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Pricing Advice

LensSherpaLensSherpa Registered Users Posts: 7 Beginner grinner
edited August 5, 2016 in SmugMug Pro Sales Support
Hello, I'm fairly new to smug mug, and i was wondering if could get some feedback on pricing with regards to digital downloads, printing, the whole thing. For the photos offered with regards to quality, I noticed 120k visitors but not many sales at all. Is it the watermarks? Anyhow any help would be much appreciated, Thank you. I looked at works like Kevin McNeal and he prices his photos 3-4 times my rate but doesn't do digital downloads like many other photographers out there. I'm trying to strike a balance.

Heres the link to the page https://fredphinney.smugmug.com

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    denisegoldbergdenisegoldberg Administrators Posts: 14,287 moderator
    edited August 4, 2016
    Simply publishing photos on SmugMug and pricing them for sale is not enough to drive traffic to your site and it is not enough to attract business. You need to actively drive traffic to your site.

    What is your business model? Does your pricing reflect that?

    Who are your target customers? What do you expect would entice them to purchase? How are you driving them to your site? Do you have inbound links to your site (from elsewhere)?

    Your site looks like a standard smug site, including the smugmug header and footer (which gives your site an unprofessional look). I was surprised to see that the latest photos on your site are from 2014.

    As for your watermark, I won't even bother to look at a gallery with a big "proof" watermark splashed across the center of the images. There are certain businesses where that may be needed but I would expect that in something like youth sports photos, not landscapes.

    --- Denise
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    LensSherpaLensSherpa Registered Users Posts: 7 Beginner grinner
    edited August 4, 2016
    There were 120000, visitors, I would say thats more than sufficient. I was asking about pricing however, I will think to remove the watermarks. Thanks
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    ShinryaShinrya Registered Users Posts: 197 Major grins
    edited August 4, 2016
    I've found the difference between low/high pricing to be largely irrelevant. It's tough enough trying to make online sales of prints when customers have no tangible example to view or compare against.

    If you price very low (e.g. double the cost of making the print) then sure, you might get a few more sales, but profit of course will be very minimal and the overall perception may be that your works/name are not of much value. Pricing higher shows that you place a value upon your work as an artist, and if your work is viewed as such, then people will still buy regardless of higher prices. Marketing yourself as such helps with this.

    An easy way to gauge what to charge would be to look at pricelists from other well known photographers and go from there.

    One thing that helped me with Smugmug, was to slim down the print options to a bare minimum, offering only a few sizes and print types with one type of finish. Less options means less confused customers trying to navigate the already awful Smugmug checkout trying to figure out what they want.

    Other tweaks:
    - remove the PROOF watermark
    - "trim the fat". You have some great Himalayas images in your portfolio, but these are mixed in between quite a few snapshot type images that lessen the impact of the stronger shots.
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    Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Registered Users Posts: 2,294 Major grins
    edited August 4, 2016
    LensSherpa wrote: »
    Hello, I'm fairly new to smug mug, and i was wondering if could get some feedback on pricing with regards to digital downloads, printing, the whole thing.

    Denise is 100% right. Your pricing needs to reflect your business plan. It would be easy to say price an 8x10 for XX amount of dollars, but that doesn't help anyone.

    What one photographer gets for an image doesn't mean it will be the same for others. If you look around you can find images from under a dollar to millions of dollars and everything in between.

    There isn't a one size fits all answer.

    Shinrya is also right in the fact that you have way too many options available. Most of your images will need to be cropped by the customer when purchased and that doesn't always work out all that well.

    Do not get sidetracked by visitor count. Yeah it is nice to see 100K visitors, but if only 10 are buying that is what you need to focus on.

    Why aren't the other 99,990K buying? Too expensive? Too cheap? Too many options? Not enough options? There are plenty of things to think about before you even get into whether your work appeals to the visitors.

    But if you are only interested in one studios pricing, we offer the following:

    16x20 and 24x30 only. Metallic paper, Giclée canvas, or float mounted metal only. Prices range from $525 to $775.

    Now "art" prints are not exactly our thing so it's never been our focus, but our prices reflect what we want to make to take the time to offer them. Maybe we could make more, maybe not.

    If you want to base your prices on what we charge, go ahead, but personally I think if your main focus is going to be "art" photography, you should charge significantly more.

    Some of the "art" photographers here in the San Francisco area that I've seen charge upwards of $1500 for 16x20, some charge a hundred dollars or so.
    <button class="sm-button sm-button-size-large sm-button-skin-default sm-button-nochrome panelClose" type="button"></button>
    Steve

    Website
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    LensSherpaLensSherpa Registered Users Posts: 7 Beginner grinner
    edited August 5, 2016
    Shinrya wrote: »
    I've found the difference between low/high pricing to be largely irrelevant. It's tough enough trying to make online sales of prints when customers have no tangible example to view or compare against.

    If you price very low (e.g. double the cost of making the print) then sure, you might get a few more sales, but profit of course will be very minimal and the overall perception may be that your works/name are not of much value. Pricing higher shows that you place a value upon your work as an artist, and if your work is viewed as such, then people will still buy regardless of higher prices. Marketing yourself as such helps with this.

    An easy way to gauge what to charge would be to look at pricelists from other well known photographers and go from there.

    One thing that helped me with Smugmug, was to slim down the print options to a bare minimum, offering only a few sizes and print types with one type of finish. Less options means less confused customers trying to navigate the already awful Smugmug checkout trying to figure out what they want.

    Other tweaks:
    - remove the PROOF watermark
    - "trim the fat". You have some great Himalayas images in your portfolio, but these are mixed in between quite a few snapshot type images that lessen the impact of the stronger shots.


    Thank you Shinrya; this is exactly the answer I was looking for. Yea, I was thinking of making my own watermark in the mean time and much smaller; yea I Knew it was bad, also not sure why the date of when a photo was taken matters unless your doing a blog/journal thing; I figure quality is important, not the date.


    I was very frustrated that I couldn't just change the default watermark from the obnoxiously large size and trim it down. I figured that maximizing the photo quality to counterbalance the watermark would be a good idea. For the past two days I have been trying to remove this damn watermark... but its just. not. going. away. ever. Its very frustrating. I need to get on support with this

    "16x20 and 24x30 only. Metallic paper, Giclée canvas, or float mounted metal only. Prices range from $525 to $775."

    So if your selling a smaller amount of items this is what I should go with? I will definitely use less items for selling, But what about prints, what about like a mug or mousepad.

    For pricing I thought to adopt this fellows style and pricing; of which his photographs are ansel adams quality and I like very much. His photos are around 40$ for a 10x15 print http://www.kevinmcnealphotography.com Landscape seems to be more of a science than an art; theres no interpretation or abstract stuff involved. Anyhow if traditional nature photography is not what smug mug does naturally; what is it predominantly geared to?

    Anyhow I will definitely increase my pricing; I was wondering about digital downloads.. do you sell the original with print mark or just the original by itself... or perhaps not the digitals at all; I've read that its a very fierce debate between print only or both dig. and print.

    I will also trim down the lower quality photos to create an emphasis on the better ones, I always am used to sorting through thousands of photos, but then again; most people aren't good at that... I'll definitely trim it down.

    Is offering digital downloads, and a limited selection of frames and prints a good idea.. lets say around 12 options total?

    I look forward to your response, and thank you :)
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    annnna8888annnna8888 Registered Users, Super Moderators Posts: 936 SmugMug Employee
    edited August 5, 2016
    Fred, let me just explain how the watermarking tool works on SmugMug: If you enable/disable watermarking in gallery settings, this will only apply to FUTURE UPLOADS. It will not watermark/remove watermarks from existing photos in a gallery.

    If you would like to remove a watermark from existing photos in a gallery, the change in the gallery settings will not do it. You need to go to the Organizer, select a gallery, select all photos, then click the wrench icon > watermarks. Select "remove" and click "Save".

    Ana
    SmugMug Support Hero
    Ana
    SmugMug Support Hero Manager
    My website: anapogacar.smugmug.com
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    ShinryaShinrya Registered Users Posts: 197 Major grins
    edited August 5, 2016
    Regarding digital downloads, it's very much 50/50 with photographers whether they choose to offer them.

    People will always expect to pay less for a JPEG download, so you can't price them too high. The flipside is that if you offer downloads and someone visiting is thinking about making a huge print, what are they going to do? Buy an expensive large print through the site, or buy the file off you and do it themselves?

    I very rarely enable personal digital downloads through my site, but only in cases where someone has e-mailed me wanting a print, yet live outside the US/Canada where shipping prices may outweigh the cost of buying a print through Smugmug. If you do decide to offer digital downloads, always offer a large or full size file without watermarks and price it well above the cost of what you are offering your smaller prints for.

    If you are struggling with print options, the first thing to look at are your current pictures on offer. Are they all in the standard DSLR 3:2 ratio, or do you have a mix of various crops or perhaps panoramas? A standard 3:2 ratio photo will conform perfectly to the most common print sizes e.g. 16x24, 24x36. The point is that you want to minimize customers getting to the checkout and then having to crop images to fit the print size they want. Again, it's a case of simplifying the process for them.

    Once you have figured out a few print sizes to offer, then decide on the paper option (Glossy/Metallic/Lustre). This is a personal preference, so you will need to figure out which you prefer.
    BayPhoto have a comparison of the different types of paper here: https://www.bayphoto.com/prints/photographic-prints/
    I believe you can also e-mail Smugmug help and they can send you a free sample kit of print surfaces to view.

    Again, it's a case of reducing the options at checkout so that customers don't get confused. I doubt most people know the difference between metallic or glossy paper so why not just make that decision yourself and stick with one option.

    With all the other options i.e. canvas/metalprints/Giclee etc etc, I would have a few of these on offer, but think about who your demographic may be. For example, in Hong Kong metal and glass prints seem to be very popular(wealthier demographic), whereas in Australia, Canvas prints are easily the most popular print type.
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    LensSherpaLensSherpa Registered Users Posts: 7 Beginner grinner
    edited August 5, 2016
    Thanks Shinya, yes this makes things much clearer.I got the watermark removed thanks to support. I really appreciate your response. I will trim the selection for sizes down but I think i will keep the canvas, frame, and regular print size option. thank you

    I've never really liked urban photography, but I really like your photos by the way, they are absolutely stellar.
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    Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Registered Users Posts: 2,294 Major grins
    edited August 5, 2016
    Our studio deals with digital files in the commercial market and that is bad enough, but at least the money makes up for it.

    For personal digital downloads, I personally do not like it. It gives the customer the option to have your image printed at any discount lab or the ability to edit your image before printing. The thing to keep in mind is that your image represents you and your style. It should always be presented the way that you want it, not what some customer or some cheap photo lab wants.

    example:

    Your customer orders a digital download and runs off to Walmart to get a print. The print comes out less than average. They like it anyways, and hang it in their home. Their friends and family see this lousy print and of course ask, who is the photographer. Is that how you want to be known?

    Worse yet, before the customer sends it off to print, they decide to add whatever cheap online image filter to the image and ruin the colors.

    Then of course there are the less than scrupulous people who will order your digital download, make a buttload of cheap copies and sell them at the local flea market.

    There are just too many downsides to personal digital copies.

    As far as the gift stuff goes, I'm sure that there is some market out there for it and if your customers want that sort of stuff, offer it.

    Not every photographer can offer the same products and have it work the same. You really need to find what works for you and focus all of your energy into that aspect. Don't waste the time looking at what others are doing.

    Just because some other photographer is selling X product on their website doesn't mean it is profitable, so why would you want to emulate it?

    Running a profitable photography business is far more involved than just taking pretty pictures.
    Steve

    Website
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