The Power of Prints

“We would like a disc of images.”
Absolutely! We offer those! Lets talk about what you do with those photos afterwards. Frequently, I have clients return to me 1, 2, 3 years later and woefully admit, “I haven’t done anything with my photographs yet.” On the inside, I always die a little. Hours upon hours of effort and planning and all of their gorgeous memories are left to sit on an adorable wooden thumb drive. This is dangerous for a couple of reasons.
A. The longer it is left untouched the less likely you are to actually do anything with the images.
B. What happens if your home catches fire, floods, or your dog eats the drive? (drives also corrupt, it happens, and we have all been there before)

My clients can come back to me within a 3 year window and get a replacement drive of their wedding photographs, however, not all photographers are so forgiving.

Creating a physical print or album to showcase your wedding gives you that tangible and touchable precious object to help you hold onto that moment forever. It is especially helpful around 1am when you have to wake up early and your spouse is snoring loudly, remember you love them (you don’t always have to like them). Making an album through your photographer allows you the opportunity with your family to sit down and flip through the pages of a book, rather than staring at a tiny screen scrolling through 1,000+ OK photos to get to the winner. Its about experiencing your memories and photographs in a more personal way.

OK, so you’re convinced and you’re ready to make some prints of your wedding/family/newborn photography. Where should you get those prints?

I know your photographer’s prices per print cost more than Walgreens, but there is a huge value in paying that extra cost. Let us first discuss where your local convince store gets their photo lab techs. Think about it. Now, how much do those techs get paid to do their job? Think about it. Do you really think their TOP priority is to ensure that the color balance is accurate on their machines or the print heads are clean or each photo crops accurately every single time? I can’t count how many clients have returned to me with their digital files complaining that all of their images are blue, green, magenta, too dark, too light.. etc. etc. So, we play a game, “Lets place an order with a professional lab that costs a little more than your beloved Walgreens. IF the photos are STILL strange, I’ll pay for the prints and you aren’t out a dime. However, if the prints are correct, you pay and you now have quality photographs.” NEVER have I had to pay.

Your photographer can be your professional lab (if they offer print products). We can accurately color balance our machines and printers (or are balanced to our pro lab). Also, the cropping and up sampling of prints (up sampling= making them larger) is a pretty big deal. If not done correctly, grandma could end up headless in that beautiful reception photograph because the machine made choices that a human should have made, or your gorgeous 16×20 print could be grainy and pixelated. Your photographer’s prints (at least MY business works this way) are printed on archival and quality photo paper and inks. These images are supposed to last a life time, so you want to ensure that in 50 years your photographs haven’t faded with the memories.

We already discussed the value of an album, but again WHERE to have your album done is always a hard question. Sure, online book vendors have free book offers and DIY readymade layouts so everyone can be a graphic designer (an insulting insinuation for the people who are still paying off thousands of dollars in student loans to actually learn the craft of graphic design).
However, consider the longevity of your wedding album. In our fast moving culture, frequently OK quality and a quick bargain are hard to pass up (I’m guilty as well!). However, consider how long your album needs to survive? 5 or 6 years like your laptop? Hopefully not, if things go according to your plans. The future generations of your family, or at least the 80 year old you, will likely want to hold that album. Quality of binding and archival inks/paper matter! Your photographer can also help walk you through the process of creating something as custom and personalized as your own wedding day and make smart decisions on aesthetics and cropping of images for the layout. Is it an investment! No doubt about it. The average wedding album from my studio is around $600-$800. However, once you HAVE your photos, it’s so important to have a way to show them off! Facebook is a bastardized alternative to the precious and personalization that a quality wedding album can offer. Sure, you can get a momentary warm fuzzy feeling when you favorite couple photo of the day hits 20 likes, but can you touch it? 1s and 0s are only satisfying for so long.

So, before you stop by your local convince store for your prints consider your intent with the photographs. Are they going to be hung on your wall, or given as a gift? Do you need these to last longer than a handful of years? Make your decisions on print vendors now based on your new knowledge and insight!