Selling Engagement Negatives

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by colleendonovan, Apr 3, 2004.

  1. Hi Everyone!
    I am doing engagement pictures for an aquaintance who would like to
    buy the negatives. I told her she could, but we haven't talked
    about price yet. I charge $95 for an engagement sitting and I
    include 20 proofs in a proof album and 2 5x7's of their choice. I'm
    just wondering how much I should charge her for the proofs. $100?
    $150? I live in the middle of Washington state and none of the
    other photographers in town are willing to sell their proofs.
    Thanks so much for any advice!!! I read these posts everyday and
    everyone who answers is always so helpful, I have learned so much
    from all of you! Thanks!!
  2. Hi Colleen,

    I've had several clients want to do the same thing. Recently when they ask to purchase the negatives during our initial discussions, and before the shoot, I have offered to hand over the film at the end of the session. In your situation you will save processing charges, the cost of your two 5x7's, and the cost of the proof album. It may not amount to much, maybe $50 or so. If you charge them $150 to $200 or more depending on your market, you are only out the $5 for the roll of film, and maybe come out ahead for the day anyway. I would give them the name of a good lab so they don't go to a drug store for processing. Good luck...john
  3. If you decide (you already have) to let the negatives go out the door, you have lost any 'control' you have of the results. If the buyer of your negatives manages to finger-print or scratch the negatives (as an example) and goes ahead and gets print made: whoever looks at the prints will ask, "who took the picture." Of course, your name will be mentioned and that person will continue the saga with "Oh, what nice scratches!"

    Is that really going to save you any money in the long run?
    (And if you photograph the 'wedding,' will the same 'customer' want the negatives again....?)

    On the other hand, your friend may work in a very good color lab and know all the 'little' things to keep the negatives in great shape.
  4. Scratches in negatives can be 'repaired' with a minute amount of vasoline spread on the scratch. If you don't sell the negative, they can scan your prints.
  5. i do not think it ís right to keep negatives on a wedding job. you are being payed for the job and the customer should keep them .period.
  6. There is no right or wrong answer to this in my opinion. All any of us can tell you is our take on this. <p> I agree with the points made regarding control of the final product. I would give them the proofs and insist that any images that would be framed/displayed should be printed by the lab of my choice. I tell my clients that as a professional with a reputation to protect, the final product is my responsbility. I do let clients buy negatives after the reprints/albums are complete. For orders $1,000 and up I give them the negatives. Funny thing is -- they have the option to ask for them but only about 6 people in 14 years have actually wanted them. They are still in my safe keeping. <p>I show clients a 5x7 print and ask if they like it... They do. Then I pull out 8 versions of the same print printed with different plus/minus color and contrast/density. It is quite a surprise to them. Then - I bring out a final print that is to my taste and they can't believe the difference. I had about 4 prints done with multiple results about 5 years ago and I keep them on hand for those clients that ask about getting the negs. Once they see this, they seem to understand why it is my job to handle the final product. <p>I often tell them it is like hiring an interior decorator only to have them drop the paint, wallpaper, furniture and knick knacks at your doorstep for you to assemble/decorate. If you hire a professional, it is important to allow them to finish the job. <p>Some photographers don't enjoy the work involved with handling reprints/albums etc. Others seem to think it is futile to hold back negs as the clients can scan the prints themselves. I don't know why -- but I don't seem to have any problems with orders coming in and clients scanning the prints. Maybe it is a matter of educating them as to what a good print is. Once they see that they could end up with an inferior product, they are no longer interested in saving money by printing their own. This could be due to a high end - quality oriented client..I'm not sure.
  7. "david lee
    i do not think it ís right to keep negatives on a wedding job. you are being payed for the job and the customer should keep them .period."

    Really? Would you go to a Wal-mart and take the shopping cart home?
    You bought your food items, the cart must be part of the purchase price, no?

    Does your doctor "give" you the used needle after a flu-shot? It could be re-used, I guess.....

    A wedding photographer is paid to 'create' good or great images for the customer. Nothing has been mentioned involving 'gifts' of unprocessed film or negatives. Some phone inquiries has been made "Do you give the negatives up?" and since these types are looking for a very lo-ball wedding price, it really does not matter how you answer them. If they care about the photography, they will ask to see "samples" of one's work, not the end price on the first inquiry.
  8. Some people that ask for the negatives think they'll save money or because they see it on an internet list of "questions to ask the wedding photographer" - but many of them - once they understand that they won't get the same results or better results from their originals - do end up booking. I have booked people who originally were firm about wanting negs. <p>For the couple that wants the negatives: It's like tasting a wonderful gourmet meal and getting the list of ingredients but not having the talent nor the step by step technique needed to reproduce the same meal.

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