I’m in the camp of hobbyist photographers who seldom do actual prints. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that the initial investment to procure the necessary equipment is relatively enormous. Why spend thousands on proper photo printer and paper when I can put that towards a new lens instead? Therefore the scant few times I needed to print something out, I outsource to the typical online printing platform (I use Mpix).
Tangent: now that Apple have shuttered their printing service, I’ll need to find another place to print my annual photo Calendars.
I recently went on a family trip, and we took a rather lovely group photo together. Figured it’d be wonderful to hang in the living room, I went on Mpix to order a framed 8x10 print. Even without going too crazy on the options (standard mat board and glass, cheapest frame material), the total price for the single photograph came to around $50, not including shipping. For some reason, I was surprised at how expensive this is.
Me, a photographer, can’t appreciate that a custom framed print ought to cost more than, say, 10 dollars. For shame; I should to be banished from ever selling prints of my own.
Perhaps the low prices of online retailers like Amazon have indoctrinated me to expect things to not cost a lot of money. It has certainly done so to the price of shipping, as in there shouldn’t be any. Adding to my frustration with the price of the print was that I had to pay another 13 dollars to have it delivered. I’ve been so acclimatized to not paying for shipping - and items arriving within two business days guaranteed - that honestly I had second thoughts about completing the purchase, on principle.
As I’ve written before: free shipping is not free, because there is no free lunch.
So I did end up buying the framed photo, because items of quality and craftsmanship are worth paying for. As an artist myself, that is the kind of sentiment I hope everybody carries with them. A race to the price bottom hurts everyone: ask musicians for their thoughts on streaming services. We must fight against the desensitization of online shopping and easy price comparisons, because more often than not, we indeed get what we pay for.