Preserving Your Memories
My last post encouraged you to celebrate your life and capture those priceless memories. You may do this yourself by taking snapshots with your iPhone or camera. Maybe you keep a journal or a sketchbook. Maybe you're a scrapbooker. Perhaps you hire a photographer for certain milestones or special occasions.
Today, I want to discuss digital photographs.
With the technology age fully upon us, most photographers get asked by clients, at some time or another, to sell them a disc of their session images. These digital images go by many names: JPEGs, digital negatives, digital files...you get the idea. Essentially, they are the photographic information stored in a digital format. Most people have their own digital images stored on their computer, on multiple discs, or possibly even still on their camera.
The vast majority of people never get around to printing out their images, and I think this is both scary and sad.
One of my closest friends recently lost ALL of her personal digital photos that were on her computer. These were photographs of all of her children from birth on. Family vacations. Birthdays. Family holiday celebrations. She and her husband, ten years younger. The only images she still has are the ones she had printed, and (sadly) those were a tiny fraction of the total. To say it made her sick would be a gross understatement.
Digital files are fun to have; they are great for Facebook, email, and digital frames. They make a decent backup, if you are careful to "backup your backups." (If you are using a cloud-based automatic backup of your images, I applaud you!) But for longevity, I'll take a high quality photographic print any day. I STRONGLY encourage you to begin printing yours.
Because I feel so strongly about this, while I, as a photographer, do currently offer digital files for purchase, I do not sell digital files to portrait clients without corresponding prints also being placed in their hands.
The most important reason for this, of course, has to do with longevity. The photographic prints I provide should last for more than 100 years in a quality environment. Digital images...well, nobody really knows how long they will last, or how long the technology will be around to access those digital files, as technology changes almost daily. (Remember the "old" 5-1/4" floppy discs? Could you easily get information off of one today?) Have you ever had your hard drive crash, or lose everything due to a computer virus? Are you aware that every time you open and close a JPEG file, its quality degrades just a little bit?
Another reason I insist on providing a print of each digital image purchased has to do with print quality. Once a digital file is out of my hands, so is my control over the quality of the final print or product. My computer and my images are calibrated to work with the highest-quality professional processing labs. The photographic prints I provide are printed on beautiful, heavyweight, archival-quality photographic paper. There is truly a difference you can see and feel compared to discount photo labs. I want my clients to know how the image SHOULD look when printed. Heck, I'll even recommend a consumer lab to use to get the best print results!
Finally, it's about providing good customer service. I know too many people who have purchased discs from photographers and have never bothered to print even one image! To this day, I cannot figure out why anyone would spend money to have photographs taken and then not print them out so they can easily enjoy them. Providing a print is the only way I can make sure my clients have a "finished product" in their hands.
But, mostly, it's about knowing I've provided them with images that will last.
So, please, print your digital images. Celebrate and honor those memories by displaying them in frames or preserving them in high quality photo albums.
Besides, those images look so much better on a wall or in a beautiful album than they do on a piece of plastic shoved in your desk drawer, don't they?
Keywords: Bear Creek, Children, Family, Photographer, Wilkes Barre, digital files, digital images, photographs, printing, prints
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