Are Clients Balking At Paying Film/Processing Costs?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by jeremy, Mar 23, 2007.

  1. jeremy

    jeremy Guest

    Now that so many pros have migrated to digital workflow, are clients balking
    at paying film and processing costs to those professional photographers that
    continue to shoot on film?

    Do you even itemize those line items separately, or just present one
    combined bill?

    Take, for example, weddings: do the digital guys mention the advantage of
    not having to charge for film? I would think that could be a selling point
    in situations where large numbers of images are captured.
    jeremy, Mar 23, 2007
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  2. jeremy

    Mike Guest

    Do you itemize post production costs or how about a pro-rated amount to
    cover the cost of the digital camera, how about software costs? There are
    other costs aside from processing.
    Mike, Mar 23, 2007
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  3. jeremy

    TheDave© Guest

    If I were a client, I would balk at separate processing costs,
    absolutely. It wouldn't matter if it were 1967 or 2007. It's all part
    of the overall process. Separate line items like that make me feel
    like the photographer was being dishonest by quoting me a low price
    just to get the business then padded their profit by adding extras
    after-the-fact. As a customer, it would make me feel lied to... taken
    advantage of. Quote me a price and be done with it.

    This is just my attitude, however, and is a general attitude. It's not
    restricted to just photography.
    TheDave©, Mar 23, 2007
  4. jeremy

    Skip Guest

    If I were to shoot film for a client, the cost of processing would be folded
    into the invoice, not itemized.
    As far as comparing cost of digital to film, we never do that. What we do
    comment on is that many of the few (if that doesn't sound like an oxymoron)
    film shooters still state a limit to the number of images they will take
    during an event. We point out that there is no limit to the number of
    images we take.
    Skip, Mar 24, 2007
  5. In comparison with the extra man hours behind a computer screen? I doubt
    they'd notice the difference.
    I wouldn't, unless the client explicitly asked for it.
    Instead of charging for film they charge for man hours...

    The only real advantage of using digital is speed. Instead of having to
    possibly wait days for your contact sheets you can have them in an hour or
    so from completing the shoot.
    Instead of having to wait days for custom work to be printed you can have it
    ready in a few hours.

    And you can charge for that speed...
    Jeroen Wenting, Mar 24, 2007
  6. jeremy

    Skip Guest

    Digital has more advantages than that.
    Skip, Mar 24, 2007
  7. jeremy

    Alan Browne Guest

    Most businesses want a "turnkey" result with a list of what is included
    that meets their needs. This may include one price for setups and NRE
    and another price structure for repeat items (prints in this case or
    other finished articles). They don't want to see "internals" very much
    as it has little influence on a business decision when you have several
    companies bidding on the same job.

    The advantages for the pro shooting digital are mainly time/workflow

    Most bread and butter wedding photogs have a set of price options in
    "packages" with pre-defined output (#'s of prints at various sizes,
    albums, framed, etc.), with options for variations in the print run
    beyond the package. His job is to capture the images that satisfy the
    output requirement. The internals of getting there are completely
    hidden from the customer and for some of these packages even declaring
    whether the images are film or digital would be wasted breath.

    OTOH, for a large formal wedding portrait (40" x 25") a LF film shot
    will produce a superior result in most cases.

    Alan Browne, Mar 24, 2007
  8. jeremy

    george Guest

    Must be rough for you looking at the cellphone bill, the landline phone
    bill, the cable tv bill, etc., etc., etc. But I DO agree with you. Can you
    imagine how it'd be if you bought your groceries and then saw separate line
    items for building rent, merchandise transportation, loss due to spoilage,
    utilities, and labor costs added on. Many businesses have a business model
    that is the height of arrogance.
    george, Mar 24, 2007
  9. jeremy

    george Guest

    I've always known "NRE" to stand for "non-recurring engineering" costs.
    That doesn't make sense here. So, what does NRE mean?
    george, Mar 24, 2007
  10. jeremy

    TheDave© Guest

    Phone bills, etc., generally add taxes and government-imposed fees, and
    while I still don't "like" it, it's easier to understand why they're
    listed separately. I did get into a lengthy discuission with my phone
    company customer service rep one day because I was questioning many of
    the items (many of which were named identically on the bill) and she
    either couldn't or wouldn't tell me what they were for.

    There was a big debate awhile back on an eBay newsgroup over what
    constituted "handling" in shipping & handling and what the customer
    should pay extra for. It was surprising to me how many sellers thought
    customers should be billed for gas and time to the post office, etc.,
    when justifying high shipping costs. I thought most overhead should be
    priced into the item itself and not added at the end, and used an
    example similar to yours that most stores do it this way.
    TheDave©, Mar 24, 2007
  11. jeremy

    TheDave© Guest

    I could see billing something like this as an "extra", but I would
    still expect it to be one overall quote, and not broken down into
    processing, materials, etc. As a customer I have not a care in the
    world about it other than the final product and the final cost.
    TheDave©, Mar 24, 2007
  12. Non-Recurring Expenses?
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Mar 25, 2007
  13. jeremy

    Alan Browne Guest

    Non recurring expense (the usual term is "engineering").

    In setting up a wedding photo set, there are non recurring expenses
    (time, film, rentals, etc.)

    Recurring expenses are the prints, etc.
    Alan Browne, Mar 25, 2007
  14. jeremy

    Alan Browne Guest

    I didn't imply that everything should be broken down, quite the opposite.
    The other point is that a customer might select package "A" at $1000 and
    then request prints that are beyond the package offering. So the quote
    would like:
    Package A $1,000
    Extra prints: $ 200
    Portrait $ 350
    Total whatever

    Alan Browne, Mar 25, 2007
  15. jeremy

    Pudentame Guest

    Wouldn't it depend on whether the itemized bill == the quoted cost?

    I.E. I quote $XXXX.xx for the job and then hand over an invoice that
    breaks it out as:
    Photographers time
    + materials
    + processing
    + this
    + that
    = $XXXX.xx

    What's your beef?
    Pudentame, Mar 26, 2007
  16. jeremy

    Pudentame Guest

    FWIW, "Handling" is getting the item off the shelf, placing it in the
    box, padding as necessary, sealing the box, filling out the paperwork,
    labeling for UPS (or whatever carrier), contacting the carrier to pickup
    or taking it to the carrier's drop-off. It includes the cost of the
    shipping materials and the time the shipper has to take to prepare it
    for shipment. Handling is the cost of getting the product to the common

    PLUS PROFIT, never doubt that.

    What the carrier actually charges to bring it to you is "shipping".

    Handling may also cover any difference between what's quoted to you for
    shipping and what it actually costs the shipper. Based on rate tables
    and estimated weight of the package, they guess-timate UPS is going to
    charge them $6.00 to bring it to you.

    When they get the bill from UPS it's actually $6.75 ... that extra $0.75
    should come out of "handling".

    Generally they're lumped together, and handling charges shouldn't rise
    quite as much per piece from an order, i.e. an order with 3 separate
    items in one box shouldn't have any increase in handling, although there
    might be a small increase if multiple boxes were required, but it
    wouldn't double for 2 boxes or triple for 3.

    Shipping OTOH, will increase based on the number and weight of cartons
    Pudentame, Mar 26, 2007
  17. jeremy

    Pudentame Guest

    So does film, but that wasn't the question asked.
    Pudentame, Mar 26, 2007
  18. jeremy

    Pudentame Guest

    Non-recurring expense, i.e. something that you only have the cost of one
    time, like the time you use up doing the client's shoot. You wouldn't
    have to repeat the shoot every time the client requested additional prints.
    Pudentame, Mar 26, 2007
  19. I can see where this would be useful if you sold the items
    separately....That is, one charge for being there and taking the photos, and
    then other charges for the amount of further work done....The number of 8 x
    10's and etc......There may be some who just want the digitized images, or
    the film (if you use film) and nothing else....They want to build their own
    "Wedding Book" over time......
    William Graham, Mar 26, 2007
  20. jeremy

    Pudentame Guest

    Those extras are not part of the original package. They're additional
    items you sell the client when they come in to view "proofs" and choose
    the items they want in their package.

    They get everything their contract calls for with no additional cost.

    Example: the package includes a wedding album - 50 images or so,
    professionally printed and bound (contracted out - cheaper than
    physically manufacturing it in house).

    You've shot 300 or more images for them to choose from. They choose the
    50 they like best for their album.

    BUT, while you've got them there, your chance to actually make a profit
    comes from being able to "upsell" them.

    Maybe that's by getting them to changing their order into a 100 image
    album, or by purchasing other goodies like that 40" x 25" gallery wrap
    or framed portrait.

    Today it's done with a comfortable sitting environment and digital
    projection. Have the image ready to go & have the frame on a stand ready
    to place where the projection will sit right inside the opening.

    And it doesn't end with them deciding to take those 50 or 100 images.
    Sometime later, they may be back and want additional photographs that
    were among the 200 or so they passed over the first time.

    Or maybe there's pictures of Uncle Joe at the reception and the bride
    can't stand Uncle Joe. He was only there because he's Aunt Mildred's
    husband ... but Aunt Mildred DOES want to buy those pictures of Uncle
    Joe at the reception.

    How easy the sale is depends on your market. If you're doing a lot of
    $3000 - $5000 country club weddings it's a lot easier to upsell that
    $500+ gallery wrap than if you're into the budget weddings (less than

    Meantime, the happy couple get what they (or the bride's father)
    contracted for, and your invoice should show that, then break out any
    extras they subsequently decided to add to the order.

    Generally, I'd show it as:

    "Premium Package"
    X hours Photographers time (and materials) - period, lump sum
    Itemized package consisting of
    1 album of 50 images,
    5 - 8x10,
    25 - 5x7,
    web site for 1 year
    ... whatever is in the package they signed for - lump sum
    Travel & lodging, if applicable - as stated in contract

    *THEN* come itemized additions -
    Y additional hours @ rate - IF Photographers time beyond package.
    Upgrade album to 100 images,
    Additional 16x20 wedding gown portrait, framed
    25x40 gallery wrap (for the bride's parents)
    Anything else additional you can sell them AFTER the shoot ...

    If they don't want to buy any extras, there's no additional itemized

    This much for film, that much for film processing, another cost for
    printing doesn't appear as an itemized item. They're part of the charge
    for time [stated] and materials [implied; allowed for in rate for time].

    The other thing to consider is your philosophy on when to bill for
    additional time. The one wedding photographer I'm familiar with doesn't
    bill anything additional unless it runs several hours over ... anything
    that requires him to reschedule his flight home or might interfere with
    him making another shoot (also shoots commercial contracts for magazines).

    But he's averaging $10K a pop for the weddings he shoots & doesn't shoot
    all that many, and who complains anyway if the client ends up keeping
    you over in Tahiti (at the client's expense) a couple days extra.
    Pudentame, Mar 26, 2007
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