How many of your digital images are now hanging on your walls, being enjoyed everyday? As digital photography has become the norm, and as the majority of photographers provide digital-only services, fewer clients have come to expect a printed product from their photographer. Many people prefer it this way, knowing that they will have the ability to print their photos in whatever quantity and size they like. But how many of those digital photos are actually being printed? The answer is most likely a very small percentage.
I want to make my clients happy – that is a foundation of what I do as a photographer. But what makes them happy in the short term may not be what truly serves them well in the long term. Now I know, I know that sounds harsh, and give me a chance to explain. The purpose of family, maternity, and newborn photography is to capture a moment and preserve it for posterity, to make sure it is there to be seen and enjoyed in 25 years when the children are grown. So, why might the digital files some photographers are providing not live up to this task? There are a number of issues with digital files:
Time and Motivation – You believe you will get your photos printed. The reality is that life gets in the way. People with children are very busy and the time it takes to focus on making those hard decisions about what pictures to print, in what size, and hang where, can feel overwhelming. It falls to the bottom of the priority list and, in most cases, it just never happens.
Poor Quality Prints – This is where I come in, when we sit down and have coffee I go over the true reason I am a print photographer, well one of many reasons. Normal people (and by normal I mean non photographers) don’t have access to, or knowledge of, where and how to get high quality prints. Often they don’t even realize there is a difference between print labs. They just assume that what they see on their computer is what they will receive. Thats why I show you one of my images, printed at Walgreens and one printed at my lab. My lab is connected to my computer and their printers are calibrated to print at the highest quality and best color so the image I get back for you is the image I took and the way I and you want it to look. Walgreens or Shutterfly don’t have a clue as to how these images that are professionally edited are supposed to look, so they assume they need to be edited and changed and then YOUR image comes out looking like an awful over edited very smooth, purple or green image but these then become a representation of our work, that your whole family sees, so you see it is my job to show you, that you deserve sooo much better than purple imagery.
Digital Files Have a Lifespan – Digital files can become corrupted and refuse to open. We photographers don’t have any control over this. CDs can be scratched. Thumb drives fail. You may forget to backup your photos and may lose them when your computer dies. These are all real concerns with digital files. But the biggest issue long term is what is known as Digital Decay. Technology changes over time and rapidly becomes obsolete. The most current example of this is that CD drives are no longer a standard feature in personal computers. And then there was the floppy disk … does anyone remember the floppy disk? Is there even a computer today, that the average person would have access to, that could read the contents of a floppy disk? If you are not diligent about keeping your files backed up, and keeping up with changes in technology, your digital images will become obsolete in the future. Files can be stored on the “cloud” but what if the cloud storage company goes out of business? What if the monthly subscription fee doesn’t get paid? Over time the expense of keeping files backed up can meet or exceed the price of having them printed and all the while they are not being seen or enjoyed beyond a fleeting moment on social media or a holiday card that gets tossed. Digital files are not maintenance free and without active upkeep they will simply disappear over time. I keep your images, that is my job. I have images on a hard drive back from when I first started as a photographer, let me do the worrying of constantly keeping up with technology and backing up your photos.
Even though, those disks and flash drives seem to make some people happy, photographers that only give you digital photos are doing you a disservice if they don’t create finished products for you – high quality printed photos that will stand the test of time. As a professional photographer, it’s my job to educate my clients on the importance of choosing professional quality prints. It is my job to show them what their images can become, to turn their photos into works of art that will last and be enjoyed for generations to come. Prints matter.
In a sea of photographers selling only digital images, offering you printed products is my way of elevating your lifestyle. We should think of digital files as unfinished products, as images that aren’t complete until they are brought to life on paper. I want to ensure that you as my client have images to enjoy for years. Let me decorate your walls and give you tangible memories to pass down to your children. Because truly, prints matter.
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