Have your Cake and Eat it too….Selling digital files AND products!

Author Recent Posts Nicole BegleyNicole Begley, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, is a zoological animal trainer turned pet photographer and educator. She created Hair of the Dog in 2012 to empower pet photographers to turn their dreams into reality by helping them improve their craft and grow their pet photography business.Nicole has authored a book “Pet and Equine […]

Written By Nicole Begley

On March 13, 2015
“How much are your digital files?” is the new “How much is your 8×10?”. Prospective clients asking about digital files in 99% of inquiries can lead you to think that is all that people want to buy, which leads photographers to say to themselves that their business could never support selling products. Let me ask you this though…

WHY are your clients asking for the price of digital files?

It’s because they don’t know what else to ask!!!

Digital files are valuable and should be priced appropriately. Absolutely they should be the most expensive item on your price list.

I did write a post a few years ago about selling digital files, you can read it here. Go ahead….we will wait!

It is 2014 and many of our client do want the digital files.  Even though they will most likely sit in a drawer until media changes and they have their photos sitting on something that hasn’t been able to be read by a computer for the past decade! There are numerous reasons that I don’t want to sell solely the digital files to my clients, outdated media, lack of time or knowledge to print the images, poor quality printing are just a few of the reasons. However I am a big believer in saying yes to my clients.

I want to tell my clients “Yes, digital files are available for purchase and they can even be earned as a complimentary gift!”


My pricing structure then pretty much guarantees that NO ONE will purchase only the digital files….thanks to the bonus schedule.

The first step to incorporating a bonus schedule into your pricing is to determine what your session average needs to be.

Let’s say your sales target for your session average is $2,000. Use that number to build your bonus schedule. I work backwards…..

Spend happy place amount on products, in this case $2500, digital files are a complimentary gift.

Spend sales target on products ($2,000), digital files are a small upgrade…maybe $295.

Spend $1,500, digital files are at least $495 to help you reach your sales goal.

Spend $1,000 digital files are $795 to help you get closer to your sales goal.

Under $1,000 digital files are full price – $1,695 in this case.

Why would anyone ever purchase only the digital files? For an extra $100 you get $1,000 worth of products!

It’s a no brainer!  The key it so have each step up the ladder be just a small jump up….but to the client it's a huge jump in value!

I do realize that you would make more profit on the digital files only, but one of the defining values of my business to go give my clients the best possible service and products for their lifestyle. I am NOT serving their best interest in selling only the digital files so I am happy to make slightly less profit to serve them better.

It is important to keep your Cost of Goods in line for this pricing strategy….and really ANY pricing strategy.  My goal is to keep my COGS under 20%.

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“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” -Henry David Thoreau

You are exchanging your time for your business and clients….please make sure that you are being compensated for it!  Need help with your pricing?  Grab our FREE Pricing Masterclass below.

Looking for some more pricing training?  Forget what every other pet photographer is charging -- the best thing you can do for your business is set your prices based on YOUR business and YOUR goals. It’s time to stop following the pack and let your rates lead you to a sustainable business!

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • The #1 thing you need to know BEFORE setting your prices
  • My simple formula to set up your pricing structure for success 
  • How to increase your prices without losing customers

Oh, and did I mention this is a free training?  Grab it below.

Nicole Begley

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  1. Keith Cannataro

    Great idea for the pricing of digital files. I have a reduced price at a certain $ purchased but I would like to think more about how you have the incremental price changes and how I might do similar.

  2. Karen Black

    I’m just wondering Nicole, when you provide digital files in this pricing model are the full resolution or printable to a certain size? Also, do you remove leashes etc on every file if you sell the digitals as an upgrade?

    • Nicole

      Hi Karen, I used to provide them up to a certain size (3500 pixels) and tell the clients they could print to 8×10. Now I just give them the full res…..ONLY because I know my clients. My clients purchase their wall art through me. They aren’t blowing these up themselves and they truly just want to make a little calendar or print a few prints for family or the office. You need to know your client….so until you are sure that they are purchase “art” through you and really only plan to use the files for prints then I would educate and limit.


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