“Why should I buy prints and not just digital negatives/files?” This is a question I hear more and more among photographers interacting with tech savvy clients and an ever growing younger client population in my area.
So here’s the emotional answer, because you cannot put a price on memories or emotions.
Yes, I do sell/provide digital files, if that is truly what you have your heart set on, this way you can share them with any/everyone. But here's the follow up question I like to ask my clients when asked the first question. Once you upload those photos to the cloud, other storage devices or onto a social media website how often are you actually going back to look at those precious memories if you are not going to print them yourself?
I know for myself the answer is, rarely.
There is something about being able to pick up a framed print from your desk and run your fingers over it or thumb through a photo album that sits on your coffee table or gaze up at a print on the wall, which evokes the memories of the day, those images were created. Maybe it’s not that captured moment from the image you are remembering but the in-between moments, between images that weren’t captured. This is something, I as a photographer want my clients to experience to slow down and relive that moment and hold onto it. I’m not in it to sell you an overabundance of photos you may not need or want but to help you pick the right amount for your home.
The reality is we live in a fast paced world and I can completely understand wanting to be able to look at your cherished memories at any point in time throughout the day. I myself spend most of my day with my face buried in some sort of a screen or through a viewfinder. The reality is, we get distracted, easily. So even though you are intending to open said images and look at them, chances are you might get an email or notification that distracts you, pulls you away, if even for a second and doesn’t allow you those few seconds or minutes to truly relive that moment.
The best way to sum this up is to give you an example of an interaction I had two weeks ago.
While working a corporate event for the Non-profit group Sweetwater. I ran into an old college friend and he asked me if I could get some photos printed for him. He had taken them while traveling abroad that meant so much to him. Some were taken with his camera and some with his phone and he had a concern the photo from the phone might not print well from his local W(Walmart/Walgreen's) store. For the print size he was asking for I didn’t see any problems with getting those printed and not having them be fuzzy.
Through the course of our interaction I asked him why after several years he was finally looking to get them printed? The answer I was given was amazingly simple, “I just don’t want to be able to look only at them on my phone or computer anymore, I want to be able to see them when I walk in my door.”