Did You Ever Try Selling Your Images?


 Did You Ever Try Selling Your Images?

As a photographer, I'm always looking for ways to make my goods and services more appealing to potential buyers, and one of the best ways I've found is by providing high-res images in a variety of sizes. Whether you're an event or portrait photographer, it's important to know your client's needs and understand their priorities. Every situation is different; each client has his or her own set of requirements.
  As a starting point, I always offer three levels of digital files: low-res (150 pixels), medium-res (300 pixels) and high-res (600 pixels). Yet some clients want even higher resolution files while others don't need anything larger than 300 pixels for their website or marketing materials. It's been my experience that the majority of people are satisfied with 300 pixels, so I'm happy to have them. I offer high-resolution files when necessary.

A few years ago I was working an event and had taken approximately 2,500 images. On the second day of the event, I realized that I had not given any thought to file sizes; I had just assumed that everyone would want high-res files. However, on day two there were already about a dozen clients who wanted additional images but did not have sufficient resolution for their particular needs. As a result, I had to say "no" to some clients that day who wanted the same files as their peers. This would never have happened if I had given more thought to file sizes at the beginning of the event.

For this reason, whenever I begin working a new gig, I first ask my contact person about image resolution requirements for their marketing materials. Sometimes they don't have a specific requirement and will just use any size that fits—that's fine with me since it doesn't cost me anything extra to provide higher-res files than my clients need or desire. Other times they want specific sizes but don't know what they are and want my input. I tell them what I use and discuss the ideal resolution for print and online marketing materials.

This may seem trivial, but it's a critical factor in keeping clients happy and building your business. When you provide your clients with exactly what they need, in the size they want, you avoid unnecessary hassles and delays. Let's face it; no one wants to deal with email exchanges during a busy event or enjoy the frustration of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. The easiest way to avoid this scenario is to plan ahead and give some thought to size requirements before an event begins.

Another consideration is that different sizes are appropriate for various types of print applications. For instance, if you're shooting a high school senior graduation portrait, you might want to deliver the client a high-res file that will work well for print applications such as postcards and web graphics. If it's a wedding or event portrait, you might want to deliver him or her one that is suitable for an online gallery website. The point is that you need to have an understanding of your client's needs before the event begins so that you know which files they will want, what size they will request and what size they actually need.

If you're going to use your computers to produce digital files for your clients' marketing needs, then be sure to download the latest version of Adobe Photoshop. This is the industry standard for image manipulation and post-processing, so it should be your first choice. I have found that some of the other image editing software packages are too old or do not have enough features to meet today's high-end photo needs. Plus, Photoshop is a very powerful tool that will allow you to create more than just print files, as well.

Once you decide which images your clients will want to use for various marketing materials, prepare to deliver those images in multiple sizes. Then determine the file sizes they actually need for their particular needs. 
It's crucial that you maximize your productivity and efficiency by maintaining a system of delivering high-res files in multiple sizes in a timely fashion.
If you don't have the time to think about file size requirements in advance, then what's the point of including such information on your invoice? It's just another item that has to be added at the end. Do you really want to spend the extra time to create an invoice with a bunch of items on it? Have you ever paid for something because your client is not willing to compromise on price?
You might find yourself asking why this is important. The main reason is that it saves you time and aggravation. When you prepare files for your clients in advance, you eliminate the need to do so at the event. Granted, it may require a little extra time when you're setting up for an event, but the end result will be a happy client, additional business and more income for your effort.
  Another reason I give some consideration to file size is the fact that I can use low-res files myself when needed—in those rare situations when I'm asked to make a print of someone's photo without their permission or knowledge. Of course, I don't have to do this but I do it because I feel that it's the right thing to do.
  It makes me feel good knowing that my clients are happy with the end result of their photos, so this is something I like to share with them. It helps me build a long-term relationship with my clients and increases my chances of more business.
In summary, the biggest takeaway from this section is that you should take some time before an event begins to establish which file sizes your clients will need for various uses and what those file sizes are. This will help you ensure that you deliver your clients the exact image files that they require, in the sizes they want, when they need them.

A Final Note for Event Photographers

Some event photographers may not be used to working with clients who request high-res files for marketing purposes and may be uncomfortable in this type of situation. If this is the case for you, then please realize that there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to file size and image resolution. When it gets right down to it, the choice is yours as to whether you provide high-res files to your client or not—and if so, which ones.


If you are a new photographer, you are probably more concerned with getting your business off the ground than which types of images to shoot. That's completely understandable. You want to make sure that you cover as many different types of photography as possible so that you can be ready for whatever comes your way on any given day.

So if you just want to concentrate on capturing quality images that will help get your name out there and market yourself in the best possible light, then don't worry too much about file size. Just be sure that you're doing everything reasonably possible to capture sharp and high-quality images using the camera settings I explained in Chapter 2.

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