Why doesn't Prestige Portrait sell digital copy of Graduation Photos?

I just received my copywrited graduation photos today and looking at their website for the different options. Since the graduation photos are already overpriced, I want to get what I want paying that price. Firstly, my subtotal came around $150 which includes couple of poses with 8 copies of each. I do not even need one copy print, what will I do with 8? All I need is one digital copy of each pose so that I can post on facebook. No one is gonna look at the hard prints of my photos, so they will simply stay in my closet for ages. I do not like paying $150 for something that will stay in my closet for ages. Instead, why can't they provide an option to purchase digital copies? All they will have to do is remove the copywrite watermark and send the pictures online right away (no shipping, no delay, no print cost, more useful than hard copies, more eco-friendly). I do not mind paying for overpriced photos since everyone else is paying the same price, but I definitely mind paying for something which is not useful. If they suspect we will use the digital copy to print them on paper ourselves, we could do the same thing with hard copies by scanning and printing them (assuming that we pay the same price for digital copy meaning that they earned the same money from me). They only provide digital copy in a CD (which is still mailed instead of sending online) in their highest priced package, that's it.

Even if I was not their customer, I would still want to complain against them as a good citizen. Where many banks and credit card companies are moving to paperless billing for being eco-friendly, this company does not provide adequate option for purchasing digital copies, and if so, they chose to mail CD instead of sending it online. This means, they are not taking advantage of the current technology to make their service eco-friendly just so that they can guarantee they earn more than enough money from that already overpriced items.


I am adding detail as a lot of people did not read my description properly.

1) Overprice is not my problem. Not having such option is.

2) I never said they have to sell the digital copy for $10. They can sell it with the same price. They will still earn the same amount of money.

3) Did someone said to choose other companies? I know other companies have that option which is why I am complaining. But we don't choose them, the University choose the company.

4) Did someone said $150 for printing pictures is not overpriced?.Taking those pictures cost me $45 which I feel underpriced. Taking pictures requires some labor and true skills whereas printing them is just done by machines. Please be reasonable.

9 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    "why can't they provide an option to purchase digital copies?"

    Cause they don't have to and have chosen not to. If you aren;t happy with their service go elsewhere.

    " If they suspect we will use the digital copy to print them on paper ourselves, we could do the same thing with hard copies by scanning and printing them"

    Illegal and quality degradation.


    "Overprice is not my problem. Not having such option is."

    You do have that option ... by going to a photographer who offers that option.

    "Did someone said to choose other companies? I know other companies have that option which is why I am complaining. But we don't choose them, the University choose the company."

    Don;t buy the photos from the university company and instead go and get some done with another company.

    "4) Did someone said $150 for printing pictures is not overpriced?.Taking those pictures cost me $45 which I feel underpriced..."

    Let me break it down for you.

    Business costs

    Studio rent, insurance, marketing, legal fees, permits, licenses, web hosting, web design, employee salaries, taxes, office supplies, replacing office gear, replacing ageing photo gear, paying an accountant, professional liability insurance ...

    Shoot specific costs

    Travel to and from the location (gas and wear/tear on vehicle), the cost to the photographer for the final product, special gear rental, KICKBACK TO THE SCHOOL (all these schools expect a kickback from the photographer either in terms of free services or actual cut in sales) ...

    Actual "profit".

    Whatever is left over.

    So let's take a look at you 195$ fee. We'll go with ball park values just to give you an idea (and since I don;t know their actual costs).

    195/4 = 48.75$

    48.75 X 3 = 146.25$

    146.25$ / 2 = 73.13$

    So 73.13$ goes to business operations, 73.13$ goes to actual shoot costs and 48.75$ is "profit".

    Also, the time this project takes is WAY more than the time spent at the school photographing. I'll use weddings as an example since that's what I mostly do.

    A "10 hour" wedding:

    15 minutes on the phone doing initial sales itch and booking a meeting.

    30 minutes driving to the clients house

    60 minutes going over details and signing a contract

    30 minutes driving home

    30 minutes driving to the rehearsal

    30 minutes at the rehearsal

    30 minutes driving home

    120 minutes testing and prepping gear

    30 minutes driving to the brides house

    600 minutes (10 hours) shooting

    30 minutes driving home

    90 minutes doing redundant backups before going to bed

    300 minutes doing post work (pruning, corrections, ordering prints ...)

    90 minutes updating the redundant backups with the final versions

    30 minutes driving to the clients home

    60 minutes going over the final products

    30 minutes driving home

    30 minutes doing final paperwork

    Total time: 1635 minutes or 27.25 hours of work

    And that doesn't even count the time I work on my business (wedding shows, updating my website, meeting clients who don't sign or cancel, doing my paperwork for taxes, meeting my lawyer, persuing copyright infringers, do all the business management stuff like getting contractors or staff paid, pay utilities and school taxes for the studio ...).

    It's similar for school portraits, we have to bid on contracts, put together proposals, negotiate with the schools, prep and test all out gear, book enough staff to get the job done in the time we have, drive to the location, setup, shoot, tear down, do several redundant and offsite backups of the files, cull and post process, order the prints and match them to order forms, deliver final product ... not counting the kickback work we might have to do for the school.

    so it;s not just a question of having a machine print the image ...heck, before it goes to the p[rinter we still need to correct white balance, adjust settings like shadows and contrast ... we might have to do some post processing like blemish removal and things of that nature then we have to get the prints done and insure the orders are correct for ALL the student.

    I love it with prospective client look at my rate for a 10 hour wedding and just divide that by the number of hours in the package. So 2300$ / 10 = 230$ an hour! I wish I was paid that at work!

    At work, do YOU PERSONALLY PAY for the building you are in, the computer you are using, the janitors salary, the payroll girls salary, employeur contributions to the various government programs, the lawyer the company hires, the companies website, the companies marketing materials ...

    Are those costs taken out of your 15$ an hour (or however much it is) salary? I don't think so.

    So please, be reasonable.

  • sturms
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Prestige Portrait

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    None of these answers make sense.

    1. The original question started saying the price wasn't the main issue. He was explaining that in today's market, many people simply want photos for their social profile pictures. As a photographer, if someone is willing to pay you for a digital file why not set a price you deem as fair? Are you really worried that people are going to prints 100's of pictures of themselves? That thinking is ignorant and not aligned with current preferences.

    2. Eric, I really enjoyed your epic description of EVERY single business owner out there - of course you have to pay for your own equipment and transportation, you pay all of the costs and get to keep all of the profits. Someone did not force you to become a photographer.

    3. At a graduation type event, a photographer is given the chance to service a MASSIVE client base. Most of the people who attend these school funded picture opportunity would never have independently do so and would not shop around for another photographer. If a photographer is then unwilling to sell a product this MASSIVE client base and demand and he has, at a price he can set, the photographer deserves to spend his time counting up his hours in misery. You pay you fixed cost by bidding, negotiating, driving, setting up etc, after that you have 1000's of interested customers.... why not leverage this base and sell them what they want? You are able to set a price the market can bear, that is the beauty of this place. Anyone remember Kodak ?

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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    There have been a few places sued for doing that so it's really an incentive to follow the law. It's just not worth it to the printers to make $2 profit for the risk of a $50k lawsuit.

  • Andy W
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    150 for that package and you are complaining they are overpriced ??? do me a favour !!

    They DO supply digital copies. Just because it is not the way you believe they should is not a cause to complain "as a good citizen" (hahahahah).

    That is their business model and if you don't like it then don't use them.

  • Matt
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    They want to maximize their sales. You need to spend $100s to get a digital file. If they just sold it for $10, they would not make enough money to make it worthwhile.

  • 7 years ago

    If they just give you the files you can print them yourself for cheap. They make more money by requiring you to go through them for physical prints.

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