Boudoir and The Disc

Photo provided by Jim Minics

There are several blogs out there giving advice to potential boudoir clients on what to look for in a boudoir photographer and how to save money on a session.  It seems that, just like with weddings, more and more people feel that once they have had a boudoir session they are an expert on how to give advice to others on booking their session.  So as a professional photographer it is up to you to educate your clients on the products you sell and the experience you offer.

Products, mainly CD’s, seem to be the number one concern for some clients.  How many times have you heard from a client “I just want the disc of images”?  To some photographers this is a dream statement but to most in the portrait business this is a nightmare.  More often than not, clients just do not seem to understand the value of “just the disc” and they do not realize the work that goes into getting perfect images onto that little shiny object!   This is where you can have some quality control.

When someone wants just the disc there are usually two or three key reasons behind it.  One, they think they can go have the images printed anywhere at a cheaper price.  This is false as most non-professional labs will not print boudoir images.  So places like Target, Costco and Walmart are not an option for them.  They may also want to design their own album with consumer books that are available to the public.  And finally some may just want the disc because they do not want any actual prints of them out there in the world!  So how do you price the disc?

To place value on “just the disc” these factors must be taken into consideration. Your overhead, the sales you could potentially lose and the value of the images on the disc.  If you were to offer digital downloads per image at $25 each and you had 20 edited images on the disc then the disc in theory would be valued at $500.00, but since it is a bulk purchase you would obviously lower the price.  In the sales and traditional portrait pricing world, the less you buy the more expensive it is.  One way to combat the opinion of “I just want the disc so I can make my own album” is to offer the disc of edited images with the purchase of an album.  Take a look at Blurb, Snapfish and the other consumer album companies out there and see what they are charging for a book.  If you can offer the disc with an album for just a little more than what they would have to pay for both themselves and then explain to them that you do the design, they might change their minds about a consumer album versus a professional album.

You are a professional photographer, you must know your products and know your competitors products.  If you educate yourself first and set your pricing accordingly you can then educate your clients and hopefully boost your sales at the same time!

3 Comments Add yours

  1. susan eckert says:

    I love this article – very significant issue!
    But what I do want to add is that what you don’t mention in the value determination aspect of that shiny disc, is the value of COPYRIGHT. People don’t realize that when they ask for the image files on a disc they’re not just requesting copies of the retouched files they’ve chosen, they’re requesting a share in copyright. That should and does come at a premium at my studio. All the vision, art theory, creative talent they’ve sought me for has a price, and that can’t be just handed over at a volume discount.
    Keep photography at the level of an “art” in the public’s eye and the prices you need to charge to build a thriving business will become a given.
    Love this site. Keep up the great articles!

  2. Shannon says:

    This is exactly what I do with my clients if they want a disc…free with the album. This way they know they’re getting a professional product and more for their money! Educating the client is the #1 priority as they don’t realize what does go into the shoot, the disc, the album…and the copyright! They don’t just need a great experience at the shoot…they need it after as well and the quality in the products, which those other quicky printers and album companies cannot provide…

  3. great advise for those of us who are just getting started in the business, your work is inspirational. and as an aside, I would love to have a “shadow” like your lady above!

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