Saturday, September 17, 2011

Why Prints Are So Important {Photographer, Columbia, SC}

Last week I was at the home of a great friend and fellow photographer. It had been a while since we'd had a chance to visit and she received a delivery of prints while I was there. So I did what any photographer would do... I demanded she open the boxes and whip those puppies out. As expected, there were some beautiful examples of her work inside awaiting delivery to her clients. While oohing and ahhing, I noticed a print of her family laying nearby. It struck me because it was a portrait I did during a session with her family. Then I noticed she had several family portraits from the shoot framed and up on the walls and I thought to myself, I really need to get my own print order in for our family.

You see, I am like many typical photography clients who want the digital files, I take FOREVER to get my prints. It's easy to put off and I'm busy working on other people's pictures after all. I share them with friends and family on the web, but my sweet children can't admire their own pictures on the web and trust me they LOVE to admire themselves. And let's face it, there's a reason realtors ask you to remove personal images from your walls when selling your house. Because it makes it a home. Your home. Your family's home. A CD of images will never do that for you.

I realize the value of the CD. I also understand many of the reasons some photographers don't really like selling them. Those reasons include, but are not limited too... when people get prints, they choose really poor printing sources such as mass retailers and the images come out looking very different which is sort of a slap to all of the hard work that went into perfecting the lighting and exposure of a picture (and can be more expensive than higher quality prints but that's for another post); they're concerned it will hurt their bottom line (it's a business for a photographer and they have a bottom line they need to make, but if they charged that for CDs, most people would croak); but also they know that many people are like me... they have every intent of getting prints, even quality prints, but life gets in the way and those prints never get made and an opportunity to have those precious images brought to life passes.

CDs basically contain negatives. How often have you gone through a grandparent's stuff and found old photos of your family that you then spent hours pouring over? How often do you find the negatives? Not often and when you do, even holding them up to a lamp you can't make out what they are. Labs processing film are getting fewer and farther between. CDs are already on their own way to being obsolete. Who remembers floppy disks? If you found one with info on it would you know how to get it off it? In 30 years when your kids are pouring through your boxes, will they find fun prints or will they find a CD which they have as much hope of viewing as I do of listening to an eight track?

I'm not slamming CDs. I offer them and part of the reason I do it is because I want them too. I'm a backer-upper. I bring CDs home and immediately back them up to backup drives, soon to include off premise backups. I preserve. But if I hadn't been forced to purchase prints in the past, who knows when those images would get printed? Would my 3 year old have any pictures hanging in our house? I'd like to think so. Regardless, seeing those prints in my friend's house, I made a promise to myself. I set a deadline to get my OWN print order in and I committed to doing it so my Facebook friends and I wouldn't be the only people to see the images. My daughters, their great-grandparents, great aunts and uncles (all of whom have little idea what Facebook even is) will get to enjoy those images as well.

Time passes so fast. It would be a crime to leave those precious images on those $2 pieces of plastic rather than have them where they deserve to be, brought to life in print for the people who matter most in my life to see any time they want!

Happy Snapping,

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