So why don’t you sell the CD?

I get asked all the time if I sell the CD or the individual files for the photos.

Easy answer?  Yes, but you’re going to pay for them.

I know, that sounds really harsh, let me explain a little.

When I sell the CD of prints from a session, control instantly leaves my hands.  I have no control over where you print them or how you print them.  I am a control freak, yes, but there is good reason.

I sell YOU my CD.  (SHINY!  Nice pretty cover!  Why, YES, that is a picture from your session on it!  You are welcome.)

And you take my nice pretty CD over to WalMart and plug it into their photo kiosk and out pops cheap 8x10s, 5x7s and lots of tiny little wallets.

Problem #1: my computer monitor that I edit your session on is calibrated (that’s a fancy word for it displays the exact same image my printing company does.  I could numb your brain with talk of RGB vs sRGB or colorimeter or a photospectrometer, but just suffice it to say, I do the hard work for your prints to be perfect).  My monitor is NOT calibrated for WalMart or WalGreens, or your own personal inkjet printer.

Problem #2: AUTO COLOR CORRECT.  {shudder}  That is the stuff that nightmares are made of for photographers.  Shhhh….don’t say it too loud, it may hear you.  This just means the computer connected to the printer will do its best to interpret the colors.  (Remember, my computer is calibrated for my professional printing company.)  It means if their computer can’t seem to figure out which color it is, it’ll choose a shade close to what its little brain can understand.

What does that mean for your photos?  It means magenta babies.  It means blue skin tones.  It means washed out whites and too dark blacks which lose the details of the photo.

It means I cry when I see my beautiful portrait, distorted, and hanging on your wall.  (I’ll bring my own tissues.)

Problem #3: Paper is NOT created equal.  Printers are not equal either.   Kodak Professional Supra Endura VC Digital Paper is the most popular paper used by professional photographers. Accurate color, realistic saturation, excellent neutral flesh reproduction, and greater intensity are just a few of the benefits.  Plus, standard Archival Value of 100 years in home display; 200 years in dark storage.  Impressive huh?  WalMart can’t guarantee that.  Neither can Walgreen’s.  Think an inkjet home printer can do that?  BAHAHAHAHA!  Oh…um.  Oops.  No, no I was not laughing at you.  {cough cough}

All prints are sent to my professional-grade printing lab and printed on professional paper and are created with printers that expose light sensitive paper that is then run through a chemical process. These are real photographs, not inkjet prints.  HUGE difference.  Big.  Like…big, BIG difference.

So, now YOU have my lovely, amazing portraits on this shiny CD, where can you find a printer that will put so much love and detail into your prints?

You take your fresh-from-the-Walmart-printing-kiosk prints and you frame them and you hang them on your wall.  All your friends and family come over and see these once beautiful portraits, now muddy colors, grossly distorted, contrasted highlights and shadows and ask “WHO DID YOUR PICTURES??”  {Pardon me while I sit and cry for a moment}  Yeah, it’s that bad.

It’s my name and my reputation that goes out.  It’s my business and if it’s not perfect, it’s me that pays for it.

The reason my CD is priced high is so you will ultimately know and value the portraits you hold in your hand.  Because you value that little shiny CD with your picture on the front, you will be willing to pay to have them printed in a more professional manner.

Because I value my clients and my business, and because I think you are worth the best printing lab out there, that is why I sell my CD at the rate I do.

Be kind!


About Dana

I'm a wife and mother, SuperWoman, personal chef, taxi, Youth Sunday School teacher, washwoman, and CEO of everything in between. Who just happens to have a love for photography!
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7 Responses to So why don’t you sell the CD?

  1. Jill says:

    Superb! I love it! Do you mind if I keep a copy of this to show people in the future?

  2. Great post : )
    Everyone I know asks for little pictures to put on their shutterfly cards…The printing is SO wretched. I have come to realize that most people can’t tell that the printing is terrible. They love their little terribly colored prints from walmart and CVS and shutterfly because they are cheap : (
    It makes me sad.

  3. Oh, and PS I think you are a genius because you know how to make a CD on your computer. I have no idea…

  4. Amy says:

    Dana, Is there a Like button on this blog post? Cause I love it! Thank you for this and reminding me why I charge what I do for CD’s clients purchase(which is very little $$). On my client contract I state that I am not responsible for how pictures turn out if clients use an outside printing lab of their choice to print their pictures, once they purchase the CD and use as they please. Thanks Dana!

  5. And now, I want to steal this article and post it on my blog and my Facebook page and tatoo it across my forehead. THANK YOU for stating so beautifully everything I was thinking on this subject!!!

  6. adrienne says:

    I have to agree with Becky. I have had several ask to have their photos uploaded to Shutterfly because they have a share site. Learned this the hard way–the colors just don’t come out right. All that time editing–for nothing. Kudos to you, Dana, for valuing your work and expressing it.

  7. adrienne says:

    P.s. I should admit here that I used to be one of those that thought snapfish and shutterfly were pretty good. That was before I started painstakingly editing my photos. It wasn’t until then that I could tell the difference.

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