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Why you really don’t want ONLY those digital files…

March 20th, 2015 | Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments

Very trendy these days.  We see it a lot.  Clients going to a photographer not because they particularly like their style of images, not because they are the best in the area, not because of their credentials or awards, not even because they are the cheapest.  Some are going to a photographer simply because said photographer gives away the digital files.  This is something that would never have been considered 20 years ago, and is really irresponsible and not a customer focused action by the photographer….here’s why…

A photographer makes his/her living by creating images for a client and then selling the images as prints, albums, and other products.  Half of the image creation process is the final product, how the photographer fulfills his vision for the client by how he crops the image, how he chooses to print the image, i.e. paper choice, saturation, density, and finish.  Not allowing the photographer to carry out his full vision for your images is like asking the tailor to simply ‘provide me with the bolts of clothe and I’ll finish it from here’….In short, you are being shortchanged by accepting less than the photographer’s best, simply for expediency.  Here at L-Ann Imaging, we want to complete the job you hired us to do by providing the BEST quality images, finished to our final vision.

Sometimes we get requests for low resolution images for FB or some other social media site.  We understand this more. Everyone wants to share with their friends.  This runs into trouble, though, when ALL you get are digital files from your photographer.  Consider a few things here:

- First, remember that FB, Instagram ,etc. are cloud based social media sites.  Basically composed of a bunch of electrons, they are not permanent.  They’re transitory, an illusion, a ghost, a shadow of the real thing, an echo of a well printed image.  “But I have mine on my phone/hard drive/DVD…”  Ever have a cell phone crash or in some other way become unusable?  What happened to your photos on there?  I’m sure everyone has experienced a hard drive crash on their computer.  You photos there??  Gone.  Deleted.  Unrecoverable many times.  DVD’s?  on their way out.  Many computers don’t even come with DVD drives any longer.  Anyone remember floppy discs??  Technology does no good if the means to use said technology goes away.  DVD’s are also highly corruptible in such as way that they become unreadable.  Then what??  Game over…

- “But I have the files and can go print them anywhere”…Yes you can.  And your results will be less than what you bargained for.  Remember that professional photographers also use professional quality labs, color matched to the original files created.  That guarantees blue is blue, red is red, etc.  I won’t get into the technical, but it has t do with color spaces and color profiles.  Contrast can also vary greatly from printer to printer. Your photographer who created those files knows how to handle this, and is a pro at it.  Nothing against them, but is Walmart?  Can Walgreens reproduce that image faithfully?

- “But I want to keep them, I feel better having them with me…”…this I sorta understand.  Know that in our studio we provide archival of all our sessions, both onsite and offsite, to prevent a single point failure of any of our systems.  Consider also, if you have them, where will you store them?  Safety Deposit box?  Good idea.  That cardboard box with 43 other DVD’s?  Bad idea…And now you pull out that DVD in 10 years and realize – you can’t access it – either because the technology has gone away or because the DVD has corrupted…

In short, you are being done a GREAT disservice by any photographer who would sell ONLY the digital files (or GIVE them to you, worse in my book) without also selling you the prints/wall portraits/memory book/album.  They are either not up to skill level to produce the printed item, caving to the trendy cultural phase, or worse – simply too lazy to go to the trouble to do the right thing and not the fast easy thing.

I have heard this current generation of children aged 12 and under as the “Forgotten Generation”.  This is because they’re the most photographed (cell phone, digital cameras, etc.), while at the same time the least recorded in modern history.  Digital negatives are a great “also” product.  They are NOT an “only” product.