by John R. Hartman, M.Photog.Cr, CPP, A-ASP "Just because you…
by Mary Fisk-Taylor, M. Photog., Cr., CPP, ABI, API
This is a great and timely question, one we struggle with as professional photographers. I have found that the CD of images can actually become a deal breaker with most wedding clients and even my high school seniors. The ownership of the images has become a necessity for my brides and teens. They want to be able to show these images off on their cell phones and networking pages. In a world full of digital capture, many of our clients have unfortunately translated photography into a file versus an actual printed image. I have found that the iphone, ipad, etc. are the new gift print. We carry them around and show off our images to everyone like we used to show our wallet prints, or display 5x7s in our homes and offices. We did not want this to happen at our studio so we set out to find the perfect balance between our products (albums, portraits, etc.) and the client owning the CD.
With our wedding clients we chose to say “Yes!” much earlier than any portrait clients since my brides and grooms were the most concerned about a CD of images. We all understand that anything we print has the potential of being copied. This is a fact we can choose to ignore or pretend does not exist, but the sheer fact that scanners are attached to the majority of household computers is a pretty good indicator that they are being used. So, our solution was to take any wedding candid that is printed either in their wedding album or as a loose candid and add it to their Wedding CD of images. The Wedding CD of images is delivered at the same time as their wedding album. This was our best solution and compromise because we were still delivering quality prints and beautiful albums to our client insuring that they had beautiful wedding images to share and enjoy. However, we could also give them the CD of images. It has worked very well for us over the past several years and I am not inclined to change it anytime soon. My clients are happy and I am pleased that I am able to maintain high wedding averages and deliver beautiful portraits and albums from the wedding.
This past year we realized very quickly that our high school senior portrait clients were not just interested in the CD of images, but demanding it. We have a thriving senior business and did not want to lose those sessions over the CD. So again we decided to come up with a working compromise that would allow us to say “Yes!” to the client but maintain our portrait average and quality of work. Our price list allows our clients to get the image on CD for any portrait purchase. Our portraits are 11×14 and larger and of course this does not include albums, collages or any small prints. This has worked very well for us so far and our high school senior portrait business
actually doubled last year.
I think that it is very hard for us as professional photographers to accept the CD of images concept and find that perfect balance. However, as our clients change and the environment we live in constantly is growing we must do the same. If you find yourself on the telephone or during consultations saying “No.” to potential clients questions and requests you may need to sit back, evaluate and figure out how to say, “Yes!”