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

Such a Cutie Pie! (Winnipeg Children’s Photographers)

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This little one melted my heart and when you see her you’ll understand why. At 18 months, she is a going concern but we kept her still for long enough to get some amazing images of her.

Have a look!

Double the Trouble! (Winnipeg Children’s Photographers)

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These 17 month, very active twin girls came for a photo session yesterday. We had to use a few tricks to get them sitting at the same time.

This is one of my favorites from the session. Aren’t they beautiful in their bright floral dresses!

Another Adorable Couple of Dogs; and Kids! (Winnipeg pet photographers)

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These 2 huge dogs came to the studio last weekend. We are dog lovers here so I always welcome dogs into the studio. These 2 were a bit bigger than most of the dogs that come but they were great to photograph. I love those large eyes and big tongues!

When I had my first Westie we had a big picture printed and framed for above our fireplace. A friend of mine used to give me a hard time because she thought the dog picture was larger than any pictures of the kids. Well, when I look at this dog picture of these 2 adorable beasts, I see it above a fireplace or on a large wall.

And here are two adorably cute kids:

Nursery School Portraits! (Winnipeg Children’s Photographer)

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I haven’t posted for a while as I’ve been busy painting and reorganizing my studio. The work is almost done and I’m loving the look and feel of the new space. Stay tuned for some pictures!

Last week I took pictures of some adorable children at a nursery school. It was a new experience for me.  I was a bit apprehensive going in but photographing these 2 to 5 year olds was a lot of fun and my partner and I got some wonderful portraits of the kids.

Have a look at these cutie pies!

Catch Me if You Can! (Winnipeg Family Photographers)

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It was a “Catch Me if You Can” type of session yesterday with this family. I caught 2 out of 3 kids: a 9-year-old and a 2-year-old but the 6-year-old remained illusive. I have Smarties  in the studio but forgot to bring them with me. Live and Learn I say!

Here are 2 very cute kids!

 

The Last of Fall Family Pictures! (Winnipeg Family Photographers)

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The leaves are almost gone from the trees but there were still a few left at The Forks and at Kildonan Park this weekend. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there will be some left on Wednesday for my last fall family session.

This weekend I did 3 family sessions and all of them were amazing!

The first one was to celebrate this lucky dad’s birthday. The rain stopped enough for us to do some pictures outside before heading inside to make use of a couple of really neat signs. Have a look:

By Sunday, the weather had improved a lot and I was able to do 2 sessions in Kildonan Park. The first was a three generational session with this wonderful family and the first grandchild for this grandma and grandpa.

I was a bit nervous about my session with this group that included seven children, but I didn’t need to worry. These kids were totally amazing and and followed directions really well. This group was cuteness overload!