To print or not to print, that is the question
Updated: Sep 27, 2018
The print versus digital debate is talked about CONSTANTLY amongst photographers. It's a huge issue that divides the industry. Many, if not most, photographers who run successful businesses decide pretty early on to ditch the digital only option and provide full service to their clients, meaning prints and products. Here's why:
If a photographer offers you a USB or CD of images, that photographer is setting you up to fail. Not intentionally, but those storage devices are each now obsolete. Most new computers don't even have CD drives anymore and that trend will only continue. Additionally, CDs and USBs are designed to break down after about 4 years, if you're lucky. You'll lose all the images on them never to be retrieved. USBs in particular are prone to getting lost due to size, so there's a chance they'll disappear in a move or while spring cleaning. Plus you may already have a desk drawer full of random USBs that have images on them but you'd have to spend hours scouring each one to find the images you want. The only way to avoid these scenarios is to print selected images. With consumer printers everywhere from Costco to online services, it's easy peasy, right?
What about sizing for print? That alone can make your hair catch fire, it's so aggravating. And then there's the quality of the inks and paper used. Professional photographic print labs use the best methods and products to render images onto paper, canvas, metals, etc, but you have to have a photography business to use them. So, in many non pro labs, color is often off, in some cases, quite radically. Meh, you might say. Who's gonna notice?
Well, if you've spent hours laying out an album from a consumer lab only to get it in the mail looking less than vibrant, with washed out skin tones,or worse, green skin tones, I guarantee, you WILL notice that. Quality does matter when it comes to photographic prints and products and you really do get what you pay for.
Then there's the time issue. Many people don't care to learn how to use online ordering software because they're busy and it's easy to put a project like that onto the back burner. So WHEN will those images get moved from the USB to your hard drive or uploaded to a print site? Before or after the USB or CD becomes corrupted?
The trend to provide all session images for a nominal fee is waning as more and more photographers realize that they're letting their clients down by not providing a full service experience. Yes, it's faster and more convenient for everyone to simply meet for the session then hand over a thumb drive. But, what's the point of working with a professional photographer if your photographs will sit on your hard drive or in your drawer?
Because my focus is on tangibles FIRST, I provide a corresponding digital file with every purchased, printed image. Even my headshot clients get a print of their selected images. Some clients opt out of digitals altogether because they understand that they have no real use for them, as they don't have access to professional labs to create the best quality products that their images deserve.
My commitment to fully serving my clients is a guarantee that they'll have heirloom print collections and wall art for generations. I can't promise that if the products or prints are not the very best I can source, like this magnificent portfolio box from Graphi Studio. Designed to fit 10, 15 or 25 matted prints, the boxes measure 11x14 inches and are custom crafted per order in Italy. I offer them in cream suede or black leather. The box lid is either canvas, like the one below, or a fine art print. The lid is also magnetized, the idea being that the box is a free standing piece of art on its own when the lid is on it. Prints lift out easily, thanks to a satin ribbon underneath them.
They're made to absolute perfection and I am THRILLED to offer them to my clients. I also offer canvases, large format prints as well as several other specialty products, like this 8x10 tri-fold suede folio: which has stunning craftsmanship with the images inside printed onto canvas. They're available in vertical or horizontal orientations and make terrific grandparent gifts from senior portrait sessions.
No digital image alone will ever be able to compete with high quality prints and products that you can surround yourself with every day. No small view screen or social media post could ever compare to large format framed images in your hallway, bedroom, family room or dining area. Or with these folios on a mantle.
More than anything, I BELIEVE in printed images as tribute to your love, experiences and life. Not printing to me is a bit like Neil Armstrong landing on the moon and not planting the flag. As Artifact Uprising so eloquently states: "Honor that which is meaningful... and make these moments tangible." Yes! And work with a professional to choose the right products for your family and home. Because everything in life is art. Especially you.
If you'd like to experience a full service portrait studio and see the difference in heirloom prints and products from just digitals, I'd love to hear from you! (206) 779-4284