I read an article last night and it stopped me in my tracks. It says exactly what I try to express to so many of my clients. The majority of the time, the first questions people ask when they contact me about a session is, ‘Can I get the digitals? – Do you sell the digital files? – Can I get the digital negatives?’ Yes, I sell my digital files. Yes you can purchase the disc of all the images in your gallery, but PLEASE hear me out as to why I believe in purchasing prints and products as well. If you are a client of mine, you likely know the deal. If you haven’t worked with me yet, let’s chat but be warned, I’m going to encourage you to not only buy your files, but your prints too.
Remember when you were younger and you had an entire roll of film to use? Remember when you were at parties or out with your friends how you would snap photos giggling about how they were going to turn out? Remember how it felt when you were going to the store to ‘pick up the pictures!’ I know! It was like a surprise every time! I remember it too and really miss it some days. Isn’t it funny how you can pick up an old photo and remember everything about the details; scents, temperature, sounds. It’s pretty incredible isn’t it? In a digital world everything is instant. With the cravings for everything to be so instant, people have become reliant on digital images to upload to Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and Instagram as soon as they have them. Don’t get me wrong, I love this convenience too, but I know there is a place for prints in your home, and in mine.
When your kids grow up, and you are telling them stories about when they were young, or even before they were born, what are they going to look at? A USB drive? Will they laugh at all the ‘outtake’ images? The ones that you know make you belly laugh because it was just the most unflattering timing! Will they know what its like to hold, touch, or feel emotions by looking at a moment in time that has been captured and will live on forever? Will you be able to feel their little fingers wrapped around your finger as a newborn? Or remember their giggle as they blow out their birthday candles? Will they have a drawer full of hard drives, or discs, or old computers that can’t relate to new technology?
I know, its hard to make it a point to print images now. I am guilty myself with so much space on hard drives and so much accessibility to digital files on our iPhone and iPads – why carry prints when you can just pull up thousands online? I’ll tell you why… because your memories are worth it. You are investing your love and emotion into your friends and family the very least you could do to leave your mark on the world is document that! Keep your digital files accessible,. but please, print the images too. When you blink and realize your toddler is now graduating high school, don’t you want to pull out baby pictures and hold them in your hands reliving those emotions? It’s not a promise we will have access to this technology by then. Technology changes so quickly it’s hard to say what we will be able to retrieve. It would break my heart if I couldn’t show my kids their baby pictures. It would break my heart if they could never see the memories we’ve created. I have a camcorder with footage of my son Jackson from when he was just 4 months old until about a year old.. Sadly I can’t access any of the footage because its recorded on mini DVD discs that they stopped making and playing it through the camcorder itself isn’t compatible for the tv. I lost almost 8 months of video – I can’t imagine losing 15 years worth of images… can you?
So please, when deciding to invest in your family memories – Decide on prints first, and add your files on. Having your digital files is a wonderful thing for many reasons! But please, don’t make digital files your priority. Hold these memories in your hands. Touch those moments again. Breathe it in again. I promise you when you hold these printed images in your hand, it will be like going back in time. Be sure you have your history document to share with your loved ones. Make a promise that your future will be part of your past.
This is the article I came across – It speaks to wedding photography but translates to family photography just the same.
Fight ‘Good Enough’
(And just so I don’t forget. These are my own two little blessings on Easter Sunday. Even if I had to bribe them with their Easter treats and nearly stand on my head to pull a smile out of them! After I get past being the crazy photographer Mom, I see through their fake smiles and really see just how much they love each other, care for each other, make each other giggle, and look out for each other. That is what I’ll remember when I look at this image 15 years from now.)
Hold your memories in your hands and in your hearts. I promise you, they are worth it.
Be well, Be kind.