Dean Robson Photography

Wedding Photographer Essex & Hertfordshire

How much should I pay for professional prints?

November 3, 2009 on 5:29 pm | In - Misc Information | 1 Comment | Author Dean Robson

As a professional photographer, I am often being asked by friends “How much should I pay for professional prints?” and I will always give the same reply. If you are purchasing prints from a professional photographer, then you are not only buying the prints, but you are paying for much more than this and here’s my explanation:

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Any consumer can take a photograph on their compact camera, then take the file to a local photo outlet and obtain prints for a little as £0.30 for an 7×5 inch print using Boots photo as an example. Yes they will receive a print back, but is it a professional print and I mean that in the full sense of the word professional?

A professional photographer will have devoted years of time perfecting their skills in both composition and also in camera operation and techniques. They will also have invested a small fortune in the equipment they use (highend digital SLR’s with the highest quality optical lenses) to ensure the best quality when for capturing every image.

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It doesn’t stop there: After the photograph has been taken, the photographer will spend a great deal of time colour grading and digitally enhancing each photograph, using professional software (I like to use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, which are dedicated for professional photographers). The photographer may upload the photographs to a gallery/shop website where the customer, their friends and family can see the photographs on a password protected site and have the option to buy prints directly (I use a service called Phototrade).

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If a customer does order a print then it will be retouched and re-checked for colour, contrast and exposure and will be adjusted to the optimum settings for a professional lab to then print. Using a professional lab is more expensive than using a consumer outlet because the machine calibration, paper and printing standards are that much higher.

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The prints will be dispatched via a professional courier ensuring they are delivered back to the photographer in perfect condition and on time. The prints are checked again, before being mounted into strut mounts and safely packed into non-bendable packaging ready for sending to the customers. So to recap:

  • Professionally composed photographs
  • Professionally captured images on highend cameras
  • Professionally colour graded and digitally enhanced photographs
  • Professionally displayed on a on-line gallery
  • Professionally retouched images
  • Professionally printed by a photographic lab
  • Professionally delivered by courier
  • Professionally displayed in a mount and despatched to the customer

As well as the above, it is likely that the photographer will have incurred a cost getting to the shoot or even encountered some costs during the shoot, especially if it is a wedding or an evening event, so some of these costs will also be hidden into the print prices. Not forgetting public liability insurance and business insurance for the equipment, and an even greater margin is the advertising and marketing costs, these costs all have to be recovered from all aspects of the business.

I have looked at my competitors professional print prices, tryed to be as competitive as possible and am able to offer my prints at these very reasonable prices:

  • 6×4 inch print in a mount – £6.95
  • 7×5 inch print in a mount – £7.95
  • 8×6 inch print in a mount – £9.95
  • 10×8 inch print in a mount – £12.95

Professional photographs are like that of “Art or Crafts”, you are paying for the “artistic nature” of a photograph “not the paper” it is printed on. In that sense photographers could charge any value that they feel customers will happily pay, so it is not unknown for photographers to charge in excess of £100 for a single print. The rights of the photograph usually remain with the photographer unless released under licence, and are also subject to copyright laws.

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By Dean Robson – RT Weddings (November 2009) Professional Wedding Photographer for Hertfordshire, Essex and Kent

Comments

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1 Comment

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    Comment by weddingdirectory@avenuecelebrations — March 31, 2010 #

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