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Online Selling for Professional Photographers

I learned about blurb.com thru one of your partners, PhotoPipe, and have already uploaded books for my clients and love the interface and everything!

One big problem I have run into is that when a client views their book online, with my modest pricing included to make a small profit, they see at the bottom right that they can create their own book!

I’ve had several clients no, totally avoid purchasing the copy we created for them and upload their images from their photo CD and create their own book totally avoiding my contributions to the whole thing.

Basically my request is that it would be nice to have a cleaner, seller-branded page to just sell the book that would not require user registration and then after their purchase, blurb.com could advertise to that purchaser that they too can build their own books, but it would not be on the actually sellers-branded page.

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Posted by
vimstudio
Jan 31, 2008 3:13pm PDT
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vimstudio
 

You have your own website.
Advertise your book service there.

Posted by
TomM
Jan 31, 2008 7:19pm PDT
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TomM
 

vimstudio.  I’m in the same boat and I do plan on selling it on my site and re-branding it with my logo.  Buy  I’m trying to find some good generic images and book option images to use to help sell them to my clients and can’t seem to find any that I like.  It’s not like WHCC that gave me good material to turn around to supply to my client.  Anyone out there have a document they created for clients they are willing to share?

Posted by
charlya
Jan 31, 2008 9:27pm PDT
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charlya
 

vimstudio.  I am in the same boat.  The problem I see is that even if we put a link directly on our website it still brings them to this site where it shows the create your own book.  If you find a way around it please let me know.  Maybe if enough photographers that are using this site say something then they will clean it up a little.

 

Posted by
HouProPhoto
Feb 26, 2008 7:19pm PDT
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HouProPhoto
 

Have them pay you and you can buy it for them and send/give it to them – Blurb told me that they do not include the price on their shipping invoice.
I am going to be doing this and I will be creating a proof PDF of all the pages since they would only be able to see the first 15 with Blurbs preview feature.

Posted by
platteford
Feb 28, 2008 8:32am PDT
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platteford
 

Vimstudio,

I’m a contractor, and I am often confronted with potential customers who think they can do whatever it is they want, themselves. Many of them actually could … if they had the time, employees, contacts in the industry, tools, experience, and inclination. Some do do their own addition or kitchen remodel or whatever, but most eventually realize that they’ll end up with a better result if they use a professional. I don’t argue with them other than to point out my "value add" proposition and let them decide.

This is the same thing you’re facing. If your "value add" isn’t clear to your potential customer, then they may try it themselves. Results will vary. Some will be happy with their own efforts and not be overwhelmed by the time and expertise needed to produce a great result. Others will realize how much goes into it and be willing to pay the for the value you add. Those who appreciate what you bring to their project are the ones you want as customers, and the ones who will be repeat clients.

David 

Posted by
dagree
Feb 29, 2008 9:45am PDT
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dagree
 

I know this is not a perfect solution, but when you give the client a CD can’t the resolution be for proofing only? If they only had small 72dpi images would that not prevent them from even printing a book?
if you have to give out high res images then I guess this won’t work for you.

Posted by
jthnhale
Apr 29, 2008 1:40pm PDT
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jthnhale
 

The secret is to NOT use the BookSmart software for laying out the photos. Custom design their book so that it is superior to what they can do themselves in BookSmart – then they will have no isse paying you for your design service.

PS – I’m a Blurb BLurbNation designer and have sold over 200 books – so I have a valid basis for this suggestion.

Posted by
CWN
Apr 30, 2008 8:10am PDT
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CWN
 

“The secret is to NOT use the BookSmart software for laying out the photos. Custom design their book so that it is superior to what they can do themselves in BookSmart – then they will have no isse paying you for your design service.” quoted by CWN

What she says is true about creating custom full-bleed design. Be creative, just because anything is possible.

Cheers, Brian

Posted by
brianbonitz
Apr 30, 2008 9:46am PDT
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brianbonitz
 

Letting clients have hi-res files is an absolute no-no in my book. If you do you’ve let the genie out of the bottle and you have absolutely no control over how your images are presented. For that matter they could conceivably be presented in a horrible, tasteless, garish, shoddy, amateurish manner. Then you are not only out of the money for selling your clients books at a markup but your clients will hurt your image and reputation.

Cheers, Ziggie

Posted by
Siggi
May 6, 2008 2:15pm PDT
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Siggi
 

Ziggie,

If I were hiring a photographer I would insist on full resolution copies or I’d find someone else.  Since I’m paying for the time I expect the goods.  When we got married many years ago we contracted with the photographer to do the shoot and give us the negatives.  He’s still in business, and still a friend.  With digital output it’s even more important to have a copy since there are many other venues for them to be viewed.  There’s more to photographic output than just prints.  The old model of controling the negatives and charging exorbitant prices for prints is going the way of film and darkrooms.  People are too savvy these days.

David 

Posted by
dagree
May 6, 2008 5:00pm PDT
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dagree
 

David,

I agree that there are many venues for photographs than prints. Those venues, however, are opportunities for the photographers to exploit. They now offer web sites, DVD presentations, printed books, calendars, cards, etc. as part of the service they sell. That’s a business model that has served me well for years. I think photographers that give all that away are shooting themselves in the foot.
I think controlling the presentation of your work is also important for the photographer’s image and reputation. That can be invaluable in the long run since word of mouth is one of the wedding photographer’s primary way of generating new business.
Only on very few occasions have I encountered clients who have insisted on hi-res files. When they learn they can get all the prints, DVD’s, books, calendars, cards, etc. they need from me they have all dropped their demand for hi-res files. Its a service I sell. If push came to shove I would indeed rather have them go elsewhere rather than hand over hi-res files.
So in light of my own experience I must disagree with your statement about the old model of controlling negatives/files going the way of the film and darkroom. It’s even more important when there are so many more services you can offer. As for the darkroom, I haven’t used one since the last century.

Posted by
Siggi
May 7, 2008 3:58am PDT
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Siggi