Selling images to wedding "guests"

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by william_pride, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. Normally our wedding package is to shoot the entire day, burn images to DVD and ship it to the bride (about 2
    weeks after wedding). The system works well and keeps overheads low.

    However, I believe that when I'm shooting a large group of guests at a wedding, I may be missing sales because
    the guests may never see the images - because the bride doesn't share the images in a timely fashion.

    Every event i have people ask about the images - be it, the image I just took of their family member or images in

    I'm wondering if anyone else delivers digital negatives to the family -AND- offers images for sale on the web?

    With the cost of smugmug / yr = $150/year -

    how quickly are you able to recoup costs?

    Do your customers like the service?

    Does your online sales ( increase yearly?

    Thanks! Keith
  2. I don't have experience with your situation, but I would suggest zenfolio. Only $100/yr. I just started using it and had my prior clients take a look at it and they find it very easy to maneuver in. Not to mention, you can change it so the address say the same of that as your site!
  3. I ship DVDs and use Smugmug. Smugmug is an amazing value, it's easy to use, and clients love it. I don't need to recoup
    the cost of it because it adds value to my clients and becomes a strong selling point.

    That said, it's almost impossible not to get your money back with orders from friends and family. Even if you charge
    drugstore prices, 150 bucks a year is easy to do.

    I consider my prices to be very low ($1 4x6) and I sold about $1500 net in the last 3 months.

    Definately a good idea.
  4. I'm not a professional photographer, but I have run a small business for a few years.

    I would have a batch of business cards printed up before the event providing a website URL to go to order pictures from. If you go to a website like you can get the "free" cards that only cost shipping - about $10. It seems like a very inexpensive way to advertise. Then you could hand them out as people ask for them. Put something on it saying when they should expect the pictures to be up.

    Privacy is an issue - you might want to find a service that you could create a custom URL. Something like the unlisted albums at Smug Mug, but more friendly.

    You might need to put something in your contract specifically giving you the right to do that - ie model release sort of thing. I'm not a lawyer but after reading here various issues you might want to consult one.
  5. I generally don't provide digital negatives as part of a standard package. But I always make sure the images are
    online for guests to buy anyway - this is an important way to provide additional income for some time after the event.

    Whether you will make extra income will also depend on whether the B&G when paying for the digital negs as part of
    your service, are aiming to make extra money by selling prints to guests to help with their wedding costs.

    You could always change the delivery time of your package to four weeks and meantime offer prints for guests to
    buy, as long as the B&G understand this at the time they sign the contract.

    But unless you at least try offering print sales in this way, you will never know whether it is worth anything to you.

    There are alternatives to smugmug - if you have photoshop, you can go to File>Automate>Web Photo Gallery to
    produce a folder suitable for web viewing and then upload them to your own webspace. Either take payment via
    PayPal, or by cheque, or Electronic Bank Transfer. Perhaps not quite as convenient as smugmug, but a lot cheaper
    and perfectly effective if you are paying for your webspace and have PS already.
  6. william - I think that you are losing a big opportunity by not putting events online. a large amount of my referrals come from people who watch me at a wedding, are pretty impressed by the fact that I'm a nice guy, and then are convinced once they see the results online!

    smugmug is great - and it should pay for itself many, many times over if you are good at what you do. clients love that their photos are so easy to share, and saves them lots of time b/c they dont' need to take everyone's order of prints - they just direct everyone to the website where they can buy direct.

    yes, I provided digital negatives to the couple as well.
  7. Sites like SM are great and I definitely make my money back. As Conrad said, one of the biggest advantages to digital for the couple is they don't have to share the photos with everyone, just send them the link. When I got married, I had to take my proofs to my parents, my in-laws, cousins, etc and take their print requests. Granted, the couple could put your photos on their Flickr page and share that way, but with SM, you get the credit and the payments.

    You can customize SM to your heart's content, use your own domain name ( is my SM site), set your own prices, etc. Most of my clients get the package that includes the dvd of their images and I still make money off web orders.

  8. I use Smugmug too and my clients love it. You make your money back very quickly if you are a great photographer. I almost make 50% of my wedding charges in sales on the net. I did a wedding about 3 months ago that the B/G requested printing on site! Since I do Santa pictures every year I was able to accommodate their request. I packed my 3 printers and 2 assistance with 6 sets of ink and over 200 letter size sheets. I also packed my 13x19 printer and sold 5 of them at 40.00 a pop. So yes it makes great sense to invest 150.00 for Smugmug. 2 weeks ago I did a photo shoot with my co-worker and I only charged him 100.00 for my time (about 2 hours) to do a family shoot. After the shoot, I ran the pix through my work flow and uploaded them to Smugmug by the next day. By the time I got home from work, his wife had purchased 230.00 worth of pictures! And that was my profit after Smugmug got their cut. God luck and v/r Buffdr
  9. One more thing, I started putting up clear acrylic 5x7 signs with business card holders that say "Kelly and Eric's wedding photos will be available for viewing at A preview will be up in a few days." I put one at the bar, one by the guest book, and one with the dj. I always ask first, but it's gone over very well. Every couple wants people to see their photos. I also have a preview of 20-30 photos online within two days, usually the next day. I then put a link on my main page directly to the preview gallery to make them easy to find. The photos I put up are the highlights and any large family photos, groups of friends/relatives, kids and babies. I also try to remember to put up photos that I've shown people throughout the night as I've walked around and grabbed shots of couples.

  10. Selling prints to family and friends,....what an idea :)

    Back in the day studios could shoot a wedding for next to nothing and still make some good money. Times have changed but reprint sales can still account for substantial income. Sam's idea of putting little signs up is a good one but many studios will put several cards with the same information on the tables for guests to take with. Some studios will have a list for people to provide their email address and will send an email with a link when the site is up. I've been very pleased with smugmug for a couple of years now.
  11. Jo - even if you're providing "digital negatives", without explicit permission from you as the Copyright holder; how can it be ok for the bride/groom to make money off of your work?
  12. Garry - William doesn't tell us on what basis his contract works with regards to waiving copyright (or not) or
    reproduction of his images (or not), so that option was left open as a possibility in my post. Some photographers
    offer the option of unlimited reproduction to their clients, usually for an extra fee and often on a time-limited basis,
    and this is the context in which my comment was intended to be interpreted - hope that helps;-)
  13. I use Smugmug and it is definitely worth th small investment. At the end of the night, I pass out my card to the majority of guests present and let them know that my pics will be online in a couple of weeks. It has definitely paid off. Many guests purchase prints of themselves or family members and little by little the sales begin to add up. I recommend making contact with as many guests as possible before the night is over and try to mingle with them snapping a few pictures of them here and there. At they end of the night, they will come and ask for you card as well.
  14. Very encouraging answers! Exactly what I wanted to hear.

    The last couple weddings, I've had people ask about images and just didn't have a good answer, so I direct them to the B/G, knowing that not every B/G may not have time to send the images to everyone. This should give the guests an opportunity to purchase images of their family.

    I was also wondering how many images you post per wedding? I usually deliver 500 images / DVD. I was thinking 100 images???

    I like the idea of linking their wedding images directly to the smugmug site. That would allow people to review the wedding pictures quickly. And the chance to purchase.

    Your replies are most appreciated and it sounds like a no brainer...

    Thanks so much!

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