Digital files & Prints – The cost of …

The question that gets asked over and over again ……………… go on, admit it. It’s been going round in your mind too!

Why are digital files more expensive than prints? After all, it must cost the photographer less.

The answer isn’t necessarily about cost, it’s about value.

The digital file is the photographers highest value product. This is because once the printing rights to the image are granted, that image can be reproduced as many times, and for as many people as you desire, in whatever format and size you wish. (This relates to personal, not commercial use which is a totally difference type of release form).

To address the comment that it doesn’t cost the photographer anything to sell the files, well yes it does actually. There is the cost of the USB and/or the CD that the files are to be put on. It takes quite a bit of time to prep the files, upload them or burn them. If you want to transfer the files by email, then there is usually a monthly cost to a service that allows you to send large files over the internet as most email servers don’t allow it.

This is how my digital files are presented to you.

Digital file presentation case for Amanda Jayne Photography

Why do prints cost so much less at a local high street store than from the photographer?

Again there are several reasons.

First of all, in most cases, the paper that the prints are printed on from the high street is not as good quality as from a professional printers. Any of you that have received prints from your photographer and from high street stores, should have noticed the difference. The professional labs that are used by photographers usually offer great service and will call if there are any issues with the file that was sent. They also have professional colour labs that calibrate for accurate colour (as long as the file sent to them is good also). That makes a greater cost for the photographer as well. This is not to say that you can’t get great looking prints and canvases at chain store printers, but there is a risk that they might not look as good as what might have come from your photographer. Also it takes the photographer time (again, an expense to the client) to prep, size, upload, package and ship prints to you.

For example, when you order and 8 x 10 print from your photographer, that file is cropped to the proper size you are ordering, checked for colouring, uploaded to the printer, received and checked from the printer so that you are receiving the highest quality print.

Does that make more sense now? I certainly hope so.

Your comments on this subject are of course always welcome. Please share your experiences.


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