The Value Of Prints

Digital files, or printed photographs? Why does it matter? What is the value of prints?

The photography business has changed a lot over the years. Like anything else, there have been some good changes, and some not so good changes. One of these changes is a trend called shoot and burn photography. A shoot and burn photographer is one who shoots the photos, burns them to CD (or some other transferable media), and hands them to the client. This can seem like an attractive option for both photographer and client. The photographer doesn’t have to worry about fulfilling print orders, and the client has full control of the images. However, shoot and burn is not quite as attractive as it may first appear.

Technology Changes

What happens to all of those digital images once the client gets them? The vast majority of people today never bother to print their photos. People take more photos than ever before, but those photos simply sit on their computer or on their phone. This can have disastrous consequences.

Technology is changing so fast that many photographs taken only 5-6 years ago are stored on devices that are no longer supported. Sadly, this means that many of the memories captured today won’t be around tomorrow! If your phone gets lost, stolen or damaged, your precious photographs disappear.

42% of people between the ages of 30 and 44 will likely look back and wonder where photos of their childhood, holiday get-togethers, relatives and friends have gone decades from now? Why? They no longer print photographs or create photo albums. In fact, 67% store their photos solely on a computer or phone*.

Portraits Deserve Better

If you are spending your hard-earned money on a professional photographer to preserve your family memories, those portraits deserve better treatment than your snapshots. They deserve a professional print, and a place of honor in your home.

The culmination of the time, talents and effort of a professional photographer is only realized when that portrait becomes a printed piece of art. The epitome of any portrait is in its printed form. How much more beautiful and impressive is a large, beautifully printed portrait than a display on a phone or computer screen? The printed portrait is a thing of beauty to behold. How often do you even look at the photos on your computer or phone? The portrait on your wall is there for you to view every day. Do you really want to spend money on professional portraits just to have them get lost among a sea of snapshots?

Prints Are Timeless

Not only that, a print is timeless and future-proof. The printed portrait conveys an elegance and beauty that never goes out of style. You can look at a printed portrait from 150 years ago and still marvel at its beauty. 150 years from now, will anybody be able to view your digital photos? Will they be compatible with any of that future technology? Almost certainly not, they will be forever lost. The print; however, is immune from technological advances. 150 years from now, people will still be able to view it.

This brings me to the next point. Unlike your digital photos, a printed portrait is a tangible heirloom. Because of the timeless and future-proof nature of prints, they can effectively be passed from generation to generation. With prints, you have a method of preserving your family history.

Prints Have Tangible Value

Having said all this, many people think they want the photographer to hand over the digital images, but is that what people really want? Ultimately, clients hire a professional because they want quality portraits. If they never print (or cheaply print) those portraits, then they will either end up with a disc full of forgotten images, or they will have a small, cheaply printed photograph that does not fairly represent the client or the photographer. Therefore, the time and money invested in a professional photographer is essentially wasted. As such, the client never got what they really wanted. This outcome is not fair to either the client or the photographer.

Professionals Ensure Quality

 On the other hand, when a client uses a professional photographer/print artist they will always purchase professional prints. They will receive a far greater quality print than they could get on their own. This is not to say that the client is incapable of having quality prints made on their own, but it is a hit and miss proposition. I have taken the time (and money) to compare a multitude of labs to ensure that you get the best prints possible. Why would you want to gamble your money on something that may be great, may be terrible, or may just be average?

When a professional photographer professionally prints your portrait, you are assured of getting a fantastic print. Plus, you’ll get a print in which the image has been properly matched to the desired size of portrait, so that you don’t get any unintended cropping. The portrait will also be color calibrated with the print lab, so that the end result is always just right. Moreover, a print artist will ensure that the print is of the highest quality. The portrait will be a worthy representation of both client and photographer, a win-win situation. The client will see real, tangible fruit from his investment in a professional photographer.

Remember, the print is what a portrait is all about. The epitome of a portrait is a beautiful print.  This is the value of a print. This is what sets us apart.

If you need some inspiration for how to display your portraits, click here


*2015 nationwide survey conducted by Professional Photographers of America (PPA)

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