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digital download -pricing

I am new to selling digital download capability and am trying to establish a competitive price point for downloading an image for personal use only . Any thoughts ?


  • Stroodle88Stroodle88 White Salmon, WAMember Posts: 90
    My wedding photographer charged $7 for each 4x6 engagement photo print my now wife and I wanted. At the time, I thought it was a bit pricey, but good photography in my opinion is a luxury good. I'd say somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.50 - $4.00 is fair for digital downloads. I charge at the lower end myself.
    Bertrand Hui
    Bertrand Hui - Lifestyle Photographer
    Based in the Columbia River Gorge, Pacific Northwest
  • gazfygazfy Hessen, GermanyMember Posts: 142
    Depends on what sizes your offering, also where your based and who your target audience is has to be taken into account. As Bertrand mentioned, good photography is a luxury commodity. I offer 3 sizes, web, medium and the original full size versions. Mine are priced at 5,10 and 20 euro respectively for individual images from the site. The reason I price them at that level is as soon as you've sold one download of the original version I expect it to be passed around the clients family and friends irrespective of what license I've given with it!
    My website
    Looking to join/upgrade? Ref code for a discount 9AW-DR5-2JZ
  • Thank you both for your input and suggestions - that helps me a great deal .
  • Kevin KrowsKevin Krows United StatesMember Posts: 1,463
    edited March 2014
    Post edited by Kevin Krows on
  • I am a family/babies/weddings photograher, and I have 2 types of files for sale on my site. I have "web files" which are web sized, but do not have my logo, and I have printable files.

    Now, I really make most of my money off of the prints, so I don't WANT to sell the files - but I make the option available to people because they "want" it.

    So, for a web sized file (un logo marked), I charge what I charge for my lowest priced print. Why? Because I still put all the work into that picture that I did for a 4x6 or an 8x10 etc.

    For a printable file, I charge $125 for one file, and $500 for 10 files. If my client spends a certain amount on prints/products, I offer ALL the files for $500. The more they spend, the less the files cost etc. I hope this helps.
  • GPPGPP Oahu, HawaiiMember Posts: 30
    You need a mentor in the professional world not a forum full of unproven ideas. Not to discredit anyone but good business advice does not come from an internet forum.
  • find the going rate for professionals in your area and charge the same. you don't want to undercut the market
  • Nicky JamesonNicky Jameson TorontoMember Posts: 107
    Melissa and all... in the spirit of sharing stuff here is a link you may find helpful. It's called the Photographers Pricing Guide. It's aimed mostly at wedding photographers, but the same principles apply if you are charging for your photography/prints. You need to determine your costs (including time and materials, expenses, number of shoots etc) and the profit you wish to make From what I've seen most photographers are all over the map when it comes to pricing. I don't think looking at what your competitors are charging to set your prices is a good idea at all. I'd agree with KevinK - determine your costs/profit and GPP - get input if you can from businesses other than photographers - or as well as. I'll say something about the Guide.... you will probably faint when you first run your numbers:) But she knows what she is talking about and there is even a workshop to go along with it. Pricing is serious business. Anyway, check it out.
  • Kevin KrowsKevin Krows United StatesMember Posts: 1,463
    edited March 2014
    Post edited by Kevin Krows on
  • Nicky JamesonNicky Jameson TorontoMember Posts: 107
    edited February 2014
    Ummm.. Kevin - not sure where I was saying or even implying that photography is a commodity or that one size fits all, or that we are living in a perfect world, or that the photography market is perfect, or that it all comes down to price. Or, for that matter that I was clueless about the photography industry.

    A guide is exactly that - a guide. One can choose to use or ignore it. But a guide that lets you plug in your own numbers and customize to your situation - is still just a guide. But if one is looking for an idea of pricing,that's more than just based on CODB it's maybe - just maybe- worth considering. Of course many photographers who have all kinds of excuses (sorry, reasons) for not basing what they charge on their cost of doing business and/or business costs or profit goals (usually when they get an inkling of what they probably should be charging).

    Hey, whatever works for you more power to you - and them. Everyone's situation is different but if as a photographer one doesn't want to live on a shoestring then those costs of business have to be paid for somehow, and it's usually from selling your work at a price that covers them and generates a profit from clients who are willing to pay you for it. It's not about price (which you seem to have fixated on) it's about value. With that I'll leave you to your flow.
    For Melissa - it's been said by GPP and they are right.

    "You need a mentor in the professional world not a forum full of unproven ideas... good business advice does not come from an internet forum."
  • Kevin KrowsKevin Krows United StatesMember Posts: 1,463
    edited March 2014
    Post edited by Kevin Krows on
  • Nicky JamesonNicky Jameson TorontoMember Posts: 107

    Ummm..Nicky - I never implied that you said anything. My thoughts and examples were directed specifically at the various pricing guides that exist that are based solely off of the photographers cost of doing business and how much money they desire to make. Those two things are what make these price guides a one size fits all. Do you base your prices to your customers solely on those two things??

    A commodity is a product or service that is purchased based on one factor.... it's price. There is an assumption that all other considerations are equal. The point I was making is that you cannot simply determine what to charge a customer based upon what a pricing calculator tells you what to charge.

    In summary, I was not advocating a price model but rather trying to make a point that there are many other factors to consider when determining price. I was simply trying to present other factors that many of these calculators seem to leave out. I wasn't attacking you or any other poster in this thread.

    Sorry you took my comments personally and felt the need to throw a stone at my head.

    Ummm...Kevin I never said you were advocating a pricing model, which you'd understand if you actually read my post. Actually it was quite the reverse. I also know what "commodity" means and why it doesn't apply to photography. I don't throw stones (unlike yourself), but nice try. Your post came across as, for want of a better word, prescriptive (and not for the first time). But, it doesn't matter, we will have to agree to disagree. I've better things to do than argue the merits or otherwise of pricing guides. I'm sure each person can make up their minds about their usefulness or lack thereof for themselves. Thanks for your response. Moving on.

  • CharlieJ PhotographyCharlieJ Photography North CarolinaMember Posts: 6
    Can we stop the pissing contest and get back to the question at hand? Seriously guys. Both of you offered food for thought. But, then they thread went off on this tangent between you two. It's about the OP and the question --> let's get back to the answer.
    CharlieJ - PPNC
    CharlieJ Photography
  • KIK_PhotographyKIK_Photography Fairview, OregonMember Posts: 10
    I was considering allowing free, or very inexpensive, downloads to be used as wallpaper. Of course my free downloads would carry an advertising logo to help drive sales.

    I have a fair number of social media followers who I'm afraid to target marketing (spam) for fear of losing them. My thought was that I could offer free image downloads for personal use as wallpaper, and that it might be a socially acceptable way to drive business without being seen as spam.

    What do others feel about this idea?
  • Nicky JamesonNicky Jameson TorontoMember Posts: 107
    It depends on how active you are on your social media sites. Most don't like overt sales-y type things (even free) but if you keep to the 80/20 content/sales you may be ok. Do you have a newsletter? Instead of posting direct en-mass to sites you could use your downloads as a way to encourage sign ups to your newsletter. If you have a Facebook page you could do it as an offer, use a promoted post, but make it something enticing, like in exchange for their email addy. If you have a blog or website you could do something that could be pinned on Pinterest - it might work well there. You'd have to be more circumspect with how you did it on Google Plus - they don't like anything remotely sales-y (in my opinion). You would probably want to put some usage verbiage around your downloads to say how they can and cannot use it (e.g. non commercial use) and remember that people can remove watermarks fairly easily. I would be wary about giving something away totally for free, as it doesn't always mean it will drive the sales you're looking for... but you can always try it. Good luck.
  • KIK_PhotographyKIK_Photography Fairview, OregonMember Posts: 10

    It depends on how active you are on your social media sites. Most don't like overt sales-y type things (even free) but if you keep to the 80/20 content/sales you may be ok. .......................Good luck.

    Thanks Nicky, all great advice! Coincidentally (or maybe not) I've been looking over the Stop Stealing Photos website I found looking at your G+ stream since yesterday, I can't get enough! When I said I had a fair number of social media followers I should have made it clear that I was speaking almost exclusively of Google+, I haven't spent much time on the others. I'm going to have to work on a company Facebook page now, up to this point I've used my personal FB page for sharing photos and such, I suppose it's time to start working the other social media avenues as well.

    I am just getting started and still have a day job to help pay the bills, unfortunately my day job is in a dying trade and I'm not sure how long it'll sustain me or if I'll make enough to afford the transition.

    I have started writing blog posts without actually posting any yet. My thought's are to have a reserve of posts ready so that busy times won't cause gaps in posting. I have considered sharing some blog posts on the social media in hopes of driving traffic, hopefully those will go over decently.

    I'll have to explore the idea of a newsletter and the technicalities of redirecting to free wallpaper. Doesn't sound too hard and is a good idea.

    My website is only about a week old and is still evolving, so much so that I'm uncertain if I should even be sending people over to it at this point.

    Thanks again, Ken.

    P.S. I like your signature, it's giving me some inspiration to work on mine.
  • Nicky JamesonNicky Jameson TorontoMember Posts: 107
    Ken - you're welcome, happy to help. A day job helps take the pressure off, especially as you get started ;-).

    It's a VERY good idea to start blogging.In fact that - and a newsletter is where I'd advise putting your energy. Take part on social media sites - like G+ and Facebook Pages, but make your blog/website your hub. The key to social media platforms is that they are not selling tools per se, they are awareness and engagement tools. So you can use them to connect with your target market/customers. (Hint - your target market likely isn't other photographers). Having said that I have a great circle of photographers I interact with on G+. Google Plus lets you create circles of people who you can follow and who follow you. So you can pick and choose who you connect with and have completely different groups of people to follow. However, especially with G+ be prepared to engage with people on a genuine level and in time they will engage back. I can't say this enough. The most successful people on G+ or Twitter or Flickr for that matter are those who don't really sell overtly but engage by commenting, plussing, sharing your work. Use it to get your name out there. If you just post links, you may be disappointed. When you blog, pick a frequency and stick with it. Monthly is fine. I blog weekly, sometimes more. Just keep the frequency. So yes, maybe have a month's worth of posts to start and schedule them. Post the links to your platforms and keep at it. The other benefit of G+ is that it will help you rank with Google. I have already seen it happen a few times with my posts.
    If you can start a newsletter do so. I think it is a great way to develop relationships with your potential clients and I think it is more effective than any social media. Plus you can sell through your newsletter. I write a monthly creative art newsletter and it's monthly.To launch it I wrote a short guide called "How to Buy Art online" and people can get it free when they sign up for my newsletter.

    Developing a relationship with your prospects is the key. You can offer a free download wallpaper as an offer for subscribing. And you can make your blog posts do double-duty... by including excerpts in your newsletter with links back to your site - a good way to drive traffic without rewriting new posts. There's only so many hours in a day! Check out Mail Chimp - it's a free tool for newsletters.
    Apologies for the long post....hope it helps and feel free to circle me on G+ :)
  • KIK_PhotographyKIK_Photography Fairview, OregonMember Posts: 10
    More good thoughts to ponder - again, Thanks!

    Circled you last night on G+ :)
  • James Stevens PhotographyJames Stevens Photography TexasMember Posts: 6
    I only offer the full-resolution version for $10. I have found with my customers they almost always want the file rather than Zenfolio products. If I didn't get at least $10 for a file, I would never make anything. My customers only want the file.
  • gotbobgotbob McHenry, MDMember Posts: 9
    I would say stalk your local photographers and see what they charge for a comparison. What I charge might not work well in your market area or be too cheap.
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