Recently I’ve had a lot of clients from events asking me about photo CDs of images. This is the one shortcoming of the site I use to sell my photos through; there is no option for that. It does allow me to sell digital downloads, which usually serves the purpose and meets the needs of my customers. Sometimes though, a customer wants “all their images”. On one hand, I am super flattered that they liked all of the photos I took enough to want them all. On the other hand, it opens up a complicated can of worms!
Since I began my business, I have had a flat rate of $75 for an event CD. This price was for a CD of up to 70 photos. I started doing this because at large events I sometimes take over 50 photos of an individual rider, especially if they are riding more than one horse or are in more than one class. In those rare situations that there are more than 75 photos (someone has two kids at the same event for example), I decided to charge $10 for every additional 10 photos. This is actually a HUGE discount on my digital download price if a customer is downloading anything over 25 photos. (digital download=$3… so for 25 pictures it’s $75 on line). They’re being rewarded with a LARGE discount for buying in bulk. Obviously my goal in this was never to charge someone $75 for a CD of 5 images… those customers can order a digital copy direct from the site for $3. They’ll receive the same file and have the same capabilities.
Some people want to know why a photo CD costs “so much.” There are several reasons.
1. You are getting original copies of my work. These original copies can be reproduced at will, shared on line… anything you want. Many photographers charge hundreds of dollars for photo CDs from an event.
2. Once you have a digital copy of my work, I lose all future profits from that image. I know that sounds greedy, but please consider that this is my business. This is how I support myself. When you purchase the digital copy, there is no need for you or your loved ones to order any of those images from me ever again. You can make prints, you can create photo mugs, you can create photo books to give to your mom on Christmas. All future profit from that image has left me.
3. When you order a CD I have to provide a CD, a case, the packaging to ship it. I pay for insurance just in case something happens to your CD en route. I also spend a great deal of time sitting at my computer and looking through hundreds of photos for your images. I also have to pay for the gas to get to and from the post office, and the shipping fee at the post office.
Occasionally throughout the year I will offer photo CDs for a large (humongous) discount. Usually at the end of a season or around Christmastime, I will offer CDs for $25 per event, per rider. Very occasionally someone will contact me with a special circumstance and I will discount more deeply, because I understand struggle. However, because I do understand what it is to struggle and this business is one way I try to relieve some of my own struggle… I have to charge a price for some products that is a bit above my normal fee. At times like this I battle with my desire to make sure my customers are able to have all the photos they want (because I know I love photos of myself riding!), and my desire to make a profit that will sustain me through the month.
Thankfully, I have an amazing customer base that has always understood this!
Other photogs out there- how do you feel about or deal with the issue of photo cds?