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Thread: Selling a picture: Electronic file or printed photograph?

  1. #1
    Mango
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    Selling a picture: Electronic file or printed photograph?

    Greetings,

    A friend of mine (based in the US), who is not in the photography business and not a forum writer, has her pictures posted on a few websites. Someone from Western Europe wrote to her about buying one of her pictures. The European wanted her to email him an electronic file so that he could print it over there to his specifications.

    I told my friend that she should be careful about sending an electronic file, as the buyer could potentially make as many copies as he likes and sell them at will, and my friend would be unprotected. It's not that she doesn't trust the buyer, it's just that she is unsure about what to do, as she has never sold a picture before.

    Questions:

    (1) Do you sell an electronic file of a picture or do you sell a printed photograph?

    (2) How much is a reasonable charge for a picture (8x10)? She's never sold anything so has no clue.

    Thanks for your insight!

  2. #2
    Super Duper
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    Godfrey's Avatar
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    Re: Selling a picture: Electronic file or printed photograph?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mango View Post
    (1) Do you sell an electronic file of a picture or do you sell a printed photograph?
    I only deliver images as electronic media to clients for use in publication, with attendant Terms Of Use & Conditions Agreement contract. For individuals wishing to purchase a photo for personal use, I sell only finished prints.

    (2) How much is a reasonable charge for a picture (8x10)? She's never sold anything so has no clue.
    For an unmatted, unframed print on US Letter sized paper (8.5 x 11 inch), made with archival pigment ink on archival fine-art grade paper, I charge $45 to $60 depending upon the venue in which they are sold (have to take into account commissions fees, etc, for some venues), plus packaging and shipping costs.

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    Re: Selling a picture: Electronic file or printed photograph?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mango View Post
    I told my friend that she should be careful about sending an electronic file, as the buyer could potentially make as many copies as he likes and sell them at will, and my friend would be unprotected.
    They do have cheap flatbed scanners and digital cameras worldwide, it doesn't matter whether she sends an electronic file or a print in regards to the creation of copies. If someone is going to illegally make more copies there's nothing she can really do about it other than not sell it in the first place. Just a note that it is incredibly easy regardless of how she sells it.

    I would never submit a digital file unless for publication just like Godfrey--why? I have no idea what that print they make looks like, but it has my name attached to it. Now you don't give us any info about the buyer and it may be someone who does know how to reproduce an image, but going by what the "average consumer" calls "quality" I wouldn't risk it.
    Last edited by Jeremy; 26th October 2009 at 14:23.

  4. #4
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    Re: Selling a picture: Electronic file or printed photograph?

    you'll get a 100 different answers to your question if you wait long enough. it comes down to simply what she would be happy with--if it is $1 or $1000. i have sold images used on Sony, Titlest and other branded products for 5-figures and others for $25. i even give some away. if she sends an electronic file, of course it can be used over and over. so a print has its advantages if she cares about it. she should include some language that the sale, whatever medium she chooses, is for a one-time use and not to be used commercially. trouble is it is going outside the US and beyond our copyright laws. but she should mention it is a copyrighted image anyway.

    if it is an image that she thinks someday she might want to use commercially, then don't sell it without using an agency.

  5. #5
    Mango
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    Re: Selling a picture: Electronic file or printed photograph?

    Thank you very much for all your responses. I'll pass them along to her.

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