Shoot and Share Photographers - You Either Love Them or You Hate Them

Shoot and Share Photographers - You Either Love Them or You Hate Them

Over the last couple years, more and more photographers are turning towards a new business model of sharing the digital files with their clients rather than requiring them to place print orders to generate revenue. The traditional business model photographers who rely on sales of prints to make money are furious with the growing popularity of "shoot and share photographers" even going as far as "declaring war" against it. Here's what photographers need to know.

What is a "Shoot and Share" photographer?
It is a photographer who has chosen to turn over the edited digital files to their client so that they can share the images as they would like and print them wherever they wish.

Why are so many photographers upset with this business model?
They feel it cheapens the industry and cuts into revenue sources that photographers have been relying on for years. Traditionally wedding or portrait photographers set up meetings with clients after the photos have been edited and use the time to sell prints of many sizes to them. An average sales meeting for traditional photographers will yield them anywhere from $500 to $3,000 extra income from the sale of prints, canvases, albums and other photo related items. Photographers relying on this extra income to maintain their business are growing upset at the number of photographers offering the "shoot and share" model making it too easy for clients to receive the digital files and print them on their own.

Fstoppers Shoot and Share Photographers Wedding 1

Are they ruining the industry?
Over the last few years as the "Shoot and Share" model of photography has continued to grow a number of outspoken photographers have taken to the blogging, email newsletters or Facebook to pronounce their disgust with the model. Often they will say that photographers who follow the "Shoot and Share" model will be out of business in just a matter of years or that they care less about the clients because they don't want to sell them beautiful prints and canvases for their homes and instead just push them to Walmart to have products made. "Shoot and Share" photographers are told they are ruining the photography industry and that if they keep it up soon we will all be out of business. John Mireles, who calls himself "The Photographer's Business Coach" even went as far to say in a blog article published on August 10th that he was "declaring war" on one product and its innovator. In the article the author says those who follow the "Shoot and Share" business model are, "not making's a hobby at best and recipe for failure at worst." He goes on to say, "Now if you're a photographer who just likes to shoot the wedding and then wash your hands of it, that's your prerogative and I respect that. It's just important to know that you're leaving a significant amount of money on the table." He goes on to explain in the article that he has yet to meet a photographer who is rolling in the cash because he sold a bunch of prints and that the reason photographers following the traditional model charge as much as they do is because it is necessary to "operate sustainably."


Can't we all just get along?
Now before I go any further, this article is not about trying to sway photographers to choose one model of business versus another. I say pick whichever you feel works best for you. My reason for writing this blog post is because over the last year I have seen a number of contentious battles between the two sides. In fact, I was once a member of a great group of photographers on Facebook but, because they constantly battled over this idea that photographers cannot be profitable as a "Shoot and Share" business model I decided to leave the group and in turn have lost daily contact with a number of friends there. I was just tired of photographers slinging mud at each other and being disrespectful in the way they handled different attitudes towards running their photography business. Ultimately we all want to do the same thing, which is bring happiness to our clients while making money to continue operating our business successfully.

Here's a business term worth knowing.
What I hope all photographers reading this article learn is the business term that was coined by a professor at the Harvard Business School Clayton Christensen called "disruptive innovation." According to Wikipedia, "A disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually goes on to disrupt an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology. The term is used in business and technology literature to describe innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically first by designing for a different set of consumers in a new market and later by lowering prices in the existing market."

Fstoppers Shoot and Share Ikea Southwest

Examples of companies that shook up their industry.
When IKEA entered the furniture retail business it shook the industry up and had other furniture stores reevaluating how they manufacture and sell their product to compete or differentiate themselves. When Southwest entered the airline market with its low cost, no frills, pick your seat way of doing business, other airlines took notice and some even tried to compete, some went out of business while some re-innovated their own marketing strategy to continue operating their business in a more traditional sense of the way. There are a number of examples of companies that have used disruptive innovation to shake up an industry.

One visionary who was incredible at doing this was Steve Jobs. For those old enough to remember, he took Apple from a struggling computer company that was competing with the behemoth Microsoft and turned it into a consumer device company. The iPod and later the iPad were disruptive innovations that turned personal computing on its side and revolutionized the technology industry. Then came iTunes with the ability to buy individual songs from artists rather than having to purchase the whole disc of music, then apps (disruptive innovation to the software industry) then came their new line of laptops that didn't even offer a CD/DVD drive thereby pushing users to do their file saving using cloud services.


How about Netflix? or RedBox? Look what those two companies are doing to the video rental industry. Are they not making money because they are doing it differently (which happens to be the argument of the traditionalists)? Not at all. Both of these companies have found ways of getting a product consumers want into their hands without the need to build one of the more traditional brick and mortar retail stores stocked with product and employees.

Is it really worth going to war over.
The way I see it is that the "Shoot and Share" business model is a disruptive innovation and for that reason has caused such a visceral reaction by some who might be susceptible to losing business because of it. Sadly, some who feel threatened think it's best to go on the attack, "declare war" and try to sway as many photographers as possible to their side of the battle field. Often they will ask you to sign up for their email newsletter, "Like" their Facebook page, or buy their coaching so they can show you the "correct" way to operate your business. Does fighting with one another do anyone any good? Does it really help to sling mud, call each other names, and waste our time writing or reading blog posts that are full of hate? It's sad to see our industry is filled with so much hate. I understand why bloggers/coaches write this kind of stuff, it gets a reaction. It gets shared and liked, they get applauded, they feel good for the week as they see the number of site visitors climb. In the blogging world we call it "click bait."

Why waste time fighting when you could be growing your business instead?
So, do photographers really need to waste time kicking, clawing and screaming at one another? Absolutely not. Find a model that works best for you and OWN IT. Let me give you an example of a business that has stuck to its traditional ways and is thriving by marketing this difference. The financial company Edward Jones has been around for a long time. Their business has always been to hire a representative for an area, build a small office for them right in the heart of town and then make that representative available to locals for help with their financial services, 401k rollovers, savings accounts and more. Many financial companies started out the same way but as the internet made it possible for people to trade stocks online most financial service companies followed suit and began offering the same service. Edward Jones however held steady. They did not change their business model. Instead they decided to do what in the business terms we call "disrupt the disrupter." They began marketing themselves as some place different. Edward Jones knew their business model, who their customer is, and what that customer considers valuable. Rather than trying to publicly fight other financial companies telling them how they are doing business all wrong, Edward Jones has separated themselves by showing people they are simply different and if you like that business model that revolves around a face to face interaction and a handshake versus a mouse click than you are a perfect fit.

Fstoppers Shoot and Share Edward Jones

In conclusion
If you believe that selling prints to your clients is the best way to serve them then by all means stick to your beliefs and do what you love! Find a way to market yourself so that those who value those services find you and together you'll make a perfect match one for another. Stop wasting time drawing battle lines and instead focus your energy on your business. The same goes for those who enjoy the "Shoot and Share" business model. Sure you can highlight your differences but don't try to tell traditional photographers that they don't know what they are doing. Many of them feel comfortable with their structure of doing business and have been doing it for sometime. If someone tries to waste your time with hateful speech about one business model or another, move on, hell, run as fast as you can away from them. Instead look for those who will help you understand the benefits of each model and then choose the one that works best for you. Lastly, don't sit comfortably thinking your business model will stay the same forever - remember disruptive innovation is always changing things - and in order to be successful you need to be on top-of-your-game knowing what is new and how to adopt it into your business, differentiate yourself from it, or die.

Here are some links to articles I have referenced in the article.
Harvard Business Professor - Clayton Christensen
Responses to Disruptive Strategic Innovation
The Photographer's Business Coach
Reinventing Your Business Model
Disruptive Innovation Explained - Video

Trevor Dayley's picture

Trevor Dayley ( was named as one of the Top 100 Wedding Photographers in the US in 2014 by Brandsmash. His award-winning wedding photos have been published in numerous places including Grace Ormonde. He and his wife have been married for 15 years and together they have six kids.

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I agree! I get so tired of the arguments and the hate and the drama. Thank you for this article!

In all fairness, and I know you have some sort of affiliation with SHOWIT/DJ; David Jay starts most of these wars.

The fight is less so about product-based photographers afraid that shoot & share photographers ruining/cheapening the industry, but rather in the way that David Jay chooses to sell his product. He actively pits the two business models against one another and then steps aside while the arguments begin.

There is plenty of room for both styles, he needs to stop preaching that s&s photographers are making shoot to sell photographers obsolete.

I'd bet 90% of these 'fights' start from something David or one of his followers says about 'the other guys'.

I have evolved and proud of it. Do I still sell products? Yup. I have the best of both worlds and I have a life. I'm happy and clients are VERY happy and referring me more than ever before. Isn't that what it's all about? It may or may not be for you. Your ok.

Well said! As you said, "Can't we all just get along!" It is too bad that this has pitted photographers against each other. You handled a potentially explosive
topic with class!

My business certainly does not depend on selling prints afterwards as I charge enough up front. I personally follow the shoot and share philosophy. I also still make quite a bit of money from after sales because I offer reasonable prices for high quality products. In the facbook era, people want to share their photos with everyone so I think that to be relevent, you need to at least give web resolution photos, but if my clients want to print their own photos, power to them. I will use that time (worth money) to persue more clients instead of fulfilling orders for $50 8x10 prints.

Can you share with the group what your definition of "charge enough" means? And this question isn't limited to just you. Everyone who uses the "shoot and share" approach can share. Simply curious.

David my packages start at $4250. It includes an album, the digital images, second shooter and engagement session.

I love the idea of bundling. I think albums with digital images are a perfect fit. Your client gets a tangible, valued product that not only represents the best moments of the session, but provides a bit of reference to what is on the disc or thumbdrive (storage too if done right). I am always worried people just toss the disc/thumb in the drawer and forget about it.


Duh! Obviously. You said engagement. :)
Thanks. We start our weddings at $2995. Two shooters for 4 hours. Images included. Packages (with what you mentioned, etc...) going up from there.

Love this.

Change happens, it's a way of life. I am a "Shoot & Share" photographer because it makes my clients (ya know, the reason I'm in business) happy. They love getting their images quickly, keeping them safe, & sharing them all over the place. When they want larger prints or canvases, 9 out of 10 times they come to me because I take the time to build trusting relationships with them. It's not for everyone (clearly) but I agree with you Trevor, do what's best for YOUR business and OWN IT! Let's spend more time building each other up, not tearing down. Make love not war yada yada yada. :)

Great article Trevor! In any industry a small business owner must work to find the business model that works for them. As a "Shoot & Share" photographer I have adopted a model that fits the needs and wants of my customer and that is what makes my business profitable and me as a business owner happy.

Great article Trevor!!!

I am not a fan when I show up and shoot an event and the ad company doesn't read my contract and asks for the photos on the spot. But yeah that is a different story. To each their own!

So well put Trevor. Thank you for having the courage to take on this volatile subject.

There is probably room for both types of businesses. Shoot and share is what a lot of clients think they want and are pretty clear about it. They can share their images on Facebook and the web, but lose out when it comes to experiencing a beautiful print or album. Beuatiful prints are like "precious objects" and offer a better tactile experience. It has been said that "a photograph really isn't a photograph until it is printed," and wedding albums are really nice to have and share when company comes by to visit. What is ideal is to insure the client gets both.

Richard I absolutely agree with you... there is something special about prints. I recently did a trip down to Paraguay where prints played an important role in my experience. You can read about it here:

What many Shoot and Share photographers are doing these days is that they are still offering albums, large prints, canvases etc. They make themselves available to their clients to get these products but they don't make it their primary source of income. Most charge a price up front that covers that aspect. Hope that explanation helps.

So I would argue that 'Shoot and Share' really isn't the best way to describe them. This is a term that David Jay preaches non-stop, but it carries a stigma of not providing clients with a full package.

Trevor, and others (including myself) who choose to sell digitals AND products should not be classified as 'Shoot and Share' photographers, but rather Full-Service Photographers! (I know it's not as catchy, perhaps we can come up with some that rolls off the tongue better?)


Totally agree with you there Richard. A picture is only a photograph when its printed. If its on screen its a .jpg. You can't hang a jpg on your wall but you sure as hell will lose it when your computer crashes.

Honestly there are no exact numbers to go off for which method is better or whether shoot & share is actually catching on or if it's better or if the derogatory term "shoot & horde" is better. Thousands may use it but what are the hundreds of thousands of professional or semi-pro photographers using. We started our company as shoot & share before it was even a thing. After learning and progressing we gave up that model because in our area all shoot & share photographers charged $1500 or less for their product. We decided it was better for our business to be a more modern and the true evolution in professional wedding photography. It's shoot & share & custom printing. All of our packages include rights to the images and a fancy gallery that they can share. We also offer unique printing and display options with an attention to detail. Where sharing is amazing at getting FB likes and building your audience there is still nothing better than a hand designed album printed from a great lab. Sorry but looking at your images on the computer isn't the best way to show off your work or your families memories. Yes it's convenient but for everyone owning different computers and monitor calibrations all over the place a great print is far superior. They have to coexist but to be honest the made up "war" happened with dishonest business practices from a certain someone who had heated words exchanged with me when I cancelled with his product. Like many have said you have to look in to what's best for your business and look to see how you can compete in a market that is saturated with amazing talent. You should also look in to giving your client the best possible product regardless of fads, wars, and marketing. This entire article like all the others is more marketing. We know you guys love PASS, sqaurespace, etc. and yeah I have to look over your articles with a fine tooth comb sometimes to pull out the actual information from the bias opinions, but the only "war" going on is each of the different websites constantly writing back and forth about how there system is better and how the other articles written on it are too critical or what not. If everyone would be open minded this would have happened in the first place. Instead you have people who spend their hard earned money in to systems or their business and they have to back it. If I buy and android phone for $300 on contract and it actually sucks, I'm not going to tell anyone. I'm going to work around it and make it work for me and when I upgrade I'll make a better decision. Just like these really bad marketing terms "shoot & share" or "shoot & horde" everyone just needs to do what is right and that is be the best dang photogrpaher to the clients you have. The only people ruining the industry are bad people who take advantage of their clients or don't educate their clients.

Exactly! Well said.

Interesting. Considering the "war" of words that was started, I have no doubt their was some "issues" with this person who wanted war
. Consider yourself lucky. I would not want to learn business from someone with such a vindictive attitude. Discussions are fine. Trying to ruin someone else is another. How would he like it if someone did the same to him. I am sure he wouldn't like it. David is a class act.

Well said, Chris. I know firsthand the harsh words DJ directed at you, and he's anything but a 'class act' as Frank states.

We all need to stop labeling ourselves and dividing the industry, there is room for everyone who is able to build a successful, sustainable business model.

And as I mentioned above, and you emphasized, most successful 'Shoot & Share' photographers don't fit that label as they also sell product, whether it's packaged or sold after the fact.

The Shoot & Share and Shoot & Horde lables need to DIE!!!!

Allow me to use another "disruptive" business model as an analogy. The Microstock business model all but destroyed traditional stock photography and forced Getty Images to jump on board by buying

However, the cost of producing high end photography en mass and hoping it would sell multiple times for pennies each proved to be unsustainable for the best producers. The worlds most prolific and successful stock photo factory (Yuri Arcurs) finally threw in the towel and chose Getty as his exclusive distributor. There are others that have just abandoned stock altogether and focused on other niches.

This is the problem that the Shoot and Share photographers are making for themselves. Sure, if you have a day job and only shoot the occasional wedding this is the way to go. If you are making a living this way, you will either have to charge more for the wedding coverage or wind up shooting 104 weddings a year to compensate for the lost sales in images.

Joseph I'd say on average most of the Shoot and Share photographers that I know doing it full time are shooting around 30 weddings a year and are charging around $3500. Just thought it might be helpful to include some numbers.

Those are pretty good numbers. I would like to see some independent corroboration of that data. Here in Southern California, I have seen a lot of Shoot and Share photographers that will do a wedding for $500 burn a CD of unretouched images and call it a day.

I believe they call that Shoot and Burn photographers.

I am happy you clarified that there is a distinction between the two Trevor.

We use the digital files (1800x1200 @240dpi) as a selling point for our larger packages, and even then, we do not give away "Full Resolution" files. If you ask most clients what they want the files for, the answer is for Facebook. If you bring them in and show them the difference between a quality print and a garbage one, THE RIGHT clients will always order through you (as long as you created value in the product). The right clients do not care to make large prints on their own, because they value you, and your product.

I believe that a hybrid, modern system is the correct model for the future of the industry. Educating photographers on how to sell, and how to use both products to create a profitable business will both add value to the industry, and push it in a direction that will be beneficial to all photographers

I totally agree with your comments about microstock being unsustainable for any type of working photographer...

But I don't think that is a relevant analogy for shoot-and-share photographers at all. You need to understand the difference between B2B and B2C. In business to business transactions, you can and should be able to command a higher price for a product. Stock photography is B2B. In business to consumer sales, you are usually at the mercy of whatever Joe Blow can afford.

Shoot and share photographers are really just giving the customer what they want really. Like it or not, the customer usually wants to throw the photos up on Facebook so their family can see it and if they want prints they will go to Costco. They don't know and don't care what it costs to maintain your photography business.

That's the reality of the industry right now and you can either fight it and lose business or embrace it and try to find new revenue streams.

Yes, there is certainly a market for this. I don't do weddings, so this is purely a mental exercise for me. As always, there is stratification in the market. The client for the shoot 'n burn photographer is certainly not the high end. Dennis Reggie used to say his wedding prices started at $20,000. Of course he sold a package deal that included a high end leather bound album. I doubt that his clients are posting to Facebook or Instagram very often.

I do some B2B and some B2C photography and I have learned that they are two completely different markets that require completely separate pricing and marketing. I don't do any type of wedding photography though.

Joseph, and others as well, are forgetting that clients are also involved here? They have friends that have had weddings, they have read up on packages, shoot and share, as well as print. They are aware of many of the methods, they have a choice. It's too late, shoot and share is out there, it's not a secret. What will you say to client who requests this? "Sorry no, find yourself another photographer"? It's not always up to the photographer to decide on the rules of the game, the market will dictate, and it's too late to ignore that shoot and share is common.


Yeah a lot of it is understanding what type of clients you are dealing with... There is the one who appreciates and can afford quality and there is the one who wants the lower price. Neither customer is wrong, they are just different and you can usually only appeal to one or the other...

The ones to watch out for are the ones who demand highest quality but cannot afford it!

Incredibly pleased to see this article, and how it is respectful to both sides. The last thing I need to see during my busy season is hateful nonsense on my screen. I really appreciate the transparency and professionalism - refreshing after some of the articles that have popped up on the inter-webs about this subject lately.

"The term is used in business and technology literature to describe innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically first by designing for a different set of consumers in a new market and later by lowering prices in the existing market.”

This is WalMart. Ikea...and a bunch of other companies, that have caused a HUGE amount of manufacturing to end up in China. Costing jobs in North America. Another more succinct term for this is "devaluation" of the existing market over time. Which I think, is the greatest fear with PASS and the paradigm.

There's many, the author included, who have found a way to make a shoot and share business model profitable. But the CONSTANT (yes constant) message that "shoot and share is the best way" or "shoot and share will make print based business very tough" or perhaps "In the olden days, when print based photographer used to massively mark up products on the back end..." or how about "As Shoot & Share photographers take over it makes a sales driven photographer just look like a schmuck marking up this stuff to high heaven." or even

Please understand that the attack goes both ways...our businesses are under attack...and we have every right to defend ourselves. Whether the method of defense is agreeable to all or not...the message is the same from both sides. Just worded differently. You're fooling yourself if you believe otherwise.

And there should NOT be sides...

It's the delivery of the message on both sides that is wrong. I applaud the passion.

I believe in the article I say there should not be sides a few times. I totally agree with you here.

Jay I'd encourage you to watch this video of Clayton Christensen talking about disruptive innovation.

I of course would hope that both sides of the "battle" stop trying to fight over it. Both structures can work if you, as I put it in the article, "OWN IT."

I really have to argue the point that none of this is really that innovative. It's convenient and can be somewhat easier, but far from innovative. There are already people doing way cooler things than either of us and they are the true innovators. What we have here is Coke and Coke Classic. Basically the same thing but we made it faster and with less upfront cost and time.

Chris I think the business term is just referring to business models that shake up the normal way of doing things. It might be as simple as Southwest allowing two bags to fly for free when everyone else charges for this service. Yep definitely not innovative, but it shakes things up in the industry and markets to consumers that value their offering.

Except the word innovation was used as filler instead of just saying this method led to arguments. What the article here should have alluded to is the companies did what they had to do to become as profitable as possible with spending as little money and time as possible. Giving two bags free or making nice looking furniture with the build quality of a bargain basement piece of furniture wasn't as much innovative as it was a marketing ploy. The root of the shoot & share (which is a horrible wording of what it is since it's more than shooting and sharing) is marketing. One person in particular is heading this system and in order to sell it to the masses must make it seem better than previous. Again your bias is towards his system hence this article trying to convince everyone that the other article that says "shoot & share" is bad. In all honesty this article is written beautifully to convince that you're trying to just shed light on the subject and make the other article seem harsh and ridiculous. Is "shoot & share" bad for the industry? It's hard to tell because in our market those photographers aren't successful. Btw, I live a couple hours outside Chicago. If we took the bias out of both articles the foundation is that it doesn't matter what you do if it's working for you because printing isn't antiquated and sharing isn't innovative. Now just because it's working now doesn't mean it will continue to work a year or ten from now. What will continue to work is impressing clients with amazing work and providing them what you feel is the best product you can give and continuing to evolve, raise prices year over year and trying to maximize your profit without alienating your client base.

Sounds like you said there in the end exactly what I said in the post Chris. As far as saying "one person in particular is heading this system" I'd say that doesn't give credit to the other companies that have been giving photographers opportunities to share digital downloads with their clients for years. Flickr, Smugmug, Zenfolio, Picasa, Dropbox, Pixieset, Shootproof the list is full of names. It really is not all about just one product and one man although many try to make it seem that way. I refrained from listing products in this article because I understand that there are a lot of options out there - maybe comparing them all might make for a good future post. P.S. I would say that an article with a title that starts off by saying "I Declare War on ...." and then lists one persons name is definitely "harsh and ridiculous." There really is no room in the world for people to be so angry at one another. I'd even venture to say the title of the article and the tone that accompanies it is a perfect case of internet bullying. I'd hope that in the future the platform where it was published is used to actually edify the people that read it rather than just spew hateful words. I appreciate that you felt the post here was written beautifully.

When it comes to "shoot & share" Smug & Zen try to maximize print efforts and money with the photographer in mind. Is my 8x10 print worth more than $5??? I believe so and so should the company I choose to host my images with keeping in mind my personal business wants and needs. The current "shoot & share" system as it is coined by said person whom war was wished upon explains that prints should be cheap and gift priced far below $10 each. He also has said that expensive prints are wrong. These are facts from the man himself which in my mind can cause some arguments. He also continues to refer to any other method of delivering photos as "old" and "not with times". Not exact words he used but a summary of things said. Is it reason to go to war? Nope. Best way to deal with it is to do your thing and do it better than his way and prove it wrong. It's what I've done in our business and continue to hybridize ourselves to stay modern, elegant and fun. We don't want to be McDonalds or Ikea. We want to be unique, stand out from the pack and provide something that no one else is doing in our area. If "shoot & share" is what the majority does then I'm going in some other direction so I stand out. Honestly "shoot & share" made you stand out in the day and clients were looking left and right for that photographer. Is there room for anger? Of course. Anger is the natural response to being told what you're doing in completely wrong. Should you use the internet to voice your opinions? Meh. Probably not, but the article had valid points just an off putting tone. I get into very heated debates with amazing photographers who feel the craigslist or $500-$1000 photographer is destroying the industry. No one is destroying anything and you should definitely focus your efforts elsewhere if destruction is involved and it has to do with a job that isn't actually demolition based. What I believe has been missed is the majority of what I have seen personally is the stereotypical "shoot & share" photographer is a person looking to be the weekend warrior, with inferior gear and low balling the heck out of wedding photography prices. I'm definitely not saying that if you call yourself a "shoot & share" photographer you're one of those people, but when I see an ad to shot a wedding for a $1000 or less it contains the words rights to all images and the actual images themselves on a disc or online service. Again, not all are like this and yes there are fantastic photographers charging upwards of $7000 who shoot your wedding and only send you a link to your pics. With many people "shoot & share" is as synonymous with cheap junk as "shoot & horde" is with being well over priced and greedy. This is why I believe there is a rift because it's hard to let go of bad stereotypes. You tell someone who works day in and day out in this industry for 20 years slaving over images, creating masterpieces and printing these beautiful prints and taking all this time and effort that they probably didn't need to and tell them the new way is to charge $5000 and just give the pics away... they aren't going to be happy. Why? Because maybe they charged $4000 and maybe $2000 off prints and albums after the wedding and someone else is just giving it all away. They are angry because they worked so hard to do what they do and bam there is something they feel they can't compete with. Can you compete and not be "shoot & share"? Heck yes you can. Can you compete and be "shoot & share"? Heck yes you can. Is one better than another? Nope. Can I prove it? Nope. Can anyone prove either system or a hybrid system is better? Nope. In the end it's all about marketing and bettering your biz and has nothing to do with made up "systems" and war.

Sounds like we agree on a lot of things Chris. I am off to bed. Thanks for the chat.

Great article and well balance! I too can see both sides of the argument but the reality is the market will only pay what the market is willing pay!

Advances in technology means the average Joe can go and print their own photos for as cheap as $0.10! This is what they compare in their head when they see your prices to provide prints and yes we can all sit and argue about the differences in quality, Joe doesn't know that and probably doesn't care (until 20 years in the future when the print has disintegrated!).

I run a small sport photography business and the only thing that keeps me in business in the 'shoot and share' model. I have spoken with numerous clients and they just want the image! Sure if it is an absolute cracker photo, I will offer to get them a price on a professional paper or canvas print but this is so infrequent (their acceptance not my photos) it justifies my model.

Before you comment, I agree, probably at totally different story for a wedding photographer!

I think I do a mix of them. Whatever package the client picks they get a certain $ amount in print credit. Could be $200, could be $500 but there are two reasons I do this. One reason is to add value to the package that they are buying. $500 worth of images to the client is maybe $50 out of my pocket for the actual print costs. This is of course calculated into whatever the package price they are booking me for. To the client they see $500 worth of custom high end prints and they like that feeling. The other reason, which is more important to me, is brand protection. I can't imagine doing a shoot for someone, giving them the images only to have them run up to Walgreens and print out some green hued piece of crap picture on the thinnest, cheapest paper possible, frame it and display it in their home. If someone were to see that crappy print and ask who did the photography I'm sure it's because they want to avoid using me and not because they are impressed. For me, it's to show the client what the images are supposed to look like so that if they do print images at Walgreens they will know the difference. I feel that if I shoot the session and then mail them a CD I'm not building any kind of relationship. I want to educate the client, I want to create something custom for them, I want them to appreciate the craftsmanship of the finished product. Of course I offer digital files with certain packages but I won't include all the high rez files for an inexpensive shoot. I'm not saying this way is right, but it's working for me. I'm into photography for the sake of creating something custom for people and that includes not just the shoot but the final product. For some reason I don't see a digital file as a final product. I like giving my clients something awesome, whether it's a custom framed print or a huge canvas print. When they see these products they are in awe, they hang it up and are blown away when they walk into the room every day. Their friends see the images and ask "Who did those!". The difference to me is like wishing someone a digital happy birthday on facebook compared to sending them a physical gift that's thoughtful and awesome. I don't know much, but what I do know is that I'm rambling and I'm going to stop right now. =) Great article!

As a service and convenience to my clients when they purchase digital files (and to ensure they are printed by my preferred lab for top quality!) I upload their images to (using the Mason style). I control everything. Everything.

I was doing "shoot and share" with film more than two decades ago. I just didn't want to deal with all of the hassle after the wedding, but they did get good 4x6 proofs so that they could see what a good print is. However, if I were still doing wedding photography, I think what you just wrote could sway me from being a shoot and share photographer. That's a very intelligent argument and well worth the time writing it.

Most photographers I know of which require that their customers print with them lack artistic vision and quality. That is their only way to stay in the photography business, otherwise they would sink..

I am sure that is not the case with all photographers though, just my observation.. and my two cents.

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