Digital Photos For Promotional Work

While we’ve covered the promotional picture in past issues of our magazine, with the advent of on-line digital photographic printing a new tool has potentially opened up for the performer in the form of a low-cost, easy to send 8 x 10 picture and “Zed” card style postcard picture.

Post card style picture on 4x6 photographic paper.

In this our Technology department this month we talk about the new Wal-Mart Software and On-Line Photo services and you should check these out. Why? First of all Wal-Mart just dropped the price of 4x6 digital prints to 19 cents (this is in-store, it may not be the same on-line)! The nice thing about these 4x6 prints is the U.S. Postal Service will accept them for use at post card rates (about 24 cents in postage) provided you either print the address information on the back side directly or use a small mailing label on that side with the address and even some promotional information. This means for under 50 cents you can have promo cards you can mail directly to casting agents, studios, magazines, agents and clubs, which can help you get bookings!

For a nominal fee Wal-Mart will also send a pre-paid photo to any address in the United States. This means you can get an 8 x 10 printed up in either color or black and white, with either gloss or matte finish and they will package it in a sturdy card envelop and mail it to almost any address you provide, probably for a total of about $5 per 8 x 10. This means Wal-Mart and other services like their on-line digital printing service can print a photograph and mail it out to an agent, casting director or studio for you. You never have to leave home to do this! You can even do this from the “sticks” and they will send your picture to the big city. All you need remember to do is put enough contact information on the picture face area so that the person or firm receiving the photo will know your name and contact information.

The Wal-Mart photo services even allow you to add text to pictures. So you can upload a simple 4x6 or 8x10 image and then add text in "white" or "black" somewhere in the body of the image with your name and phone number for contact information at no additional charge. You can also crop and do small edits to the pictures using the Wal-Mart Software (see our article in Technology for more details).

Remember, if you got out and get your own packaging a “Jiffy” bag or stiff cardboard mailer will cost you $1 or more each. You have to travel out to pick these up. You have to print up pictures on your computer (at a cost of $1.50 or more each) or go out to a lab and have them printed for you. Then you have to put the picture into the envelop, go to the post office and mail it off with another $1 in postage. So far we are talking $3.50 minimum, plus an hour or two of your time and travel in a car with the expenses of $2 a gallon gasoline! Now, for about $5 or $6, if a company like Wal-Mart will do this for you isn’t that easier? I mean you can upload a picture on Sunday at 3 am in the dead of night during a snow storm in Montana and by Thursday or Friday Wal-Mart has packaged it and mailed it to an address you specify, so it arrives by the start of the following week. That’s like 8 or 9 days turn around, if not less. For you to do this, you need a supply of 8 x 10 pictures on hand, envelopes and you still must go out in the snow on Monday to the post office where it will arrive on Thursday in most cities across mainland U.S. That’s still 4 days turn around time and you have to go outside and do the work!

There is one small down side to all of this, Wal-Mart and their main processing labs don’t print “copyrighted” pictures, so if your image looks professional it must bear a prominent notice on the front that you, personally, own the rights to this picture. You may also have to file a written form with them to keep on file before they will print and send such pictures. Wal-Mart may refuse to print and send some types of images that look very “professional” and “commercial” even with such a notice, so do a trial and see if they print and send it to your own address. That way you can also see the results and determine if you have the imaged set up properly.

If you get promotional pictures taken by a professional make sure they give you written permission to duplicate and distribute the photograph for promotional and professional uses. This needs to be on their letterhead and signed in writing. You need to make copies of that and provide them to the labs who do your printing so they won’t get in trouble with the FBI for illegal copyright violations. Remember, the photographer legally owns all rights unless you get something in writing that says otherwise!

If you can get past these small problems, then getting lots of 4x6 prints that you can send out at postcard rates for less than 50 cents each or having an 8 x 10 packaged and shipped for you for under $5 will save you time and money!

Try this concept out with an 8 x 10. Send it to Wal-Mart for direct mailing. You will need a credit card to pay in advance. See if they give you any problems over the “professional” looking picture and find out if you can put a copyright release on file with them if there is a problem. See how long it takes to arrive. See what shape the package is in when it arrives. Look at your print and see if the quality and information is sufficient to let anyone know who you are and how to contact you.

If all this works right, you might have a new promotional tool that is cost effective and easy to use. It’s like having a promotional service available to you for a very low cost per package!

Our 2005 Music Special continues with these offerings...

2005 Music Special | Making It In Today Music Scene
Pop Rock: Kathy Fisher | Punk Rock: G-Spot | Hard Rock: Three Card Monte
Products: SE Electronics Studio Microphones | Field Report: SE 5600 Microphone
Review: Mountain and Rick Derringer Live | Music On The Net
Music Resources Updated | Digital Promo Pictures

From 2004:
Why Few Women Producers? | Picking A Studio | Drums | Drum Heads
Drum Pedals | Cymbals | Hammer Head Freeware | Omar Sosa
Drummers | Drum Books | Music Of The Tropics | Benchmark Records
Profile: Blind Lemon | Music Reviews | Resources | Poem: Music Of The Mind

Our Music Special Issues Continues With These Other Offerings from 2003:

Our Regular Music Reviews:
Featuring: Omar Sosa - Keith Jarrett - Melissa Gibson - G-Spot - Chronophonic

Articles and Information from the 2003 Music Special:
Grass Roots Music | US Copyright Extension | The Promo Pack | The ECD | The Music Video
The Birth of the Recording Industry | California Arts & Music Expo | Peformance Rights Organizations


Got Gear?  Best Prices on the Net!

Ecelectic and Underground CD Reviews:
Jon Denzene/The Torrent | Distilled | Hook The Captain | Jesse Morgan
Tesknota | Living Space | JM Cruiz

Indiana Area Local Club Bands:
Sonus | The Mumble | Northern Kind | Archies Address

Articles and Information from the 2002 Music Special:
Learning Music | Promo Pictures | Booking Agents| Managers | Producers | Pressing CDs
Record Companies | Copyrights | Recording Software | Sound Cards | Guitar and Bass
Multi-Track Recorders | Live Sound Gear | Microphones | Recording Engineer | Bands in Texas
Teen Band: Y@nK | Gigs and Clubs | Music Theory | Radio Airplay


The Musician's PlaceTo Shop!
Instant Gift Certificates!

© 2001-2005 Issues Magazine.
All Rights Reserved.

Get 15 FREE prints!