Photography for Cleveland and Northeast Ohio by photographer Tom Szabo

Copyrights, CD’S and Discount Printing – OH MY!

I’m always amazed at photographers that supply images on CD and don’t offer prints.  I assume if they’re somewhat like me, they offer wedding photography services to make money.  So why would a photographer in business to make money, leave money behind?  So you’re asking where did they leave money behind? 

 When the photographer turns over a CD so the Bride/Groom can make their own prints – the photographer gives up the income to be made from providing prints.  If the photographer wanted to make money shooting the wedding, why not make more money selling prints?  Is making money a sin or illegal?

 Let’s turn this around.  So you the Bride or Groom are getting married.  Granted, most engaged couples are “looking to keep costs to a minimum” – understandable.  I’m sure your boss at work is “looking to keep costs to a minimum”.  Give your boss a break, cut your hours and hey why not go a step further and cut your pay scale?  After all, your boss is “looking to keep costs to a minimum”.  Your work will still be the same quality for less money – right?  Why not allow your boss to make more money at your expense – you probably don’t need or want the money.

Now there may just be a real reason to turn over the printing process to the Bride/Groom.  Here are my thoughts:

  1. The photographer only wants to make his daily rate, get out and not have more contact with the newly married couple.  Kind of leads you to ask – Why?
  2. The photographer doesn’t want to be bothered fixing his/her exposure or photography mistakes.  Let the discount lab take the blame for shoddy prints.
  3. Turn over the CD and run.  This way you the Bride/Groom won’t be able to deal with bad images.  Besides the Bride/Groom got a cut rate on the photographer.
  4. It takes time to sort through hundreds and hundreds of image files, eliminate the “not-so-good” ones.  After all, if the photographer dropped their rate to get the job to start – why put more time into a low paying job?

 I know, at this point your thinking I’m pretty slanted on this.  A lot of photographers are very fussy about the work they produce.  When the product is delivered to the customer it carries their name.  A pro wants their name to mean quality.  That often means selecting suppliers like print labs that will support their quality demands. 

It takes time to sort through images, prepare the proofs, demonstrate special effects, prepare digital files for printing, pick up the final prints, handle any vendor problems, prepare the order for delivery and handle any and all customer service issues (read my post – You’ve got a CD with 1000 images, Now what?”).  That’s what it takes to be a pro and you the customer pay for that service.  Why because you deserve it – don’t you?

 I don’t mean to infer that budgets aren’t important.  If your wedding budget is small, than most photographers will work with the client to put a package together that meets your needs.  That might mean, shortening the day, cutting down the print sizes, reduce the number of prints or eliminate the wedding album.  There are ways to meet a budget and still get a quality product.  Remember, you get what you pay for.  There’s a difference between cheap and low cost.

 Those are my comments – what are yours?

August 7, 2009 - Posted by | Wedding


  1. Tom,
    I agree with you all the way. My biggest issue with giving a CD to a wedding couple is if the lab does a bad job printing, it makes ME look bad, not the lab! I’m the one that took the photos, so it must be my fault, right? So, I have lower priced prints to try to eliminate them asking for the CD. On the rare occasion I give one, it’s SCREEN quality only and I charge a reasonable fee for that, also. Even with all that, I still have couples that never order even a single 8×10 to put in that frame that Aunt Susie bought them! Go figure.

    Comment by Michelle | August 21, 2009 | Reply

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