Let’s go back in time for a bit. Traditionally, in the days of film, photographers only offered prints. Facebook didn’t exist and scanning negatives didn’t really have a point. Heck, you could always get re-prints from the photographer later on. Everyone bought prints from their photographer and a photographer would never give the clients the negatives, it just wasn’t an option back then.
Today with digital photography being the norm and the explosion of social media in our lives, people want to share their photos online. It is just a part of our culture these days. Clients love it because their professional photos really standout against all the selfies on Facebook and they can easily share with friends and family.
As a photographer, I have been struggling with this question from clients for some time now: “Can I get the high resolution images?” So I thought I would reflect on this question to shed some light on the topic and to help educate people a little bit about what I believe they are really looking for and what it is I will provide for them.
My first and foremost goal for my business and my clients is to make them HAPPY. What I like to ask my clients from the start is: What are the memories you are trying to capture and where would you like to see those end up? Would you like to showcase your images with large prints, as wall art or canvases? Would you like to showcase your images as a small print gallery on your wall? Would you like to see all of your images in a coffee table photo album that can be viewed over and over again for years to come. Would you like to share your photos on social media for friends and family to see?
The answers to all of the questions above is usually a yes. In summary, people want to showcase their images in some form or fashion on their walls to enjoy day after day. They would also like to be able to share their images on social media for friends and family to enjoy.
Here are 5 reasons why low res preserves the art of photography and meets high expectations:
- Low res does not take up as much space on your pc. A professional high resolution image is extremely large: With technology changing every year, a high res image nowadays can be upwards of 25MB. It takes up a ton of space on your hard drive, professional photographers have hard drives that exceed 2 TB in storage space for this reason. The raw (untouched) high res images are useful for photographers bc they can go back to them in Lightroom or Photoshop to edit and touch up before a print is produced in the final stage. The image is then compressed and saved as a jpeg file which is still very large with professional cameras, and from that point they are also resized once more for enjoying online through the web and/or Facebook and other social media. All of the images that you see online are resized for web. A high res image is just too large for web. So when we refer to the digital images as low res, they are just a smaller version of a jpeg file, with less pixels per inch(ppi) perfect for web and will still look great on your screen or phone to share with friends and family. I re-size my images to a size that is most appropriate for clients so that they will not look pixilated (or fuzzy), but are at a manageable size for my clients to share online and are not too large to take up a lot of space on your phone or pc and are perfect for web and social media. They are also at a size that would be appropriate for a 4×6 print, so the quality still remains at this size.
- High res images often never get used, they often remain tucked away on a CD or hard drive and never make it as a framed piece of art for your walls. To be honest with you, I am guilty of not printing some of my own family photos recently, so I know many of you are in the same boat. We lead busy lives and this is just put on the back burner as the kids continue to grow. After the excitement on Facebook wears off and life carries on, the high res images sometimes sit on a CD, or flash drive in your drawer or hidden in a file deep within your hard drive and that is often the last time they’re ever seen. Hopefully that disc doesn’t get lost or the hard drive doesn’t crash. I’ve seen it happen, it happened to me with my family photos before I had a backup system in place with my business. Not to mention when the DVD or flash drive becomes obsolete 20 years down the road, and the pc crashes, where are those files? The DVD or flash drive will one day become obsolete just as the VHS, and floppy disks did. And some DVDs do not work on some pc’s if they were not formatted correctly.
- They allow me to provide professional quality prints to display in your home. As your professional photographer, it is my passion and duty to supply for you timeless, beautiful prints for your home and walls that you can enjoy for years. I am not selling just photo paper when you purchase your prints, I am selling emotions. I am providing you with a tangible piece of art so you can be reminded of these feelings and emotions each time you glance at them. It is my hope that when you see your images, you will be filled with joy over and over again. And your friends and family will enjoy seeing them too every time they come to your home. I want this for my clients, I want them to smile every time they see that print of their kids laughing together. I want them to feel like they have something tangible for their walls, a piece of art, filling their homes with love and memories as their children grow up and leave for college. This is what you are purchasing from me, “the feeling”, or emotion, not just a documentation of “this moment in time” printed on paper. Printing your high res images at Walmart or Walgreens will not provide th finished work of art that I will provide for you. Packages that offer high res don’t bring added value, they may actually take away from value if left to sit on a pc or DVD.
- They prevent me from providing a disservice to my clients: Giving only high res images on a CD would make me feel that I am doing a huge disservice to my clients and their family. I do not consider myself a shoot and burn photographer who just shows up to your session, and then hands over the CD to you. I spend countless hours on each session, choosing and editing and retouching each photo individually. Each photo is unique and deserves individual attention before it is printed professionally. I have seen my images printed at non-professional labs in the past and it has made the hair on my arms raise. My computer monitor is calibrated to my professional print lab, offering you the highest quality prints on professional grade paper. I believe that the best way to see a photograph is printed, framed and hung on a wall or printed for a photo album. I believe that you can also enjoy them on your computer as a digital image re-sized for web for sharing and archiving. And now you know that having both prints and digital files is possible through low res.
- The Myth of “it’s the thing to do” or “the thing to have”…”just in case”. Sometimes clients get confused about what it is they really would like and just assume that they need the high res images. They think they need it, however, in the end they really just want digital images to share with friends and family or to archive away. Low res is just what they need. In reality, when people ask for high res digital images, they may end up printing lower quality wall art, and it takes up a lot of space on their pc or phones, and is usually filed away and forgotten. Where’s the art in that? Where is the retouching, emotion and professional printing quality of true photography? Clients have high expectations for high res. And I just don’t think it delivers them the best answer to what they really want.
This year I have redesigned my packages offering a nice balance of print sizes and digital files for you to choose from.
And I can’t wait to work with you!!