Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Two Cents

I recently read a photography blog (wish I could remember which one) that talked about the importance of clients purchasing their pictures in some sort of printed form from the photographer.  There were lots of good points in the blog, but the comments made by other photographers gave me much more insight and info than the actual blogpost.  Her point was, by "giving" the client the digital images on a disk and not requiring a printed purchase the Photographer was falling down on their job.  It's a huge debate in the photography world...part with your digital images (the negatives) or don't.  The comments provided me with some much needed info; which was that photography pricing and product is ALL over the board.  I don't think I saw two comments/Photographers in at least 50 that priced or produced the same. Some people just charge for the photography session and produce a Hi-Res disk with images, some require printed sales, some do both, some charge more for Hi-Res, etc. ad nauseum.  My head was spinning!

But, last night I came to a conclusion.  As a Photographer, I should provide a number of proofs (that I select based on my skills as an artist) and put together a printed product.  It will be part of my package from this day forward.  I was of the crowd that did the shoot, PP'd a given number of images and loaded them up to a disk in Hi-Res.  I don't want the hassle of picking out albums, photos, mugs, blankets, whatever the client wanted to see their photos in/on.  I still believe that the bulk of that decision should be left to the client - there are far too many options for me to limit their choice.  But, the vast majority of people that receive a disk, do only two things - load some of the images up to Facebook (which resizes the photo to crap) and then put the disk in a drawer.  Oh, and a third thing....never get around to putting together an album.

See, last night I came across my mom & dad's wedding album.  It's one of those beautiful white leather bound books with brass corners on each heavily matted page, protected by thick vinyl on the outside and each page encased in cello.  The front is embossed in gold with script that says "Our Wedding Day".  The first two pages are heavy stock paper with places to fill in the date, names, place of the wedding, guests, etc.  Guess what?  NONE of it was filled out. My mom didn't even take the time to fill in a few blanks.  She died 25 years ago,  my dad remarried and entrusted me with his & mom's Wedding Album.  It's a rare glimpse back to who she was as a young woman. Back then, the photographer provided the couple with proofs and they picked which few would forever more be the memory of that wonderful day.  And I get to open the album from time to time and remember what a fun, beautiful woman she was.

What's that worth? I can't even begin to put a price on it.

It made me think that everyone should at least have a few prints from their photoshoot.  If my mom didn't even take the time to fill in a few blanks, how in the world could I expect someone to filter through over 300 digital images and put together a 20 page album?  It's too overwhelming for most people.  As a photographer and artist I have the skill, creativity and knowledge of what will look best in print. I have not photographed any weddings...yet.  It's still a little out of my comfort zone.  But I do family & senior portraits, pet shoots.  I always pick out the shots I think work best (with input from the client) and post process them. I don't give the client a disk with 300+ images on it.  Quality over quantity.

I haven't decided on how I will produce the printed product yet.  It may just be a simple 10 page mini-photo proof book with 4x6 prints.  But there will be something to look at other than the CD. With my logo on it. And my business card in it.

1 comment:

kirsten said...

I think it's a good idea to at least offer a printed option. Our wedding photographer will be providing us with a bound album for us, plus 2 mini albums for our parents. She will also give us the hi-res images on disk (I imagine it will just be the nicest ones, but still), so we can do with them as we please. She told me right off the bat that she doesn't feel comfortable keeping the rights to a couple's big day, but that if we use the images in contests, wedding blogs, etc.. that we should attribute them to her.

I look at my parent's wedding album once in a while too - lots of blank pages in there also!