The Power of Prints

January 29, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

A few days ago, I was visiting my wonderful aunt in Texas.  Walking into her house, I was reminded about the power of prints.  Printed photographs.  Those pictures that were once printed on paper, then placed in an album, or framed on a wall.

In the digital age, it seems that people are doing that less and less.  A Facebook memory reminder is how people look back in time now.

Don't get me wrong, I think the digital age is an outstanding point in time.  I wouldn't be able to do what I do now had it not been for technology and so on.  I don't look back at the film days and say how much better it was - to me, it wasn't.

But, to walk into a house that has memories throughout, of nieces, nephews, cousins, siblings, friends...  It is a euphoric moment to see different people in different points in time, sitting in a frame on a shelf or on a wall.  People you may have forgotten about otherwise, or people that have passed away.  People that at some point meant something to you.

It is becoming more and more common to request digital files after a photo session.  Although I understand, and I do offer that to clients, there are two major reasons that make me flinch when that's the only thing they're interested in.

  1. The client will download the collection, and save them to a computer (sometimes a disc or hard drive).  Computers do not last forever, and the longer you have them, the more and more files will be stored on them.  Making specific files (or photos) extremely difficult to find.  If the photos are not a major turning point in someone's life, they may sadly be forgotten over the years.
  2. Say the client does want the digital files so they can freely print as many photos as they'd like, wherever they would like.  No problem.  Great for them, bad for the photographer.  Anyone can get a photo printed at their local print store for a couple of cents.  It's the quality, the sharpness, the cropping, and the color that is concerning to me.  It's not about losing the possibility of money (my clients should know that my print prices are extremely cheap compared to most others), it is about the final look, the final product, the reflection of me.  A bad print can make a beautiful photo look horrible, in turn, making me as a photographer look subpar.  But I suppose a bad print is better than no print...

Take a look at the image below for a comparison of the more common printing labs, and take note of the quality and color differences from the original photo. (Image source: Wade McDonald Photography)

And going back to my aunt's house, just for fun, take a look at this wonderful photo I found on her shelf in her living room.  This is me, Kindergarten graduation circa 1989.  An otherwise forgotten photo, still preserved behind glass, and still able to see my graduation hat made of poster board.  Enjoy!


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