In this age of smartphones and instant sharing, there’s no denying the allure of digital files. After all, all we have to do is snap a pic, swipe, and voila – our cherished moments are right there on our screens. Sure, digital files offer convenience and swiftness, but let’s be real – they come with their fair share of shortcomings, especially when we’re talking about preserving those cherished moments for generations to come.
As a professional newborn and family photographer, my aim is to provide all my clients with a photographic experience that they’re going to remember and images that they’ll be able to look back on for years and years to come. And the only way I can guarantee that for my clients is to deliver them with archival printed products that will stand the test of time.
But one of the questions I get asked by clients ahead of their photoshoot is can we just get the digital files?
I want you to ask yourself why do you want the digital files and not the prints?
Is it because you want to be able to share them with family and friends, perhaps you want to print them yourself because it’s “cheaper”, or because you can make multiple copies, or maybe you just don’t know what you want to do with them yet?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve grown up in the digital era and am all for embracing technology and the wonders of the digital world, but there’s something profoundly magical about holding a tangible piece of memory in your hands. That’s right, I’m talking about prints – those beautifully crafted pieces of art that have the power to whisk us away to the past, spark conversations, and create connections.
In this blog post, we’re going to dive headfirst into the age-old debate of digital files versus printed photographs. We’re about to uncover why digital files might just suck – and why prints? Well, they’re the true champions of memory preservation.
So after your photoshoot, you get a USB of images from your photographer, head home share a few on Facebook and then store the USB somewhere “safe”.
In 10 years’ time when your little girl wants to see her newborn photos, you by some miracle manage to find the USB, you go to plug it into your computer and find that your new computer no longer has a USB port, and you can’t get the connections anymore to plug that device into your machine. So your daughter’s newborn photos are now lost.
Or perhaps you can purchase an adapter for the USB but when you plug it in you find that the USB has corrupted and the files are no longer readable.
I want you to think back to a few years ago when floppy disks or CDs were the main form of storing digital documents and photos. Now tell me, do you still have any of those documents you stored on them, and even more importantly can you still open them? The answer is most like no.
Now that might be ok for that assignment you wrote in 3rd form, but ask yourself this, is it ok for your wedding photos, the pics of your first newborn baby, or the photos of your growing family?
Technology changes so quickly and unless you follow a rigorous backup method, what you store your precious photos on today is unlikely to work in just a few year’s time.
Now let’s look at those reasons why you might want digital files. The first one of sharing your photos with your family and friends is a very valid reason to get the digital files and is why we supply all of our clients with a digital copy of everything they buy printed.
Sharing your photos on the likes of Facebook is cool, but using Facebook as a storage device for your photos is not. You don’t own Facebook and it could close at any time (hello my space!), and if this is your backup place of choice you will lose your photos. Facebook and other social media platforms also reduce the quality of images shared, so if you try to print from these files in future they won’t print well, and you will not be able to get large-sized prints from them.
Although you can share your files digitally, I highly recommend sharing them in a physical format as well. My nana had photos of all of her grandkids all over her house, and it was awesome (although sometimes a little humiliating) to see how we’d all changed and grown and to look back and remember family get-togethers we’d had when we were younger. Gifting a tangible photograph or album to a loved one becomes a heartfelt gesture that speaks volumes. It’s more than just a present; it’s a piece of shared history, a token of cherished moments that you’re inviting them to relive whenever they glance at it. A digital image is remembered for a moment while it’s on the screen, but a printed image will be loved for years every time they walk past it displayed in their home.
Perhaps you want to print your own photos because “it’s cheaper”, and yes you can definitely get prints done cheaper but are those prints quality, and more importantly will you ever actually get around to doing it?
Over the past 15-plus years of being a photographer I’ve had a lot of return clients and when we catch up with those who just brought their digitals and we are chatting about them, over 90% of them tell me the USB is somewhere but that printing them is still on their never-ending to-do list.
Investing in a custom portrait experience is quite a time commitment. After all, you’ve got to get everyone dressed in the right outfits, at the right place at the right time, looking good. You’ve then got to spend the time to see the photos and decide what you want to do with them. Why would you want to invest all this time, get photos you absolutely love and then never do anything with them? My aim is to take this job off my client’s to-do lists and ensure they leave with something physical that they get to enjoy and treasure every day. Photos are one of the only things you can buy that gets more valuable as the years go by, after all, you can never get those moments back.
Every screen shows colour differently, and every printer prints colour differently. There is also a huge variety and quality of papers and inks out there and not all of them are good. A lot of the cheaper places to get images printed are not offering archival-quality products. I have seen multiple canvases brought from cheaper places where the image is chipping off the canvas within months of getting them done, or the wood used from the frame warps in the heat and moisture of everyday living. By buying prints through your professional photographer you can be assured they are using archival quality products and that these images will stand the test of time. For example, my canvases come with a 75-year lifetime guarantee. Yep, you read that right, 75 years!! That means if anything happens to your canvas my lab will reprint it and deliver it to you free of charge.
So although it might be “cheaper” to print them yourself, is it really? By the time you actually get around to doing it, and then have to reprint them every few months because the quality isn’t there, let alone having to run around to multiple places to get the prints done, then buy the frame, and then assemble it yourself, ask yourself are you really saving money? Instead, I would recommend you invest in the quality in the first place and not have to worry about getting it all sorted yourself. Save yourself the hassle, and instead just enjoy picking them up all ready to hang in your home, so you can sit back and love them for years.
Maybe the whole idea of having to decide where and how you want to display these images just seems completely overwhelming, and you want some time to think about it. If this is the case I can pretty much assure you if its overwhelming when you’re sitting there with an expert, then it’s not going to get less so when you’re home alone – and printing and displaying them will be something you just put in the too-hard basket.
As a newborn and family photographer, I have been designing wall displays, choosing frames to compliment the image and your home decor, and putting together stunning albums for years. This is my jam and something I consider myself a bit of an expert in. Photographers have an incredible eye for this sort of thing and we know straight away what’s going to work and what won’t.
I have also invested in software that shows you exactly what your images will look like in your home on your own walls, at the right size, before you buy them. No more regret when you get home and the images you’ve spent ages printing and framing don’t fit where you want to hang them, or the frame you’ve chosen clashes with the other items in your home. Instead, you will leave a viewing appointment with us assured that it’s all going to work together, that the images will sit harmoniously beside each other, be balanced and most importantly will fit and suit where you’d like to display them.
After all, this is all part of the service of paying to work with a professional photographer.
In a world swept up by the allure of digital convenience, let’s take a moment to appreciate the timeless wonder of prints. You see, it’s not just about the act of gifting; it’s about the profound impact that printed photographs can have on our lives. As we navigate this era of swipes and clicks, prints remain steadfast in their ability to stand the test of time. While digital files might seem enticing in the short run, they often fall short when it comes to the long-term preservation of memories.
Think about it: a printed photograph isn’t just a fleeting image on a screen; it’s a tangible embodiment of a moment frozen in time. The weight of the paper, the rich colors that withstand the years – these are the hallmarks of prints that digital files can’t replicate. Holding a physical photograph in your hands is like holding a piece of history, a connection to the past that transcends pixels and code.
And let’s not forget the magic of passing down prints from one generation to another. Picture this: your children, your grandchildren, and beyond – all able to hold and cherish the very same images that meant so much to you. Prints become a bridge, connecting us to our roots, allowing stories to be shared, and creating a tapestry of memories that intertwines through time.
In a world where technology advances at breakneck speed and digital files can be lost to the void, prints remain steadfast sentinels of our most precious moments. So, lets celebrate the power of printed photographs – not just as tokens of the present, but as legacies for the future. These prints aren’t just images; they’re treasures, heirlooms, and a tangible thread that binds generations together.
So do you still “just want the digital files”?