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Client education Series: Why Do Photographers Charge So Much For Prints and Products?

This question has come up since I've started selling prints and products.

Most photographers don’t make a large margin off photoshoots. Their goal is to capture magnificent portraits of your family or your newborn child in hope that these images incline you to book again down the road. The quality of the photos determines how many images I sell.

Therefore, the primary source of revenue for the photographer is through selling a high number of images/prints... and additionally other products.

Another question sometimes asked is, "Why are extra digital images so expensive?"

Consider that the digital image is gold because you can take that image and do whatever you like with it. You can make a canvas or make Christmas cards. So photographers charge a higher price for these. With my packages, you get a set amount of images and additional images are charged at a set price.

You might think that prints shouldn’t be charged at a studio price because you can get them for $1 on your own from a specific store.

However, think of it like this - you can cook, unless you are like me. That doesn’t mean you should not pay a chef for the ingredients he uses.

Numerous places offer cheap photo printing services, for example, Walmart.

These shops provide affordability but compromise on quality. Poorly printed photographs represent a photographers' work poorly.

I printed one of my images using Walmart, Staples and Blacks to compare with my professional print. The quality and colour of the store prints fall short. I also only had to wait for 3/4days for my professional prints and had to wait for 8-10days for the store ones.

When ordering prints, these are factors that make a professional print better quality:

  • The spectrum of colours – A professional printer can print a wider range of colours than an average printer and therefore print the colours in your photograph most accurately.

  • The type of paper and inks - These impact the life of your print, and how long the colours will remain true to the original. Poor quality prints show their age by yellowing and cracking of the paper.

Remember, not all prints and albums are created equal. The quality of an album purchased through your photographer who uses a professional print company vs an online company that offers cheap printing etc is like night vs day.

As someone who takes a lot of photos, I understand that using a professional printer for all your albums isn't financially ideal. I do however highly suggest using them for important events, such as a newborn session. Again, the quality of the images is night and day and special memories are worth the extra mile.

You've spent the time choosing a photographer to trust with your newborn session or family photos and those images will be cherished for years. Why would you comprise on prints that won't last or an album that isn't as sharp, or the colour is off?

This is one of my commercial photo albums vs a professional album. It's hard to see from the image below but it isn't as sharp.

And yes, I too will be ordering myself professional albums to replace my old newborn albums in the future. Next time you come into the studio I have samples of the albums and you are welcome to look at them and see the quality difference.

Hope that's helped shed a little light on some questions around prints and digital images. I look forward to exploring options with my spring clients!

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