Printed Product versus Digital Files

In today’s day and age, with all the technology it seems like all anyone looks for when searching for a photographer is “do I get digital files?”  In the professional photographer’s world, it is the age old debate Printed Product versus Digital Files.  As a photographer it is my job to educate my clients on the advantages and the disadvantages of only ordering digital files.  I admit I used to set my prices as “session + digital files” but I have learned through experience of my own this is not the best option, let me tell you why.

Digital Files

I took the time to educate myself on the matter of printed product versus digital files, now I know I used to love saving all my pictures from the past on disk because they last forever right?  Well actually this is totally the opposite!  I was recently cleaning up my home and organizing things and ran across a box of CDs with pictures on them that I took back in high school.  Well I popped one in the disk drive of my computer and found the entire thing was corrupted, I was super upset because that was a whole slew of memories I just lost because I never thought a CD would get corrupted.  Then to think about it further, those disks have been in that box under my bed for the last 10 years and I haven’t once taken them out to look at them.  I sat there and thought wow, I wish I would have printed all of these because a physical picture would have lasted through the years in that box.

Printed Product versus Digital Files
An Example of a CD & USB hanging on a wall to illustrate printed product versus digital files

Oh, and did you know that it is standard now that computers don’t come with disk drives?  It is an add-on now and would cost you extra in the price of your system.  So then you ask, why not just give me my files on a USB drive?  Well let me explain why that will not last the test of time either.  USB drives and external hard drives just like any electronics can corrupt as well, not to mention the technology that is continually being developed may make these a thing of the past in the future.  So 20 years from now are you sure that USB drive will still work?  Are you sure that this technology will still be around?  Well another horrible thing that happened to me just this past week, my external drive the one I’ve stored clients images on from 2010-2014 (which has failed once in the past and I recovered), well it has failed AGAIN!  Have you ever looked into how much it costs to send a hard drive to a data recovery center?  Well let me tell you this is NOT cheap.  Yeah, I’ve since decided I’m only going to store client images for 1 year and not forever because I cannot guarantee that the images will be safe on the technology I have.

Printed Product

Have I convinced you yet that printed product versus digital files is the way to go?  Well what are the advantages of printed product?  Well first off it will stand the test of time (granted there is not a fire or a flood to damage them, but hey at the same time those scenarios would ruin your disk and/or USB as well).  Have you ever had a guest in your home say “WOW, that’s a great looking CD/USB on your wall?”   Yeah, I didn’t think so.  Wall art, now that’s a way to be reminded of the memory that we created in front of the camera.  Wall art is something that can be a focal point in any room, a conversation starter at a dinner party for instance.  What about Albums?  Albums are a great choice as they can be an heirloom that you pass down to your children from generation to generation.  Prints, though I offer them as an “extra” are great too because you can store them, scrapbook them (is this still a big thing?), heck you can even hang them in your office at work, and they are great for gifts for your parents they can brag about the grandkids everywhere they go.

Printed Product versus Digital Files
An example of a 20×24 canvas hanging on a wall to illustrate printed product versus digital files

Does it all make sense now why printed product is so important?  Yes, I know you still want digital files to share on social media.  Don’t worry in my collections I do give digital files too, I even offer a la carte pricing for just the purchase of digital files but let me warn you, you’ll want printed product of your cute little ones especially once you see the images at the sales session.  Also, if you book with me don’t worry, I’ll tell you how to take care of your printed product and help you decide which direction is the best to go.  Here at Jenea Marie Photography we want you to be happy and will gladly help you design any wall space, and we will help by designing you an album you will want to pass down generation to generation.  Thank you for the time to let me give you a bit of education on printed product versus digital files!

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