Before I start getting emails from the few argumentative readers this morning notice the “GIVE”, not sell.  People can buy one or more of their images at my studio on CD.  I never say “NO” to a client, however they will pay about $500 for a completely retouched final image that they might be able to print from.  There is only one reason why a client wants to have a CD, to copy your work.  Whatever the excuse is in your process of doing business, never send a CD home with a client unless it is a very low-res Facebook image CD to promote your business and that should only be done once an order is placed and paid for!

Many photographers send a CD of images for selection and ordering, this is a boneheaded thing to do (unless you have them pay a very high non-refundable deposit to take the CD Home $400 to $1000).  Many photographer think their images are safe, they have a logo that runs across the person.   Clients in today economy don’t care if you have a semi-transparent logo, they will print them out and give the away.  A teacher at one of our open high school has a huge wall of images, where she puts the wallets she is given by students.  There are a huge number of them with logos running across the wallets.  People will copy if you give them a chance.  For a more on client copying read this article on STOP YOUR CLIENTS FROM COPYING

The most boneheaded use I see of CD’s is what young photographers do in giving a client a CD of images for them to print their own.  Unless you are charging an amount in the thousands, you are an idiot to give the client a CD of all the images to print their own portraits.  You devalue the profession and the work you create.  You are selling your ability to ever make a living in this professional for a quick buck today, because no client is ever going to pay you even $10 for an 8×10 when everyone they know has received an entire CD for $50!  I think many younger photographers give CD’s because they lack confidence in their work or like Newfus do such crappy work they want to get their money and be in the car driving home before their clients look at the images they have taken (no checks please, cash only!)  If you don’t know of Newfus or have seen his story, it is a YouTube Video worth watching!   Link to Newfus Video click HERE!

There is never one way to do anything in a profession, but CD’s represent the ultimate escape from having to take responsibility for your work or the lifestyle your work allows you to have.  Many photographers say in this economy people just won’t pay more for pictures.  I have been in this business a long time and I have never seen a problem created in clients by charging more.  Most of the anxiety about charging a fair price for portraits is played out in the minds of the photographers that lack confidence in their abilities and doubt the value of their work.  You don’t charge enough, you label every photograph you take as crap!  Don’t label yourself with grand titles like “artist” “visual artist” or get up and tell everyone what a gifted artist you are, if  by your own pricing, you create crap!


~ by jeffsmithbooks on July 22, 2010.


  1. Great article. I agree 100%.
    With your permission I would like to reprint it in my state association newsletter.(with full credits and links.

  2. …and just wait until you have someone make a crappy “Dime-store print” off of the CD you gave them. They’ll show that bad quality print to their friends and say “I had this done at (your) studio”. Chances are, that friend of theirs was going to be your next customer… until they saw the poor quality prints you supposedly (but didn’t) make.

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