Prints vs Digital Files

Prints vs Digital Files

What’s the real difference?

This has been a hot debate among photographers over the last few years and I wanted to break down the pros and cons of purchasing digital files vs prints from my perspective.  Let me preface this by saying that I do give my clients digital files along with a print release to print them out on their own if they choose to do so.  I think it’s an added benefit to the client, and honestly it alleviates some of the work from me.  Not every client is looking to hang their photos on their walls or put them in album.  Increasingly we are becoming a digital age and many of our photos are strictly for display on social media, like it or not.  So having said that here’s why receiving digital files from your photographer is a great thing!

  1. You’re able to archive your photos yourself and do with them whatever you please.  If you want to create a photo collage and email it to Grandma, you can do so. Or if you want to print them out over time you have the option available to you.
  2. Turn around time is much faster.  When I give a client digital files only, the turnaround time from them placing their order with me to actually receiving the USB in hand is probably about a week.  So for those of you that are impatient and can’t wait to see your photos you won’t have to wait long. When ordering prints for a client the wait time can extend 1-2 weeks longer due to placing the order with the lab and them getting it back to me.

Those may not seem like a lot of pros, but they are very important to a client.  So at this point you may be asking why bother with purchasing prints through your photographer?  Let me explain why they’re so important:

  1. The quality of prints will be much better. Most clients with digital files will either print their photos at home or through a local ‘lab’ like Walmart, CVS, etc. When purchasing your prints through your photographer the quality of paper that the photos are printed on are much higher and the ink will not fade over time.
  2. Prints will last longer. Digital files will fail over time (or just become extinct). As with anything in our digital age, it doesn’t last forever. Your computer will become corrupt or your USB may become scratched and just like that all of your photos are gone. I currently provide my clients with USB images, like CDs and floppy disks they may one day become a thing of the past. USB is where it’s at now and in another 10-20 years who knows what we’ll be storing our files on and if you’re not keeping up with technology you may not even be able to access your photos.
  3. You are able to enjoy your prints everyday. People who have their photos printed, framed and displayed in their homes are able to look at them daily and truly appreciate them. Unfortunately a lot of people with digital files never get around to printing them out (even if they say they will). So they just sit on your computer and eventually become forgotten. You put a lot of time and effort into scheduling your session so why would you want to forget about such a wonderful occasion?

These are just some things to think about the next time you book your session.  I love providing my clients with digital files so they are able to share them however they deem appropriate for them, but I also love it when a client orders a print and hangs it up in their home for their daily viewing pleasure.  



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