How much are digital files? (Winnipeg Photography Studios)

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This is a copy of an article written by a photographer in Surrey BC, named Rachel Thornhill, which speaks to how I feel about selling digital images without attaching any prints or wall art to them.

I have edited some parts of the original article.

You can read the original article here:

https://www.rachelthornhill.co.uk/single-post/2018/02/06/How-Much-are-Digital-Files

One of the questions my potential clients ask me on a regular basis is how much I charge for digital files.

My first reply is “What would you like to do with them?”

Way before I press the shutter on my camera, I ask myself three very important questions: Why am I taking this photograph? What am I trying to capture, and who is going to be looking at it?

If I’m photographing a client, everything about the image is carefully planned. We’ve spoken beforehand about the location, clothes, poses and expressions; we’re working together on this to ensure we’re capturing something that is truly worth capturing. Then I’m looking at the lighting, the composition of the image, how pronounced my subject is in front of the background, and sometimes even my subject’s pose. In my mind I know what I’m trying to achieve; the look, the feel, the style. I choose the focal point, the depth of field, decide exactly what shutter speed will be to show movement or freeze the subject, the exposure length to achieve bright or dark images, even the ISO to capture detail.

Once I have captured the image, I then use Adobe Lightroom to develop it digitally, in the same sort of way as film is developed in a dark room (less chemicals and more light involved obviously!). I review every image, and quite often I crop the image to help create leading lines or patterns to help direct the viewer to the part of the image that I want them to look at first. I’m looking at symmetry, balance, impact. And that’s even before I’ve colour balanced or removed a blemish or scratch.

Now I’m not telling you any of this to show off… indeed my short list of what I look to do is just a few of the things that Master Photographers of today think about.

But what I’m trying to explain is that this amount of control results in an image that is hopefully one where the quality and composition shines out, that when you see it you can see that I’m worth being paid to take it.

This is where it starts to get a bit tricky. That edited image that I see on my computer is probably not the same as the one you would see on your computer screen, or your iPad or smart phone. That is because my monitor is calibrated in a way that when the image is printed, it looks exactly as it does on screen. And when I say printed, I mean printed using the particular professional print company that I have chosen and calibrated my monitor to. If I sent that image to 5 different printers, including perhaps printers that most people don’t have access to (for example here in the UK we have Snapfish, PhotoBox, Boots-  I will guarantee you that I would have a slightly different photograph from each of them. They use different printing machines, different papers, and all of a sudden, the vibrant lavender field image I sent to print is not the image that I have on my screen.

As an artist, that is a loss of control. And if you start to throw into the mix products such as canvasses, the difference in quality of the products available is staggering.

As a Professional Photographer, my work is why people choose me over other Photographers. It is what makes me me. So when my work is on display, the quality that it is displayed at is absolutely crucial, especially as being on display means it is there to be seen. I use only Professional Printing companies to print my photographs, artwork and albums, ensuring the high quality image I’ve created so far is preserved in the exact way I intended it to be shown. I’ve known of Photographers that have given digital images out to friends and then seen them as products on those friends’ walls; and then been heartbroken that the images that they had taken so long to craft had been cropped, or the colours oversaturated, or even that the product itself was of such quality that a beautiful image looked like a phone snap. That inferior product is then judged by others as a representation of the Photographers’ work, which has a significant impact on their business and reputation in a way that is completely out of control of the Photographer.

I recently heard about an award winning wedding Photographer who received a bad review from a Bride and Groom, saying the quality of his work was awful. The story got traction on social media, and it turns out that the Photographer had supplied the Bride and Groom with digital files, and they had made their own album and had it printed at a supermarket. Images had been stretched, zoomed and cropped, the carefully chosen colours of the bridesmaid’s dresses and flowers were nowhere near their true colour, and the images were blocky and blurred. When the Photographer discovered this, he made up an album himself, had it professionally printed and sent it to the couple; they were of course horrified when they realised what had happened and apologised, but did those people who heard bad things about the Photographer stay to hear the rest of the story? Probably not.

This is exactly why I am wary of providing digital files. Often they are priced the same as wall artwork or large prints, because actually assigning a monetary value to something that isn’t usually intended as the end product is quite tricky. But for me it is not about the money. It is about supplying my clients with First Class customer service throughout their whole experience with me, capturing an amazing session, then creating gorgeous products with the absolute WOW factor that will bring joy and be cherished for years to come, rather than to be delivered in a little black box to stay locked away as digital files in a drawer until they finally get remembered.

Social media is the other reason that people ask for digital files. They want to share the images with their families and friends, and why not? Of course some people choose not to (and that is a whole other blog post for a few week’s time!) but I’m happy to provide social media formatted images for this very reason.

And actually, for each image used in artwork, I do also give my clients the high resolution digital file. For the use that it was only ever really intended to be, when digital imaging was created.

As a backup.

I hope you got to the end of the article. I am happy to discuss this with you if you have questions.

Christina

Digital images: to sell or not to sell (Winnipeg Photographers)

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There is a lot of debate among professional photographers about whether or not to sell their digital files to clients. I can see both sides of this debate.

To me, the most persuasive argument on the side of not selling digital files is that the photographer loses control of the image and how it will be printed. Nobody wants their name attached to a print that doesn’t represent their work well and companies that make prints are not all the same calibre. There are ranges in services for prints in Winnipeg. Costco does a great job and I use Costco for a lot of my personal work. I use Don’s Photo for my client prints. Don’s is a professional lab and has people there who know what they’re doing. Compare that to a place like Wal-Mart or your local drugstore, that just push the prints through with no regard to the quality. You can take your printing up another notch by visiting Joe at Pixels 2.1, or Photo Central and get a fine art prints made.

My point is that as a photographer I don’t want my work represented by prints that you are less than the best. If I sell you the digital images they are yours to print as you please.

But what if I don’t sell the digital files? The truth is that clients will scan them and that even the worst printing job will look better than most prints made from scans. We can copyright our work all we want. Scanning has become so easy that clients will scan images and upload them to Facebook or other online sites.

We live in a consumer driven market place. We also live in a digital age. Consumers want to be able to share their images on-line as well as having prints made. They will do this whether or not we sell them our high-resolution files. To my way of thinking, we should at least make sure that the digital images they get are the best they can be. And hope that they get them printed at a high quality printing lab.

What do you think? Do you want your photographer to sell digital files to you or are you happy to purchase prints?

 

Digital vs. Prints (Winnipeg Photographers)

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So you’ve had your shoot and your gallery in online. Now you have to choose which prints you would like, or which images you would like in a digital file. Whether you choose digital or prints  largely depends on your needs as there are advantages to each. Many clients are purchasing a DVD of their images, rather than buying individual prints.  If you buy a DVD of your images, you’ll be able to email the pictures to family and friends and to print them yourselves. If you choose a quality lab, you’ll end up with many great prints at a lower price. On the other hand, if you order the prints through a photographer, you’ll be assured that the colours are all correct and that the prints are cropped in the best way possible. If I get prints back from the printer, and don’t like the colour, or the brightness, I will get them reprinted. It is extra work for you to go through this process. And it might be a little intimidating if you haven’t done it before.  It’s important to me is that you are happy with the end product. If you do buy the DVD and have trouble getting the prints done, let me know. I’d be more than happy to help.

The other question that people often ask me, is which image would make a better print. It really does depend on you and on who is getting the picture. Grandma might like a more traditional pose, whereas you might love a fun, unusual one. Go with the one that moves you. Go with the one that you are first drawn to. Over analyzing and studying the images may just lead to more confusion. Go with the picture that brings out the personality of your child. I love this picture of N. Is it traditional? No! Is it him? Yes!

Here’s another one that tells you a lot about this little cutie who was having so much fun dancing!

Go with what moves you. Go with the one that makes you say “Ahha that’s my little girl,” when you see it. And most of all, have fun with it!