10 images for the price of none?

Why (I think) you shouldn’t sell your files in bundles!

Doing IPS (In Person Sales) does not mean that you cannot sell your files – but it does mean you shouldn’t be giving them away as a Shoot and Burn photographer (S&B).

Now some of the S&B’ernes will object, they are not giving them away. They are selling them as an all-inclusive package!

The S&B’s I know, are priced from 60-180£ (67€/70$-200€/220$) for a CD/USB/Download with 5-30 files included. This is telling your clients that your images have almost no value.

For the client, it looks like they are only paying for your time, not the art you create.

If we break the numbers down, depending on your CODB (cost of doing business), best case scenario, you will make somewhere around 20-25£ per image. In a worst-case scenario – 2£ pr file (!!).

Do you really, deep in your heart, believe your art should be sold that cheap?

Consequently, the downsides are:

  • Clients won’t value your art (you have, after all, just told them that the value is really low). Therefore, the chance of up-selling at a profitable price is almost none.
  • To hit an average salary you will have to do 140-1800 session a year. (For us Danes, the low number would be under 300 sessions a year).

Best case scenario, you will be scraping by as an S&B (while telling your clients your art isn’t valuable). Worst case scenario there are poor people in third-world countries that would have a good laugh at your hourly wage.

I do not object to selling the files. However, I do think it’s hard to price them high enough to be profitable because a lot of people will not pay that kind of money for something for their computer. But they will pay that kind of money for something nice for their walls – or a nice album.

I have a hard time selling my files (at the price of ~400€/360£/440$ each). But I have no problem selling wall art or albums priced a lot higher than that.

CLIENTS WANT FILES!

This is simply not true;

  • As an industry, we have been telling them, for a better part of a decade, this is what they get. So this is what they expect.
  • As an industry, we have been telling them this is the cheapest way of getting many pictures.

So they are asking for the cheapest option, that we have taught them to expect. Your files should never be the cheapest option (it is the most valuable you own) – and trust me, people would rather have a beautiful portrait on the wall than a file on their computer. As an industry, we should teach the clients (and our selves) that our images are actually valuable, they are individual pieces of art.