Prints vs CD/USB.... Why? Why not? Which one?

So... How are you going to get your images?

       You are in negotiation with a photographer or you have just completed your session and the time has come to discuss product.  Many photographers, myself included, offer different packages and options for you to receive the goodies from the session. Usually the options can be put into two categories..... Prints or/and Digital files. Which one do you choose? You may opt to go the least expensive route (usually digital copies) but is that the best option? After all you just paid X amount of bucks on his/her time and your pockets may be a little thin. Well let me help you with some things to consider, ask yourself and maybe a plan of attack.

"Whaaat?! you want how much for an 8x10 print!!!? I can just go to 'insert big box store here' and get it for pennies! I'll take the CD thanks." This may be your first reaction when you see the cost of prints... To be honest before I was a photographer it was my reaction.

Why in the world would you spend $XX/X on prints?

Color Calibration.

Fido looks a bit blue. We don't want you looking blue. You should look like you.

Fido looks a bit blue. We don't want you looking blue. You should look like you.

     Huh?? Most of us camera folk pour our heart and soul into making your images look their best. Not just on the screen but printed as well. We have this nifty little contraption by our screens. It's a monitor calibrator. It's purpose is to make sure the colors emitting from our displays are accurate. Most of us calibrate our monitor to the printers at the professional print lab we print through.  So we edit your photos, give you a CD you go to that box store down the road and Viola! Some how you turned half umpaloompa half sea sick scally wag (your skin tones are funky bro). Now take that same image off the CD and go to the "expensive" lab that we send off to and boom! It's like looking into a mirror, you're back to your healthy looking self. Now that is not always the result of going to a McMart print kiosk, but more often then not it is. So why don't you just send off to a pro lab? Well you could, but you'd need your tax id number and resale number ready.... you know like a professional photographer has.

Do you see that?! It's incredible! The sheen, the texture! YOU DESERVE THIS!

Do you see that?! It's incredible! The sheen, the texture! YOU DESERVE THIS!

The Paper

No, not the Benjamin's but the surface your digital face goes on. Have you ever felt professional photo paper? You should, it's like the first time you've ever pet a kitten. It's a life changer. The texture, the weight, sometimes the fibers, the way the ink sits and does not budge from its pre-determined little yet so important dot, the luster, or gloss, or lack of any gloss.......DEEP BREATH, I got a little carried away.  What I'm getting at is it is something special and we know exactly what special paper to use for your special day, or special moment, or your special face. You can't get this stuff at McMart. Yes, it is more expensive for the good stuff, but you are a piece of art remember, and this is an important day.

The dark corners of basements. That is where you will find un-printed digital files.

The dark corners of basements. That is where you will find un-printed digital files.

 The Procrastination.

 What do you have nightmares about? I sometimes wake up in a puddle of sweat from a reoccurring nightmare. In this terror in my mind I hand a CD to a client. We are both so excited! So many smiles, time spent creating beautiful art together, memories,  laughs, just so much joy! THEN BOOM! The nightmare skips into the future. I am in the basement of the clients home. There is a box in the corner that seems to be pulling me towards it. I open the box and rummage through the contents. A Furby, Iphone 6, layers of beanie babies,  and finally the dusty CD I handed the client 30 years ago. Attached to the CD is a note, "Try to remember to get these printed". The images never where printed.... I turn over the CD. It's scratched! Does this sound like you? NO? I bet that's what you or your parents said about all those undeveloped rolls of film that you found in that same basement years ago. Point of the story? We will make sure you get those things printed and displayed... our sleep depends on it.

The biggest reason?

The quality. Can we all agree that a business that specializes in printing will most likely blow a place where you can get your prints, toilet paper, and shampoo out of the water when it comes to quality? You know, a place where the employees have spent years mastering the craft. You deserve quality. The highest quality at that. Now, sometimes you can get lucky and find a consumer print lab that does your images justice. It's rare but possible. 


So what about those digital copies?

  I know it may sound like I am pushing you to rack up my paycheck or the photographers paycheck but I do have a few things to say about digital copies.

They make it easy to share online!

  Your family across the country wants to see you. A digital file is a great way to make that happen quickly and economically. Plus we as photographers love it when you show off your newly polished images on face-space-tagram. 

Hey, you CAN go print them yourself.

Yes, yes you can. We'll just leave this one short (the attack plan at the bottom will explain when and why to print on your own)

You get all the images at the low cost of $XX.

Usually you get them all at a cost well below the price where you buy prints of them all. Woohoo for saving money!




So what should you do?

What should you ask for at the negotiation or when the deed is done?


Yup, that's it. Here is the logic. Get the CD/USB for a back up, get it to share across the interweb, print extra images for your scrapbook or album. Now for the images you truly LOVE. The ones that you just can't look away from.... get those on the kitten paper (I REALLY hope you've been following along to get this reference... if not please read the whole article)! After all if you can't stop looking at them, chances are other people won't be able to look away too, and would you want them to see the defects of a McMart store? NO! Do you want to wake up one morning and notice your're skin tone seems a bit sickly? NO! 

So in conclusion, do what you will. These are merely suggestions and hopefully some insight into why the prints from us photogs are more than "those other places". I want you and my clients to be happy. Not just happy now with your images and decision to either print or go with the digitals but happy in 30 years too. So which do you think will make you happy in 30 years? Let me know below in the comments, i'd like your insight to!