There is a lot of debate about whether photographers should offer digital print portrait packages, and if they do, how they should be offered. Some photographers choose not to offer digital files at all, while others only offer digital images. There is a wide array of options in between these business models. So, if you are wondering whether a digital-only package is right for you or if you can skip professional prints for some of your gallery images, please read on to make a fully informed decision. I will present some of the pros and cons of digital images and printing through consumer, rather than professional, printers and I will also explain my philosophy and business model.
The Pros of Digital Print Packages
Convenience: Honestly, it is much easier for your photographer to give you a digital gallery than it is to handle print sales. Digital-only packages work well for photographers who prioritize a high volume of sessions without the time spent for in-person sales or print orders. The files are edited and delivered, with no further obligation to resize, properly sharpen for particular print sizes, color correct for particular printers, or provide guidance on paper that will change the appearance of the prints from the artistic rendering of the photographer. You may also take your time deciding on sizes, price shop for prints, and order as many prints as you like want now or in the future (depending on the conditions of the print release).
Something to “take away” and store: Digital image galleries provide evidence of the work that was done during the session, editing, and curating of your gallery. Digital image galleries also allow you to have a “permanent” archive of your photos to print at a later time.
The Cons of Digital Print Packages
Convenience: Yes, convenience can be a pro and a con! How many pictures have been sitting on your personal camera, phone, and/or computer without ever being printed? When you invest in a professional photography session your portraits should be printed and displayed, rather than being stuck on a computer. We all have the best intentions, but life can get busy and sometimes clients put off printing (or never print!) images.
Quality of the prints: Your decision to choose me as your photographer was most likely influenced by your affinity to my style of composition and image processing. There are several ways that your choice of printer can influence the quality and appearance of your prints.
Color Calibration: My computer has been calibrated to my professional printer. That means the color rendering will accurately reflect the artistic vision and professional color processing for each photograph.
Paper quality: Low-quality paper or choice of paper finish can negatively affect the appearance and durability of your photographs. My printing service offers archival quality prints that can last for generations. I can guide you to the highest quality papers offered by my printer that will enhance the appearance of your photographs. Printing through a low-quality service or selecting improper paper finishes can minimize or eliminate the style brought out by my image processing.
Sharpening: Digital files larger than 8X10 or on specialty materials (such as canvas) probably will not look their best, because they have not been properly sharpened for these purposes.
My Business Model
I strive to create a boutique photography experience for you. I am not interested in maximizing volume while decreasing the quality of the experience or the products that end up on your walls. I want you to see the value in professional-quality prints. But, I also realize that many clients will want their digital images with a print release. My solution is to fully inform you about the pros and cons of printing on your own, provide you with examples of professional printing, and provide a restricted print release to protect the representation of my art and brand.
All packages include digital files with a restricted print release (up to 8X10 prints). I will provide suggestions for budget-friendly, high-quality consumer printers, but I will not accept responsibility for inaccurate photo rendering by these labs. In addition to a digital-only package, I offer packages that include 4×6 reference prints of your chosen digital images and large prints for you to display your favorite images. You will also have the option of purchasing à la carte products, including an upgrade that includes digital images and/or reference prints for your entire gallery.
You will receive a 20% discount on à la carte products ordered through my professional printer within 5 days of delivery of your digital gallery. I am hopeful this will encourage you to order professional prints and not leave your photographs on a computer drive!