(Closed) Please help explain

posted 10 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
2695 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2008

My photographer told me that was his "list price" but if I order a lot they will be a lot cheaper (I think $2?).  I don’t know why it is so much more but I assume this is just part of how they make money – and they own the rights to the photos, so they can charge more.  I would talk to your photographer about how much they would be if you ordered in bulk….

Post # 5
107 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2018 - Auberge du Soleil

Would your photographer allow you to buy some of the prints later – maybe 6 months after the wedding? Then you can save up the $300 and get the prints you need. It is a shame to spend all that money on the photographer and not be able to get the pictures you want.

Post # 6
2030 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

Yes, the quality of the print is significantly higher. More importantly though, is the time the photographer must spend getting the image ready to print. The proofs you received were most likely untouched. When you order a real print, the photographer would likely spend some time getting a nice composition within the size print you ordered and might adjust the color or softness of the image too. You’re paying for the high quality image plus his time. Plus, this is how many photographers make the bulk of their profit. Kind of how like cell phone companies will practically give away a phone, hoping to make the real profit on the plan and accessories.

Post # 8
96 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2008

You definitely pay for the quality of processing.  The higher price is for a trained technician, not just a kid on summer break pushing a button on a machine.  I’ve printed a lot of $0.15 photos and the color, sharpness, and general quality varies greatly — from mediocre to really awful. 

$15 for a 4×6 does seem high.  Ask the photographer about other options.  He should be understanding that you have a budget.  Maybe he can work with you or suggest lower priced alternatives (you may have to sacrifice a little quality).  Does your package include digital rights to the images? 

Post # 9
438 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2008

It 100% goes to the photographer.  The printing is the same….I worked at two wedding photo printers, and also at a few average customer labs like ritz and whatever.  I was going to photography school at the time.  The professional labs however do do a great deal more of inspection to make sure color is good; but still, the photographer ups the price and makes money.  This is how they make money.  There income doesn’t stop at the work on the wedding day.  Which is why most don’t just give you the negs/cds right off the bat.  Pictage does do I think a package of 25 pics for $25 (but again, the photographer will determine this price based on what they take as a percentage).  I had mine from Pictage, and to be perfectly honest, I had so many problems with them that I returned some of them and my photographer had them printed himself.  I also will not buy pics from them anymore.  The quality was the same if not worse than what I get from shutterfly.

Post # 10
2030 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I just wanted to add that you’re not the only one who won’t be able to afford prints right away. We knew going in that we wanted the best photographer possible, and to afford them we knew we would have to pay for their services now and prints later. We’re planning to order an album for our 1st anniversary. Maybe you could work with the photographer to start designing your album now (which would enable you to spend some fun time looking at your images now) and purchase it in 6 months or so?

Post # 11
2004 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

I’m sorry you were blindsided by the price of prints! Our photographer told us that generally photographers divide up the total cost of photo-taking and photo-making one of two ways: cost more up front and little for prints, or cost less up front but more for prints. In the end you might end up paying about the same—although the benefit for them of charging more for prints is that the bride and groom are not the only ones ordering photos of your wedding—presumably your guests will be as well.

Have you thought about using some of the money you (probably) received as wedding gifts to buy prints? Or if you received any gift cards to places you don’t shop at, you could always sell them on ebay for some quick cash. A cursory look shows a $100 gift card going for $90 with 13 bids already and 5 hours left of the auction and tons of others with similar margins.  



Post # 12
169 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2018 - LDS Seattle Temple & Hotel 1000

Photogs actually make most of their money off of the prints they sell to their clients. Although you might feel like $3000 is an insane amount of money to pay for your photography package, the amount of work that goes into editing and processing all of the images is pretty staggering (not to mention all of the software and equipment that must be purchased to keep the photographer up to date).

When you pay for those prints (although $15 does seem extreme), you get a guarantee that the print will look exactly the way you want it too. I know my mom has sent prints back multiple times because she thinks the color is off or the image isn’t as sharp as it should be. If you are thinking about ordering larger prints, absolutely go with a professional printer to guarantee you have something worthy to hang on your wall.

Post # 13
1020 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

actually, i disagree with many people who say that the quality is better. in fact, i was told by a professional photographer that costco uses the exact same printers, ink, and paper for their 20 cent prints as many wedding photographers do.

however, every printer varies, so when you take a digital photo and print it out, the color, composition, etc etc will vary depending on where you print it. when a wedding photographer prints their $15 prints, it does not cost them any more to do so than costco would, but they are aware of their particular printer’s variations and are able to format and edit the photo accordingly do it comes out looking its best.

my photographer friend who told me about costco’s quality has actually gone and printed photos that he has sold to galleries, etc. from costco. there is a program where you can regulate the photo our way and then you can even tell costco to turn off their automatic setting on the printer.


but as for you and your wedding photos, that’s unfortunate, but there’s really not much you can do unless you’re able to purchase the rights to the photos. if you pay the photog a flat price for the digital format of the photos, you can take them and print as many as you want for 20 cents each or so.

but as long as the photographer owns the rights, you’re stuck paying the high price, it’s how they make money. i used to work at a theme park taking photos, and we charged a ridiculous $20 per photo and the quality was sometimes worse than a drug store printer. however, we also offered a cd with the images and rights to print the images for a bit more – this allowed the guests to print as many photos as often as they wanted.

Post # 14
209 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

My prints on Pictage were $6 for a 4×6, $20 for a 5×7, and $40 for an 8×10

Post # 15
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

Having ordered prints from about every place that makes them, including professional photo shops and photographers, I agree that the quality of print you get from your photographer should be much better than what you can print yourself.  The first issue is, obviously, retouching.  What a professional can do as far as retouching is quite amazing.  The second issue is printing – the difference between what you can do at home, even with a very nice printer, and what can be done professionally, is significant.  And nothing against Costco – I have a lot of prints made there – but the people running that machine have about the same training they do at Walgreens.  Which is to say, not much.  The prints you will get at a professional shop will generally be much better – although as melodicsighs says, part of the problem is the auto settings on the machine, which assume that every photo was shot under the same conditions and so should have the same degree of color saturation, the same contrast, etc.

However, I’m pretty picky.  My digital is a Canon 20D, and I still shoot a lot of film (Velvia slide) depending on the conditions.  I’m not a shapshot kind of gal – if a photo isn’t worth sizing up to hang on my wall, I generally pitch it.  So for me, it’s worth it to pay a little extra for better quality prints.  If you’re happy with the quality you get on your home printer or from the machine at Walgreens (as my mom tends to be) don’t let anybody tell you that you should spend more money.

Do, please, invest in an archival media cd or dvd to store your files – or you’ll find that in a few years you can’t read or print the photos anymore, as the media deteriorates.  That would be sort of tragic.

Post # 16
1238 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

Can you get them on a CD?  My photographer recommended I use mpix.com for professional quality prints using the CD he is giving me of my touched-up images.  I was very impressed with the quality of their work for my engagement shoot so I will be using them again for my wedding photos. 

They are a professional quality lab — not the same as target or costco!


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