On Sunday, a fellow photographer emailed this question. I'm not expert on selling individual prints, but this is the answer I gave.
I took some very nice candid and staged pictures of two couples. Both couples (the ladies in particular) were very, very interested in obtaining copies of the photos I took. They kept in contact with me from the minute I launched my blog page up until I sent them, via email- a secured (copy protected/no printing/no editing) PDF automated slide presentation. Immediately, they emailed me back and "raved" about how beautiful the pictures were and wanted to know how much it would cost to purchase all of the pictures.... Well, I gave them the price and never heard from them again. I'm sure the price was not the problem because I was very reasonable in that department; 4x6= $7, 5x7=$12, & 8x10=$17...something like that. I even offered a discount if they wanted to purchase all o f the shots that I took. After about a week, I got back with the two ladies via email and said, "I'm glad that you enjoyed my work and if you had any additional question, please let me know, in the meantime, when your ready to order, let me know......never heard from them again.
Why do you think the two couples just totally stopped their communications with me after such incredible "rave" about the photos? Do you think that between the both of them, somehow or someone figured out how to copy the files and print them out somehow? Should I attempt to contact them again, or count this as a loss? I don't wanna seem desperate, but I just think it's weird that all of a sudden, I have not heard from them at all....no orders, nothing.
Hard to get in the head of these people -- there is the saying about the girl who had a great first date and thought everything was perfect, yet the guy never called again. When she asked Dr. Phil (or whomever), they simply said: "Well, he just wasn't that into you". Hard to hear, but it happens.
I met a guy at a kid's baseball game. He asked to see some of my shots (on the LCD), then told me which kid was his, so I got a bunch of photos of him -- good shots -- sliding into third - scoring - action stuff. The father brought a few of his friends to me and I gave them all cards. Four or five parents ordered prints (from my photoreflect site), but the guy who was singing my praises ordered nothing. Never heard from him.
Once, the guest at a wedding emailed me to complain about the 'high' price of my prints. He said that it only took me a second to take the picture and cost 19 cents to make the print - so where did I get the nerve to charge so much????? I wrote back, and very politely agreed that it did only take a second, and he was correct that prints were not very expensive to make -- BUT that the rest of the price was my creative fee for making his ugly ass suitable to put on my website!..
Hey, I'm a photographer -- not a public relations agent :-)
Lot's of people love our work UNTIL they have to pay for it.
What I do suggest is that you have a photoreflect - or other ecommerce site - and always direct inquires to it. It makes it look like this is a business and that you sell prints all the time - and that people regularly pay for your work. Sometimes, especially in the case of a relative's wedding, others don't understand that this is your business, and don't think you shouldn't even be charging -- sure -- they are idiots!
Also, never make a 'special' presentation - like the slideshow. If you have a few, as samples, that is one thing, but if you make a special one, for someone -- and you do it for free -- you have just diminished it's perceived value and it is now very hard to get them to pay for something. (I'm not talking about a client who has already paid some kind of shooting or creative fee -- you want to WOW them -- that's why you do the online album -- but they already perceive some value, since they have paid something. If you want to show off your work, make some samples, using other photos, and tell the 'customer' that you'd be happy to do something like this for them, at a reasonable fee. Better to loose them right away, that do the work and still not get them.
In this specific case, I'd just let it go. Sometimes, I will send a follow-up message, saying: "Not sure if you got this, so I am just resending". That's it. If they are interested enough to pay, they will get back to you. Otherwise, forget it, but, at least, you now have some sort of sample to send to others, if the situation presents itself.