Re: Printing Labs & What To Tell The Customer…

hard_question Have you ever been asked this question by a client “Where do you get your pictures developed?” and you didn’t know what to say, read this post. I copied a thread from our NPB private member’s forum that I thought would benefit everyone that’s come across this awkward question.


Topic: Printing labs & what to tell the customer…

Every once in a while someone asks me where I print my portraits. What should I tell them? I go to a local printing lab that a lot of professionals and amateurs use in Louisville. But I don’t want the customers thinking they’d just rather get a cd and take it to walmart and print it themself, especially since I’m not offering cd’s. Plus they can also see the price list for prints and although I don’t charge much yet, I still feel funny about that. But I also don’t want to sound like I’m trying to hide anything. So what’s the best answer?


Nikkia – I get that same question once in a while too. I tell them I have them printed at a professional lab out of state (which I do). I use Black River Imaging most of the time, although I have used H&H too. If I’m in a real hurry I will use a lab here in town, but I never tell them where. They don’t need to know pricing.


Nikkia, same here. Even when I used to local lab I didn’t tell them where I did it. They are aware there will be a mark-up but if they think I’m paying $2.00 for a 8×10 why is my mark-up $20.00?
I do explain to them there are local labs but mine are done out of town because I get a better product for them and I can actually show them the difference between local and H&H, which is who I use.


Thanks girls! I actually thought as I was typing that question, gosh these people are gonna think I’m nuts! But you made me feel not at all nuts~  Glad I asked!



I always think it is nice to get different opinions and hope one will work.

My son is a locksmith and will open a car door in 2 seconds and charge $25.00-50.00 and the owner will comment on the price versus the time it took and he says he will gladly relock it if they wish, they tell him no. Usually because they have called around and all the $20.00 places won’t show or that is only their day rate so they know there isn’t anyone available. Yes, my son used tools he bought (there are about 15 kinds of “slim jims” one doesn’t fit all models but he also goes to continuing ed classes and has to pay for his vehicle, gas, ins, etc.

Now we all have expenses, equipment to maintain, possible classes and other overhead and that has to be figured in with our prices. I remember one time when I was selling Tupperware a lady wouldn’t buy from me because S&H was $3.50 and we were no longer delivering to customers (now she would have been happy for me to deliver for free to her but it would have cost me gas, time and wear and tear on my car) and then she went to the next booth and bought a toy and did not hesitate to pay $8.50 for S&H because that was the way that company always had that policy.



Wow my son is a Locksmith too- charges $65 and when not paid he has re-locked the car.

Does anyone question a doctors charge for looking at the x-rays that cost 50c No he charges for the 12 years plus of med school.



I tell people who ask me that i send them off to a lab in ______ depending what lab im useing ( i use 3 diff labs depending on what i am doing sports, portraits, etc…)

I heard a story of a factory that had a million dollar machine that wouldn’t work properly. They had all the engineers and top dogs looking at it and no one knew what the problem was. Eventually they were told by someone that they should call this older gentleman that retired a few years back. So, they did. He came out there, looked at the machine, and put an “x” on a piece inside on one of the circuit boards with a black magic marker. He told them to replace that part he marked with a new one, and it would work just fine. So they did, and it worked perfectly. Saving the company millions in having to purchase new equipment, downtime, etc… When they received his bill, it was for $10,000. The top dogs were livid and asked him to send them an itemized bill. So he did, and here is what it said:

$1.00 – Black sharpie marker to put “x” on part
$9,999.00 – knowing where to put the “x”

If photography was easy, they wouldn’t be coming to you.


I’m just starting portraits, but my sister is in the same mindset. she wants be to take photos of her step-daughters baby, wants them edited into Scott’s scale bg & the moon bg. But she doesn’t want to order through me, she wants to bring a CD for me to put them all on when I am done with the edits & she’ll print them on her “Good” Kodak printer. that way she’ll owe me nothing!


Sounds like one heck of a good deal !!! NOT…
Have you take the portraits, have you edit them how she wants,
and then just give them to her on a CD so she can print all that she wants on her little home printer… and you get the big fat nothing for your effort and time…
I want one of those deals please

I presume you have enough sense to not go any where near it, at least under the terms you sister has for you.



Heavens NO! she may not talk to me, but I’m not doing all the work and giving her everything for nothing. Besides I don’t want one of my first sessions printed with a home printer.


yeah it is amazing how people want something for nothing!!


J, that was a great story you typed. I literally laughed at the itemized bill he sent the company. LOL I totally agree with the bill he sent!

I tell my clients the same – that I get all my prints through a professional lab out of state. We have pro labs here in Houston as well, but I don’t tell them who I go to. They don’t need to know all that. LOL


OK…so the bottom line is people will be bold and ask some really BOLD questions. You as a business owner need to make sure you have your answers available on the spot. We’ve been asked this many times and always said a private lab. You shouldn’t have to answer personal business questions like were you get your taxes done and things like that…but you will. :-)

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