Why are your prints so expensive?

We get this question a lot from new pet portrait clients. There are a few reasons that our photo prints might be a bit more expensive than you might expect.

Puptrait prices are actually priced surprisingly competitively

Amazingly enough, our prints actually aren’t that expensive compared to what other comparable photographers in the area are charging for prints. While we would never suggest our prints are cheap or something that all dog owners can afford, we were surprised to see how the prices of our prints stacked up when compared to the prices of other professional pet photographers in the region, particularly how our pet photography costs compared to other pet portrait artists servicing Washington D.C., Montgomery County, and Northern Virginia.

If you think our prints are expensive, we encourage you to shop around

Seriously. If you think our prices are expensive we genuinely encourage you to shop around and compare our rates to other photographers in the region. We won’t call anyone out by name (that would be rude), but our print prices are actually quite a bit less than many of the pet photographers in the area capable of producing work that is almost up to our quality standards. What we found even more surprising was that most of these pet photographers also charged sitting or session fees for dog portraits — something we rarely do.

How are Puptrait prints priced?

When considering the value of your pet portrait investment it’s important to remember that value is a two way street. Lower prices are always appreciated. But what are you getting for your money? When shopping for a pet photographer you want to make sure that you’re comparing apples to apples. Meaning, it’s paramount that you’re considering the total cost of your investment. Print costs are just one piece of the equation, you want to make sure that you’re comparing the skill of the dog photographer versus the sum of all session fees, studio fees, editing costs, print costs and print fees. When you look at the big picture we believe that you’ll find the Puptrait Studio to be one of the best values in the Mid Atlantic.

Most of our pet portrait clients only pay for prints

Whenever you’re commissioning an artist (regardless of the medium – photography, paint, pen and ink, CGI, etc.) you’re taking a gamble. Sure, the photographer might have a great portfolio, but as a client you have little to no idea how well the photographer executed on the specs of the project or wishes of the client. Working with dogs complicates things even further. Most of our pet portrait clients come to us because they think their dogs are difficult to photograph. It’s why we don’t photograph a many Instagram pet celebrities.

But as we’re confident in our ability to photograph most any dog, we’re happy to take that gamble and “put our money where our mouth is”. We ask for a small deposit up front, just to make sure that we are only working with clients who are serious about working with us. But the vast majority of our revenue comes from print sale. And, we wouldn’t have it any other way.  As we see each print sale as proof of a job well done.

Shipping is included in the cost of prints

Standard domestic shipping is already included in the cost of prints. We do charge a bit extra for rush production or prints and expedited shipping, but those additional fees are usually passed on to our clients at or near our own costs, and these expedited fees are always discussed with clients prior.

Basic post processing and photo editing is included in the cost of prints

On average we spend upwards of 4-5 hours on curating, post processing and photo editing for every hour that we spend with a dog in studio. That time doesn’t include more advanced editing or compositing requests (as those projects can can easily take dozens of hours per image). But it does include the time it takes to sift through the hundreds of photos that we take each studio session, editing the top photos individually in Photoshop (correcting brightness curves, color saturation, hue / vibrance, and global white balance, as well as adjusting color balance across multiple luminosity channels, and manually sharpening fur and eye details with a stylus) and ensuring that each photo will print flawlessly before presenting even a single proof to a client.

Puptrait prints are top of the line

Our reputation is only as good as the quality of the work we leave our clients. When you see our prints hanging in the homes or businesses of our clients the “WOW” factor is obvious. That’s why you’ll never find us selling cheap direct to material printed canvases or photo novelties.  We only use two types of photopaper when printing – Kodak Professional Endura Premier Metallic paper for our photographic prints and LexJet Sunset Photo Metallic Paper for our mounted prints. All of our mounted prints come from a print studio that effectively wrote the book on dibond and acrylic mounting.  They’re not close (they’re located in the Pacific Northwest). They’re not cheap. But they are the best – and for us that is enough.

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