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Thread: Thinking of setting up a photo printing service, please share your thoughts!

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    Lightbulb Thinking of setting up a photo printing service, please share your thoughts!

    I have a DSLR and like to shoot a lot of my baby daughter. Some of the photos are quite nice, so I want to print them out in large format -- something like A3 to A2. When I go to print shops, their price of large formats is so high, about 60 to more than 100 for A3 or A2 size.
    So i decide to buy a large format photo printer, something like Epson R3000 or R3885.
    But if I buy expensive printers, most of the times they will sit there collect dust. Why not make some pocket money with it?
    If I print high quality A3 or A2 photos for you, with good photo paper, and even provide framing / optionI have a DSLR and like to shoot a lot of my baby daughter. Some of the photos are quite nice, so I want to print them out in large format -- something like A3 to A2. When I go to print shops, their price of large formats is so high, about 60 to more than 100 for A3 or A2 size.
    So i decide to buy a large format photo printer, something like Epson R3000 or R3885.
    But if I buy expensive printers, most of the times they will sit there collect dust. Why not make some pocket money with it?
    How big is the demand for high quality A3 or A2 photo prints, with good photo paper, and framing / plastic membrane protection options? Would you like to frequently have your good shots printed out in large formats? What do you think is a reasonable price for such services?

    Please share your thoughts, if I do set up such business, I will give big discount to clubsnap members who comment in this thread , if you print your photos with me .

    /****************** Remarks****************/
    Thanks all for your comments, I do sense a demand is there!
    Some bros mentioned the price to be charged, frankly I don't know at this point. Since I won't take this as my main income, but only as a hobby, I won't charge a price that's far more than the cost.
    What do you think if the cost of printing:

    4R: 15 cents (well, maybe min 100 pics)
    A4: $ 8
    A3: $ 15
    A2: $ 30
    Last edited by wanganson; 30th January 2013 at 02:52 PM. Reason: remarks

  2. #2

    Default Re: Thinking of setting up a photo printing service, please share your thoughts!

    Good luck.

    All business founded on good business principles will flourish. Do your math, too

    Check out your potential competitors and see if you can gain competitive edges over them.

    Sincerely

    Shizuma (not a pro photographer)
    宁愿遇见丢失幼崽的母熊,也不愿碰上做蠢事的愚人

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    Senior Member Anson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking of setting up a photo printing service, please share your thoughts!

    A question, many would ask is how much.... and if you have sample of your print out.

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    Moderator Clown's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking of setting up a photo printing service, please share your thoughts!

    Quality is subjective. You get what you pay for.

    I think you can afford quite a few good prints from decent printmakers with what you're prepared to pay for a medium format epson printer.

    Original ink and good paper are not cheap too. Then comes color management.

    Many people buy DSLR and tried to 'make a quick buck' out of their 'investment' and some actually succeed, but it is because that's all there is to it. You do not have extra consumables to pay for other than the occasional memory card upgrade.
    But printing is different. Every single print costs money, whether you screw up or not. It doesnt matter much if you're doing it for personal consumption, but when you charge money for it, you'll be struggling with people's expectations.

    I'm not trying to throw cold water on your idea, but please try to take all these into considerations before actually jumping in to make it a business.

    Printing is a wonderful craft to learn and it will benefit your photography and in some cases, your outlook on life as well. Do go for it if you feel you have pictures that screaming to be printed, cuz it means your photography have reached a certain level.
    sigh.

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    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking of setting up a photo printing service, please share your thoughts!

    most people think running a small business is very simply and easy,
    yes, it is very simple and easy to get it started, but if they don't get the figures right from the start, almost certain it won't last very long, as soon they will find out the returns does not justify their time and efforts that have to put into it.

    someone asking opinions about offering a Film scanning services no so long ago. It won't make any different whether is printing services or photography services.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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    Default Re: Thinking of setting up a photo printing service, please share your thoughts!

    Questions
    1) How many customers do you expect to get per month ?
    2) What are the monthly expenses for your operation ?
    3) How much should you charge your customers to make a profit ?
    4) How many customers are willing to pay the price you set ?
    I eats, shoots & leaves

  7. #7

    Default

    Just for info, It is not easy for u to compete with those print from oversea and import to SG.
    I print 2'x3' with frame , cost me only 50. Including shipping , it is $70.. The quality is better than most of the local print.
    I print most of my pre-wedding book oversea, the quality r good..

  8. #8

    Default Re: Thinking of setting up a photo printing service, please share your thoughts!

    Demand sure have, the issue is how demanding are the demands. When you are printing for yourself is one thing, serving clients is another. As mentioned by Clown earlier, color management, half the town barely understand color management and how it affects web browsers, monitors, editing softwares, etc, achieving consistency from screen to print could be a complex issue, further complicated by screen calibration accuracy and whatever problem your printer, ink, or paper may give you.

    The same thing as people think professional photography is just as simple as pressing a shutter button... is printing as simple as buying a printer plug in and print?
    WTB Manfrotto RC4 L Bracket

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    Default Re: Thinking of setting up a photo printing service, please share your thoughts!

    Thanks for commenting! Sure I could get quite a lot quality print from printmakers, with the cost for a medium epson printer (R3000 cost 1500++, and R3885 which print A2 cost 2500++). But the process of printing by myself is also fun !
    Sadly I don't have any experience in professional printing yet... what I *Currently* know about printing is to get a good printer and good paper then hit the print button
    What I think may be the selling point is : cheaper A4/A3/A2 print outs compare to Labs. Because I only want to do the print service as a hobby and sideline, I don't expect it to earn me a living.
    If I market the printing cost as :
    A4 : $8
    A3 : $15
    A2 : $30

    Will there be some demand?
    Thanks again!



    Quote Originally Posted by Clown View Post
    Quality is subjective. You get what you pay for.

    I think you can afford quite a few good prints from decent printmakers with what you're prepared to pay for a medium format epson printer.

    Original ink and good paper are not cheap too. Then comes color management.

    Many people buy DSLR and tried to 'make a quick buck' out of their 'investment' and some actually succeed, but it is because that's all there is to it. You do not have extra consumables to pay for other than the occasional memory card upgrade.
    But printing is different. Every single print costs money, whether you screw up or not. It doesnt matter much if you're doing it for personal consumption, but when you charge money for it, you'll be struggling with people's expectations.

    I'm not trying to throw cold water on your idea, but please try to take all these into considerations before actually jumping in to make it a business.

    Printing is a wonderful craft to learn and it will benefit your photography and in some cases, your outlook on life as well. Do go for it if you feel you have pictures that screaming to be printed, cuz it means your photography have reached a certain level.

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    Default Re: Thinking of setting up a photo printing service, please share your thoughts!

    Good questions! The first 3 are relatively easy to find out, but the 4th is difficult.. that's why I come to the forum to find out....


    Quote Originally Posted by Yutaka Go View Post
    Questions
    1) How many customers do you expect to get per month ?
    2) What are the monthly expenses for your operation ?
    3) How much should you charge your customers to make a profit ?
    4) How many customers are willing to pay the price you set ?

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    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking of setting up a photo printing service, please share your thoughts!

    for discussion sake, I will keep this thread open.

    from the moment you advertise your services here, I will have to ask you sign up as advertiser. This is to be fair to those who had already sign up as advertisers here.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Thinking of setting up a photo printing service, please share your thoughts!

    If you print occasionally, just get the pro like clown to do the prints.

    How much wall do u have for all your prints?

    One good print is worth a lot more bad one. Personally, I prefer to support local supplier as much as I can.

    I prefer to be a photographer and not the printer so I can concentrate in the photography activities that preserves memory of my children and leave printing to the people who know better.

    If you just want to do it to recoup your cost, my suggestion is to buy it and use it yourself. If you want to do printing, do it really well and you will be fine. Doing it in between will find yourself spending too much valuable time dealing with the issue and less time for your family.

    Weight in how valuable your time with your family is then decide if this worth pursuing.

    Printing is not as simple as load up paper press print and it's done. Too many screw up and too many things to understand as far as I am concern.

    Regards,

    Hart

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    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking of setting up a photo printing service, please share your thoughts!

    Quote Originally Posted by wanganson View Post
    What do you think if the cost of printing:

    4R: 15 cents (well, maybe min 100 pics)
    A4: $ 8
    A3: $ 15
    A2: $ 30
    That is way way too expensive... if I understand what you are trying to do... an inexperienced new kid on the block in the printing industry. Just recently printed quite a bit of stuff with a printer with very passable quality at way way lower prices than yours. Laminated too. And they have been in the industry for a while now. If you want to charge higher, you need to come up with ways to differentiate yourself from the multitude of printers out there.
    Last edited by daredevil123; 30th January 2013 at 07:46 PM.

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    Senior Member oracle0711's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking of setting up a photo printing service, please share your thoughts!

    Seriously, and I really mean seriously, the pricing that you are looking at will not be making any money for you. In no time, you will give up the idea of printing for others. I won't go into the mechanics of how to do it right but simply put, the consideration for reprints due to wastage is very high in the printing business and especially so for doing this the first time. Factors for consideration when dealing with wastage include time, consumables and eventually repair. Soon you will not enjoy the whole process as it will haunt your profitability.

    Sorry if I sounded super negative but then, I have seen how this does not turn out well for many.

    Quote Originally Posted by wanganson View Post
    Some bros mentioned the price to be charged, frankly I don't know at this point. Since I won't take this as my main income, but only as a hobby, I won't charge a price that's far more than the cost.
    What do you think if the cost of printing:

    4R: 15 cents (well, maybe min 100 pics)
    A4: $ 8
    A3: $ 15
    A2: $ 30

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    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking of setting up a photo printing service, please share your thoughts!

    Quote Originally Posted by oracle0711 View Post
    Seriously, and I really mean seriously, the pricing that you are looking at will not be making any money for you. In no time, you will give up the idea of printing for others. I won't go into the mechanics of how to do it right but simply put, the consideration for reprints due to wastage is very high in the printing business and especially so for doing this the first time. Factors for consideration when dealing with wastage include time, consumables and eventually repair. Soon you will not enjoy the whole process as it will haunt your profitability.

    Sorry if I sounded super negative but then, I have seen how this does not turn out well for many.
    Especially when many other companies out there are already charging way below his suggested pricing and still putting out ok work. For them it is more of economies of scale and their printers are already cost recovered and they print a lot. The one I use for one time disposables like posters and etc even laminates and provide next day service. And they are not a small run-by night company and have been around for a while.

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    Default Re: Thinking of setting up a photo printing service, please share your thoughts!

    Woops, I thought the street price was much higher than what I thought... would you please PM me the printer who charge good price with OK quality? I would go to print with them!
    Thank you for knocking my head, maybe I will give up the idea and concentrate on photography.
    Thanks to all bros who commented in my thread!

    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil123 View Post
    Especially when many other companies out there are already charging way below his suggested pricing and still putting out ok work. For them it is more of economies of scale and their printers are already cost recovered and they print a lot. The one I use for one time disposables like posters and etc even laminates and provide next day service. And they are not a small run-by night company and have been around for a while.

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    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking of setting up a photo printing service, please share your thoughts!

    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil123 View Post
    Especially when many other companies out there are already charging way below his suggested pricing and still putting out ok work. For them it is more of economies of scale and their printers are already cost recovered and they print a lot. The one I use for one time disposables like posters and etc even laminates and provide next day service. And they are not a small run-by night company and have been around for a while.
    botak sign?
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    Default Re: Thinking of setting up a photo printing service, please share your thoughts!

    Yep.. the ones you refer to indeed charges at prices below that of TS. The fact is many of them use commercial production machines and are not purchased but on leased. Unlike TS, the commercial production printers have direct charge costs to the consumables that they use and because they order them in bulk, their costs are normally lower. This gives them the ability to charge way lower that TS's proposed pricing. Again, the purpose of those prints are not meant for long term archival purpose and thus have to be priced competitively.

    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil123 View Post
    Especially when many other companies out there are already charging way below his suggested pricing and still putting out ok work. For them it is more of economies of scale and their printers are already cost recovered and they print a lot. The one I use for one time disposables like posters and etc even laminates and provide next day service. And they are not a small run-by night company and have been around for a while.
    Last edited by oracle0711; 30th January 2013 at 10:48 PM.

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    Default Re: Thinking of setting up a photo printing service, please share your thoughts!

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    botak sign?
    Not botak sign... but my family business have business dealings with them though.. but they are our customer. :P

  20. #20

    Default Re: Thinking of setting up a photo printing service, please share your thoughts!

    Yeah, for casual prints I use a non-photo-specific printing shop too. More cost effective, plus you can print more, rotate the images more often, etc. Non-archival quality large format inkjet prints. Recommended to a couple of friends too. If I recall correctly, A3 approx $4-$6, A2 approx $8-$12. Options of matt/gloss lami, mounting etc. (Disclaimer: Prices are guesstimates only, been awhile since I last went). Visual Hub @ Sunshine Plaza: Visual Hub @ Sunshine Plaza

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