A question that I get asked a lot is why is it important that I print my photography. I mean, I actually require it from my clients. In this day and age of digital everything it’s a legitimate question.
Most photographers are glad to photograph your wedding or your senior or family portraits, hand you the digital files and be on their way. It costs them very little, if anything. Their work ends, essentially, after the photo session, or wedding. Super easy. Who can blame them, right? For clients, they get unlimited access to their “pictures” so that they can share them online and print them at their leisure. Convenient for them and most economical. Who can blame them, right? My philosophy is quite different.
I feel that your wedding or your family picture is far too important to not “finish”. What do I mean by “finishing”? I mean taking the art to it’s conclusion. Putting the “file” on a tangible item that best represents that image and the quality that is expected from a high end item. A Facebook post is not the ultimate destination for a family picture. Your favorite wedding image does not find it’s final resting place on Instagram. Or they shouldn’t, anyway. These platforms are modern day meeting places. Virtual platforms. Are your wedding pictures “virtual”? Absolutely not. They aren’t to be scrolled past “Liked” and then on to the next picture. They are living moments captured and frozen in time (to use an overused metaphor).Until the images are finished and printed they are nothing more than a series of 0’s and 1’s as it relates to artwork.
Don’t misinterpret. This is not an anti-social media rant. Far from it. I enjoy social media and use it daily. It’s been extremely important in helping us all stay in touch. It helps businesses by aiding them in getting their products noticed. For a photography studio, it’s essential. How else could we get so many people to see our work. But beyond that, I am talking about a tangible work of art.
I feel that certain images that I make on a wedding day are, potentially, a work of art. If it illicits an emotion, makes you think, then it has that potential. I can then “finish” that work of art by making it a tangible (notice that word keeps popping up?) piece. That is why I include a wedding album in my standard service, rather then just digital files. It is then sent to my professional lab so that they can help to fulfill the task of finishing it in the most exquisite way. Now, a lot of pictures that are ordered, especially from weddings, are standard fare. Straight forward family pictures, sometimes looking at the camera smiling. Very straight forward. But they are still important and I care deeply how they are presented. Can you imagine taking your absolute favorite picture from the most important day of your life and having it printed at Wal-Mart? I sure can’t. And it certainly is not the way that I want my work presented. It must be as perfect as I can make it.
Do I lose business because of this approach. I sure do. That is how important it is to me. Some folks don’t care about finishing their pictures, and that’s ok. But wedding pictures, family pictures and, to an extent, senior pictures are legacy items. Pieces of ourselves that we leave behind when we are gone. I don’t want your legacy to be a jump drive sitting in a desk drawer, or worse, a cheap print or album that was printed online. I believe that you should leave behind a legacy of caring, of quality that is done on a tangible work of art (there’s that word again). I know that is how I want to be remembered. That is why I print.
See some of my favorite wedding pictures.