviously) but that does not alter the fact you are selling yourself and the industry very short.
    There is NO reason not to charge a reasonable amount that goes some way to reflecting the Investment in your equipment and trailer, your time and skill that you put into this.

    I can forsee myself getting lambasted over these comments from others that also don't chare enough for their work and inevitably will have excuses that people won't pay more in their area and other crap that really comes down to them thinking like clients not business people and their lack of business skills. IF My comments upset them, then good. Maybe one or 2 will ask how do they raise their prices and not blow the clientele away?
    Others may just stick to indignant attitudes of they are right etc which is sad and explains a lot of why the industry is going downhill is so many areas.

    If you are at all interested in making more from this and charging a reasonable rate, I'm happy to share my experience and knowledge of this with you. I had a trailer and viewstation setup that was the biggest here in oz and I covered some of the top events in the sport I was doing which was Equestrian.
    I gave it away to go onto more profitable things still but I was taught and learned a lot in that time and If I can help you do better, I'm happy to pass on the knowledge I have the same as people were kind enough to pass onto me when I started out and as I went along as well.

    You can make a sensible hourly rate and not alienate people. The clients you want will understand you can't do things for effectively nothing and if they like your work, they will support you to keep you coming back. I offered only 8x12" prints starting at $35 and never had a problem with complaints.
    When people say people in their area won't pay more etc, Frankly I laugh. I went all around to one horse towns and basicaly depressed areas and still sold pics and made reasonable returns.

    Tonight I'm heading up the country to talk to 2 potential clients for event work and they already know what I charge ( in this case $15 for a 6x8) and don't have issue with it.
    It's not a matter of people not being prepared to pay what you ask, it's a matter of shooters not having the courage to ask them to pay a decent amount in the first place. They try to disguise their own insecurities and lack of business skills by putting it back on the client. Some will say I tried raising my prices and it didn't work. Naturally if you have trained a client base that a product is worth X amount and then ask them to pay more for the same product without any extra benefit they will Baulk, Who wouldn't? The problem is in making a rod for your own back in the first place. That's not to say it can't be overcome though.

    Your strategy with the enlargements is spot on. I did the same thing whenever we got a real killer shot. I'd have the image(s) printed and displayed in frames in the trailer. People would usually spot them and say that's such and such and run off to tell them about it. Next thing they would be there and buying them. One great sale I had was a guy that bought 3 sets of a 5 Image series. He asked for a discount so I knocked them back to $400 and threw in a CD of the pics as well and the guy was stoked.
    Needless to say, so was I.

    I'll sit back and wait for the inevitable onslaught to my comments but if I can be of any help and there is anything you would like to know, feel free to message me and I'll be happy to share what little knowledge and experience I have and try to help your bottom line and professional status.
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    mercphotomercphoto Registered Users Posts: 4,550 Major grins
    edited August 30, 2013
    I agree with Glort. You bought and tow a trailer, with computer and large format printer, in order to sell 4x6's for $2 each?
    Bill Jurasz - Mercury Photography - Cedar Park, TX
    A former sports shooter
    Follow me at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjurasz/
    My Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mercphoto?ref=hdr_shop_menu
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    jmphotocraftjmphotocraft Registered Users Posts: 2,987 Major grins
    edited September 3, 2013
    jmp - pricing 6x4 and 5x7 the same'll be interesting - maybe you'll update us?

    This is anecdotal, but encouraging: With the start of soccer season I updated my prices and set 4x6" and 5x7" the same. I didn't really think about the fact that this would also change the pricing on my baseball pics from the spring, and that many baseball parents still haven't redeemed their pre-paid credits. Well, a baseball order came in last night - all 5x7"s. This is the first time that has happened. The timing can not be a coincidence. Based on what they bought (a typical assortment of action shots and T&I) I can comfortably assume that had I not changed prices, it would have been all 4x6"s. This pleases me.
    -Jack

    An "accurate" reproduction of a scene and a good photograph are often two different things.
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    PhotogbikerPhotogbiker Registered Users Posts: 351 Major grins
    edited September 7, 2013
    JM--Thanks for the update, been curious. Maybe we should make a DGrin pact to only sell 5x7's as our smallest size? Our own little effort to elevate the worth of our craft and staunch the proliferation of 4x6 in the land!!

    And DonFischer--I agree with Glort and Merc, you are selling yourself short. Go 5x7 and at least $4 or $5. People probably only buy one or two, and the difference between $2 and $5 won't keep them from buying a good shot of their dog. Really worth even more, but if you want to use it as a gateway to bigger prints its your call. Glort is the guru in this arena, listen and read his old (and voluminous:D) posts on the matter. Worth the time, even if this is just a casual thing for you.
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    mercphotomercphoto Registered Users Posts: 4,550 Major grins
    edited September 7, 2013
    Its not just he's selling himself short at $2 for a 4x6 printed on-site. I can't figure out how in the world he can even turn a profit doing that.
    Bill Jurasz - Mercury Photography - Cedar Park, TX
    A former sports shooter
    Follow me at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjurasz/
    My Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mercphoto?ref=hdr_shop_menu
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    GlortGlort Registered Users Posts: 1,015 Major grins
    edited September 8, 2013
    Well I think I should be the No.1 Supporter of the "No postage stamps" movement seeing I have probably bitched the most about it. :D

    I was digging around up the shed last night and sorting some stuff out and came across this box of paper where I put samples and paper that comes with new printers and stuff I have been given. It must have at least 1000 sheets of 6x4 in it. I was wondering what the hell to do with it all and came up with a brainwave.

    Business cards.
    Like great big ones that I can quarter up into 4 pics on the paper and have I nice large font with my name and phone number on it.
    I did them years ago and they worked pretty well. Only did a very limited run ( like 20) but the amount of people that commented on them was very disproportional. I had people telling me YEARS later they saw the cards and what a great idea they were. They brought me a lot of business through the door.
    I was also thinking of making them into coupon type things for promos to stick in with other photo orders etc which I think would also work.
    Knew the horrible undersized stuff was good for something!


    As for profit with $2 prints, I was doing the mental arithmetic before I initially commented.
    I have no idea of the size of Gundog events but I can't image the sales are exactly huge. If a person sold 100 prints, I imagine that would be doing well. Multiply that out by the sale price and even if you double that with sales of the larger prints it's still pretty poor.

    Taking into account ink and paper costs, what was left would not be a lot.
    Of course there is profit and there is profit. There is the profit you make after immediate costs of paper, ink and fuel and then there is repaying back the investment you have tied up in the trailer and equipment.

    Clearly Don isn't doing this for profit as he would know better than anyone that there is no profit in what hes doing. That's why I said he'd be better off giving the pics away because if he's not going to make any money, there is no reason to damage the business model for everyone else that comes along or sees what he is doing and complains to people covering other sports that they are charging too much.

    I have been to many lectures and seminars where the speakers drone on about it not being about the size of the paper but what's on it and that is all well and good in the class room. Out in the real world however perception is everything and people unequivocally PERCEIVE that a larger print is worth more than a smaller one.

    We are lucky in that we are in business where the end product has a high markup. The benefit of this is that the equipment and cost of doing business itself remains the same but the product cost VARIANCE from one size print to another is tiddly winks. The profit MARGIN however is disproportional.

    A 6x4 may cost .50C and a 5x7 may cost .80c to $1 but the profit margin on the products is at least 4-6 times better on the large print. Go to 8x12 and the profitability difference multiplies further. I have no trouble getting $30-40 for an 8x12, I think I'd probably get Lynched if I tried selling a 6x4 for that though.

    Yes I always get people that bitch they can't afford that, want something smaller, they are too expensive and whatever.
    My favourite Bitch off all is " If you were cheaper, I'd buy more".
    Maybe you might but I guarantee you would not SPEND more so what's the benefit to me? More work and wear and tear shortening the life of equipment for the same or less returns?
    No thanks.
    And I have told a number of particularly loud people just that straight to their faces. Still waiting for any sort of a comeback though.


    At the end of the day people buy enough to make it worth my while and I get asked to come back and do it again.
    I am under no misconception that lowering my prices or doing smaller prints cheaper would in no way increase the sales sufficiently to even match what I'm doing now let alone give me more profit.
    There are only so many people at an event and only so many pics I can take and more over, what they will buy. A quandary I saw a while back was when I showed the best pic of what I took, no matter how good people inevitably asked, " Are there any more?" When I show them more, they procrastinate and stuff about and pick out the shot I would have presented 95% of the time anyway.

    last time out I tested a new approach.
    Show them all the pics and while they are umming and Ahhing, offer them all the pics on USB for $10 more than the advertised price for one print. I reckon I got at least 60% of people on that deal and what's more, they were tickled pink with the offer and couldn't get their money out fast enough.

    As a result the approach I'm going to be taking for the foreseeable future is to keep pushing a bunch of images on USB instead of prints at all. I'll still offer prints of course because to not do so would be stupid but they won't be the main product. I have revised all my pricelists so there is only one print package option and 3 USB options.

    I'll try the next few gigs and see how that works out but I'm pretty confident so far and being confident in your product is an important thing.
    It's also the reason I think many people still muck around selling postage stamps and then whine about people in their area not being able to afford to pay more and the other parroted excuses.
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    jmphotocraftjmphotocraft Registered Users Posts: 2,987 Major grins
    edited December 3, 2013
    Just thought I would report that I think this is totally working. The coupons I issued for Spring baseball are expiring at the end of the year, and last minute orders are coming in. At first, a couple months ago I raised my 4x6" price and lowered my 5x7" price to a compromise price in the middle, and presto, people started ordering 5x7s. But then I realized I was shortchanging myself on 5x7s, so I have raised my 5x7" price back to what it used to be, and raised my 4x6" price to the same as my 5x7" price. People are still buying way more 5x7s than 4x6s, and I have had no complaints. I also eliminated all but 4x6" Lustre, so that there is only one line item for 4x6, to improve the odds that they see the 5x7" items right below it, at the same price.

    Just wish I had done this sooner.
    -Jack

    An "accurate" reproduction of a scene and a good photograph are often two different things.
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    GlortGlort Registered Users Posts: 1,015 Major grins
    edited December 4, 2013
    I finished a gig last week where we offered 2 6x8" prints on an 8x12 sheet for $25.
    They walked out the door.
    Much to my dissapointment. I was hoping to sell more USB's.

    That said not ONE single complaint did I have about the price of the 6x8's. We said you can have the same image twice or 2 different ones. We go about a 50/50 split on what they ordered but the option was a value added to the product and we had no trouble with moving them.

    How much did you price your 5x7's at Jack?
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    jmphotocraftjmphotocraft Registered Users Posts: 2,987 Major grins
    edited December 4, 2013
    Glort wrote: »
    How much did you price your 5x7's at Jack?

    $5.95. I know that's low, but again, I'm selling to my friends and neighbors, and these are not exactly once-in-a-lifetime shots. I mean, I and some people might think they are, but they're not from a championship game or tournament or anything like that.

    And at that price people still seem willing to order in quantity.
    -Jack

    An "accurate" reproduction of a scene and a good photograph are often two different things.
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    GlortGlort Registered Users Posts: 1,015 Major grins
    edited December 14, 2013
    Maybe it might be worth continuing with the tweaking and put your prices up a bit for next season?

    Maybe there is something in getting the average sale value / qty up by increasing the single print price but keeping them the same if people buy in a package of 5 prints or so?
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    jmphotocraftjmphotocraft Registered Users Posts: 2,987 Major grins
    edited December 16, 2013
    Glort wrote: »
    Maybe it might be worth continuing with the tweaking and put your prices up a bit for next season?

    I think only one price increase per year is fair. Last spring (2013) my 4x6" price was $3.95. For spring of 2014 my customers will see the new $5.95.
    Maybe there is something in getting the average sale value / qty up by increasing the single print price but keeping them the same if people buy in a package of 5 prints or so?

    Hmm. I already incentivize sales by discounting pre-orders 20%. Not sure I want to create stackable discounts.
    -Jack

    An "accurate" reproduction of a scene and a good photograph are often two different things.
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