Okay, I am looking at breaking the ice and starting a photography business. Events and portrait sessions. I have talked with other photographers, read a few websites and I seem to be running into a wall about one portion of it.
People are talking about selling prints, books, albums. How do you do it? Do you print the pictures off yourself or do you go to an established store that does the prints for you? If you do send out, what's the mark up on this?
Thanks for any feed back.
Printing images can be an art unto itself - requiring significant investment in learning the craft and the equipment to do a stellar job. Which is why a lot of pro photographers leave the printing to print professionals (labs), while they concentrate on creating the images.
I would suggest that you go on the web and visit the sites of all the pro labs (there are a ton!). A lot of them will allow you to send in 5 of your images which they will print at no cost - just so you can assess the quality and the options (in terms of paper, finishes etc.) Generally, do not go to a camera store that happens to do printing. You want to be able to provide a product that your clients cannot go out and get themselves. That is a why a number of pro labs will not deal directly with consumers.
Now...I just checked and it seems that you are located in Toronto, Canada. A lot of labs are in the US and so you have to factor in shipping costs, duties and delivery times. (Simply Color, MPIX Pro, DPI Pro, Black River Imaging....tons and tons of US labs). As for Canadian (Toronto based), try Pikto, Fotobox and GTA Imaging. If all you want to offer are prints, book and albums, they definitely have them. Not at the same prices as the US labs, but once you factor in the additional shipping costs, it can come out even. How do I know this? I am a fellow Torontonian... :)
If you're serious about starting a business, go on the web and download a business plan and fill it out.
Your only cost is NOT the paper. That's not what you're selling.
What are your costs? Insurance, equipment, (if you are serious about a business you're going to have to have two of everything), taxes, time for photographing, post production, sales and delivery and other costs such as gas and car expenses.
Figure this up and what it's going to cost you to do business and then figure out how much money you want or need to make to have an actual business and not a hobby and then determine what you're going to charge.
I would suggest having it printed for professionaly so that you produce the highest quality. The lab I use is in New Jersey, Quaker Chroma - they do an excellent job and you can upload files via their server. I generally mark up prints 25% - 50% depending on the situation.