Selling prints & Offering local development

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by softshock, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. softshock

    softshock Member

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  2. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I think it's a great idea. I think hobbyists can take over when labs fold.
     
  3. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Your prices are way to cheap on developing, and too confusing. Keep your ad simple. You can always let people contact you for more info. Whats the difference between "live photogs" and photo shoots? Do you mean studio versus location maybe?
     
  4. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Low prices = good
     
  5. softshock

    softshock Member

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    Really? You think they're cheap? I actually thought they were on the higher end...:laugh: What do you think is confusing?

    Basically what I meant with the whole "live" thing was in reference to the earlier remark about bands- That I am more suited and comfortable doing "natural" vs "posed" shots.
    Thanks for the replies and input so far, and I do agree that hobbyists could take over!
     
  6. fwank

    fwank Member

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    i too agree that your prices are too low. that's basically about $4/hour (at least judging by my processing times). i would probably provide neg sleeves, and a contact sheet (digital or analog) would be a nice touch.

    your ad sounds a little amateur, i would revise your wording to make it look more like a "home" business than just someone developing film.

    cheers.
     
  7. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I don't think the fact that you have a Leica determines what kind of photographs you can take, that's just playing into the whole Leica mystique... like Rick said, I think you could say it differently.

    Maybe candid/documentary/event photography and "studio work" sounds better than "photo shoots".

    Good luck!
     
  8. softshock

    softshock Member

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    I wasn't necessarily trying to play to the Leica mystique, but I have changed it to better suit understanding. The Leica statement was rather ambiguous anyway as not everyone knows what it is. Here's the reworked ad to reflect slight price changes, less amateur wording, and the revision to reflect documentary/street/live style etc.,

    "If you would like to have your black & white film developed and don't want to send it out and wait a week or more, I am now offering development locally in Philadelphia and will have it returned to you the next day! Developing with D76, HC110, TMax, & ID11.
    I am also looking to pick up some work shooting local bands or fashion using b&w film. My shooting style works a lot better with live/street/candid/documentary styles, so I am not the best choice for portraiture or ad work; though I would be willing to take on a project if I feel I would be able to meet or exceed the desired product. Please email me about pricing for shoots.

    Rates & Prices for development (35mm, 120 on the way!)-
    • D76 $4 per roll
    • HC110 development (for slightly higher contrast) $4.50 per roll
    • TMax Developer (For Kodak P3200 or Ilford Delta 3200 Push processing) $5 per roll
    • D76 or HC110 Push processing $5 per roll

    Exposure Indexes using TMax Developer for P3200 or Delta 3200: 800, 1200, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12500, 2500, 50000

    The third photo (framed) is a print for sale made using Kodak P3200 film pushed to 6400 and printed on 8x10" Ilford Pearl Paper; it is $55 matted & framed.

    Contact sheets, prints, & scanning can also be arranged, but they will be slightly longer as I do not do these locally. If you would like any of these additional services, please inquire about price and timing. Thank you!

    Savall Photographic Prints
    1.404.661.2230
    "
     
  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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  10. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Subscriber

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    very very low....
     
  11. softshock

    softshock Member

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    Hmm... What would be suggested then? I wanted to price it so that I would be able to cover my costs while also being competitive with local labs or mail in labs.
     
  12. fwank

    fwank Member

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    how many rolls can you process at once? i would look at that and then determine an hourly rate + overhead costs. if someone drops 20+ rolls in your lap can you process it next day?
     
  13. softshock

    softshock Member

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    I currently have a two reel tank and can usually develop TriX or PlusX in 15 minutes from soak to photoflo and hanging. In terms of the twenty rolls, if they're twenty rolls of the same film, same EI, I definitely could. If it's P3200 push processing, I likely could, but that does of course entail a longer soak to photoflo time.
     
  14. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Wow, 20 rolls with a two reel tank--do you have more than one? If not you would find out in short order that the second load will give you a serious headache, unless you can get the reels bone dry quickly. You are still putting far to much info out, just list the fact you can develope any B&W film and have the customer call to get the rest of the info. Have your price list printed out for hand outs when customers deliver their film for processing for future reference. BTW, dont forget to have the "prices subject to change without notice" disclaimer on there. Paper and chem supplies are only going to rise in the near future. Dont forget to have liability insurance, and figure out what to do if you ruin a customers film. There are lots of other things to think about for running a business that need to be addressed. Good luck. Oh, did you get a zoning varience for running a business out of your home, or are you in a commercial setting, and have a business license.
     
  15. fotch

    fotch Member

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    I would keep your prices where they are at until you reach enough volume that you raise prices to keep the volume at the level you want to work at. This also will help you get established and build a following that will want to continue at a higher price. Think of it as a Grand Opening Special.

    Good Luck
     
  16. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    Better to have two different ads. One for bw film developing, other for shooting. Also I think it is better to use your real name.

    Jon
     
  17. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    go to a pro lab and match their prices.
    at least near me, you are less than 1/2 of the price of a lab.
    the usual mark-up for retail is 3x cost ...
    minimum wage is about $8 / hour so you have to add that in

    if someone drops off 20 rolls of film and says they need it "overnight"
    most labs will charge 300% more, some labs would say minimum 2 day turnaround ...

    having a menu of different proccessing ( push .. different developers &C )
    will confuse the average person .. and if you are marketing
    to professionals or high-end ... they may have preconceived notions
    to what you will be delivering ...

    plain vanilla often works best
    good luck !
    john
     
  18. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    I used to offer B&W processing when I managed a semi-pro photo lab. My USP was that I processed by hand - at the time, all B&W was sent to Kodak and I remember *many* first time users being disappointed with the results. (T-Max 100, Plus-X, Tri-X all came back with grain the size of golf balls and the prints were woeful!) The negs always looked waaay overdeveloped regardless of what speed film was used - even a test roll I sent and those exposures were spot on!

    As a guide, 15 years ago, B&W processing by Kodak was $6.50 a roll plus the prints themselves, which were nearly $1.00/print (all AUD). Check out the prices of local labs and price the same, if not more - you're doing everything by hand, matching speed to development etc.

    If you are going to do the "Opening Special", make sure your *Full* price is prominent, and then show that you're discounting by 5%, 10% or whatever. It is *very* difficult to raise your prices once people start to buy; think of how much you hate fuel rising a couple of cents or your favourite beer rising the same.

    If I was doing this today, I'd be charging more than my local labs, ensuring that the USP of "processing and printing done by hand" was pushed to the max. "Time=money" and hand processing takes time. This means you can't be doing the printing at the same time (a lot of labs machine process their prints: set and forget.)

    Offer contact sheets at a slightly reduced rate if ordered at the same time as the developing, more if requested later. That way, you garner (hopefully) more $$ at the processing stage. More often than not, most people won't bother asking for contact sheets at a later date. (out of sight, out of mind.) Think along the lines of a second set of prints for $5.50, rather than .35c each later - most times if a customer didn't get the extra set, they rarely got more than 2 reprints at a later date (if at all).

    Make the advertisement sound professional and knowledgeable. You want potential customers to choose you over the other labs, and professional courteous service will win every time.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2011
  19. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Match a pro labs price, compete and don't give your work away, if your good you will prosper.

    good luck with your business venture.
     
  20. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    At your price, I don't think you are going to make any profit after your supplies and time is paid unless you do HUGE volume.... Have you thought about how to deal with (and compensate) for inevitable errors in processing?

    Also, I wouldn't say this in advertisement:
    "My shooting style works a lot better with live/street/candid/documentary styles, so I am not the best choice for portraiture or ad work; though I would be willing to take on a project if I feel I would be able to meet or exceed the desired product."

    "works a lot better with..." says you are inexperienced and infers you aren't good at anything else. It doesn't exactly build confidence.... Once you say "not the best choice", saying "I will be willing to..." means nothing to someone considering you for the job.

    Instead, say what you excel in, then mention you are willing to discuss any project to ensure customer's satisfaction. After all, you can always so no afterwards, but if you say that at the beginning, you just cut off yourself from potential opportunity.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2011
  21. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Even thought I'm not in your market, thanks for offering that service.

    The photos in your ad do not sell your service nor have much to do with it. Scrap them and replace them with one nice photo of something film developing related. Maybe a closeup pattern of a reel or thermometer macro or something. I would not sell prints in your ad either. Move the extra info about being available for shooting to the bottom to separate it from the processing advertisement.

    As far as pricing you could offer a higher price for 1 roll, and your existing price as a quantity discount for multiple rolls so photographers save your time by bringing their film in batches. I spend far more time than you developing, but I also consider time for preparation, getting tempertures right, spooling the reels, use tmax film which requires longer fixing, wash my hands real good before cutting up the negatives, and putting things away. I don't do it professionally but set aside an hour per developing session.
     
  22. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    jp498 is pretty spot on for actual time spent processing a roll of film. Getting processing times down to 15 mins from start of developer to photo flo is way too short. Having film in developer less than 5 mins is an invitation to poorly processed film. Speed is not the answer to optimum processing. Unless you have a constant water bath that maintains chem temps all day(and all night) can be costly. Offering several different soups is an easy to become confused as to what combination of film, time, and developer you are using for each individual customer. If you are breaking in to the business of pro processing, keep it simple, and make sure to give your customers your best effort each and every time they entrust you with something as important as their film. I still cannot figure out how you intend to offer overnight turnaround if you have more than 10 rolls, especially if its for different customers, and you are a one man band. Is your DR set up for different rooms for film processing and paper print and process? If this is all one room, it may easily become a congested nightmare.Where and how are you drying film, hanging, or drying cabinet? You need time for the emulsion to properly harden prior to printing or face scratching it. You have a good idea, but I think you need to put more thought and planning before you have problems, and disgruntled customers.
     
  23. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Also, I use paterson tank and reels. I have a 5-roll tank and a couple 2 roll tanks, so I can process a lot at once. I needed to do that much back when I shot sports in college in the 90's. The reels must dry before being reloaded, but with 9 reels, I can do 5 then 4 more without any delay. An extra tank and reels isn't much on the used market if you start doing a lot of it.

    Not everyone will NEED their pix the next day, so until you get lots of business find out when they'll be back to pick things up. Some people might be fine with two days.