When inquiring about a newborn session at our studio, approximately 95% of new clients ask about digital files and their pricing. When I first started out in photography, using a digital camera, NO CLIENTS EVER asked about files. We only sold art products and gift prints. With the invention of lower priced prosumer digital cameras, digital files have become common place. When clients ask about digital files, and if we sell them, our answer is always, YES! We do sell files, but chances are, you don’t even need them!
Our thought is this: When you hire a professional photographer, it’s because you want portraits of your family from an expert. Your baby is only a tiny infant, ONCE.
The goal of these sessions should be to create art, portraits that you’ll display on the walls of your home. You might want a portrait album, to treasure and pass down for generations. Just look at any magazine or in the living room of a well-designed house; you’ll generally find a timelessness family portrait artfully displayed or hung above the mantel.
Think back to when you started researching photographers. You probably explained in your inquiry that while you can appreciate their talent, you’ll want to print the images yourself. Perhaps that’s why you’ve come across this article. Basically, you’re asking the photographer to hand over what took so much time and effort to create, because you think it will be cheaper to print yourself.
We can understand why you’re asking, honestly! The newer digital photographers today, those generally not paying business insurance or taxes (most likely about 85% of those you see on Facebook), offer their files because they have no access to professional prints and products. They have no custom framer, and can’t offer to preserve your memories forever. But with those files, you’ll have them forever, right?
NO WAY! Think again!
Digital files are meant to be a BACK-UP; a temporary storage solution until you can have the images printed and archived forever. We only think of them as a commodity or product because we’ve been conditioned to by what we see others doing and getting. Digital files are subject to corruption and degradation. And let’s face it, if you’ve ever received digital files from your photographer, chances are you posted to social media and not a print was made. They most likely will never be printed–no albums will be made and no wall portraits will be displayed. The disc or thumb drive they gave you (if you even got one) will sit for years in your drawer, at which time you won’t even want to print any longer. You may just hope that by the time their high school graduation comes, you’ll be able to use those files and print some out. Hopefully, your media is still safe.
If this sounds like you, just know, you’re not alone because My own family is guilty of this!
Furthermore, if you HAVE printed your images from a “shoot and burn” photographer, the chances are high that the quality of the prints are subpar. Even just framing them with box-store frames can cause the prints to warp within a year. A little secret: Custom framers use little strips of material between your print and the glass, so the art can breathe. Ready-made frames do not come with this option.
Actually, we give all clients a web-sized digital file of each image purchased as portrait. Archiving and sharing on social media is something we all want! What we are saying is that the investment you are making in digital files may actually cost you in the long run, in both time and perhaps, loss. Please think long and hard when choosing a photographer. If you like their style or you’ve seen videos of them working behind the scenes and they look like a good fit for you, consider not basing your decision to use them based on the availability of digital files/price. Portraits are forever, especially when you leave the studio with printed art. You’re making an investment in your memories; in what you are leaving to your children and your children’s children.
If you DO choose to purchase digital files, ensure you are informed on the best way to print them and get a lab recommendation from your photographer. Digital files are worthless if you’re unsure of how to print them properly. Working with a professional photographer, you’ll see that we truly care about the quality of the prints and products we provide. What hangs on your wall has our name associated with it, so we want your photos to look as good as possible.
To end, be assured that a true professional photographer will always promise that you’ll love your final images. They’ll ensure each image is the highest quality, and printed on the best paper, at a professional lab. They’ll never cut corners and always stand by their work.
That’s what we offer and hope that you sense the same, when working with our studio!
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