As a photographer I can almost guarantee that every single week I will get an e-mail that reads something like this. “I love your pictures and want to schedule a session. How much are your digital files?” Photographers know that this is what people want. They want to be able to share them online, on Facebook, e-mail them to their family members, make digital scrapbooks with them but most of all, I know, that they want to avoid purchasing prints from me because they know they can go to Costco, Target and/or Wal-Mart and get them at a fraction of the cost. Why should someone pay $30 for an 8×10 from me when Wal-Mart only charge $2.49? I get it.
Here are a few reasons why buying the prints from the photographer you hire is a great idea.
1. They should be processing your pictures on professionally color calibrated equipment that is set to the same specifications as the lab they use. This insures that the color that you see when you view your proofs, is the color that they are supposed to be.
2. What happens when you go to a large box store and you say, “these pictures don’t look right. The color is all off?” I’ll tell you… nothing. The person behind the counter isn’t trained to see color and can’t tell if it too yellow or blue. They just take the pictures out of the machine, put them in an envelope and swipe your credit card. Just ask me about the year of the blue Christmas Card picture.
What do I do? I take those picture back and make sure that they are up to my standards and are pleasing to the client.
3. We want you to look your best. After the session we spend hours making sure the portraits are just right. We examine your skin and get rid of every single little blemish, we fix your stray hairs, we erase wrinkles, and we might even take a few pounds off. If the pictures were taken in your home, we might straighten a painting that was hanging crooked on the wall and we diminish clutter in the background. We make sure colors are bright and look realistic.
4. A professional photographer has so many more options for your portraits that a retail chain store. Want to do something different? Get metallic paper, a different texture, a standout, a floatwrap or a fabulous frame that you can’t find anywhere else. Make your photo display something people talk about, not just something that takes up space on a wall.
The biggest reason to purchase your prints from your photographer is the fact that my reputation is on the line. You don’t like it, I will make it right. I will personally guarantee that the portraits you purchase from me will look great. You will love them and I will do everything in my control to make sure that is the case.
But I have talked enough. Here is the proof of why, it is so important to purchase your prints from your photographer. (All of these samples were printed by the store shown on the print and scanned in with my Brother MFC Scanner. None of them have been altered at all) And to be fully honest, I did get the idea of showing pictures in this way from other photographers. This is not an original idea. I have seen it done several times and decided that I needed to try this myself.
Look at the difference in the color in the grass, the contrast and over all tone of the photo.
Yes, this was all the exact same .jpg file that was submitted to each store with NO changes. I was shocked at the difference in this particular picture.
Talk about differences in skin tones and contrast.
So back the digital files question. Do I make them available for my clients? Absolutely! I am happy to provide digital files for my clients and have several options that you can choose from. I will even provide watermarked files for sharing on Facebook free of charge.
What if you want paper proofs of the entire session with purchasing individual portraits? Yup, I will do that too and you can get them in 4×6’s, 5×7’s or in book form at a discounted rate.
Bottom line, hire your photographer because you love their work. Make sure you are going to get the products that you want. But when hiring a professional for your portraits, make sure that the end result you are getting does justice to the time and money you invested in the session. There is a difference between a professional quality portrait and an every day snapshot. The difference is MUCH more than the paper the picture is printed on.