Digital vs Print | Why I Always Offer Both
When I first started pursuing photography seriously I was living in Southern California on the U.S. Marine Base, Camp Pendleton. My business boomed with the ever moving tide of military homecomings and send off's. In that stage of my business, digital vs prints wasn't even a question. Clients hands down wanted digital 100% of the time.
Once I got my foot (I seriously typed "phoot" at first lol) through the door I was able to start doing other types of photo shoots. I did a small wedding, a lot of family photos, military ball photos, and newborn sessions. At this point it was so common for photographers to just offer full digital galleries I didn't offer anything else.
My first client to ask for print was a couple who wanted photos before they made their way to the Marine Corps Birthday ball (cue nostalgia). The photos came out so beautiful. Yes, I'm talented, but it helps that I've got the most gorgeous clients ever! They said "Oh yeah - we are getting these printed".
I thought "Do photographers still offer prints? Like not school pictures but... other pictures?" The only places I knew that still printed photos besides LifeTouch was JCPenny! So I started my research.
Immediately I knew that there was no way a client was going to pay a professional photographer to print photos at Walmart or Kinkos. So I did what anyone in the 21st century would do, GOOGLE! I spent a good part of the day researching and after many hours of very intense research (sitting on my couch) I found an online professional print lab and I have NOT been disappointed. You can find many articles online that outline the differences between printing photos at somewhere like Staples or at home on your computer vs having them printed professionally and TRUST ME there is a difference.
Now at this point I would occassionally get requests for prints - mainly for the military balls and newborn photos. But then I stepped into another world of photography... boudoir. That's right. Boudoir. I did a lot of research before I fell into this genre and my first FIVE boudoir shoots I did completely for free. All I asked was for my clients to split the hotel bill with me. (Fingers crossed for my own studio someday!) After a lot of research I realized almost no boudoir photographer gives away just digital images. You might ask why that is?
Well if you ask most women why they want to do a boudoir shoot, studies have shown 99.99% (totally made up statistic) of women say it is for their significant other or to celebrate their bodies for no one but themselves. And whether they are gifting these photos or keeping them to look back on, no one wants digital images sitting in their computer to one day get lost behind old pictures from Easter 2012 and Uncle Gary's retirement party 2014. There is something so valuable about having a tangible, physical print in your hand, or for that matter, an album.
Two of the most popular albums I've offered are the (3x3) mini accordion books and the (4x6) layflat album.
The biggest motivation for the mini accordion book was it's portability and convenience. Remember, most of my clients I gained from living on the military base! That means deployments and weeks out in the field. What better way to keep photos of your lady with you than in a little pocket sized book! Best part of all is it closes together magnetically! Overall the quality of the paper and color of the prints are unbeatable.
Next time you think "Hmmm? Should I just get them printed myself?" Consider going with some good old fashioned prints. But you know, it's like old books. Some people prefer a kindle while others (like me) like to pick up a printed book, flip through the pages, and sniff that library smell. You know what I'm talking about - shout out to all my book sniffers.
So you tell me - drop me a comment below with what you prefer. Digital, prints, or both?