Pricing – Observations and Ideas

How to price your work. And how not to..

Here’s the summary

If you’re going to make changes to the way you sell / promote  / market your images then make one change, let the change work through one cycle of an event and then review.

If you confuse them, you lose them. Keep it simple.

Charge the real amount

Now for the meat

I work part time in IT and have been in IT for over 40 years. Over the last 4 or 5 years I’ve tried to build a profitable photo business, mainly on sports events – mainly on one set of events. Children’s cross country.

I’ve not been happy with my returns so I decided to use Autumn 2022 as a ‘test bed’ for image sales where I would carefully monitor every minute spent, every mile claimed and all sales income.

In Autumn we had three race meetings with 11 “year group” races at each meeting. There are now three galleries for Autumn 2022  with 20,000+ images in there for sale to the parents. My hourly profit for 2022 is currently showing at a totally unsustainable £2.79. This will improve before the end of the year as I will be turning off some galleries then announcing a sale before I put all the galleries up to my ‘normal’ price.

Keep it simple

The majority of my sales are digital downloads. The first on-line galleries I used insisted on taking full address and contact details for a digital download. I know I lost a lot of sales. People told me.

I then moved to a UK based on-line gallery (TheImageFile) where I’m in charge of whether they are asked. No they aren’t asked for lots of info for a download. My lost sales ratio is now much, much healthier.

I’ve also moved to Stripe for payments. This gives users a much cleaner crisper interface than other payment systems I’ve used and has also helped on the ‘lost sales’ ratio.

How do you find the right price

I want to sell loads at a really high price. Buyers want to buy loads for next to nothing. Somewhere in between there’s an optimum point. Sell below it and you have high sales volume, low profit margins. Sell above that point and you have low sales volume and high profit margins.

This year, I’ve gone too low. In 2021 my download charge was £5.99, and 99p for a low res copy of any images I’d moved into the ‘previous years archive’.

Now to confuse ‘em

Using some of the tools in my gallery my offer was 99p for a current download at low resolution and then you’ll get a special link to buy high res images / prints with that figure already deducted. (I’d heard a fantastic story by Jay Abraham many years ago and thought I’d give it a go).

Lots of people bought the 99p and two (from over two hundred) bought a print at the reduced price.

Why did this fail? Probably because it required an action by the users. It’s possible that the ‘immediate’ culture is also a ‘one action only’ culture.

The plus side – I’ve found something that doesn’t work.

Now to low ball myself

For the second event I increased the price to £1.36 for a digital download (full res – typically 2MB). I sold plenty but this was barely covering my costs.

The plus side – I’ve found something that doesn’t work.

Now to really low ball myself

I’d started taking pictures at football matches and seen that other photographers were using the ‘buy me a coffee’. I’ll give it a try.
I offered the images in my archive gallery at ‘free download’ and here’s the buy me a coffee button.
Result
Images downloaded       217
Number of clients            13
Coffees bought                 0

The plus side – I’ve found something that doesn’t work.

Getting closer

For the last race (and I applied the pricing model retrospectively to the first two) I put the price up to £2.36 for a low res digital download, £5.99 for full res and then provided a ‘package’ of a free low res download with any print orders. My sale volume didn’t suffer and the ‘extra’ profit on sales on the previous galleries came in pretty handy.

During the course of the meetings I was seeing my pounds per hour actually measurable in pence per hour.

Links

If you can tolerate the presentation style, there’s a pretty good explanation of supply / demand  here https://study.com/learn/lesson/supply-demand-graphs-interpretation-examples.html#quiz-course-links

Jay Abraham Story – https://businessinfluencer.io/abraham

Canon 1.4x III live test

Canon 1.4x III live test

In a previous post, we looked at some examples of images using the Canon 1.4x III teleconverter. I’ve noticed that some people looking at the converter were asking about the delays it introduced in focussing.

In day-to-day use the converter adds very little extra weight to the Canon 90 / 70-200 combination. It reduces the maximum aperture from f2.8 to f4.0 and increases the effective focal length from 70-200 to 98-280.

I have not noticed any reduction in focusing speed or focusing options. 

Hopefully this short video will help you see that this is a very impressive piece of equipment.

As the final image showed, the video was made by screen recording Capture One 21 on my laptop while it was connected to the camera using a USB cable and extender. The Joby GorillaPod, which the camera and lens were resting on has lived to fight another day.

Canon Lens Extender Review

Canon Lens Extender Review

Let’s have a look at some images with a Canon 90D, 70-200mkII and a 1.4x extender Mk III

The first image is the ‘actual size’ thumbnails using Capture One 21

images for extender test

Next, the same thumbails zoomed in quite heavily. The woodpigeon is 10m, the young rabbit approx 30m, the BMX cycle track is 1.2Km and the turbines are 9km

 

The BMX track and turbines were taken with the camera resting on the Trig Point at Croft Hill. The other 2 images were hand held. All images were taken with the the extender in place and are all from Canon RAW files.

Looking at some of the images in Affinity Photo, which access the RAW files may show just how powerful this combination is.

The first images are from reasonably close, and the zoomed in sections in the RAW file are pretty good..

affinity image canon 1.4
affinity image canon 1.4

The next 2 images were taken from Croft Hill in South Leicestershire, supporting the camera and lens on the Trig Point. I used a UV filter, but no polarising filter.

This is the BMX cycle track at Huncote Leisure centre. Bing Maps has an Ordnance survey feature and also a distance measuring feature. This is a zoomed in image at 1,200 metres. The evening light wasn’t perfect and there were a few artefacts in the air. (Artefacts is a word photographers use for ‘stuff’. It’s one of those words like ‘undulating’ used by runners when they mean ‘hilly’).

 

 

Now we have the turbines at Low Spinney Wind Farm (these are near the M1 motorway in Leicestershire, England). The Ordnance survey map puts these at 8.9km away in a straight line
The first image shows a very heavily zoomed in part of the image RAW file. IAffinity Photo then ‘developed’ the RAW file to something workable, and you can see the effect of the ‘Haze filter’.  This is an image 8.9km distant on a slightly dull evening!

 

At nearly 9km the working unit or the turbine is just about visible.

Overall impression of the Canon 1.4x III extender – it’s remarkable. It does reduce your light input by a stop, takes the 2.8 lens to f4 or smaller.
It seems to have no detrimental effect on focus options or focus speed. It’s fairly lightweight. One drawback is that it will only work with the Canon EF lenses with the shorter throw (EF-S lenses will not fit).

Canon Lens Extender Review

Canon 90D Focussing

The Canon 90D is a very, very impressive DSLR and takes a little bit of mastering.
Welcome to the first blog on my new website.

 

I have a Canon 90D and 70-200II lens for my sports photography work. The continued lockdown in 2020-21 has given the opportunity to fine tune a lot of settings before the sports events re-start.

 

Here’s an image I managed with this set up – a local buzzard in a local quarry. I estimate the buzzard was something like 200 metres away and the day was slightly hazy.

 

 

Capture One 21 generates very high quality images from the Canon raw files and also provides a very powerful set of editing tools. It’s a stunning tool for applying the same edit to multiple images and can save an otherwise poorly exposed set of images.

 

Here’s the screen grab of the 23MB CRAW CR3 Canon image, showing in Capture One.

 

 

buzzar_as-taken

The buzzard is taking something like 3% of the image space, so is actually only a 1MB image, maximum. The next screen grab is the same image, being edited in Affinity Photo.
This is not a perfect image, but for this distance in these conditions it’s heading the right way.

The 90D is a bit of a ‘Formula 1’ of Digital SLRs, it’s very capable but takes a bit of getting used to.
There is a fabulous Facebook group, where one of the members posted a bunch of settings to ‘tweak’ the camera for sports work and this whole set of images were taken using those settings. Hopefully, someone on the group wil let me know that they posted this information and I’ll more than happily give credit to them.

Here are the settings:-

 

90D custom settings
Canon 90D custom settings

A future post will explain some of these settings.
Before that – here are a few resources to check (no affiliate links).
Michael the Maven Youtube 90D tutorial

Canon EOS 90D – Guide to Digital Photography  By David Busch
(Publisher Site)