In response to the thoughts and discussions raised by my previous post on selling pictures on disc I thought I’d have a go at establishing the tipping point for the sell / don’t sell argument.
For the vast majority of social photographers who have clients that limit their order based on a predetermined budget or other cost factors selling pictures on disc can be very lucrative as it is surely the most profitable product they have to offer. An example: A portrait client that sets an upper spend limit of £1000 on products from their one hour shoot session that buys a set of pictures on disc would give the photographer in excess of £999 of direct profit (before fixed overheads). If however the client had more money to spend and could choose the items they wanted without the need to count the cost, it would be prudent for the photographer to sell multiple products like frames, canvases and albums. Some photographers I know regularly exceed £10,000 in orders from single portrait sessions. They could never do this if they offered pictures on disc. In fact one London photographer friend of mine earned over £18,000 from one portrait session last month alone.
Here are my guidelines:
A) Photographers with budget conscious clients: By offering pictures on disc you may well be capping your income but you will be giving your clients what they want. By not offering pictures on disc you may well find it increasingly hard to get clients and a high percentage of your client spend will go to album, print and frame manufacturers.
B) Photographers with a unique image style and products who do not have to compete on price: These photographers attract the big money, their prints are often considered investments and their clients are fiercely loyal. For these photographers the print quality is king in maintaining the brand integrity. Giclee printing, alternative processes and individually signed photographs ensure that each image commands a high price. There is no logical reason for these photographers to sell their images on disc. They run many risks by doing so.
I fall in between these two categories where some of my clients are fellow photographers and creatives and I want them to take ownership of my pictures. Other clients of mine want the full service and buy albums and frames custom designed by us for them. Our average portrait sale is between £4000 and £6000 and I suggest this is the point that the grey area between selling or not selling pictures on disc begins.
Please let me know your reasons for selling discs or not and other thought processes that should be being discussed here.