Okay. I know you think you do. Maybe you really, really-do, but I need to have a sit down with you.
The other day my husband and I were discussing an old video camera and whether or not we’d transferred all of our videos of our children. You know-the ones we took back when they were teeny-tiny and oh-so-precious. We chatted about format and access. We bantered about good intentions. The reality is that most of our children’s adorableness is now languishing on a mostly unused format that we may/may not be able to access without professional help..(and y’all my oldest child is only 10 years old). Somehow, that sent me off on a tangent about changes in media and why people really need prints or printed products, not the digital images they think they long for. My husband, possibly just trying to derail my monologue, but sounding quite sincere said, “You should blog about that.” So, here I am.
You see, if you are like many, or most, clients you are convinced you want your digital images. It’s become a thing. Everyone wants their disc, their usb, their download. I understand online sharing, wanting access to all of the images, or wanting to be able to send prints to family members at a lower cost per print. However, life tends to happen. Often those images stagnate on the CD or USB drive. The images stay stored on the computer. They never get printed. So that session, the one you miraculously managed to get your husband and kids to, the session where you got cute coordinating outfits for everyone (but not matchy-matchy, so you’d be on-trend), the session of your precious tiny being within their first few weeks of life, the session you chose to invest in, never makes it to your walls for you to enjoy. Time flies. Technology changes. It’s quick, people. The newest thing becomes the old thing, files have to be transferred to newer media or they are lost. Something we actually care an immense amount about, becomes largely inaccessible.
That’s one reason I choose prints . Even if you decide you can’t invest in anything beyond a session fee, you will walk away with your professional lab-printed 4×6 proofs from all of my regular sessions. You will have physical documentation of your session. You will have something to look at, to hold and to show. They won’t exactly stand out on your wall like a 20×30 canvas, (which I’d love for you to have by-the-way) but they are tangible documentation of those moments that you chose to invest in. You guys, I have prints of my great-great grandparents. They have been passed down as a legacy from generation to generation. I know there are fires, floods and tragedies that destroy prints, but for the most part, a print endures when technology changes. Digital images make a good archive, but enjoying our images in our daily lives, give those images value. Enjoying them in a concrete form, makes them worth every penny of the investment.
An album on the coffee-table with every image from your session, a canvas over the fireplace, a collage of prints on the wall, they tell your story. My children love to see and discuss how they’ve grown and changed. They refer to the proof of their growth displayed on our walls, or available from our bookshelves. My 10 year old actually sat with his friends the other day to flip through a printed album of his preschool-age pictures. They laughed about baby pictures of his little brother. I was amused that these ten and eleven year old boys truly seemed to enjoy sitting there looking through pictures. It reminded me of how often I sat at Grandma Leila’s house, snuggled between others on the sofa with an album in my lap, re-visiting images for the umpteenth time.
I’m aware of our social-media culture. It does make digital images important. We live in a technology-driven world. We want to share our images online with family and friends. It is immediate, it is current, and I really do understand (even if it seems like this post speaks to the contrary). Maybe you do really want your digital images, and that’s okay. If so, I will gladly sell them to you. I will take the opportunity to educate you on your purchase. I will talk to you about printing quality (another blog post altogether), so the prints you have made from your digital files are high quality. I will make sure you have those web-sized, watermarked images to share via multiple digital platforms. I will help you, if you want to archive your session in digital format.
Yet, my heart says one beautifully displayed image is more important than having every single image in digital format. There is value in the print that tells your story, that makes you well up with emotion, that captures everyone’s personality, or that brings to mind how it felt to hold your newborn child. There is value in a tangible reminder of life’s smallest moments, that so quickly pass us by.
Those are my thoughts. What are your yours? Do you feel like you really do want your digital images more than prints/products? Did you like receiving all of your images as printed proofs? Did you print your digital files and get them displayed soon after your session? Do you adore your album or canvas? I’d love to hear your feedback.
2 thoughts on “Do you REALLY want digital images?”
As a former museum professional, I agree that printed images are super important, but my family also personally finds a tremendous value in the digital images as well. We love our printed images and we love going back through albums and photo books with our kids, but we (personally) do the same on the computer. So often, we find we love some of the images that photographers have taken of our kids, but haven’t selected as the best ones because of some aspect that is unique to our kids. I am not a photographer, so I don’t know how to look at an image from a professional standpoint and determine what makes it a good photo, however, I know those looks and quirks that are unique to my kids and I love having records of those, even if they might not be the images that we select to be displayed on our walls or tables. We often can’t afford to buy as many prints as we’d like (Im’ NOT complaining about pricing…I know photographers need to be compensated fairly for their time and talents), and the digital images give us a way to go back and see those moments that we might not otherwise get to see.
We love our professionally printed photos and rarely print from digital images (as you’ve pointed out) and we enjoy sharing one or two digitally on social media, but we do really enjoy going back through the digital images and having a record of the entire session. We don’t necessarily want the digital images more than the prints (and I would NOT want to see digital replace actual paper), but we love having both. Just my thoughts… We love you and your talents either way!!!!!
Thank you so much for sharing your perspective and thoughts. I love hearing how you value both the printed image and digital files. I’m also thrilled you find a way to enjoy your digital images as much as your prints. Thanks again for your input!