Eye on Business | Do You Digital?

Happy Tuesday, SSG followers!  I’m Jodee Ball, lacking-a-great-title-this-week, coming to you from JP Ball Photography.

Raise your hand if you have ever received an inquiry like this:


“No greeting,

I’m interested in senior pictures with you. Do you sell digitals? If so, how much is the cd?

No name”


Ummmm… I think the question is “Will I get all of my images on cd for $100?”

Sigh and reply.

But the truth is, digitals are a hot ticket item for many prospective clients who are looking to invest in your art. And EVERY SINGLE inquiry is a prospective client. I think it’s our responsibility to educate our clients on the benefits and cons of ordering digital images. And there are so many ways to creatively include digitals into your collections.

Don’t get me wrong. I know many of you solely sell digital images and are doing quite well. I’m certainly not putting down any photographers here. Personally, I do offer digital files, but only up to size 8×10. Maybe it’s the control fah-reak side of me. Maybe I need let go a little and jump on the full-res digital train. Maybe not. But, nonetheless, I did a little exploring and interviewed some pros in the photography field to see how they include digital files into their product line.  So whether you just digital, avoid digitals or toss some into your collections, maybe you’ll be inspired by the ideas below.

Grab your cup o’ joe and read on…

A big thank you to our interviewees: Shannon Stroubakis, EJ Russell, Jeni Green and Leslie Crane. Take a moment to visit their websites and say hello on Facebook! I appreciate them taking the time of our their busy schedules to share with SSG readers!

Question 1: What size options do you offer for digital files or do you sell the full size file?

SS: Each digital file purchased is provided as a full resolution version for printing, as well as a web ready version for sharing on social media.

EJR: I sell full size but recommend ordering enlargements through me.

LC: I sell full-resolution digital files printable at any size.   I have options for purchasing single files, and collections of 5, 10, or the full gallery.  

JG: Files are always delivered at the full resolution of the finished image.  I do offer discounts for prints through me, but clients can purchase any size image on their own.


Question 2:   Do you offer a reference print?

SS: My clients always receive reference prints of each digital file purchased, as a 4×6 print.

EJR: I do not offer it, nor advertise it… but I always include a 4×6 bordered reference print of a few of my favorite images that they ordered (I try to do a color from each outfit and at least 2 black and white images).  It is simply a part of my packaging and educating the consumer what to expect when they print them.

LC: I do – each digital file comes with a 5×7 reference print.  The full gallery comes with a designed image box filled with 5×7 reference prints.  

JG: I offer reference prints for select images, so that my clients get a feel for a good quality print, but it is not included for each file.


Question 3:  Do you offer digital files only in collections with other prints/wall art?

SS: I offer Collections based around the number of digital files in each one, and each Collection includes wall art and senior brag books. However, clients are not obligated to purchase via a Collection, and I have an extensive a la carte menu where they can purchase digital files either singly, in groups, or the entire gallery as a digital only collection (including the complimentary reference prints).

EJR: No, I offer full digital collections as well as prints

LC: No, my clients can purchase only digital files if they wish.  Most choose a combination of prints/products and digital files, though.

JG: No, my clients can choose to go all digital if they desire, although I do offer a discount on digitals when purchased in conjunction with wall art (16×20 and larger)


Question 4: Do you provide a lab connection for the client to avoid poor printing options on their part?

SS: In their final order, I give my clients an information sheet that explains the difference between full resolution files and web ready versions, with a cropping guide and a recommendation for a print lab. I do not connect the clients with the lab though, I just provide the name of a suitable printer.

EJR: No, but I do have a “printing tips” insert with my packaging and the reference prints

LC: I refer my clients to a good-quality consumer lab, and I explain to them exactly why I prefer they use that lab (I know the color will match my calibrated monitor, and I know the quality will please them).  I also provide detailed information on the files themselves, including color space, I caution them to avoid using the lab’s color correction option, and I provide information on cropping for different aspect ratios.  They spend a lot of money on those files, so I want to make sure they are getting their full value for those digital negatives.

JG: I am very lucky to have a fantastic local camera shop and lab which I point all of my clients to.  I do also offer suggestions for high end consumer labs that clients can go to online.


Question 5:  What other advice/information could you provide about your digital sales?

SS: It’s important that my clients understand the difference between the full resolution for printing, and the web ready ones for sharing on the internet so they can print and display their images in an optimal way. My clients enjoy having a mix of both digital files and prints. I make sure they have a way to display both easily, providing gallery apps for the phones, brag books and mini albums, and large prints and canvases for their homes. Digital files are wonderful for sharing, but I stress the importance of having prints and albums, for longevity.

EJR: For all local high schools, I make sure to read the yearbook rules and file-size requirements.  After the image has been selected for the yearbook, I include an appropriately resized yearbook digital file.  This help both the student and myself by assuring a quality image is printed.

LC: Digital negatives are for printing and displaying!  Don’t let them sit on your computer or limit yourself to sharing them on social networks – turn them into something tangible and beautiful.  Print them, make cards and albums, share with family… get your money’s worth!  I love when people want to buy my digital negatives so they can do a lot with them.  Otherwise, let me do the work of creating the products for you.

JG: I always make sure that clients understand the importance of choosing a quality printing lab, and I try my best to help them make decisions on what they will print and display, even if they choose to print through someone else.


As I was typing these responses, I started thinking of more questions I’d ask these talented photographers. Do you have any questions for them? If so, drop a comment on the blog or the SSG Facebook or Twitter pages!