Wedding pictures: Digital files or Prints

Apr 12, 2016
733
40
ethanzentz.com
#1
Hello all,
I'm fairly new to the wedding side of things. I'm sure this has been asked before, but what do you guys normally do for couples: give them their pictures in digital format for them to do what they want or keep them protected and have them buy prints? And if it is the former, do you think you charge a premium because of it?

Thanks
 

Mt Spokane Photography

Spends too much time on this forum
Mar 25, 2011
14,482
64
#2
The business side of wedding photography is equally importand to the image capture and editing. Don't even think of starting a business until all the pieces are in place.

Fortunately, there are many good training courses where your questions are answered. Educate yourself, get a proper contract setup and offer a variety of packages to your clients. Many want albums, so have a relationship established with a publisher.

Here, is a 12 week course (I said its hard) that covers the process from nothing to your first client.
https://www.creativelive.com/class/...ons/class-introduction?via=cl-global-module_4

There are many more classes at Creative live that specialize in wedding photography.

Skip the business end, and you will fail, its guaranteed.
 

Mikehit

EOS 5D Mark IV
Jul 28, 2015
3,012
220
#3
Why not ask them what they wan?
As for pricing the simplest way is to cost as if sending them digital and add extra for printing. Every photographer has their own way of doing things and will cause endless discussion on any wedding forum: some couples want a disc with all images, some insist they have the right to not deliver images that meet their expectations technically, some provide a disc of all raw/jpeg and agree to process (and print?) a specific number of them.
But whatever you do, make sure it is agreed in a contract!
 
#4
Not a wedding photographer myself, but I worked for two decades (until 2015) at a pro photo lab that dealt with a lot of wedding photographers and I still know some of them. Traditionally (in the film days) everyone ordered prints because they had to. That is where a lot of the profit in weddings comes from. Now most couples only want a disc and a lot of photographers have been forced to go that way to stay in business. Top notch photographers can still offer prints and control the images, but unless you are a big name you will simply lose the wedding to another photographer who is willing to give the couple a disc. So it's a bad situation for photographers because prints and albums are a big part of your revenue.

As someone suggested you may ask the couple what they want. IMO the best policy is to have packages that offer both, but don't make the disc only package so cheap that they automatically go for it. If you offer prints and albums you need to have high quality samples from a pro lab. If you live in a large enough city to have a good photo lab, work directly with them. Face-to-face is always better than online. However, if you don't have a lab near you we are in the golden age of online ordering and several big name labs would be happy to help you.
 
Dec 26, 2011
346
5
#5
Reputation is everything for wedding photographers as most business is from referrals. The biggest issue (aside from loss of print revenue) with providing files is that you lose control over how they are post processed, used or presented. If a couple decides to get a cheap "poster" print from the local drug store, that print will represent your work - good or bad. When their friends ask who was their photographer that poster print essentially is a first impression of your portfolio. One approach is to structure your packages and pricing so that you "give them for free" one large gallery wrap print of the image of their choice. That way you control the final output for at least one key image. And, if they get drug store prints they will have something to compare them against to know if they got decent prints or not. Of course if all they want to do is look at the images on their phones... well, better have a good clause in your contract regarding if and how long you will provide backup images.
 
Likes: MrFotoFool

Mikehit

EOS 5D Mark IV
Jul 28, 2015
3,012
220
#6
The biggest issue (aside from loss of print revenue) with providing files is that you lose control over how they are post processed, used or presented.
Tough. What do you do? Tell them you will not provide images on a disc because you do not trust them? Personally I find this sort of approach somewhat self-important. Even if the package includes one high-quality print, most people will see what they show on social media.

Why would sharing on social media affect any T&C relating to how long you would provide back ups?
 

Don Haines

posting cat pictures on the internet since 1986
Jun 4, 2012
7,188
163
Canada
#8
Correct me if I am wrong, but nowadays, aren’t people more interested in getting digital images than prints?
 
Dec 26, 2011
346
5
#10
... Why would sharing on social media affect any T&C relating to how long you would provide back ups?
My point was to simply avoid the scenario where a couple only keeps a full set of wedding pixs on one of their phones, lose that phone and come crying back to original photog asking for new files. How long will you insure you keep their files for them and how much will a second copy of everything cost? Or do you only provide the initial copy, encourage they backup and make no promise of future availability or warranty as to the original media's longevity? That's what I was suggesting go in the T&C's. In the film era I had one fellow shooter have a couple come back 10 years later and want a whole new set of prints (house fire I think). Just something to think about and plan for.
 

Mikehit

EOS 5D Mark IV
Jul 28, 2015
3,012
220
#11
My point was to simply avoid the scenario where a couple only keeps a full set of wedding pixs on one of their phones, lose that phone and come crying back to original photog asking for new files. How long will you insure you keep their files for them and how much will a second copy of everything cost? Or do you only provide the initial copy, encourage they backup and make no promise of future availability or warranty as to the original media's longevity? That's what I was suggesting go in the T&C's. In the film era I had one fellow shooter have a couple come back 10 years later and want a whole new set of prints (house fire I think). Just something to think about and plan for.
I did not explain myself very well. Would not concerns about back ups for sharing on social media also apply to if you provide prints? I interpreted your comment as there being something special about sharing on social media.