The cost, and the other cost

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by wedding-photography-denver, Apr 10, 2004.

  1. If indeed there is a cost adavntage to digital, I don't seem to be
    finding it. So far the learning curve from shooting film has been a
    major investment. My question is this, now that i have switched to
    digital (and in the process from Nikon to Canon), how do I make it
    pay any better?

    I started my digital endeavor with a meagre 300d and have also
    aquired a 10D since (i hope soon to add the much anticipated MkII as
    the main stay). I have found, thus far, the initial cost of
    equipment is fairly high as compared to film bodies. This is only
    the begining and now I am realizing the other cost.... the huge
    amount of time spent doing:

    1) Up/down loading images
    2) Adjustments and saving from raw in PS CS (never had to 'write
    actions' before)
    3) Test prints which only serve to frustrate when the 'real prints'
    come back from the lab with differing colors/exposure.
    4) Visits with clients to show them how to view their digital proofs
    5) Playing (which is a great source of fun and experimentation that
    would otherwise not be as available to me) with the 'works of art'!
    6) Setting up shots (and this may just be the learining curve) on
    location. WB and ISO are the favorite forgets, though WB is a non
    issue with RAW.
    7) Burning DVD's and such many times

    These are the obvious things that inccur the other cost. I wonder if
    this is worth the effort.

    Any one have any thoughts - advice - complaints - praises etc. of
    how going digital is, or can be, a real cost advantage?

    Thanks to every one here, BTW, for all the other questions that have
    been so thought provocing.
  2. I still shoot film because I enjoy both the cameras and the workflow much better, but I don't have clients clamoring for digital so I can get away with it. If the prints don't turn out right, I jaw at my lab and they sweat it. That's what I pay them for, and the dollars spent are well worth the sharing the burden, IMO. 'Proofing' 300-400 images on my computer after a wedding isn't my idea of a good time!
  3. Yes, there's a lot to learn with digital, just as there is a lot to learn about film, especially if you are going to play the part of both photographer and photo lab. There are not necessarily automatic cost savings by going digital, but if you take the time to learn how to automate your workflow, you can get fantastic results. If not, digital can be even more costly because of the amount of time spent doing what you have listed.
    Here is an excelent thread with discussion of just this issue:
  4. Digital means you are now the old film/processing lab.
  5. Michael, digital is in its infancy. Much has to be developed yet, and even more to be
    learned. It is the most revolutionary time in photographic technology since the invention
    itself. That people cannot absorb it in an instant should not be surprising. Imagine
    someone handing you a bunch of chemicals and photo paper you'd never used before and
    then just walking away without a word as how to use them.

    "With digital you are the photographer AND the lab".

    If we recall the beginnings of photography, the practitioners were also "the lab". Having
    others do the lab work was an invention for the mass consumer with their Brownie
    Cameras and the like. Digital now can put that creative aspect back into the hands of the
    photographer like in the beginning.

    The anomaly which is hard to absorb, is the aspect of automation that's available once
    learned. It's the science part, just like there was the science part in the darkroom. Only the
    precision is even easier to achieve, and the results infinitely easier to repeat. In 6 months
    anyone can achieve the repeatability of Ansel Adams' complex exposure maps for each

    A few answers:

    1) "Up/down loading images"; You need not be there while this happens. Do something
    else. Even work on your computer while it's downloading. Or goof off here like I do : -)

    2) "Adjustments and saving from raw in PS CS (never had to 'write actions' before)"; Learn
    how. You had to learn how to use your camera. This is a lot easier.

    3) "Test prints which only serve to frustrate when the 'real prints' come back from the lab
    with differing colors/exposure"; Is your monitor calibrated? Is that calibration the one you
    selected and saved in PhotoShop for your proofing? Is it the one used by your printer?
    They need to all "singing off the same song sheet".

    4) "Visits with clients to show them how to view their digital proof."; Give them a contact
    sheet with the CD or DVD. Use Photoshop Contact Sheet II. It's located under Automation
    and will do it all for you, while you go do something else... again.

    5)" Playing (which is a great source of fun and experimentation that would otherwise not
    be as available to me) with the 'works of art'!"; This is a problem? If it is, here's the cure:
    Patient: "Doctor, it hurts when I move my arm this way" Doctor: "stop moving your arm
    that way". Stop playing and stay focused.

    6) "WB and ISO are the favorite forgets, though WB is a non issue with RAW"; Conversely,
    forget to set ISO with film and you really ARE up a creek. At least with digital it'll meter and
    shoot at that ISO.

    7) "Burning DVD's and such many times"; Again, you don't have to sit there watching the
    progress bar. It doesn't move any faster by watching it. Go do something else.

    In short, everything can be done 10 different ways in PS. You learn the short cuts over
    time. Some people I know can do 70% of the tasks by typing in key commands and just
    walk away. It's amazing to watch. BTW, they're not computer nerds, just innovative in
    figuring ways to avoid doing a lick of work they don't like doing.
  6. No one says you have to be the photographer and the lab when you shoot digital. There are labs that will take your files and return your prints just like the film days. If you want total control of your images you can have it. If not let the lab boys do the work with your digital files. What you won't pay for is the film so you can take more shots and "experiment" for free. You'll know immediately if you've got the key shots. After the wedding you can do a quick review to select the files you give the lab and only pay for processing the good ones. Sounds like a potential for reducing cost to me.
  7. "Sounds like a potential for reducing cost to me."

    So does this: a $4,400 digital camera body that needs a 14mm lens to get 20mm worth of results....that is going to 'save' you money that a [used] $1,100 body with a 20mm lens can do now?

    You have to sell $4,401 worth of photos to gain the first $1 of profit.

    My logic is fuddled......
  8. Well Gerald, that's the costly way to go. Or you could wait and buy that $4,400. camera
    for $1,800. from some Doctor that puttered around with it for a year or two and then
    dumped it. They're usually barely broken in. I just picked up a Mint $6,000. DSLR for
    $2,100 less than 2 years after it launched.

    Early adoption with digital is what is expensive. At launch, Canon D-30: $3,000; D-60:
    $2,200. 10D: $1,500. When the 10D launched you could get a D-30 for $400 to $500
    and a D-60 for $750 to $850 or less. I've seen Mint Nikon D1s selling for less than a F-5.
    These cameras didn't suddenly become less capable, they are the victims of the rampant
    hyping of the "latest greatest" produced by the manufacturers who make it seem that way.

    Frankly, a used 10D for $1,000 plus a 16-35/2.8L (25mm to 56mm) isn't all that costly...
    and any difference in price is quickly made up in film & processing costs. This Fall I'd
    wager that the 10D will be selling used/mint for $700.

    Commercial buyers are the ones willing to pay early adopter prices because their
    accountants have it all figured out. And then there's those people with lots of disposable
    income, who previously bought a 6 lens Leica kit for $12,000, or $15,000. worth of
    Hasselblad gear to shoot vacation snaps.

    I do buy the latest digital equipment, but the reason is for commercial work, not
    weddings. With commercial work I charge a digital capture fee with each job that replaces
    the previous film, processing and scanning fees the client had to pay with film. That $200
    per day fee is a drop in the bucket compared to a jobs film/processing charges, not to
    mention drum scanning fees for each shot used. All I needed to completely pay for a
    Canon 1Ds was 18 or so commercial shoot days ($7,200. less depreciation, minus what I
    can sell it for in 2 -3 years, divided by $200). I already accomplished that pay out, and the
    camera's digital fees are pure profit for as long as I can hold out against the need for the
    "latest, greatest". With the 1Ds, that could be awhile.
  9. For Marc: aren't you the same person who posted such a cost involving printers that seem to fail after the warranty expired? This is another 'little' cost of going digital, it seems. (I've yet to have to 'share' the cost of printer maintenance with my lab, nor do I have to worry about keeping inks and paper on hand; and the printer in working condition.)

    Plus, are you brave enough to go to a wedding with one digital body? Or do you take one for back-up as well?

    Thanks, but for now, I'll stick to the film world. (But I do have a film scanner that allow the 'film' to flow to the Internet world.)

    Please check

    and see how 'old' film manages to get used. [I can only claim about 90 percent of the images used.]
  10. Gerald, you were talking about the cost of the cameras. That's what I responded to.

    If you shoot digital, you do not need to print the images yourself. A lab will print them just
    like they will from film. You do not need to cover the expense of printers, inks or paper
    unless you want to.

    There is nothing wrong with either film or digital. Just personal preference. However,
    digital doesn't have to be a bank buster if you buy wisely, and print in the same way you
    did with film... at a lab. My lab charges 22 cents for a 4X6 proof. And I already deleted all
    the junk, so I'm only paying for the usable images.

    As far as a back-up, most people who initially migrate to digital also have a film camera
    which can be used as a back-up. Or they can get a D-60 or D-100 as a back-up.
  11. One big difference I have noticed is that I edit before printing instead of after. I edit out the junk before I FTP them to a lab and recieve a finished numbered album within the week. I've saved money not buying film and time not putting prints in a book and numbering them. Oh yeah, I don't have to card negs anymore. It has taken time to work out some organizational issues (aka workflow) but that has passed for the most part. Overall I feel I have recovered my cost which includes changing brands, and am now ahead on a cost basis as well as a time basis. I am able to print jobs on short notice if I need to, something I couldn't do previously at least in color. My bottom line for digital is positive.

    Rick H.

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