Thursday, June 18, 2009

Business Day Thursday: When Is An 8x10 Print Worth More Than An 8x10 Print?

Good Morning Everybody,
It's been nice this week just catching up on a few things around our home and the studio. I finally got a chance to edit the photographs that are going to be part of my next Kelby Training video which should hit in the next few weeks.

I think I've mentioned it before but I wanted to let our DigitalProTalk readers know that we are planning to do five more lessons for Kelby Training over the summer. I've said it once and I'll say it again -- there simply isn't a better deal on the planet Earth for Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography training than at Kelby Training It's all you can eat educationally for only $20 dollars a month -- what a steal of a deal. If you haven't checked it out, I suggest you get started! I'll keep you posted as to when the next training video will be ready for prime time.

I think we've got another very cool post for our business day Thursday segment today. I thought I would let our two contests run a few more weeks before announcing the winners.

Here are the Links to the two contests:
12 ways to Keep You Clients Coming Back
Booking Weddings: Booking Bonuses To Seal The Deal
Give them a read, offer your own ideas and you may win a $50 B&H gift card!

OK, on with business - so when is an 8x10 worth more that an 8x10? Hit the "Read More..." link for the rest of the story.

Here we go...

When Is An 8x10 Print Worth More Than An 8x10 Print?
In the old film days we photographers had the choice of displaying our photographs in fixed sized frames -- typically 4x5, 5x7, 8x10, 11x14, 16x20 and larger.

Collaging images together was seldom or next to never part of our product mix in the old film days simply because it was complicated and way too expensive to achieve. Back in the day we used folios as a means of delivering multiple images to our clients. Basically a folio held for example, an 8x10 and 4 - 4x5's. Another popular combination was a folio that held 8 - 4x5's. there were many, many possible combinations we could use.

I can remember selling folios quite often to our wedding clients. It was a way for a grandmother or aunt to still obtain a small collection of images from the wedding without having to go to the expense of a family album holding 20 or more images.

The price of those folios was based upon the number of photographs in each folio and the cost of the folio itself. Typically a folio holding eight 4x5 images would cost, for my studio, in the neighborhood of $200. Yes, we still offer folios but they are not nearly as popular as they once were because of how easily we can collage images with today's digital software. With today's digital technologies, it's a "piece of cake" to produce digital products that really add sizzle to our images.

Anyway, let's get back to what I wanted to talk about here today. Let's look at our three 8 x 10 options.

1 - Straight 8x10 image in a frame.

2 - A multiple image collage still sized as an 8x10.

3 - A single image or multiple images enhanced with decorative digital matting used in such a way to complement the photograph in the 8x10 frame.

Obviously, in the old days we were pretty much locked into an 8x10 photograph in an 8x10 frame.

About the only additional option we offered to our clients would be to sell a 5x7 print matted in an 8x10 frame. I smile as I remember those days because none of us photographers wanted to sell the smaller sized 5x7 image. Matted prints always hurt the sale because of the smaller image size sold.

Today we have so many more digital options. Now we can offer two or more images printed as an 8x10 framed collage. How does this benefit us? It benefits us because we are delivering a product -- a multi-image product - and we should be able to charge more for it. Each image is it's own work of art requiring the necessary retouching and enhancement associated with each separate image. That being said, what do we charge for say, a three image 8x10 collage?

We typically charge $32 for an 8 x 10 wedding print. My prices have not gone up much over the last couple of years because of the cost advantage in shooting digital. But that being said then what would I charge for 3 image 8 x 10 collage - $96? Is $96 too high? I frankly think a lot of clients would balk at that price. How about $50? I think that is more in the ballpark for most of our clients in my mid-west area of the country.

I was talking to my staff the other day discussing this same point. This is what we came up with. The starting price would be the $32 price for an 8x10. The price would then be incrementally increased by $10 for each additional image in a collage containing up to four images. If the collage contains more than four images then the cost will be the $32 8x10 rate +5 dollars for each additional image over the original 8 x 10. That means that the collage I've shown here would cost $32 + 8 x $5 = $72 total.

But here's something else that we should consider. These 9 images in the small 8x10 collage size means that many of those images are going to be quite small themselves. That being the case, I think we easily offer a larger size collage to our clients, say an 11x14. The 11x14 collage would be priced at the original 11x14 price of for example $50 plus $5 for each of the additional 8 images bringing the grand total to $90. For only $18 more over the same collage as an 8x10, that price sounds like quite a deal.

Let's also consider a third alternative in spicing up our images. Instead of simply collaging images let's also consider using our digital resources to create decorative, colorful mats that can enhance the image even further. Check out the other images I've shown below. What's a fair price for this decorative treatment? How about in the neighborhood of $10 to $20 additional cost. That sounds reasonable to me.

As you can see, we can be as creative as we want to be both in creating products for our clients and pricing those products reasonably. I've tried to give a couple of suggestions today in hopes that you find them helpful in your product selections in your business. Also, let me add, that the prices I suggested in today's post are simply numbers I've used as examples and in no way should reflect what you charge in your own business. You'll have to determine your pricing based on your working conditions, your area of the country, your expenses, and clientèle.

I think the possibilities are endless and I think you guys and girls probably have about a gazillion ideas of your own. If you've got a couple good ones and would you like to share them with our fellow DigitalProTalk readers please leave your remarks in the comments section below.

Hey gang that's it for me today. Don't forget to check back in tomorrow for another episode of "You Light Up My Life Friday." See you then, -- David


  1. Wow! I love that you have given us a ballpark figure to work with...

    Although I have to say that I will not be able to charge this much due to the fact that I am just starting out in photography ( my niche is in photoshop).

    But still, its great to see that you are doing the photography community justice by offering so many possibilities for packages and single prints.

    One question, where do you purchase your folios from?

  2. I like your pricing logic. Easy to follow.

    I think the key here is not the final price, but rather the incremental structure. @Daniel -- you may only charge $20 for an 8x10, but the $5 per image is certainly a fair value proposition. If your skill is photoshop, that's the perfect place for you to make your money anyway! :)

  3. Hi David. Looking forward to you new lessons at kelbytraining, just love them. I have learned so much from you, thank you for sharing.

  4. Thanks David for everything you do. I really appreciate your lessons. I am just starting out and would greatly appreciate it if you could post where you get your folios. Thank you.

  5. David thanks for sharing your pricing info. I do mainly pet and people portraits and printed images seem to be less popular these days. Everyone wants a digital copy for their Faceboook or MySpace account etc. Any suggestions on how to price digital images?

  6. I have the groupings (gallery collection) as a separate item to purchase. They are very popular in my business. I give the customer the luxury of helping to create the image they want for their final portrait. This way they become personally involved with the portrait and do not bulk at the price. I have been around long enough to have the folios and love the digital creation a lot more and can charge more. It also is something that not every studio offers.