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Best price for Digital Files?

Jolie Dickson , Sep 30, 2011; 11:17 a.m.

Hi Everyone, I am an independent portrait photographer who is just starting out. I am taking family portraits and pictures for my friends and family. I am using the online site "Smug Mug" to showcase my photos. What is a reasonable price for digital downloads? I know some wonderful photographers in my area who charge an arm and a leg for a photo, so I'd like to be reasonable. Again, I am just starting out, so I don't want to be crazy right out of the gate. Also, I used to do all the editing and just hand over all the photos on a cd. Now that i am uploading to an online site, i can charge for the files. If the customer wants all the pics can I charge extra for the CD? Thanks so much! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Jolie

Responses

John A , Sep 30, 2011; 02:16 p.m.

There is generally a reason why people charge an "arm and a leg". Bottom line, they know what it costs to run a viable business and may also recognize the value of the work they do.

The only reason to provide cut rate prices is often because one doesn't understand their costs of doing business--long run things not just immediately pay for dinner this week; they know their work is not up to par; they need to build market share or maybe they desire to serve a less affluent market.

Making a survey of what people charge in your area can help you. You can compare what they offer--talent and product wise--to what you offer and you can use that as a market guide. But also figure out how much you need to make to survive today and provide for vacations, sick time and retirement if this was your only source of income, then how much work would be reasonable to expect (volume of sittings), what people might be expected to buy/spend on average and then what your expenses are to maintain your business--rent, insurance, equipment upgrades (cameras, lights, computers, software, printers etc), travel, marketing, office supplies and the direct costs of the products you are selling-- see what it would take at those prices and realistic volumes to meet all of these things. You might just realize that a day job is best but should still charge what your product is worth if you still want to do it even as a sideline.

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